Birth Stories

Basil Isabella's Birth: The Longest Birth Story You'll Ever Read

My entire pregnancy, I asked everyone I knew who had ever given birth how I was going to know I was in labor. I knew all the ?tale tell signs?? contractions, water breaking, etc. But how would I know that the contractions were actually contractions, and not Braxton Hicks, or just belly pain? The most common answer I got was ?Trust me, you?ll just know.? Well, that wasn?t enough, so I kept asking..

The morning of July 21st was like every other morning, sunny and warm. We headed out for our midwife appointment, the first since my due date. While there, we discovered that my cervix had softened a bit more, but that I wasn?t any further dilated than before. Niki, the midwife assistant offered to stretch my cervix and do a little massage to maybe get things going. After, feeling crampy, but not any different than  after my last internal, we left the office joking that we would be calling them to deliver Basil later. We didn?t really think the joke would turn out to be reality.

Heading over to swim at a friends house, I had a few contractions, but nothing to write home about. I?d been having a few contractions every day for a week or more, and had thought I might be in labor twice already, so I didn?t think anything of it. It felt so nice to float around in the cool water, finally having some of the weight lifted from my rather big belly. The contractions kept coming, but at a very slow pace.. Maybe three or four every hour. I had this little feeling in the back of my mind that Dan shouldn?t go to work that day, but I didn?t want to get ahead of myself, since he had missed work already for the same reason, and there I was, still pregnant. I told him I thought he should think about staying home, but he thought I just wanted him to stay and play with me, since I tell him almost every day that he should call in sick to stay and play.

We continued to swim, and after a while, I noticed that the contractions were getting a little stronger. They still didn?t feel how I would have expected them to if it was actual labor, but that feeling in the back of my mind just wouldn?t go away. Dan decided to call in and let them know that he was probably going to stay home, but that he would call them back in an hour to let them know. In the next hour, the contractions became much closer together, so he called them back. We decided to head home, so that if  things suddenly picked up, we would be in a place I could feel comfortable. I was worried that my anxiety might cause the contractions to stop, as they had before.

In the next few hours, we took Takoda for a walk, and cleaned the house to prepare for little Basil?s arrival. Since we were having a homebirth, I wanted everything to be neat and tidy for her grand entrance. Little did I know that I was about to make a complete wreck of the perfectly clean house. We began timing the contractions a little after six thirty. They were about five to seven minutes apart, and growing in intensity, so we called the midwife to let her know that it might be the night. In my mind, I knew for sure it was the night, just like everyone had told me I would? but I still was afraid of jinxing it, so we told her we would call her when I could no longer talk or walk through them. We called Tyger to let her know she needed to come pick up Takoda, and called our parents to let them know that tonight was probably the night.

I don?t think I?ve seen Tyger so giddy as when she came to get Takoda. She just smiled at me through a contraction that I definitely couldn?t talk through, and hugged me with excitement practically oozing out her ears. It was the first time Takoda was going to spend the night anywhere without us, so I packed him a bag with a few chew toys, his blanket(or what isn?t really a blanket anymore from him chewing on it), food and an entire bag of treats. I was worried he would feel like we were abandoning him, so I tried to only let him see me excited that she was there to get him. As silly as I feel about it now, I was really sad to see him go.. Some people might say ?He?s just a dog?, but he had been my baby for three years?and it was his first sleepover. I felt like a Mama letting her six year old spend the night at a friends house for the first time. I cried on Dan?s shoulder a little as she put him in her van. Silly?I know. But I wasn?t exactly rational at that point?

Carolee and Niki arrived when my contractions were about 3 minutes apart. They checked my progress, and we decided that I needed to walk to get things going a little stronger. The contractions were very strong at this point, and Dan had to hold me as I breathed through them. We headed out after a warm shower, and as usual, Tao, our oldest cat followed. He has always gone on walks with us, so it didn?t surprise me that tonight was any different. The surprise came when our younger cat Pistachio decided to come along too. He came running behind us, following Tao. I think he knew something was going on, and wanted to keep an eye on me. As I stopped to breathe through another contraction, he also stopped, midway across the street. I saw a car coming down the road, and  yelled for him to get out of the street. At that moment I saw in my mind the car, tires screeching, failing to stop and hitting my poor little Pistachio. The driver wasn?t paying attention, and almost hit him, but his passenger saw Pistachio and yelled for him to stop just a few feet away from him.

After this, I decided that it was best for me not to be outside. Too much could happen, and I needed to be focusing on my labor, not saving my silly little kitten from the big bad world. We headed back home, and let Carolee and Niki know what had happened. I think the shock of it all sped things up, because my contractions came much stronger fairly fast.

The next few hours are a blur of contractions, and Dan?s words of love and encouragement spoken softly in my ear. He and I were doing this together, and in those moments, nothing else mattered. We were in our own little world. After what seemed days(but was really only a few hours) of hard contractions, I asked for the first time to go to the hospital. I was mid contraction, and the thought entered my head that I couldn?t do it. I began to doubt myself, and was scared that I wasn?t going to be able to bring Basil into this world. The pain was more intense than anything I had ever felt, and at that moment, I convinced myself that I needed to make the pain go away. As the contraction released, Dan lovingly reminded me why we were doing this at home, and why we wanted Basil to come into the world naturally, and on her own. After a few moments of thought, my faith in my body returned and I again believed that I could do it, and headed into the next contraction with a newfound strength. I repeated the same cycle of doubting and regaining strength a few more times throughout my labor, but Dan and Carolee were amazing through all of it. Carolee told me that if I really wanted to go to the hospital, then she would take me, but that she knew that?s not really what I wanted. She told me that she knew in her heart I could do it, and that I just needed to trust my body and my baby.

After a few more contractions, they checked my progress and found that I was still only at about five centimeters. My water never broke, so Basil?s head wasn?t pushing directly on my cervix like what was needed to further dilate. Carolee broke my water for me, and with a warm gush of liquid came the strongest and most painful contraction I had had so far. They became more and more intense very quickly, and within an hour I was dilated to eight centimeters and was feeling the urge to push.

The birth tub was ready and waiting for me, so after the next contraction, we headed into the birth room and into the tub. The warm water brought such a relief to my aching body. I was so tired at that point, I just wanted to sink into the tub and sleep. But Basil had other plans. I couldn?t push yet, as I wasn?t fully dilated, so I spent the next set of contractions making low sounds, and imagining my cervix opening and blossoming to allow for my beautiful daughter to enter the world. By the time I was told it was okay to push, my body had already been pushing with every contraction, even though I was trying not to.

When I actually started pushing, it felt wonderful. Pulling back on my own legs while pushing harder than I thought I was capable of seemed to relieve a lot of the pressure the contractions were putting on my lower belly and back. After pushing through a few contractions, I started to feel her slowly moving down the birth canal. I could finally tell that she was actually on her way, and this gave me more faith in what I was doing than ever before. Between contractions the most amazing thing happened. For what was only thirty seconds or so, but what seemed like thirty minutes, my imagination took me far away from the tub, and the pain. I saw myself running through a grassy field filled with big white daisies. Tiny white and lavender butterflies flew with me as I frolicked, the air smelled amazing like fresh lavender and grass. Now that I think about it, I really don?t know where this beautiful image came from, but it came over and over between contractions. Nothing else existed beyond the field and the butterflies. It seemed so real, yet when a contraction came on, it quickly faded away, only to return promptly as the contraction too faded. It allowed me a much needed rest, and again and again renewed my energy for pushing.

The midwife checked me for the last time, and said with excitement that she could see Basil?s head beginning to crown. She told me that only a few more contractions, and I would have my daughter in my arms. With this knowledge came the strength of every woman who has ever given birth, and in one push, screaming ?She?s coming now!?, I brought Basil into our world. She came out so fast that Carolee barely caught her at the end of her cord, on the other side of the birth tub. I didn?t see her come out, as my entire world was black, but I knew the moment she came. Relief flooded my body, and I allowed myself to sink down into the water. My work was finally over.

Carolee brought my beautiful little Basil to my chest, and I looked at her for the first time. That was the most amazing feeling of my entire life. Here was this beautiful little person I had come to know so well over the past nine months, finally in my arms. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and a wave of euphoria and amazement washed over me. I had done it. Beyond all the self doubt and fear, Dan and I came bursting through the other side as mother and father to this wonderful little creature. Nothing has or could ever compare to that moment.

Basil Isabella Brown joined this world at 6:59am, Wednesday July 22nd, 2009 after 17 hour of labor, with the sun shining and the birds singing. Such a beautiful morning for a new beginning. She weighed Six Pounds, Nine Ounces and was exactly Nineteen Inches long.

As for how to know that you?re actually in labor? Trust me, you?ll know.

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