Harrison’s Birth Story

For those who are interested, here is the full version of Harrison’s birth. There are also a few pictures here that Nathan took.

Stage 1

I’d been having gastrointestinal discomfort combined with practice surges Sunday night and all day Monday. The practice surges were often quite uncomfortable and felt a lot like real surges, but they weren’t at all regular, so I didn’t think I was in labor. I went to bed around 9:45 Monday evening and woke up around 1 a.m. Tuesday with some more uncomfortable surges. I couldn’t sleep through them anymore, so I sat in the rocking chair and timed them for a while. The first few were 7 minutes apart, but all of a sudden they started coming around 3 or 4 minutes apart. I decided to try walking around the house and drinking a glass of water to see if that would slow them, but instead, it sped them up. I had some as close as 2 minutes apart.

I went back upstairs and woke Nathan to let him know I might be in labor. This was a lot like what happened with Everett’s labor, except last time Nathan went back to sleep. This time he woke up with me and helped me through early labor. I timed a few more surges in bed, and as I lay there, I had a break of like 10 or 15 minutes with no surge. I wondered if they had stopped, but shortly after I had a strong surge that pulled me right out of that bed (I hate being in bed when I’m in labor). Nathan read me the waterfall script while I sat on the birth ball. After that I was ready for the tub, so he drew me a bath. While I was trying to stay relaxed in the tub, he called his mom to come stay with the kids and also called my midwives.

About an hour later, around 5 a.m., we left for the birth center. Luckily it is really close and I only had to endure two surges in the car. The car ride is always tough for me. There were two students (Marie was one, I can’t remember the name of the other one) and a midwife (Suzanne) there getting things ready. I laid on the bed so they could check my cervix and listen to baby. I was only 3 cm opened and 50% thinned, which was somewhat disappointing, but baby sounded great. They said it was probably too early to get in the tub for birth, so I worked through a few more surges on the birth ball. (I’ll add here that the midwives are so unintrusive and would only come around if needed, to check on baby occasionally, or if they sensed something happening. It was really nice not to have nurses hanging over me the whole time wanting to “do” something.) Randomly, I stood up and vomited. This piqued the interest of the midwives, who wanted to check me again since vomiting is a sign of transition. I was 5 cm opened at that point, “the magic number” according to Suzanne for getting into the birth tub. I was more than happy to jump into that warm water.

Relaxing in between surges


I worked through surges in the tub for a while, trying to stay relaxed. The surges seemed much more intense with this labor and I was feeling them in my back and also feeling a lot of pressure at the bottom of my abdomen. I had to move to my hands and knees several times. Nathan and Marie tried various counter pressure techniques as well as massage, but nothing really seemed to help. At this point, it was sheer mind-over-body. I had to mentally force myself to relax my body through the surges.

Focusing through a surge. I kind of like the weird exposure going on here!

I got out of the tub to pee twice. The second time, I threw up again so the midwives wanted to check me. I was 7 cm opened. While I was out of the tub, I surged a few more times on the birth ball and really started to lose focus. The surges felt so much stronger than I ever remembered them feeling with my two previous births. The midwives said it was probably because my bag of waters was still intact, causing a lot of pressure with each surge. I asked them to go ahead and break my water because I was getting impatient. They agreed and warned me it would make things really intense. I didn’t care at that point! They broke them and the fluid was clear (yay!). I headed back for the tub.

I kept waiting for the surges to get closer together, but instead they just got stronger. It was really strange…I would be so relaxed to the point of almost falling asleep in between surges, and then I would have this giant surge that just jolted me up out and I had to move. (I think the reason for the intensity of surges was that I was opening very quickly…at one point I had opened 1.5 cm in 15 minutes!) I was lying back, sitting forward, on my hands and knees, my side…whatever my body told me to do, I just did it. I started to really hit a wall and just wanted it to be over, but surge after surge I felt no “pushiness.” I asked to be checked again and they found that I was nearly complete but that there was a small lip of cervix remaining that was keeping him from moving down. I asked them to push it out of the way (so impatient, right??) which Marie tried to do on the next surge. It was so painful that I had to have her stop. They wanted to go for it on the next surge, but I didn’t think I could handle it again so I had a few more surges to just work with my body. I was starting to push through some of the surges, so they really wanted to move that cervix. Suzanne tried again and it moved right out of the way the second time.

Stage 2

Wow, once that cervix was fully opened, he shot right down the birth path! I was on my knees in the tub at this point. He was to my perineum in one surge. I reached down to see where he was, thinking I probably had three or four surges left, and I felt his head coming out! It’s amazing how fast things go when you don’t lie on your back to push! The midwives coached me on putting pressure where I needed it and blowing rather than pushing to keep from tearing. I just allowed my body to stretch and his head was out on the next surge. Marie reached down to make sure the cord wasn’t wrapped around his neck, and everything looked great. I remember just holding his head in my hand and realizing that it was almost over…amazing feeling! On the next surge, his shoulders worked their way out and he slipped out into the water. I reached down and pulled him up to my chest. I held him and cried. I felt overwhelming relief that it was over, joy that I had been able to receive him on my own, and of course, immense love for this little baby. There is no other feeling even close to what I felt at that moment. I will remember that feeling forever.

Stage 3 & Post-partum

I sat in the tub with Harrison until my placenta was born (about 10 minutes or so), at which point I handed him to Nathan so they could get me cleaned up and into bed. Once I was lying comfortably in bed, they checked me for tears and found only a small “skid mark” which did not need to be repaired. I had Nathan place Harrison on my bare chest and I allowed him to crawl his way over to the breast. I got a little impatient and helped him out a bit, but once he was near the nipple he latched on right away and nursed for 45 minutes. It was amazing! He was so calm and alert, a benefit of not having been drugged during birth. We enjoyed this time of un-interrupted, skin-to-skin bonding. The midwives never once tried to take him away. I didn’t even know how big he was at this point, but I didn’t mind. It was nice to just get to know each other for a while. Eventually he pooped on me so they took him away to clean things up. He looked great and weight 8 lbs. 15 oz. and was 21.5” long.

Happy mommy and baby! A few hours after birth.

I was really worried about post-partum cramping because of Everett’s experience, so the midwives were ready with six Ibuprofen right after birth. I had two more about an hour later. I had also purchased an anti-cramp tincture to help with cramp pain. I had a much better experience this time around, and the cramping was more like what I had experienced after Kaisa’s birth. I am also trying placental ingestion this time…more on that later! It seems to be helping a TON with the recovery. We are doing great and happy to have him finally here!




  1. Ruth McKeachnie says:

    Beautiful story. I’m happy for all of you, and can’t wait to meet the little guy. I hope I get to before we move!

  2. virginia says:

    How wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to share.You make me want another one!!!Only if I could do so in the same manner!!!


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