Kieran James, 2000

This is the first of four birth stories written by a mother who has birthed all of her children with HDMC. Her other birth stories are also available here: Second, Third, and Fourth

I could have told you when I got pregnant with Kieran. Just one week later I started getting nausea-the worse of my morning sickness. I also noticed an increase in my appetite, and had some cravings for spicy chicken wings, veggies(broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower) with ranch dressing, and olives. On February 19 I was one day late and I decided to test. It was positive, even though the timing was off I was extremely happy and by March EVERYONE knew about my little “crumb” (nickname I used through the pregnancy for my unborn baby).

My pregnancy was very uneventful, I gained 40lbs total, and carried small like I did with Jeric. I got a comment that I looked like I was maybe 6-7 months pregnant just a few days before the birth. At 36weeks 4days I began to get anxious, as this is when Jeric had been born. I had no signs of labor coming up, so I figured I wouldn’t be having an early baby again. I was wrong! 36w 6days I had a feeling something might be happening in the early afternoon, but was almost sure it was just braxton hicks contractions. Jason needed some work clothes, and I remembered mom saying a change of activity would stop a false labor. So we headed to the mall to shop some. The contractions didn’t stop, however they were painless and I only knew I was having them because I kept checking to see if my stomach was hard. After shopping we headed to my parents house and I went to church. It was during Mass the contractions began to hurt, although still not a lot. This was around 6-6:45. I also left to go to the restroom 2-3 times(mom says 3-4). We went back to moms, I still felt I was unable to time the contractions at this point, as I was having a hard time figuring out when one was starting/stopping so we went and walked around Target(needed some last minute things). The contractions were strengthening the whole time we were there, and by the time we were leaving I didn’t feel like standing through them. I was ready to get home & get in the bathtub by this time. Jason went back to moms with my birth supply box, and picked up Jeric (we should have let him stay there though, he didn’t understand why he couldn’t go jump in the tub with mommy). The contractions did not stop when I got in the water, so we began to time them. This was difficult with Jeric running around taking Jason’s attention away at times. However we came to the conclusion they were regular, 2-3 minutes apart and 30-45 seconds in length. Around 9:30 we called Molly, who got her things together and headed over to moms. I grabbed a few last minute things and we also headed to moms.

Once there I got settled in, and ate some pizza. Molly and 2 apprentice midwives, April and Celeste, arrived around 11 and got there stuff set up. Molly checked me probably around 11:30 and I was 3.5 cm dilated. We talked for awhile, then I decided to try to rest because I was tired. The contractions slowed and I was afraid the labor would stop so I got up and moved around some. I ate yogurt and drank some Red Raspberry Leaf tea, then tried to lay down again. I kept needing to go upstairs to the restroom, which I believe got my labor started again(the walking up and down the stairs).

At around 2:30-3 I got in the bathtub(after dad fixed the hot water, but I won’t get into that). I first asked Molly to check me again, hoping I had made some progress. I had been disappointed to learn I was only 4cm dilated, but looking back I suppose that was good considering my contractions had slowed during those few hours. I spent the next couple of hours in the tub, and even read Mothering magazine for awhile, before it became to hard to concentrate on the articles. Jason tried to sleep some and Molly came and checked on me every 30 minutes or so. The babys heart rate stayed strong each time she checked it, and the contractions just kept on coming. I had more yogurt while in the tub, as well as some water. I didn’t drink near as much in labor with Kieran as I had with Jeric. My coping method during these contractions was a mixture of prayer, and (especially during the peek of each contraction) I repeated “God is my strength and my baby is coming” (which I actually started by saying “YOUR” and eventually switched to MY when I realized I believed what I was saying, I didn’t have to tell myself). Whenever Molly or Jason were in the bathroom with me I had a hard time praying, I wanted to talk to them instead, which is why I asked to be left alone.

I’m not sure what time I got out of the tub, I’m thinking 430-445. Molly checked me when I went back downstairs and I was around 6-7 cm (I can’t remember this either) and in transition. This is when I got my first bloody show(same as first labor) I was trying to do the deep breathing we had learned in childbirth class, not understanding why It was hurting, it had worked fine earlier! Molly reminded me that it didn’t work in transition, oops, of course then I couldn’t figure out how to breath the other way. I was concentrating on it too much and trying to hard, so it hurt. I used the birth ball for awhile, and had a heating pad on both of my legs where they were hurting during the contractions (same as in labor with Jeric) and had Jason rub my back. Around 5 I asked for mom, who had just been woken up by Jeric. Both of them came downstairs and he tried to steal the birth ball from me. I told him the baby was coming, and showed him the pictures in his book “Hello Baby” of the baby in the womb. During those last two hours of my labor when I needed to tell everyone something, I did so in a sing-song voice. Even things I didn’t need to tell them like “My babys coming” which they already knew. I can’t remember all of what I said, but it kept me relaxed during the strong, constant, patternless(? I didn’t notice one) contractions. I do remember saying I would have my baby by 7(which I did). When I got tired of the birth ball, I sat back on the mattress. Mom Molly & Jason took turns massaging my legs and I also kept the heating pads on there. I had another heating pad behind my back, which was also hurting a little.

Luckily Kieran had turned on his own and was no longer posterior as he had been at 34 weeks so I was spared the back labor. I was making progress, as well as feeling I wanted to push, but I wasn’t yet at 10 cm. My water bag was still intact and the babys head was right down there. Molly broke the bag of waters and it helped speed things up. I kept asking her to check me and to make it happen faster, which of course she couldn’t do. I was so ready to see my baby and stop hurting. Molly suggested I get on the Birth Chair to help move the baby down, so I did. I pushed a few times on there, and when I got back on the bed his head was right there, I could feel the burn. Molly asked me not to push, and when I did to push gently to try and avoid tearing again. I don’t THINK I was pushing, but I have doubts I may have been without realizing it, his head came right out. and then his shoulders and I know I pushed real hard just once or twice and there he was. Jason later commented on how quiet I was during this stage-much different than with Jeric. And everyone commented on how relaxed I had stayed through all of it. I think this is because I still had all the childbirth class stuff fresh in my head, I never did get to go to the last class.

Mom and Molly put him up on my chest where he stayed for the next few hours until my Father-in-law came with breakfast. Mom cut his cord sometime after he was born. Kieran didn’t need any suctioning, he began to breath fine on his own, he was immediately pink. I didn’t ask what his Apgar score was, but it couldn’t have been low. He latched on very soon after birth and we had no problems with breastfeeding. When Molly did his newborn exam, he was a few hours old and she only got to because I was hungry. Sometime during those few hours Jeric was brought into the room, he smiled, said “ook” and then left to go play again(all the excitement and people were in the other room). Kieran had his PKU at our two day check up, then we went to the DR the next day for a newborn exam. He weighed 6lbs 8 oz(on Thursday). On Saturday morning-5 days old-his cord fell off. He is a little jaundiced, but nowhere near as bad as Jeric was. Jeric has acted a little jealous at times, even though his daddy has spoiled him this week(want to hear about all his new stuff?) He tried to climb in the swing when we took the baby out, he put his sling on and walked around with it, and he tries to take the pacifier from the baby. Oh and Kieran has been nursing great from the beginning. Also he doesn’t like to be put down, he will wake up, luckily I have my sling.

Everything was perfect for all of my labor & birth. and I got the little boy I wanted, next time we’ll have to have a girl who we can spoil and will be protected by her big brothers. But I wouldn’t mind another boy.