Erin shares the birth story of her son Henry (Hank). Thanks for sharing, Erin!
On Saturday, September 14th (12 days before my due date), I woke up with really bad hip pain. My muscles just would not work properly. I couldn’t open my legs or pull them back together, turning over in bed or getting out of bed was very painful. Getting my legs moving once I was standing was hard. The muscles just wouldn’t fire. I thought maybe my hips were out of alignment, so I did a bunch of hip strengthening/stretching movements – squats, cat/cow, and hip extensions. That helped stabilize things a bit, but it was a rough day. I went to bed thinking, “What if I have to do two more weeks of this or, worse, four!”
Luckily, I didn’t have to! I woke up Sunday, September 15th without hip pain. I rolled over to get out of bed and a stream of liquid came right out. I scampered to the bathroom leaving a trail of liquid behind me. Ethan was on my tail, and I said, “Um – I think maybe my water broke. I’m pretty sure I didn’t pee myself.” I cleaned up and called our doula and then the midwife. As contractions had not yet started, they both recommended that I take my time getting ready and try to let contractions start naturally. I took a shower, sent off a few final emails for work, picked up around the house a bit, and ate breakfast. About 9, I started to feel a little low back pain and by 9:30 was having light contractions – I could feel them but walk/talk through them. About 10:30, they started requiring my attention, and I started tracking them. They were all over the place at first. 7 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, then settled into a pattern of about 6-7 minutes. I kept tracking and by 12 they were 5 minutes apart. My doula and I decided it was time to start thinking about heading to the hospital. We said we’d leave at 12:45 but then my contractions escalated to 4 minutes apart and were lasting 90 seconds a pop. I told her we were heading out early (12:20) and she thought that was a good idea given how quickly they had progressed. On the drive, they got closer to 3 minutes apart. Ethan was incredible. Counting off my breathing was helping me, so every contraction, he’d count “In, 2, 3, 4. Out, 2, 3, 4.”
We made it to the hospital and parked. I was very concerned about the walk to the birthing center as I knew it was farther than I’d make it without a contraction. Turns out I had four contractions on the walk there. I just stopped for each one, breathed and moaned through it and started walking as things lightened toward the end.
When we got to the birthing center and into our suite (at 1 pm), contractions were two minutes apart with just about a 30 second break between. My midwife and nurses were trying to get a read on the baby and the contractions but were having a hard time hearing his heart beat. I had an hour of progressively stronger contractions. I kept moving every few contractions – I did a few on the toilet, a few on a birth ball, a few hanging over Ethan, a few leaning over the bed. By this point, things were strong and hard. My legs started to weaken. I knelt by the side of the bed and buried my face in the bed, I started thinking, “I don’t think I can do a few hours of this. What am I going to do?” The next contraction, I felt a very strong urge to push and told my doula after that contraction. Someone said, “Ok Erin, we need you to get on the bed because we haven’t checked your cervix yet. We need to see where you are at. Try not to push.” A hand went in and someone said, “Oh, there’s a head. It’s always good when we say that!” Followed by with a little laugh, “Ok, Erin, you are fully dilated. Push away. Let’s meet this baby!”
I looked at my doula very confused and said, “Wait, am I in transition?” Everyone laughed and said, “Oh, you are all done with that!”
I pushed him down in about 20 mins, but he got caught on my perenium and they couldn’t hear his heartbeat well. When they could, it was much slower than they wanted. My midwife started trying to help the perenium stretch, but it wouldn’t budge, so she had to do a small episiotomy. After the birth, she apologized for needing to do it and told me she can count on one hand the number of episiotomies she’s had to do in her career.
After the snip, he popped right out. Ethan was there to help catch him and put him up on me. A warm, slimy, gooey ball of love. Crying right away with open alert eyes.
Henry (Hank) was born at 3:01 pm after four and a half hours of labor. 11 days early on his grandma’s 60th birthday weighing 6 lbs, 8 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long.