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#1 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Fenton Edward arrived promptly on his due date, at 6:19 the morning of March 26th - despite our constant reminders and admonishes to family and friends that he would "show up precisely when he means to!".

On Saturday (the 24th), I had felt some sharp, intense contractions while out shopping with my husband. One I remember as being so intense and unexpected that I cried out. On Saturday evening, while watching a movie at home, I was having infrequent but increasingly strong contractions. I lost the rest of my mucous plus, with bloody show, during a “movie snack break”, and DH and I were excitedly distracted after our intermission was over and we retuned to our movie. We had the sense that labor was imminent, but “imminent” seemed to be in the range of “over the course of the next week or so”. We had been working so hard to stay soft and flexible in our expectations of when this would happen, which I’m sure contributed to how quickly and punctually he arrived. I still didn’t feel very large, I was far from being unbearably uncomfortable, and I expected Roo to need to grow for an extra week or two like most first babies I had heard about. After losing my mucous plug, I felt a wave of panic as we were leaving the house ~11:30 pm to return our rented movies to the video store. I couldn’t leave until the dishwasher had been loaded. My husband laughed when he saw what I was frantically trying to accomplish, and sobered when he saw how serious I was. We marveled o the drive to the video store that this impromptu venture out together late at night could be the end of an era.

Sunday morning we went to church as usual, spending longer than usual at the coffee hour. We were so excited to tell anyone who asked that we were sure things were imminent. We went home, had lunch, and I managed to take a nap that afternoon. We had plans to go to my ILs for dinner that night, and we decided to go even though I was more uncomfortable by this time, and the contractions were regularly 8-12 minutes apart when I was resting, and 5-8 minutes apart when I was standing or walking. They were manageable in that I was able to continue talking during them, but it felt much better to get on my hands and knees and have my husband push on my lower back, especially during contractions that came about when I was walking or standing – these were much stronger.We had a wonderful dinner, all of us excited that he might arrive soon. I was so hungry that I ate 3 pieces of fish! I had wanted to go for a walk after dinner, but I was starting to become uncomfortable while walking and thought I’d better go to bed early instead. We called our midwives to let them know that labor had begun, but that we were certain it would be a while yet. She was so encouraging, and was the first of us to consider that this could happen very soon. She encouraged me to do my first hibicleanse wash if I felt like it was time, and to try to wash with it about every 6 hours after that. – this was how we had decided to approach my Strep + status. I felt calm and was very talkative between contractions. I went to bed ~9 – 9:30, and by 10 it was impossible to sleep, lie comfortably and to not be on my hands and knees during contractions. I still didn’t feel very confident that my labor had firmly begun, or that it wouldn’t slowly fade soon. I got into our bathtub ~10:30-11, requiring my husband to push on my back during all contractions. Our midwife had advised him to watch for when I was no longer talkative between contractions. He is typically very deferential to my judgement on things that relate personally to me, but that night he said “I really think we should call Sheli and tell her we’re coming in.” His certainty of tone was so strong, and I felt so trusting of him. I had been hesitant because I didn’t want to get there only to find that I should come back home – I really resisted not having a definitive place to labor. We spoke to Sheli ~11:30 pm, and agreed to meet at the birth center at 12:15 am. We called my sister before we left for the center, and she held us in prayer from that very moment. The ride there wasn’t unbearable, but it was uncomfortable. I had begun invoking a birth image to help me cope with the increasing intensity. I pictured myself floating in the ocean during a hurricane, sinking myself deeper and deeper under water until I was beneath the storm. When I had shared this image with my husband the previous day and had asked him if he thought ocean waters were calm underneath during a hurricane, he told me abut ocean fishermen who sink their boats during a hurricane because they know their boats will be safer under water. I kept repeating this in my mind: Sink the boat.

I don’t remember much of the overall narrative of our time at the birth center, only certain landmark moments. I remember waiting for the tub to fill and getting in, and I remember riding a few contractions on the bed and on the birthball (my husband confirms that we got out of the tub once because labor had slowed down – I don’t remember this at all). I remember, early on, a sense that something was going to come out of my rectum, but I never defecated like I expected to. Later I saw that this was the sensation of Roo decending and coming out, and it would grow stronger and feel less like my rectum as the labor went on. I remember Brandon napping in the chair next to the tub, and being amazed that he always managed to be right behind me during my contractions, including the time that a contraction started just as he was going into the bathroom. He always seemed to just magically appear when I needed him. During contractions I was almost always leaned over the edge of the tub, eyes either covered or unfocused. Between contractions I would later stay in that position, but had started out leaning back against the tub in between contractions in order to sleep, scrambling to the side of the tub at the start of each contraction. I remember the feeling of my water breaking ~ 3am, a powerful feeling of water exploding under water. I remember saying “I’m afraid” because I thought things were already as intense as I could manage. I remember looking up and being surprised that the other midwife had arrived and was quietly knitting with Sheli while I labored. I remember being afraid to reach down and feel Roo’s head as it emerged, and how my husband gently guided my hand down to him, telling me that I needed to feel how alive he was. I remember being surprised by how slowly the top of his head emerged, after being surprised by how quickly it started to emerge. The urge to push was with me all along in various degrees, not in a definitive “third stage” like I expected. I’m amazed, looking back, that I never wondered how “far dilated” I was, that numbers like that seemed so irrelevant to what I was feeling and the confidence of my body. I was shocked to feel my cervix dilating from the pressure of Roo’s head, and that it too was wound through the whole labor and not relegated to a “stage”. When Roo’s head, the top and largest part, had emerged, I couldn’t believe that I had to stay with the stinging feeling for several more minutes until the next contraction. Throughout my pregnancy, I had fixated a lot on a fear of pushing him out too quickly and tearing. The reality was that I was trying to bring him out so slowly at this point that the midwives had to encourage me to breathe him out, to “let him go”. Edited to add: Brandon recently shared with me that, during later contractions, he started to quietly moan-exhale with me. He said he had done it inadvertantly once, and he felt my back relax substantially. I don't remember being aware of it, but he said he was amazed at the power it had.

I was speechless, shocked when I lifted my son out of the water – I can still see how gradually he uncurled in my arms. And his cry! He wailed! He got his little foot working like a rotor and just gave us hell! And I knew it was the same little foot that had kicked so reassuringly under my right rib throughout my pregnancy, with every worry that I hadn’t felt it in a while. Brandon was leaning over the tub, helping me to lift him out. I could hear his tears and his marvel. Both of us seemed so surprised that there was a baby at the end of this journey.

The placenta was a long time coming – I had a difficult time pushing out something so soft, and my body was reluctant to relax enough to let it slide out. Frankly, I was disinterested in that prize while holding Fenton. When the placenta did emerge, it was marvelously perfect, and we were so grateful to it. The midwives made a gorgeous print of it, and a doula-in-training whom we’d been so blessed to meet picked it up in order to dry and capsulize it for us.

There are so many details that I can’t capture, impressions and sensations that I can’t fit into a linear narrative. I don’t know how to capture the power of a child, a father, and a mother being given birth to in that room. I felt like a superheroine, and that someone had just told me that half of the rest of the world is made up of superheroines too. I felt so blessed that, for how much respect I had grown over the course of my pregnancy for what power I had over creating my birth, none of my fears had materialized, and my strength was as great as other womens’.
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#2 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 04:33 PM
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Shanna you are so amazing. Thank you for sharing.
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#3 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 04:34 PM
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#4 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 04:35 PM
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Shanna, it has been an honor and a pleasure to follow you thorough your journey. I am so proud and so happy for you. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us.

Mama to J (Apr 01 '08) and N (Feb 13 '10)
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#5 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 04:39 PM
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Wow, that was awesome! Congrats to you all! I especially appreciated how descriptive you were about the PROCESS. That's something I need to meditate on more...birth & labor can take a while, they do for me! In the past I freaked that I "wasn't working" and have a section scar to prove it. Worthy of remembering! Thank you!
Happy babymooning!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#6 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 04:45 PM
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Oh congratulations! What a lovely story and a beautiful birth!

Jen, L&D RN, CBE, CLEC who loves to knit.gif! I adore my modifiedartist.gifDP, treehugger.gifDD 10/98, & sweet new babygirl.gif5/10!!!
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#7 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 04:57 PM
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That was beautiful.

Cristeen ~ Always remembering our stillheart.gif  warrior ~ Our rainbow1284.gif  is 3, how'd that happen?!?! 

We welcomed another rainbow1284.gifstillheart.gif  warrior in May 2012!! 

2012 Decluttering challenge - 575/2012

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#8 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 05:07 PM
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Oh, Shanna, I'm so happy, so thrilled, for you and Brandon. Shanna, you are such an amazing person, an amazing woman, an amazing mother. Thank you for letting me and all of the other NMY be a part of your journey, your growth, your labor. I have learned so much from you, not only about the passage to motherhood, but about the passage to self....to love....to courage....to hope. And I can only hope to be so generous in my lifetime. It never occurred to me until this moment that 'Congratulations' is not a large enough word to express the width and depth of my happiness for someone else, but it will have to do: Congratulations Shanna & Brandon!!! And -- Congratulations Fenton Edward!!!

Welcome to all of you into a beautiful, brand new world!

Thank you for sharing your birth story. It was just so beautiful and moving. Enjoy your babymoon! :
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#9 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 06:04 PM
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oh Shanna!

Mommy to DS1 July '09 and DS2 Oct '12 and someone new in May '15

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#10 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 06:13 PM
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Shanna, thank you for sharing such a beautiful story! : Now I can't wait to see pictures of little Fenton!

Expecting #2 in May 2013!


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#11 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 06:42 PM
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beautiful...don't worry, your one-handed typing speed will increase.
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#12 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 06:47 PM
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What a beautiful birth. I dream of a birth like yours. Congrats mama

Memz, with mylove.gif and mommy  of babygirl.gif born 01/17/10 and 3 cat.gif familybed1.gifsaynovax.giffly-by-nursing1.gif

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#13 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 07:33 PM
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Shanna! I'm birthing at that center as well! Isn't Sheli (and all of them, actually) great?!?

What an awesome birth! This is the second GBC story I've read in two days, and I'm getting more and more excited about July. What room did you birth in?

Much love, and happy babymoon!


Mama to a beautiful little girl, born July 18, 2007
Eager for a VBAC some time around April 10, 2010!
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#14 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 07:44 PM
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: Perfect first birth!
Oh how I wish we had a birth center near us cause I really wanted that for my first birth!
What a beautiful experience thank you for letting us join you on this precious journey!
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#15 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 09:02 PM
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I'm so glad you've joined the ranks of us mamas who've had a beautiful, empowering first birth experience! Your story is well-told and touching. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on your little boy! Have to go hug my own now! :-)
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#16 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 09:38 PM
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Shanna4000, Congratulations on the birth of your dreams. I had DH read your birth story and he was moved. I consider it an integral part of his education.

Your DH's post on the NMY thread was also very sweet!! My DH was like, "Can't I just say, 'The baby was born'?"
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#17 of 26 Old 03-28-2007, 09:46 PM
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Oh Shanna, what a beautiful day, what a beautiful birth!! :
I'm so happy for you and for Brandon!!
And welcome earthside baby Fenton - may you find this world warm and wonderful.

Much Mama

I'm Heather, newly married (12/5/10) to James! partners.gif
We are currently "mama" and "papa" to Maisy cat.gif and soon... parents to BABY NEW YEAR 2012!! babyf.gifWe're happily planning a h20homebirth.gif and intend to femalesling.GIFbfinfant.gifdiaper.gif

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#18 of 26 Old 03-29-2007, 02:10 AM
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Oh Shanna! : you are so amazing, I'm so happy for your beautiful little family.

upsidedown.gif Charlie~ partners.gif Married to my best friendheartbeat.gif 5/11 slingboy.gif Mama to my Teddy Bear Rainbow.gif 7/12  pos.gif Due with #2 stork-suprise.gif 6/14
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#19 of 26 Old 03-29-2007, 07:10 AM
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Shanna that was so beautiful.
Have a wonderful baby moon!
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#20 of 26 Old 03-29-2007, 12:02 PM
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Very lovely story. I really appreciated your hurricane/water visualization, sounds very relaxing.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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#21 of 26 Old 03-29-2007, 01:56 PM
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Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

i feel so blessed that i may share in it, and know you and your incredible strength!

Congratulations to you and Brandon!!!!!

and WELCOME Fenton!!!!!!

Busy mama of
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#22 of 26 Old 03-29-2007, 07:00 PM
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I also want to say THANK YOU Shanna for letting us in on your life. You expressed the rollercoaster to motherhood so well and we rode that coaster with you and for that i am grateful to you. May your family ever be blessed.

NMY actively making my dreams happen :
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#23 of 26 Old 03-29-2007, 09:45 PM
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Shanna, this was absolutely beautiful. Thank you. Feel blessed, because you and your family truly are.

Come ponder with me about food!
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#24 of 26 Old 03-30-2007, 03:03 PM
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That was beautiful, Shanna.
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#25 of 26 Old 03-31-2007, 10:55 PM
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shanna -
thank you for that beautiful story; the perfect thing to read before a sleepy, now weepy, pregnant mama toddles off to bed. i may read it tomorrow night before i sleep as well. and the next. and the next.
congratulations on the birth of you glorious family.
welcome tiny new person fenton.
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#26 of 26 Old 04-21-2007, 02:25 AM
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Shanna, I know it's late (I haven't had time to keep up with the NMY tribe in a while so I hadn't seen this until now), but I wanted to congratulate you and welcome baby Fenton! Your birth experience sounds so wonderful. I'm soooo happy for you & Brandon!
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