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Born into Her Daddy's Hands

by Jeri Carr

I felt pretty normal the night of May 16th, though I felt particularly nervous about the upcoming labor, and the next day I hoped to finish getting the house in order for my baby’s birth. My due date was May 28th, but I sensed that I might have my baby sooner.

I stayed up late as usual helping my two children go to bed, surfing the net, doing some last minute cleaning, and making lunch for my husband. I finally crawled into bed next to my two year old son around 2:30 in the morning. He sleepily snuggled up to me and nursed for about a minute. . . and then we both fell asleep.

About five hours later I awoke feeling a couple spurts of liquid leaking out from between my legs--urine, I supposed, from my bladder that was squished by a low-lying baby. I drowsily hurried to sit on the toilet. A surprising amount of liquid came out. I finished going “potty” and stood at the sink washing my hands and noticed more fluid leaking. Wide awake now, it dawned upon me that my water must have broke.

I noticed that I felt unusually cold. I felt so cold that I was shaking. I turned up the heat. Then, after I called my midwife and left a message, I laid down on the bed with a towel between my legs and tried to rest and relax. I finally talked to my midwife on the phone at about 8:40am. I told her my water had broke, and she explained that my contractions could start in two or three hour. . . or in five or six hours. The inflatable pool we had bought for me to give birth in wasn’t blown up yet, so she suggested that I ask John (my husband) to come home from work so he could get it ready.

She asked if my amniotic fluid was clear. . . it was. And she asked me if I had felt my baby move since getting up that morning. I hadn’t noticed any movement since the night before, so she suggested that I drink some juice to see if that would get my baby moving. After hanging up the phone, I noticed my first small contraction.

I called my mom at work to let her know that my water had broke. She planned on coming to the birth, but she couldn’t leave yet because she was busy with a customer. After I talked with her, a few minutes before 9:00 I called John’s work and left a message for him to come home.

My little boy woke up soon after. I helped him take off his diaper and go potty. He wanted some cereal. My contractions were becoming stronger and more frequent, and I wondered how I would be able to help him get his cereal. Since I felt I needed to lay down, while he waited for me he went in the kitchen and began washing a bowl.

I told myself that everything would be okay. . . that whatever happened it would be okay because God was in control. I laid on the bed, closed my eyes, and tried to relax.

The doorbell rang. As I walked down the hall to answer the door, a contraction came, and I kneeled on my hands and knees until it passed. I opened the door and felt relieved to see that my husband had made it home already. It was now about 9:45 am.

I laid down again. John was going to lay down beside me, but I asked him to help our son get some cereal. Shortly after John went in the kitchen, our little boy came back to the bedroom to see me, and brought a pillow with him. He climbed up on the bed and handed it to me. I rested my head on the pillow and hugged it gratefully and smiled and told him thank you. He left and went to eat his cereal.

John called the midwife at about 10:00 am and told her that he thought it was time for her to come on out. She asked him if I thought it was time. John asked me, but I didn’t answer (he asked during a contraction), so she asked him to time some contractions. I reminded him to time it from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next. My contractions were three minutes apart and about one minute and 15 seconds long. She told John to give her a call when I got a little farther along and that she was going to try and get a couple more appointments in. We were both surprised that she didn’t come at that time.

Some contractions I could handle by closing my eyes and relaxing. For some other contractions I picked a focal point to stare at.

My husband asked me what I would like him to do. I didn’t think there would be time to get the pool ready, so I asked him to fill the bath tub. He went and cleaned it out and began filling it with water. He told me when it was almost ready.

Between contractions I figured I’d better hurry into the bathroom while I had the chance. I quickly emptied my bladder before I got into the tub.

I sank gratefully into the relaxing warm water. I laid on my side, trying to cover as much of my tummy with water as possible. My contractions were coming faster and had become very intense. I found it harder and hard to relax. Even so, somehow I dozed slightly between contractions.

I had been in the bathtub for about ten minutes when, while concentrating during a contraction, I began grunting briefly. Was it a pushing urge? Already? Thinking it might have been my imagination, I didn’t say anything. I happily noticed that my little boy was in the room quietly watching.

John finally had a chance to call our midwife to let her know I was farther along, and while he talked to her I felt a pushing urge again and uncertainly told John I felt a little “pushy.” He told my midwife, and then I heard John say, “Oh, no, don’t tell me that.” After a few brief pauses during which I later learned that she gave him simple instructions for what to do when the baby was born--when the baby comes out, pick the baby up and put the baby on Jeri’s tummy and cover the baby with a couple towels or blankets--I head him say, “Okay.”

I moved around in the water trying to get comfortable, and, finding it difficult to relax, I finally whined, “I can’t do it!” I had said that soon before I delivered both of my other babies, and I thought to myself, oh, no. . . I’m feeling this way already. . . what if it’s really not time to have my baby yet? How will I be able to handle it if my labor lasts longer?

Feeling overwhelmed by the intensity of the contractions, I sat up in the tub and yelled out, “Please help me, God!”

John calmly told me, “Jeri, you’re doing good. The baby will be here soon.” I briefly wondered if he was he just trying to make me feel better. I hoped what he said was true. . .

Soon after, laying in the water a little on my left side, I felt a nice, strong pushing urge. I felt relief when I pushed! I pushed hard when the urge came, and I felt my baby’s head come out. I had my eyes shut because I was trying to concentrate, but I reached down and laid my hand on my baby’s head. I kept it there, and a little over a minute later I had the urge to push again and pushed my baby’s body out at about 11:07am.

As the body slid into the water, I opened my eyes and sat up and leaned back against the bathtub. John laid our baby on my tummy, and I eagerly wrapped my arms around our baby's slippery body, feeling incredibly happy and a bit surprised that I had already had my baby. John laid a couple towels over our baby and then went to wake up our five year old daughter.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off the beautiful baby in my arms. I talked to our baby, wanting this precious new person to feel deeply wanted and loved.

The midwife and the two student midwives showed up about 20 minutes later, and I delivered my placenta soon after they arrived. After that I looked and saw that I had given birth to a girl. I stayed in the tub for a while longer, cuddling and nursing our new little baby.

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