Max’s Birth Story - Stratejoy
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Max’s Birth Story

Max'sbirth-storyLet me preface this entire post by saying — there is no right or wrong way to be pregnant, to give birth, to parent your child.  There is only YOUR way — the careful choices you’ve made with your partner or by yourself for the good of your situation, your family, and your baby.

I say this about everything in life but it’s especially applicable in mamahood, where every decision feels fraught with naysayers and judgement.

The following is a story about my personal decisions, not a condemnation of anyone’s birth choices. There is definitely a “mommy war” out there and unfortunately, mamas themselves and mamas-to-be are the losers when we choose to be quiet about our choices in fear of judgement, offending someone, or stepping on toes.  Though I feel very strongly about the choices I made and don’t want to pretend otherwise, please remember I made them for ME.  And for my Bean.

I’m sharing this story 5 months after Max was born because I still get a lot of questions about our experience.  I’m telling this story because I devoured birth stories when I was pregnant, especially from women I knew, especially from women who I knew who would be completely honest.

I wanted to know what I was getting into!

I’m telling this story because when I chose have an unmedicated or natural birth there was a fair amount of doubt, fears and misconceptions out there about “why and how and what if’s” from my friends and my family.  I got everything from “Why in the hell would you want to feel the pain?” to eye-rolls from other mothers who were convinced I’d change my mind the moment I felt the first contraction to honest fear for the safety of my baby.

I’m in no way a birthing expert, but I had an AMAZING natural birth and I want to share it with you.

It feels a little private and sensitive, but then I think of the craving I had for real birth stories with all the details when I was preggo, so here you go World.

WARNING:  STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT OR SEE THE MESSY DETAILS OF BIRTH.  SERIOUSLY.

The Birth Story of Maximilian James

WEDNESDAY, MAY 16th, 8 PM

I’m at a chill folk/country concert with my gal pal Rebecca at the Aquarium in La Jolla. We didn’t realize it would be standing room only, so my 38 week pregnant self is holding a bannister for balance and enjoying the view and the tunes.  There’s a sweet guy next to me who’s got a daughter as equally pregnant as I am.  He’s very concerned that I’m going to go into labor at any minute, but besides my feet hurting a little, I feel fine.

I take several trips to the bathroom (I don’t think I could go longer than an hour without peeing at this point!) and at one point I notice that I’m spotting.  I’ve been intrigued by the “bloody show*” my entire pregnancy (What exactly is this plug of mucus? When does it come out? Did my dancing dislodge it?) so I am slightly disappointed that after scanning the toilet, I see nothing like the google images I’ve perused.

I don’t tell anyone about the spotting because I know it’s normal and it could be days or even weeks before anything actually starts happening.  It feels like the Bean and I have an exciting little secret!

*Those with weak stomachs may not want to google this.

THURSDAY, MAY 17th, 3 PM

One of the things I’ve always wanted was a “Demi Moore” pregnant shot — it’s even on my life list!  And I wanted to be super pregnant in my pregnant glamor photos, so I held out until 38 weeks for the shoot.  I now understand that this was cutting it super close (bahaha!) but I love that the Bean was getting ready to come out as we took these photos.  Chrystal was a doll and didn’t bat an eye at my naked self as we “boudoir-ed” our way through the afternoon.

FRIDAY MAY 18th, 2012

(My amazing doula Linda surprised me with my birth story through her eyes, so everything in bold italics from here on out is her account.  I think it gives a great outsiders perspective and helps me remember the timing.  She said, “Molly did such a great job with her labor!  She Hypnobirthed very well!  She stayed calm and quiet and just did the work, allowing herself to receive all the love that was given to her by husband and all the guidance given to her by her doula.  It was a beautiful birth and I’m so thrilled that Molly decided to birth this way and that I got to be a part of it.”)

3:00 a.m.            Molly’s water released.

 I woke up around 3:30 am feeling a little odd and slightly damp. I got up, walked to the bathroom, peed, and then stood up and looked at my pregnant belly in the mirror.  At that exact moment, I felt a tiny stream of liquid rush flow each leg.  It wasn’t close to a dramatic rush of “my water breaking” like in the movies; instead it was more like a trickle.  But it was definitely something.  I stood there thinking, “Is that it?” and wondering why I wasn’t feeling anything else.  Luckily, I knew from asking my mom about my own birth that her waters released (while she was fishing with my dad!) before she started having any contractions, so I wasn’t too worried.

I got back in bed and desperately wanted to wake Ken up to tell him what I thought was happening, but I also knew that we had a really long day ahead of us and wanted one of us to get some rest.  Instead of waking him up, I stared intently at his snoozing form until he stirred and then announced in a very loud voice, “I’m so glad you’re awake!  I think my water just broke!  It’s the Bean’s birthing day!” which was followed by a stream of crazy, slightly nervous but insanely excited giggles.

Once he actually woke up, he made sure I was okay, realized nothing else noteworthy was happening and told me to go back to sleep.  I was too butterfly-stomached to fall back asleep, but I laid in bed rubbing my belly, whispering to the Bean about how I couldn’t wait to meet him.

We got up around 6 am and since I still wasn’t having any contractions (which we called waves or surges) we decided to go for our morning walk and eat some french toast at our favorite breakfast place.

Before we left, I put my birthing necklace on so that I would have all the good vibes of my friends with me for the day ahead. At my mama blessing (a portion of my baby shower) in Seattle, I had asked each woman to bring a bead for my necklace and to share a wish with me for a safe, empowered delivery.  I also had the beads from Ken’s own baby bracelet strung on my necklace!  I wore it the entire time and held onto it when i needed an extra boost.

7:00 a.m.            Molly called to let me know that her water released.  Surges were not steady or frequent.

On our way to breakfast I called Linda to tell her what happened.  She said that if I had to wipe up liquid off the floor that yes, that was my water breaking!  I was still a little unsure at this point…  We both knew that I needed to be going into labor within 24 hours of my water breaking in order to still give birth at the birth center, so I called them to let them know that the journey was starting.  The midwife on duty asked me a few questions and told me to come in at 1 pm if nothing much was happening yet so they could to do some checks to make sure the baby was fine.

At this point, nothing much was happening besides the occasional small surge (much like those I had been feeling for a few weeks where your stomach gets all crazy tight but nothing hurts aka Braxton Hicks aka fake contractions) so after Ken installed the car seat (to the tune of me shouting — You cannot leave without installing the carseat! How will we get the bean home? AHHHHH!), he left for a morning of work.  I called my family to tell them what was happening and tried to wrap up some work as well.  Everyone laughs when I say I was working while bouncing away on my birthing ball, in almost labor, but I needed something to take my mind off things.

Also, I was 2 weeks early and not quite prepared to wrap up my Stratejoy work quite yet.

1:00 p.m.            Molly & Ken went to Best Start Birth Center just to be sure all was well.  It was.  They told her that she needed to be in labor by 3 a.m. (24 hours after water released), otherwise she would risk out of the Birth Center and need to switch to a hospital birth. 

We went into the birth center and they hooked me up to the machine that tracks the babies heart beat and my contractions.  The Bean got the hiccups, which was funny to see on the graph.  They also told me in the 30 minutes that I had been monitored, I’d had 3 small contractions!  I was unaware.  But, things were happening!

The midwife wanted to do a cervical check, but part of my Hypnobirthing training and personal requests was not to know anything about how dilated I was at any point in my birth.  I didn’t want to be worried about how fast or slow I was progressing because there’s really not anything I could do about it!  And I knew my ultra-competitive side would use these details to go all crazy about birthing “correctly” which obviously doesn’t exist…

One of my birthing affirmations was, “I trust that my body and my baby know what to do,” and I clung to that thought when things felt beyond my control, like how dilated I may or may not be.

The midwife really wanted to take a peek however, so I told her she could check, as long as she didn’t tell Ken or I anything.  She kept her word and gave me just enough of a hint when she said, “We will see you tonight, Molly!” as I was leaving.

That was enough to assure me that things were moving along and I didn’t have to stress about risking out of the natural birth that I wanted.

(NOTE ABOUT THE BIRTHING CENTER:  I had seen a fabulous doctor (my friend Angie’s hubby) up until Week 34 of my pregnancy.  Dr. Capetanakis is a firm believer in natural births and would have been amazing to deliver with, except that the hospital he delivers at doesn’t have bathtubs and I really, really wanted the water.  When I started researching water births in San Diego, I found out that many hospitals will let you labor in the tubs, but that only the Best Start Birth Center would let you actually deliver in the tub.  The more movies I watched in my birthing class of the babies being peacefully born under water, the more I wanted a water birth!  I switched over to the midwives at the birth center during week 35 of my pregnancy.

It was crazy late to switch care, but I had already hired Linda as my Doula and Dr. Cap was totally in support of me having the birth I wanted even though he couldn’t do it, so I felt comfortable delivering with midwives I might now know as well.  And luckily, I was a very low risk pregnancy because that was a requirement.

The birth center would only take very low risk pregnancies (no breach, very healthy mamas, giving birth between weeks 37 and 42) because they don’t have the ability to operate or give you any drugs.  There is a hospital a few minutes ambulance ride away for emergencies, but other than that — you are making the choice to have an unmedicated birth by delivering at the Center.

I know a lot of people who were going to “wait and see” about induction and epidurals, but I was taking those options off the table.  I personally think it made it easier knowing that drugs weren’t going to be available! I had made the commitment to a natural birth and unless I risked out and got transferred to the hospital, I was going to have one!)

2:30 pm

We went to Whole Foods to eat lunch, pick up some groceries, and inquire about witch hazel for making some frozen ice packs for my soon-to-be-sore ladyparts.  The woman in the supplement section nervously giggled when she asked when I was due and I told her I was in labor at this very moment…

4:30 p.m.            Molly’s surges were getting intense.  Perfect timing!

We were home talking to Ken’s mom on video chat when I finally felt the very first “OMG that was a real one!” contraction.  It felt nothing like the others I had been having!  And yes, it hurt.  But it wasn’t unbearable. I concentrated on my Hypnobirthing balloon breathing, keep my body and face limp, and  just relaxed into my surges best I could.

Honestly, what else can you do?

I started timing my surges at this point and they started off at about 45 seconds long and 12 minutes apart.  I spent time listening to my birth visualizations and pacing around the apartment.  The only thing that felt good while I was actually having a surge was to lean forward, so I spent a lot of time hanging on to the back of the couch or sitting on my birthing ball, leaning forward onto the bed, face buried in a stack of pillows.

At this point, I texted all my friends and family to tell them I was in labor and to light the candle for me.  At my mama blessing, my sister and I had passed out tall candles with sweet little labels that said “Welcome to the World Baby Bean Mahar.”  My women friends were supposed to light them when I went into labor and keep them burning until the baby was born as their way of supporting me from afar.  I loved knowing that there were candles lit for us from Santa Fe to Seattle, Montana to California.

5:30 p.m.  We bake banana bread to take my mind off things.

Ken was zonked at this point, so he goes to take a nap and I attempt to watch Grey’s Anatomy.  Unfortunately, it’s the season finale and Lexie’s all dying in the airplane crash and Arizona’s going crazy and I just can’t take it…  Too much death and heartache and not the atmosphere I’m craving!  I continue to pace, bounce on my ball, and talk to my mom on the phone.

The surges are getting more intense and closer together (I think 7-8 minutes at this point?).  I start drinking Odwalla Green Juice because I’m feeling a bit tired and super thirsty.

7:00 p.m.            Molly woke Ken up from his nap.  She didn’t want to labor alone any longer.

I can tell things are picking up, so I wake Ken up and he starts pushing on my lower back/hips when things get really painful.  I think I try laying down, but that doesn’t help at all — I only want to lean forward.  There was never a point where I wished I had drugs, but this was definitely the point when everything became real.

7:15 p.m.            Ken called me and said they were ready for me to come over.  They told me to get some dinner and take my time.

I was ready for Linda because I was running out of my own ideas on how to best labor and it was starting to get a little lonely with just Ken and I as the sun went down.  We don’t have any family in San Diego, so I wanted Linda’s warm maternal presence since my mom wasn’t there.  I also wanted some help!

I think the surges were about 1 minute long, 4 or 5 minutes apart, but honestly I had stopped tracking them.

7:50 p.m.            Molly vomited.

Oh yes I did.  On my hands and knees into a big blue bowl on the floor of our bathroom.  It mainly smelled like green juice, which was a pleasant smell as far as puke goes.  I also remember that this was about the point in labor at which I stopped being able to really talk or interact.  I could smile and groan, but that was about it.  I went very much into my own body and head, and just dealt with every moment as it occurred.

8:30 p.m.            I arrived at their home.  Molly’s surges were 3-4 minutes apart and about 2 minutes long.  When I arrived, she was standing and leaning onto the bed.  I did a hip squeeze and she liked it.  She was in a good, active labor, so I suggested the shower.  She liked that idea.  I asked for Ken to get the birth ball and we put that in the shower with her.  She could stand and lean on it, sit on it, or get on hands & knees and lean on it.  She did all three positions over the course of the next hour.  Molly stayed relaxed beautifully and continued to enjoy feelings of love for her baby and Ken, smiling frequently.  Ken was great about kissing her and emotionally supporting her.

This hour of being the the hot shower was heavenly.  Ken and Linda were sweating up a storm in our steamy bathroom as they took times holding the shower head on my lower back, but I seriously didn’t want to leave.  Ken was sitting on the back of the toilet petting my head (which I love) as I switched from standing to kneeling and back.

Any thought of trying to look “cute” for my delivery (How is this even a thought? So embarrassingly vain to admit, but I’m trying to be honest with ya’ll!) went out the window as the water pounded on my hair and my mascara ran down my face.  I didn’t care about anything except making it through the surges!

9:20 p.m.            While she was still in the shower, I could tell she was reaching the next level of labor.  I suggested she let it out with a moan.  She began moaning with her surges after that.  I could tell that it was getting time to head to the Birth Center.

Oh the moaning…   It’s true!  I started making crazy guttural animal sounds!  I thought I was going to be a quiet laborer  — very zen and into my affirmations — but in truth, the thing that felt the best was to groan and moan.  We were taught that low pitched noises helped relax you, so sometimes I would literally be growling the word,”llllllloooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwww, llloooowwwwwwwww” to remind myself to keep the octave down.

This is much funnier when I’m telling the story in person…

9:30 p.m.            I told her the next position I wanted to get her into was laying down on the bed.  She agreed, saying she was getting tired.  But I told her I thought we should do that at the birth center.  She agreed.   So slowly I began to get her out of the shower while Ken packed up the car.  Molly was a great Hypnobirther, taking every suggestion I gave her.  She was very slow to get out of the shower and had a few surges on the floor of the bathroom on hands & knees.

It felt like it took an hour to get out of the shower because I kept having surges!  I could tell something was happening outside of the safety of my cozy water world, because Ken disappeared for a bit as he gathered our supplies and packed the car. It took quite a bit of effort to mime that I wanted my blue sundress and flip flops, but finally I was dressed and ready to go.

We live in a second floor apartment with *super* steep stairs.  As I was getting dressed, I realized that I was going to have to run down those stairs so that I didn’t have a contraction in the middle of climbing down.  I couldn’t communicate this to Linda, so I figured I’d just bolt out the door on my own and she’d figure it out.  Ken headed down to the car and I moaned through another contraction and then took off running.  Linda said she just scampered after me when I starting booking it!

I made it to the lawn before I had to hold onto her shoulders through another surge.

9:45 p.m.            We left the house.  I helped Molly into the car and had her put her iphone earplugs in and listen to her music and told her to keep her eyes closed so she could stay focused on her deep relaxation.

This was the most uncomfortable part of my labor.  I was used to leaning forward and all of the sudden I was forced into this awkward sitting position with my hands braced on the seat and my feet jammed forward.  I listened to my meditation music (which includes some beautiful songs from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack) with a washcloth over my eyes as we drove the short 15 minutes through the Friday night Hillcrest festivities.

9:50 p.m.            I called the birth center to let them know we were on our way.  Ashley, the midwife, answered but said she wasn’t there; nobody was – they don’t keep it staffed at night.  She was just finishing up dinner in North Park and said she could be there in 20 – 25 minutes.  I told her that Molly was close to birthing.  I told her I’d walk her around the block, but if she began to bear down, that I would call Ashley back. 

We had planned on laboring at home for as long as we could, so the fact that that we were “cutting it close” was fine with me– but I’m still a bit confused why no one was there!  They knew I was in labor as I had spoken with a midwife at about 6 pm to report my progress.

That said, I knew nothing about what was actually going on in the moment.  Ken and Linda handled those details!

9:55 p.m.            We pulled up to the birth center.  Molly stayed seated in the car with eyes closed, very hypnotic, but her earphones were out.  When Ken got out I explained the situation.  I saw that Molly was tolerating the seated car position and Ken confirmed that for me.  So I told Ken to just leave her in the car like she was (completely relaxed) and be sure she put her earphones back in (which she did).  I needed Molly to stay in her own little world so I could buy some time before the birth center opened.

Torture.  I held out as long as I could, but remember finally removing the washcloth from my eyes, looking over at Ken and saying, “WHAT IS THE HOLDUP??”

10:10 p.m.            Delilah, the nurse, arrived and let us in.  We went right upstairs and I helped Molly get into a side lying position on the bed.

10:15 p.m.            Ashley, the midwife, came in and immediately started filling the tub.  By this time, Molly had had a few surges.

I don’t remember even meeting Ashley — I was fully doing my thing. Talk about giving birth with very little intervention — I’m pretty sure they took my blood pressure with the cuff, listened to the baby with the wand thing, and that’s about it.  No cervical checks for me!

10:20 p.m.            By about the third surge since we got Molly on the bed, Molly began to bear down.  She was very relaxed, moaning, eyes closed, and bearing down.  I kept one earplug near her ear so she could hear her music and stay focused.

Throughout my pregnancy, people kept telling me that you would just know when to push (at least you would if you didn’t have an epidural).  Somehow I wasn’t sure about this —  how would I know for sure when it was time?  Now I get it.  If you’re going natural, you get to feel the whole thing – every quiver, every clench.  At some point my body just started bearing down on itself.

There was no conscious choice, it was simply time.

10:40 p.m.            Molly was in the tub and bearing down.  I told her that at any time she could reach down between her legs and feel for her baby’s head if she wanted to.

Once I got in the tub, I remember letting out this big sigh of relief — it just felt so good!   I was on my hands and knees, leaning forward on the back of the tub.  My music was playing, there were candles, and Ken was taking care of me, whispering about how much he loved me and how excited he was to meet the Bean.

I do remember Linda asking me if I wanted to feel for the head, but I honestly didn’t.  I don’t know why, but someone it seemed scary to know that we were that close. 

10:50 p.m.            Ken was rubbing her head while she was in the tub.  I was taking a few photos.  The nurses and midwife were taking vitals and charting.  Everything was lovely.  The room was dark and warm.

I was as relaxed as I could be in the situation and no one was saying much of anything.  I definitely felt like I was the one in “control” — I kept thinking to myself, “Well, if I’m doing something wrong, someone will tell me!”

11:00 p.m.            Ken got into the tub.  She laid on him and continued to bear down with her surges.

Ken asked me if he should come in and that sounded great to me because I wanted him to hold me.  He jumped in with his swim trunks on and leaned backwards, while I laid on my side, spooning one of his legs and resting my head on this chest.

And then I started vomiting with every contraction…  Poor guy! Luckily it was just water and the sweet smelling green juice, but I was literally heaving every other minute.  The nurses tried to hold a cup under my mouth, but sometimes it just didn’t work. I tried apologizing to Ken, but like the amazing husband he is — he just kept kissing my forehead and telling me that I was doing an incredible job bringing our son into the world.

I could feel the crowning happening, but it was seriously hard to figure out where and how.  It can’t even describe it!  I logically knew what was happening, but it was such a foreign feeling. I was baffled in the moment, knowing that the Bean was right there between my legs and almost out.

All I was thinking was, “Oh dear god, I hope we are almost done!”

(NOTE ABOUT GIVING BIRTH IN WATER.  Everyone wonders if it’s messy.  Of course it is!  Giving birth involves all sorts of liquids and goop!  Did I care?  No.  Did Ken?  Whether he did or not, he kept it to himself.  What about “crapping on the table”?  I asked that exact question on my tour of the birth center. They told me they keep a net (like a fish tank net) and just scoop it right out of the tub.)

11:19 p.m.            The baby was born!  The baby was just starting to crown and on the next surge I was going to help Molly blow if she felt some burning.  She was bearing down and I asked her if it was burning.  She shook her head yes, and I told her to blow.  Next thing we know, the midwife is saying, “Okay, baby is here.”  Ashley gently held the baby under the water while Molly repositioned herself to best receive her baby.  When she was settled, Molly was encouraged to reach down and pick her baby up and hold him, which she did.  I stayed very quiet, and the rest of the staff did as well.  Molly, Ken, and their new baby were having a beautiful bonding experience.

YAY!  So fast!  I can remember Ashley telling me that Linda was going to show me how to blow air out of my mouth instead of pushing for awhile (I think she was trying to slow me down so I wouldn’t tear).   I looked up at Linda, she asked if it was burning, and I vigorously nodded my head.  She pursed her lips and blew out, motioning for me to do the same.  I did through one push and this is what ran through my head —

“Hell no!  I’m not blowing anymore! That doesn’t help anything!  I want to PPPPPPUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSHHHHHHH!”

And honestly, on the next surge, I bore down and gave my crazy low groan and the Bean popped right out!  Ashley didn’t even have her gloves on!  There was no tiny head out  — push — then one shoulder — push — then the other should — push. He literally came all the way out with one push.

As you can see in the picture, his eyes were wide open and he was staring up at Ashley.  She told me that normally she would have pulled him directly out of the water, but they locked eyes and she knew he was perfectly fine.  So instead, she let me swing my leg over the umbilical cord to turn onto my back. Then I got to reach down and pull him to my chest.

This was the most amazing moment in my entire life thus far.  I was crying and cooing and laughing and Ken was doing the same.

The Bean was totally calm as we held him and whispered, “Welcome to the world Maximilian James.”

11:26 p.m.            Molly wanted to push and the midwife told her to go ahead.  The placenta was out, and Ashley retrieved it. 

I was still uncomfortable and contracting and confused about why… I forgot about the placenta!  Ashley told me I could push if I wanted because nothing bad would happen, so I did and wahoo!  It popped out!

Apparently, I am a champion pusher.  They had to use the scooper to grab it from the tub.  (Sorry, gross, but true)

11:30 a.m.            We moved Molly to the bed and got her settled and cleaned up.

There were obviously a lot of other things happening during this time, but I was so locked in on my son that I don’t remember any of it.  Did we cut the cord in the bath after it stopped pulsing?  Did we cut it on the bed?  Did they clean Ken up too?

There are pictures of Ken holding Max covered in his vernix (The white pasty stuff that babies are covered in when they are born… It’s so good for them to let it soak in!) but I don’t remember being without my baby.

11:55 p.m.            I fed Molly some fruit and nuts while Ashley did the repair and Molly held her son.  Molly had a 2nd degree tear.  (Baby’s Apgar Scores were 9 & 9.)

I was just lying on the queen bed, holding Max and being fed, ignoring what was going on down there.  They gave me a numbing shot and sewed up a few things, but I didn’t care. I’m sure it hurt but I was too busy  to really notice because kissing Max’s little head and shaking my head with wonder and laughing with Ken.

We found out that he was 6 lb 11 oz and 20 inches long.  Perfect!

12:10 a.m.            After the repair was finished, I helped Molly to get the baby latched and nursing on both sides.  He was a great nurser!  Molly got some Motrin.

I was so relieved that he was a good nurser and totally in love with his little bird mouth as it rooted around for my nipple.  So sweet and tiny.   I was getting tired at this point, but was also just enthralled with Max.  Ken and I took turns holding him on our bare chests for lots of bonding time.

12:45 a.m.            Molly wanted to Facetime her sister.  I knew it was time for me to leave.

I have no memory of Facetime with my sister or calling our families.  Did we?  I know for sure we videotaped Max on my phone because I have the evidence, but I was zonked and swigging EmergenC and high on life. The little details are totally fuzzy.

12:50 a.m.            I took my leave and left this most beautiful, peaceful, simple birth.

Linda left, Ashley and the nurses cleared out, and Ken, Max and I all went to sleep in the big family bed.

SATURDAY, MAY 19th, 2012

This is what I woke up to in the morning!  At the birth center, you only stay for 8 hours past your birth.  Because my delivery was at night, all three of us got to sleep together for those 8 hours, while the nurses woke me up every once and awhile to make sure I was peeing and that everything was okay.

(BTW people, no one told me how uncomfortable it is to go to the bathroom for months afterward! You’ve got to clean yourself with a little spray bottle and everything is just sore.  Sore, sore, sore.  And messy. And the clots!  Almost as impressive as the mucus plug…)

In the morning, I breastfed Max again, Ken and I chowed on some banana bread, I drank some more EmergenC, and then we signed all the papers and packed up our ridiculous amount of food and clothing.  We’d been prepared for one of those 48 hours births (just in case!) and instead we were at the birth center less then 12 hours…

And by 9 am, all of us were home in our own bed making lots of videos that looked just like this.

Final Stats
Labor time (from water breaking) : 20 hours
Active labor time (From the first “real” contraction) : 7 Hours
Pushing : 1 Hour

Though that may have been the longest post I’ve ever written, I hope it helps you mamas-to-be get an idea of the nitty gritty of one natural birth story.  I’m sure I left things out, so if you have questions – leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Dedicated to Maximilian James.  To my darling baby boy — you changed my life the day you were born.  My heart expanded in ways I never even imagined.  I felt the purest form of gratitude and love fill my life.  I promise to be by your side through all of life’s adventures and when it’s time — to let you fly on your own.  Your daddy and I love you very much, precious one.  You’ll always be our little Bean.  Love, Mama

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