I've had several people ask me lately if I would be sharing Remy's birth story. Since we're celebrating his 6 month birthday, I thought today would be perfect. If you are just joining us, you can find more information about our birth plan here. Every birth may or may not go as planned but ultimately a healthy mama and baby are key. It's pretty crazy thinking back at how our plan slowly but surely came to fruition. In the end, I was thankful to experience a beautiful, unmedicated water-birth free from any intervention. This day will forever remain in my memory as one of the most spiritually fulfilling experiences this side of heaven. I had my husband and my little sister by my side throughout the entire day, and my best friend there to document. The peaceful presence that surrounded the day was something unexplained. And, yes, while the labor was hard and exhausting the reward was far greater than anything I had endured in those 22 hours. Without further thoughts, here's the story of my first birth...I woke up just before midnight of Remy's due date to my waters breaking - at first I didn't know if that was what was actually happening because it was a slow process. Greg called the midwives, and we spoke with Cathy who recommended I try to rest and monitor the leakage. My emotions were full on so its was hard to rest. I made some hot tea and simply lay in bed next to Greg. I was in awe that it was all really happening. I prayed, "Lord, let my labor begin soon so that Remy is safe from any infection due to my waters breaking before labor begins. Send your Holy Spirit to be my guide, my peace over this journey of birthing a new life into this world. Peace, perfect peace, I pray." After approximately 22 hours of labor our precious first born son entered the world via water birth at 9:34pm. Greg, Adrienne and Britney were with me throughout the day - laboring this little one into the world with me - I don't know if I could have done it without their help and encouragement. The contractions first started around 2am and were slow but steady. I tried to sleep but was still too excited. Fear never overcame me but I was anxious to see how the entire experience - the one I had been preparing for mentally the past 10 months - was going to play itself out. I called Cathy around 5am, and she let us know it was time to make our way over to the hospital. I didn't have the option to labor at home because my water broke so early on. We (Greg, my mother-in-law, and myself) gathered our things and headed over to drop off Greta (our sweet pup). At this point contractions were still spaced out about every 6-8 minutes. We arrived at the hospital around 5:45am, and I was pleased to find out that there was a chance I'd get the tub room! This was something I had envisioned for Remy's birth but knew it may not be available because there was only one room with a tub. Thankfully, it became available around 7am and they transferred me. I didn't mind laboring at the hospital v. home. I was feeling energetic and full of life, which made sense;) My nurses and the hopsital staff were all so supportive. We all made jokes every time they saw me pass in the hallway. By 8am contractions were every 4-5 minutes, and I was 2cm dilated. My pain was about a 2 on a scale to 10. Dad, Peggy, Kathy and my mom were in and out throughout the morning. I'd walk the stairs to progress the labor, and it definitely helped. My dad and sister walked stairs with me, Brit and Greg did another time - it was wonderful having their company. As time went on, labor did too, but slower than my midwife was hoping. She mentioned we may have to start a Pitocin drip if we didn't see progress by the noon check. I was adamant about not having any interventions. I knew my body was doing what it needed to do. By the afternoon I was progressed to 3cm. I didn't let this bother me. It was really important to only allow positive, peaceful thoughts - everything was taking its course as needed. By 3:30 or so, I along with everyone else in the room could tell my body was progressing and in full on active labor. My mental state became more focused, and my dad's pain level jokes weren't so funny anymore;) At this point I depended on the constant encouragement/help from Greg and Acy for every single contraction. The music playlist I had helped, too. I can remember the one time throughout everything when I felt worn down and mentally exhausted. It was around 5pm or so. I was really ready to get in the tub and contractions hurt badly. Cathy checked me shortly thereafter, and I was between 5-6cm dilated...enough to get in! The rest of my labor was spent in that tub. The water therapy helped alleviate some of the weight and curbed my exhaustion though I wouldn't say it took away any pain. The urge to push finally came about an hour or so in. It took some mental adjusting for me to trust my body and allow it to take control. Once that happened the entire room was very focused both during and between contractions. I can remember saying I couldn't push anymore but somehow you just keep on. We got into a rhythm where I would raise up on the bars, Greg would hold me up under my arms, and Acy and a nurse would push counter pressure on my legs - I couldn't have physically done this without their help. We continued this until little man was born. When his head started crowning, I could see him (there was a mirror), and I had one thing in mind: COME OUT! Cathy told me to feel his head at one point, and I remember not wanting to because I didn't want to get ahead of myself. Pushing felt like forever. It didn't hurt like the contractions prior because it gave me something 'to do' if you will; however, doing anything 20 hours into labor was exhausting! In the very end, it almost got easier. His head came with one of those exhausting pushes, and we all watched in awe of that little head in the water so unaware of what was about to happen. The time between that and the next contraction moved very slowly for me. I could literally feel his body turning as we watched his head turn and prepare for the rest of his body to be born. And then it happened...one last push and he was out. Greg helped Cathy raise him up to my chest straight away, and I can remember him just laying so sweetly and quietly. He never cried. He slowly opened his eyes to look up at Greg who was still standing over my shoulder supporting me. We waited until the cord stopped pulsating, Greg cut the cord, and we all sat there exhausted, overwhelmed and in completely awe of how Remy was now here with us. It is a memory that brings tears to my eyes when I just think about it. I honestly believe the journey of labor and birth gives us a small glimpse of how our overall journey through life is played out. We aren't promised the road may be easy. The love and selflessness of others surely helps lighten our load. And, in the end, the reward is far greater than we have ever could have dreamed it to be. I had people love me and help me carry on in my most vulnerable state. Every time I think about it, I can't help but think of grace and of beauty amidst the suffering. I'm reminded of a peace that surpasses my understanding and a joy I cannot describe. I am thankful.
"...but the purpose for which we have been created shows us the path along which we should go, perhaps strewn with many thorns, but not a sad path. even in the midst of intense suffering it is one of joy." *pier giorgio frassati