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The Waterbirth of Lux Adelyn

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This is a beautiful, inspiring birth story from a friend of mine from Canada. Enjoy! 

I had been off work since Thursday, April 16th just before my 37th week due to risk of reoccurrence of HELLP. Once we passed the week when the condition developed with Corbin, I felt like I could breathe a small sigh of relief, but we were still always a bit nervous that it could hit again.

I spent my last few weeks before the birth preparing absolutely everything. Because Corbin came early, I was obsessed with having every last detail ready for when our little girl arrived.A few days before she was born, I developed a nasty cold in my 39th week. I felt sure she’d come late because I couldn’t possibly have a baby when I was so sick. Throughout the day of May 7th, I started feeling my cold symptoms subside, but cramping every so often in no regular pattern. I remember feeling distinctly sentimental for the end of our life as a family of three. I took a bunch of phone snapshots of Bret and Corbin just doing the things we always do as a family – playing cars, watching hockey, playing Corbin’s newest favorite game “I Spy” out the window. By dinnertime that evening I felt like the cramping was a bit more noticeable and picking up in intensity, but still felt like the most mild period cramps. 

That night the contractions were significant enough that they kept me from getting a good night’s sleep, even though they were between 8 and 12 minutes apart and not lasting more than 30 seconds. It felt to me exactly how it feels when I’ve had a tummy bug in the past, so I didn’t think much of it and the next day we went about our morning as we usually did–Bret took Corbin to daycare and went off to work. 

At 8:15 I texted our Doula Mitzi and our Midwives to let them know I had been having contractions and some bloody show throughout the night but they still weren’t very significant. I took a long bath, and was surprised that instead of making the contractions calm down, it actually made them increase in intensity and frequency. 

By 10:45 the contractions were about 6 minutes apart and lasting around 40 seconds. Mitzi asked if they were “demanding your attention” which I thought was a great way to look at it, so I told her they definitely were. 

At 11:40 Mitzi arrived after I called to ask her to come set up the pool just in case. I’m glad I did because even though I wasn’t fully believing this was the real thing, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to use the pool for comfort. Mitzi and I chatted as she unobtrusively timed contractions and encouraged me to move during them. By noon the pool was all set up in the basement and everything was prepared in case today was actually the day. Bret had come home from work around 11 so he could see Mitzi too. We told her we planned to have him go pick up Corbin from daycare around 4:30, but she encouraged us to make alternate plans for him.

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Contractions were 4 to 4.5 minutes apart and lasting about 30 to 35 seconds. I felt sure I had called Mitzi to come too early, so I told her I’d be fine with her going to do some errands in the area while I rested. She left at 1:00. 

By 2:40 I was already calling Mitzi back again because the contractions had really picked up – 3 minutes apart lasting 50 to 55 seconds. This was real active labor and I was still not believing it was happening! I expected to have hours to go and she wouldn’t be born for a long time. My hope was to have a baby by midnight, but I didn’t think too much about timelines because I didn’t want any anxiety about another long labor to kick in. 

With Mitzi’s encouragement, at 3:20 I texted Megan to update her on the progress – I genuinely didn’t think it was necessary yet. I let her know I was a bit nauseous as well as feeling some rectal pressure. I know this was the baby moving her way down, but in the moment I didn’t process that things were really starting to happen! A few minutes after our initial text to Megan, Mitzi told Bret quietly but insistently during a contraction so I wouldn’t hear that he needed to “CALL MEGAN NOW!” (Mitzi is the good type of Doula who has no interest in catching a baby herself). She was worried the Midwives would get stuck in rush hour traffic. Bret called Megan who later told us she was on the phone with an OB and had to hang up on him to jump into the car.

The contractions were feeling quite intense, but luckily I had total relief in between. I was managing well, but at 3:40 decided to try out Mitzi’s TENS machine to see if it would help during contractions. If anything it gave me something to focus on and the slight pulses felt good and distracting. 

I paced back and forth throughout our main floor and chatted with Bret and Mitzi between contractions. During contractions Mitzi suggested I try putting one foot up on the base of a stool to help open my pelvis. It was incredibly uncomfortable to do, but I was willing to try anything that would help make this go by quicker and move baby down into my pelvis.

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At 3:50 we moved downstairs to start filling the pool. I was so eager to get in and feel the relief of the water. The bathtub had been my happy place for months before this. I spent up to two hours in the tub every evening! I had even asked Megan if she thought I would get less relief from the birth tub because I took such frequent and long baths – she assured me that if anything it would work better thanks to that.

By 3:55 Megan arrived along with Rae her student Midwife and Teilya, the second Midwife. I was surprised to see them all come at once because the second Midwife typically doesn’t come until closer to the birth so I apologized that they might have to be here a long time (ha!)

By 4:18 I was in the pool and it felt absolutely amazing. As I was getting into the pool Mitzi mentioned that if contractions didn’t progress or slowed down after about an hour, I would want to consider getting out and trying some other positions. I fully expected this would be what would happen, but was so grateful in the moment for the relief from the very warm water. 

I got on all fours with my head against the edge of the pool. Bret sat in front of me and held my hands through contractions. Between contractions I would lean back to allow the Midwives to use the Doppler. The rectal pressure was feeling increasingly strong and during contractions I felt quite panicky about the incredible intensity of the pain, but luckily continued to have total relief for the few minutes in between. No one was timing or analyzing what was happening. There was no mention of doing a cervical check or discussion of pushing. At one point during a contraction Bret said “push honey!” and I roared at him to never say that again! 

Pots and kettles of boiling water were brought down from the kitchen as the hot water tank emptied. I remember the feeling of the water being scooped up onto my back and it was what was getting me through. At some point it was noted that I had lost my mucus plug, at almost the very last minute!

 By 4:49 the intensity of the pressure was incredible! I wasn’t actively pushing, but my body was doing it all on its own during contractions – I didn’t even have to think about it. I remember saying things like “this isn’t going to work!” and “I’m going to tear up the front”. In my head, the physics of the birth seemed impossible and it was difficult to remember the birth affirmations I had focused on previously like “vaginas do open, babies do come out” and “the contractions are not stronger than you because they ARE you.”

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The Midwives and Mitzi offered calm reassurance that I was doing great and the baby would be here very soon. I did my best to acknowledge and let go of my fear of having another very long pushing stage. I think I could finally tell that this wasn’t going to go on much longer. I said that I could feel the bag of water bulging and I remember one of the Midwives saying “give it a poke” to which Megan replied “I still consider that SROM”. I made a mental note to myself to laugh at that later.

Throughout the whole time I was in the tub, Rae the student Midwife supported my entire perineum by allowing me to sit back into her hand during contractions. This counter-pressure was such an amazing gift from her as a care provider as it felt so helpful at the time when there was such extreme pressure, but I also believe it prevented any significant damage by allowing for gentle stretching.

 After the membranes ruptured during a contraction with clear fluid at 5:10, I could feel her head. It felt like a soft mossy stone under the water. It was reassuring and a little gross at the same time because I could tell there was a large wrinkle or ridge from it being compressed together in this amazing state between two worlds. After another contraction her head was out and I felt incredible relief.

At 5:17 my body gave a final push and her body slipped out. I scooped her up out of the pool on to my stomach and the first thing I said was “that was bullshit!” After that I leaned back and started talking to my new baby. One of the Midwives said “check what you’ve got!” and for a moment I was sure I’d see a penis, but the ultrasound was right after all and we had our little girl.

Everyone remarked how perfectly round her little head was right away. She cried out a bit loudly, but then calmed quickly. We stared into her deep dark newborn eyes and told her how happy we were that she was here. I attempted to cut the cord myself after it stopped pulsing, but I was at a funny angle and couldn’t hold the scissors right, so Bret cut it after all. When he did, she gave a loud shout, which surprised us all!

We told our birth attendants her name – Lux Adelyn. Our little light!

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With support I moved to the bed and they worked to try to help me deliver the placenta. Megan pulled slightly on the cord while I coughed but she was concerned it would tear away. They finally told me I would have to push again and I reluctantly did because I didn’t want the placenta to be the reason we’d have to go to the hospital. I was so relieved when it finally delivered that I said “I’m going to eat you!” I had the tiniest tiny tear that Megan decided not to stitch – she told me to be conscious to keep my legs together for a week and it would heal nicely.

I was able to snuggle my baby again and she latched quickly. A heater was set up in the room, the lights dimmed, door closed and we enjoyed our new little baby for almost an hour while everything in the house was cleaned up like nothing had even happened! After that, the Midwives returned to complete the tests and confirm that Lux was a perfectly healthy little lady. She was weighed in Megan’s beautiful woven wrap piece and we discovered her weight was the exact same as her brothers – 7lbs 13oz.

At around 7:30 we were able to make our way upstairs to our bedroom. Bret ran to the neighbour’s place to pick up Corbin and Megan filmed him meeting his baby sister. There was not a dry eye in the room when he discovered the baby was here! He was so happy, though there was the tiniest flash of disappointment when he learned we had named her Lux instead of “Daisy”. Megan and Rae brought us juice and peanut butter toast in bed and we snuggled in for our first night as a family of four. 

About the Author
Sara Sites
Author: Sara Sites
Sara lives outside of Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and sons. Passionate about the inherent strength and beauty of womanhood, she seeks to develop within herself and share with others through her interests in fertility, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, parenting and holistic living. Sara stays busy laughing and learning with her boys while supporting and encouraging moms, babies and families as a La Leche League leader, doula and leader of various groups and workshops through her business, Full Circle Doula Care.

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