At this point, the house was properly cleaned and organized. Jason had his “Tip Sheet” that included advice like, “Don’t eat ferry chowder while I am in labor.” I was huge and we were ready.
On Wednesday, I started to have some light, easy contractions in the afternoon. I picked up Truman from preschool and took him to the fire station to distract ourselves. The firemen generously showed him all the trucks and turned on the lights for him. Then we went to the fabric store and the candy store: Our last outing before baby.
We picked up Jason in town and I told him I was having very easy contractions. No cause for alarm! This could take days! This could be false labor! We headed home to finish packing and eat dinner. I made Greek soup and I while I was serving it up I had to sit on my yoga ball to get through each contraction. I emailed our midwife to give her a heads up and we decided to head to Seattle regardless. Truman was ecstatic to learn about an unplanned sleepover at Grandma and Pop Pop’s house. Jason cleaned up the dinner dishes while I packed a few last things.
We drove to the ferry and while we paid the toll I was still and calm. If the crew sees that you are in active labor they can turn you away. The contractions started to pick up and I snapped at Jason to take Truman out of the car. I put on my Ipod and listened to a meditation CD.
We were on the 7:10 boat and Jason and Truman went upstairs while I worked through each contraction. I looked out at the Seattle skyline, just like I did when we made this trip during Truman’s labor. Jason told me later that he took Truman outside and suggested saying a prayer for baby brother. Unprompted Truman sang:
All will be well. All will be well.
And all manner of things will be well. Be well.
Jason was juggling Truman, managing the phone calls to my parents and the midwife, and was flying down I-5 with a very cranky woman. I owe him so much credit – he was calm, cool, and drove like an expert.
I turned up the I-pod full blast and started singing through each contraction. In between contractions, I would queue up a good song with a good beat and during the contraction I was literally YELLING the lyrics. I am terribly out of tune on a good day, so Truman and Jason suffered through. For some of the contractions I could stay ahead of the pain by concentrating on the beat. But sometimes I would lose it. I remember looking down at my feet as we rounded Lake Washington. My toes were shaking – there was no relief. I kept asking myself, “Why the hell am I doing this? How much longer can I do this?” I leaned into Jason’s shoulder, desperate for comfort. I almost asked him to pull over and let me labor on the side of the road for a few minutes, but we were so close.
Poor Truman was doing fine, but I did hear him ask, “Why is mommy singing like that?”
When we got to my parents house I jumped out of the car and into the grass. I had a contraction while on all fours and it felt so amazing to be free from the sitting position. Truman gave me a kiss goodbye and my mom came out to tell me she loved me. She later told me that she called my sister and said, “Either she is not handling the pain or she is about to have that baby.” Tru was happy to be with Grandma and Pop Pop and didn’t seem to notice what was going on.
I tried to talk Jason into staying at my parent’s house for a bit longer. He was anxious to get to the birth center. I said, “This is called early labor. Let’s stay here and work for awhile”
Nope. Get in the car.
The birth center was only a few minutes away. When we arrived the hot water was running into the soaking tub. Katrina, our midwife, was smiling and upbeat as always. I grabbed her arm. “I know this is early labor. I know you are going to send me home. It seems like I am in a lot of pain but it is only because the car is so awful.”
She nodded her head and said, “I don’t think we are going anywhere.” I had a contraction on the bed and Jason squeezed my hips together. Then Katrina checked me. It took forever and I was thinking – Oh God, she can’t find my cervix. I braced myself for discouraging news. “You are an 8!”
I couldn’t believe it. I was smiling and encouraged. I got into the tub and it was HOT. I didn’t want to let on that it was so hot because it was such relief on my back muscles. Katrina monitored Desmond and he was responding just fine to the water.
Jason raced around grabbing the camera, juice, and water. Again, there were times when I stayed ahead of the pain, and other times when I would lose it. There was a moment when I realized that no one could rescue me. It was just me and Desmond and I might as well stay calm. Each contraction was not nearly as painful as my own fear of each contraction. And very soon I started to feel the baby move down my body.
Katrina came and sat by the tub and we chatted in between each contraction. I started to actively push because it relieved the pain. I reached down and felt Desmond’s head and then it tucked back inside again. A moment later his head was out and the birth assistant (Sally) yelled, “I’ve got a head!” (Which was an awesome and funny moment.) Katrina told me to hold off on pushing until the next contraction, so I did. One more push. He came into the water in the caul (the amniotic sac still intact). Being born in the caul is a said to be a special blessing and a sign of a protected life ahead. I reached down and pulled him onto my chest while Katrina pulled away the amniotic sac. He immediately started crying LOUD. Water babies are sometimes quiet because their birth is so gentle, but not this bruiser. He was screaming. We stayed in the water for a long time. Everyone was ecstatic. When I was ready to get out of the tub, Jason cut the cord.
Four hours and twenty minutes of active labor and 18 minutes of pushing.
Desmond Oren Shutt – Named after his Irish roots (Desmond) and his Grandpa Mel (Melvin Oren Shutt). Born on a quiet night after a beautiful sunset.
9.1 pounds and 21.25 inches.
He rounds out our family. He sleeps like a champ. He looks just like his big brother did at one-day old.
And again my cup runs over. I have to pause and thank the universe and thank God and after all of that I am still left baffled by the gifts of Jason, Truman, and Desmond. Baffled at my luck.
|Leaving the house - all smiles|
|Resting after labor|
|Katrina and Sally|