After one of my closest friends had her daughter at a birth center with a midwife, and after researching for myself, I concluded that I wanted to do the same. I wanted a natural, unmedicated birth. I called the Topeka Birth and Women’s Center and scheduled my first appointment. I knew right away that the birth center was where I wanted to bring our sweet little Nugget into the world. We didn’t want to find out the sex of our baby, so the interim name became “Nugget”. I thought not knowing the sex would give me that extra motivation when it came time to push. The months seemed to simultaneously drag on, yet fly by.
Towards the end of my pregnancy Ben jokingly suggested that I should yell “Yahtzee” every time a contraction hit. So when I woke up at midnight a week past my due date with an intense contraction, I nudged Ben and yelled “Yahtzee!” Contractions were ten minutes apart and remained so until about 10 in the morning when my chiropractor came by our apartment and gave me an adjustment and acupuncture. After that contractions were about seven minutes apart. They continued to get closer and longer. At five minutes apart, Ben was ready to hit the road and head to the Birth Center. I, however, was not. I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible. I called my midwife, Jodi, at 3:00 P.M. and she told me to head in. As soon as we left for the Birth Center contractions became one and a half minutes apart. I cursed myself for waiting so long to leave. That 40-minute car ride felt like an eternity. Ben later told me, he thought I was going to have the baby in the car. Little did we know we were a looong way away from meeting our Nugget. We arrived and got settled at around 4:00 P.M. I remember climbing out of the car and thinking “when we leave, we’ll have our baby in our arms.” I was so excited to meet our Nugget face to face!
I labored in the tub for hours and hours. Later that evening, Jodi checked me to see how far I had dilated; I was only five centimeters. I felt so demoralized. I think had been laboring for about 20 hours and was only halfway there. I write “I think” because I totally lost track of time. My memory on my labor was fuzzy just the next day and even more so as I write this. It was as if I crawled inside my own head to work through each contraction. Here’ what I remember: I remember puking a lot. I remember my water breaking. I remember begging for help and being told by my support team that I was so strong and that I was doing a beautiful job. Mostly I remember my husband, Ben.
In the early stages of labor, he made me giggle and praised me through each contraction. As things progressed he continued to hold my hand, as well as, rub my back, give me water, and dab my forehead and neck with a cool rag. When he fell asleep towards the end, my midwife, Jodi, took over. I remember squeezing her hand incredibly hard through some intense contractions. I have a vague memory of her kissing my hand and telling me I was doing great work when I was transitioning. I felt privileged to have such a loving support team. Then came the pushing! I was so exhausted. I hadn’t been able to keep water or food down for at least 12 hours. I had been laboring for 27 hours. I have never been so tired or thirsty in my life, but I liked pushing. I felt like I could finally do something with the contractions. I pushed a few times on the bed and Jodi asked if I wanted to get back in the tub. I said “yes.” I was excited to both meet my baby and be able to drink water without vomiting. As they helped me into the tub I told Ben to have my water bottle ready, so I could drink “as soon as this baby comes out.” I knew my baby was about to enter this world! I knelt in the tub and gave one final push. I saw my baby’s head and Jodi pulled the body the rest of the way out. Winifred Leigh was born! She was born on June 17th at 3:20 A.M. weighing seven pounds and measuring 20 inches. She was (and is) so perfect. We just stared at each other for a few minutes. She was so alert and was perfectly content. In fact, Jodi had to rub her back multiple times to get her crying. After about five minutes, I passed her to her daddy, so I could deliver the placenta and rest for a couple minutes.
After resting, I got out of the tub, dried off, and went over to my husband and baby. She took right to breastfeeding. While she ate, Ben and I drank her in. We felt like we had known her forever, even though we were meeting her for the first time. She was ours and we were hers.