Birth of a new mother: Baby Niko’s Birth

This is the story of baby Niko’s birth as told by his mother…

* * * * * * * * * * *

The Birth Story of Niko Michael Jeras

Born at home on August 27, 2010

Nearing my due date, as excited as I was, I tried to tell myself that I wouldn’t meet my baby for another week or two. After all, my mother was a week late with my twin brothers, I was born three weeks late, and according to my research most first time moms are on average a week and 4 days late (and so far my pregnancy had been completely textbook).

On the evening of Tuesday August 25th, two days before my due date, I started feeling a little crampy but I just figured it was all in my head or maybe the falafels in my stomach that my friend Nancy had brought over. As we ate dinner and visited with Nancy I sat on my exercise ball and enjoyed the company. Nancy already had a track record of “making friends go into labor,” so she was giggling at the thought of us having our baby the next day. That night I went to bed hoping my intuitions about labor nearing were right, but still thought it was too soon for my “textbook” baby to arrive.

Around 2:00 am I woke up to a gush of warm fluid between my legs. With my cat-like reflexes I was able to wake up and jump out of bed all in time to make it to the bathroom without making a mess. For some reason I thought I should wait to tell Tomislav, I didn’t want him to get too excited too soon. But when he woke up to find me dancing around with a towel between my legs trying to figure out what to do next he quickly figured it out. Lucky for me Tomislav’s coworkers had given him a pack of Depends on his 30th birthday as a gag gift and they totally came in handy! I didn’t know that when your water broke it keeps going! I will from now on be stocked with Depends any time I am 9 months pregnant.

Soaking in the reality that I would meet my baby soon, I gave my midwife Stephanie a call to let her know. She advised me to go back to sleep and get some rest because I would need it and to call her when I got up. I followed her instruction and slept the best that I could. The excitement for baby and the excitement that I got with each mild contraction (I would later feel differently about them) kept me from sleeping too soundly. I woke up around 5 am and I was done trying to sleep. I wanted to get this show on the road!

…But it didn’t. Per Stephanie’s instructions I called her every couple hours with an update, which was always the same. Not much was happening, I had mild contractions, but nothing too intense and nothing was consistent. I tried to rest but keep myself busy at the same time. I made my midwives a cheesecake, played some guitar, watched some tv, etc. Around noon when I gave Stephanie the same update, she said she would give me more time but at some point that day, if things didn’t pick up, we would need to discuss other options. Nervous she was going to suggest an induction at the hospital I asked what kind of options. She mentioned Castor oil and although not as bad as the hospital it was still something I did NOT want to do. As I had learned in the numerous books I read about birth I knew that nipple stimulation could induce labor. So, I unpacked my shiny new breast pump and started pumping! Then to my relief, within the hour things were moving along. My contractions started becoming more intense and regular. By about 4 pm the show was no doubt on the road.

As labor intensified I listened to my hypnobabies CDs and relaxed. Tomislav made me some dinner. Thinking that I needed some spicy food to get labor going earlier he had made me burritos. As much as I love burritos I went with something a little more bland. I was grateful for that decision when dinner came back up later. At a certain point I felt like things had intensified enough for me to ask Stephanie to come to the house. I called and she said she’d be right over.

I labored in my candle lit room with the gentle support of my husband. I moved between the shower, bath, and exercise ball, or whatever felt most comfortable in that moment. Tom massaged my back, and my feet and tried to make me as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Also always near by but never intrusive was my dog, laying quietly in a dark corner of the room like she knew she should just be there for moral support. At some point, Stephanie and Noelia arrived, came in quietly ,checked the baby, and got an idea how things were going. They left me to labor quietly alone with my husband and came in periodically to check on me and baby.

Sometime in the night I developed a slight fever. Since my water had already broke, it was a concern for Stephanie and Noelia because of the chance of infection. They gave me some time but my fever was not going down. I took some tylenol, and a luke warm bath, but it was still above normal. Finally they told me if it did not go down within the next half hour to an hour that we would have to discuss going to the hospital.

I had mentally prepared and prepared and prepared for this homebirth, but never once had I prepared myself to go to the hospital. I just figured my “textbook” pregnancy would lead to a “textbook” labor and birth. Labor was intense at this point and there was no way that I wanted to leave the comfort of my nest! I went back into my bedroom, put my hypnobabies on but this time in my earphones, got in a zone and relaxed and focused through each contraction in hopes that I could somehow mentally get my body’s temp to normalize. 30 minutes passes, and it had gone down slightly but it was still not normal. Finally after and hour my temperature had gone down enough that it was no longer a concern. Maybe it was the tylenol that had finally kicked in, but I like to think that I had super powers and mentally convinced my body to cool down. Alas, I could stay put.

My pressure waves intensified throughout the night. I’m the type of person who loves to sleep so the hardest part for me was not being able to rest. I kept thinking if only I could just have a half hour to sleep I’d feel so much better. Focusing on the hypnobabies lady talking through my headphones kept me going…until I threw up all over my ipod and it stopped working. Tomislav dug through the garage and found me a CD player to continue on with. With Tom by my side I took one contraction at a time. As soon as I thought it couldn’t get more intense, my body would take it up even another notch, until my contractions were right on top of one another with no breaks in between. With every thought of “I can’t do this,” there was someone there telling me, “You are doing this!”

Finally I started to feel a little like I had to push. I thought I would know for certain that it was time to push, but it felt like for some reason my body wasn’t sure. Finally, Stephanie checked me and said that I was 10 cm dilated, fully effaced but had a lip of cervix still in the way, thus the so-so pushy feeling. The sun was coming up and all I could think was that I couldn’t wait to rest! I was so close, now I just had to meet my baby. I tried different positions but what was most effective was squatting in front of the birth stool. Working hard, I began to push baby down. His heart rate began to drop slightly so Stephanie and Noelia cheered me on to try to get him out quickly. Within 45 minutes and with a nuchal hand, Niko was born into the hands of his father, who in the heat of the moment decided to be the one to catch him.

Tom put him in my arms but Niko was not yet breathing. Stephanie and Noeila tried stimulating him, but still no response. The umbilical cord was kept in tact so Niko was still getting blood and oxygen through me. Noelia got the oxygen, we continued stimulating him, talking to him, and giving him oxygen until he began to breath. So many thoughts were going through my head, but the entire time I knew he was going to be just fine. He was after all my “textbook” baby. Maybe it was the calmness of my midwives and knowing he was in great hands, or my sheer exhaustion, but I was able to remain calm and confident that my little boy would breath. After all of that, he perked right up and was nursing within the hour.

Noelia gave him his newborn exam and he weighed in at 8 lb 1 oz and was 22 inches long. He was healthy and PERFECT! Noelia and Tom helped me get cleaned up while Stephanie had to leave to go attend to another Mom in labor. Tom made me my favorite breakfast that tasted even more amazing after all of the hard work I just did.

We called our families and when I spoke to my mom while holding my son I finally understood the kind of love that she had for me. I could have stared at Niko forever. Even though we had just met, every time I’d look at him it was like seeing a face I’d always known. Finally, with an astounding sense of accomplishment, a new found respect for my body’s capabilities, and the feeling of sheer exhaustion, I cuddled up into my bed with my sweet baby boy for a well deserved nap.

One Comment