On November 8, Jeff and I were working at our Restaurant, Genie Den when I started having some contractions. For the record, I had been bouncing on a ball constantly, drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, squatting, eating spicy foods, and pretty much anything else I could think of to get my labor started. My contractions started at about 3pm and I wasn’t quite sure it was the real thing so I kept working. I had already decided I wanted to labor at home (or at work in this case) for a while before doing anything about it. After a couple of hours, and having to stop my customers for talking while having a wave come over me, I decided it was probably best for me to go home. Jeff had been telling me to leave for the past few hours anyway.
At about 6:30 I got in the car to drive home. Malakai (oh yah, we found it it was a boy and named him Malakai) was putting so much pressure on my bladder while I was stuck in traffic I thought I might pee on myself. After about an hour I made it home. Gotta love California’s traffic. Ugh. The contractions were about 10 minutes apart when I got home and I was totally calm. My mom and I decided to go to Trader Joe’s to get some snacks for labor. My contractions decided that was a perfect time to speed up a little bit to about 6 minutes apart. The intensity kicked in when we got home.
Jeff came home at about 9:30 pm and thats when I started having stronger contractions. I would moan thru each contractions and he would put pressure on my back. Being on all fours and swaying my hips was the most comfortable position for me. At about 10pm the contractions hit 4 minutes apart and we decided to call the Midwife. She told me it sounded like Malakai was getting ready to meet the family and to just keep her posted on my progress. I continued to labor at home and my contractions started coming on faster and faster. I called the midwife again at 2:30 am and she wanted to listen to me for a few minutes while my contractions came. Sure enough, they slowed down whenever I talked to her on the phone. So annoying. When we got off the phone…BAM they started up again. Needless to say, I DID NOT sleep at all Friday night. We called the midwife one last time at 7am and she asked me to meet her at the birthing center at 9 so she could check me. This would be the first time I was checked, so I was a little nervous.
Guess what happened after I got in the car?! Yup…My contractions basically stopped. I had maybe one or two on the way there. Vicki checked me and sure enough I was 3cm dilated and 90% effaced. I was advised to go home and try to get some rest while the contractions were stopped because when I woke up, it would probably come on fast. I got home and slept for a solid 4 hours. I called Crystal when I woke up and let her know that tonight was the night. She was at the house within an hour and after a few minutes of chatting with her the contractions picked up again. From 5pm-7pm my contractions were about 7 minutes apart and once I hit 8pm they came on HARD. By 9 pm the party had really started.
Jeff and I stayed very calm as I talked to Malakai and imagined him getting lower and lower with each contraction. My mom on the other hand, well, let’s just say she was nervous. While we were timing my contractions in our bedroom, we caught her standing outside the door trying to time them herself. “That was two minutes, shouldn’t we get you to the birthing center”, she’d say. At one point she even got a little feisty. This was the main reason I wasn’t sure if I wanted her in the room until it was time to push. She is more of a “knock me out, wake me up two days later” when it comes to birth. All the while, I knew in my heart everything was fine and I would call the midwife when it was time. We checked in with her a couple of times and tonight, the contractions weren’t stopping when we were on the phone. She thought it would be best if we came in at 4am and checked things out. Jeff and I gathered our things and jumped in the car. And by jump, I mean I waddled and moaned and breathed thru each contraction. That car ride was exciting to say the least. I’ve never felt bumps on the road until that morning. And I could feel each and every bump!
We arrived at Beach Cities Midwifery at 4am and Vicki took us right it. It was nice because the birthing center was closed so it was just us there. The contractions were coming on really hard and really strong. As Vicki was checking me I had a contraction and OH MY GOD, that was not fun. My bag of water was still intact, I still had no bleeding, but I was 6 cm dilated and fully effaced!! YAY! THIS WAS IT! Vicki quickly got my room ready as I continued to work thru each contraction in the lobby. As I walked in the beautiful, cozy room, it was like I was hit with a ton of bricks. I was in the zone. I sat on the ball at the edge of the bed and with each contraction I would moan. It felt very natural. I focused so hard a sweet Doula named Birgitte appeared! No, seriously, I have no idea where she came from but she I was so glad. She was so encouraging and supportive. She got the bath ready for me and I jumped right in. The warm water felt so good on my back during the contractions.
At about 7am we decided to have my mom, Crystal, and Carolee come to the birthing center. I originally wanted it to just be Jeff and I since I am extremely modest, but it’s true, that totally flies out the window when you are in labor. My dad showed at about 10am and stayed right outside the door so he could hear everything but not see anything. The contractions came on harder and stronger and soon I felt like there was hardly any break between the contractions. When one would stop, another would start. My bag of waters still had not broken but I started feel like I needed to push a little. I pushed for about 20 minutes in the tub but I didn’t feel like I could move around enough. Note to self: Inflatable tub next time
At about noon I got out of the tub and walked to the bed where Jeff could lay behind me and hold my legs. I pushed and pushed with each contraction still with no breaking of the water. I had one strong bag of water. Vicki thought about breaking it a couple of times but decided to just let it happen on its own. Never once did I feel like I couldn’t do it. I did however think it was going to take FOREVER. I was pushing so that my bag of water would finally break. I felt so encouraged as everyone in the room told me they could see his head. They cheered be on with each push and gave me the strength I needed. Finally, that bag burst and Vicki told me NOT to push. Now, I figured we would start the long process of pushing Malakai out but much to my surprise, Vicki told me to give one small push and she put my hand down and I felt the top of his head. With one more push, and the ring of fire (which seriously isn’t bad) I looked down and his whole head was out. At 1: 20pm with one last push I pulled him up on to my chest saying “He’s mine! He’s mine!”
We waited for the cord to stop pulsating and Jeff cut the cord. Jeff took off his shirt and got some skin-to-skin with the baby while I had one stitch put in. Everyone left the room and we were able to bond with our little man for a few hours and make some phone calls. After we rested the midwife and her assistant came in and took his measurements.
Malakai Archer Whitlatch was born at 1:20pm on Sunday, November 10, 2013. He weighed 7lbs 4.9oz, 20 inches long, and head circumference of 33cm. We were able to go home just 4 hours after delivery.
We couldn’t have asked for a better birthing experience. Everything about it was just perfect from the amazing midwife, doula, and assistant, to the incredible cheerleaders I had in the room with me. I felt completely safe, totally empowered, continuously encouraged, and constantly taken care of. Not to mention I birthed a beautifully alert, sweet baby boy NATURALLY!