the birth of tennyson elliott
(peacefully laboring in the tub)
Indigo was born in the hospital, and while it was a successfully drug-free birth, it was an overall pretty traumatic experience for me and I was left feeling like I had somehow failed. I initially swore off ever attempting a natural birth again, but my convictions about God's design for birth were greater than my fear, and I knew birth could be better than a hep-lock and 2 hours of coached pushing on your back, an amniotomy, episiotomy, and 20 questions while you're trying to labor. So when we found out we were pregnant with Tennyson, we knew we wanted to do a home birth. And his birth, to me, was redemptive.
Alan woke to the sound of me rustling around in the dark at 6 am on Tuesday (as women in labor are prone to do).
"I think I'm in labor," I said, and choked back a sob. I had been having mild contractions for a couple of hours that I had been wishing away, but they just kept coming, every 20 or so minutes. Not only had we moved all of our stuff out of our apartment and into storage and were now living out of suitcases at Alan's parents while waiting to close on our new house (not really part of the birth plan), but my due date meant I was only 36 weeks and some odd days, which meant both that we were completely unprepared, and that I might not be able to birth out of hospital (also not part of the plan). I got in touch with my midwife and spent the rest of the morning taking baths and naps and drinking a glass of wine to try to stop the mild contractions.
In the early afternoon, when it became clear that things were progressing, I decided to double check with the midwife on the calculation of my due date, since it had always seemed a little late to me. To my utter and absolute relief, we discovered that it was off, and the new date put me into my 37th week. With that weight lifted off my shoulders, my mind and body were finally able to stop fighting with each other, and active labor started.
"This is happening, " I told Alan, and he left to scramble to pick up our birth box of supplies (which had arrived only the day before!), and the tub we were borrowing.
The nurse arrived sometime after 2, checked me for the first and last time (5 cms), and the midwife and our doula arrived pretty soon after. Alan's mom came to retrieve Indy, the tub was filled, and I quietly roamed around the house drinking water and laboring, smiling and talking between contractions, and feeling completely in control the whole time. I eventually got into the tub, and at 5:08 pm, after roughly 8 minutes of pushing following my own body's cues, I birthed my baby into my own hands, and brought him up out of the water onto my chest.
He was born in the caul (my water didn't break until his body was born) - a sign of good luck.
(looking across at Alan, I'm pretty sure all I could say was "oh my gosh!")
Our little surprise! Tennyson Elliott Miller, 6 lbs. 10 oz. and 19.5 inches long. I think I'll keep him :)