Posted by: DropEdge | October 11, 2009

Birth Story: Amber Jones-Barrier and Amos

Many thanks to AJB, one of my clients who delivered a healthy and beautiful baby at home just a little over a month ago.  Amber was kind enough to share her story and photos with us.

At 7 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2009, I awoke to use the restroom. Upon returning to the bed a few minutes later, I experienced the first painful contraction of my entire pregnancy. Knowing that this contraction was different from the numerous others I’d had, I tapped my sleeping husband R. on the back and told him, “I just had a contraction that actually hurt. Maybe this is it.” About 10 minutes later, I experienced another painful contraction. I knew then that at 41 weeks and one day pregnant, I was finally in labor!

R. and I closely timed my contractions over the next hour and noticed that they were already growing closer together. I called Kim, my midwife, and let her know that I was just getting started with labor. We agreed that I should call back when I felt as though I was really getting somewhere and needed her to come. After I hung up with Kim, I called my sister C. (who was to be my labor and birth photographer) and told her to come on out when she was ready. She offered to stop along the way and buy us all breakfast from Cracker Barrel, and I happily accepted.

While waiting for C. to arrive, I got dressed in a sports bra that I thought would be good for birth and had R. toss me a skirt from the closet. My goal was to be comfortable. Meanwhile, I continued to breathe through contractions that seemed to be growing in intensity very rapidly while Robby began getting things together.

At around 9 a.m., while I was somewhat leisurely laboring on the birth ball, I spoke on the phone with my best friend D. She asked me when the midwife would be arriving, and I explained to her that while things were really picking up fast, I didn’t want to ask Kim to arrive too early. Before hanging up, she prayed with me that God would give me the wisdom to call Kim at the right time so that she wouldn’t miss the birth (and I wouldn’t have to deliver the baby on my own).

After getting off the line, I began pacing the living room and quickly found that if I was in a standing position, my contractions came even closer together (from about four minutes while sitting down to two minutes while standing). This made R. very nervous and he kept telling me, “You need to sit down.” At this point, about 9 a.m., I decided to go ahead and call Kim. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Me: The contractions are really close together now. And it hurts a lot more since I talked to you an hour ago.
Kim: Okay, I’m going to get dressed and head that way.
Me: Well, you don’t have to come now; I don’t want you to show up too early and have to wait for hours.
Kim: It’s better for my peace of mind, and yours, if I go ahead and come now. I’ll be there in about an hour.

The next thing on my agenda was to wake the kids up and tell them that mama was about to have their baby brother! I. (my daughter) was so excited, but J. (my son) was essentially clueless. C. showed up with breakfast around this time and I continued to work and breathe through each tightening of my uterus while simultaneously attempting to eat French toast, eggs, and fruit. It wasn’t much later that I gave up on the food and went back to my bedroom for some peace and quiet. (The kids were loudly excited about their Nana, aunt and a large breakfast to fill their morning with!)

Amber and AmosAt this point it was about 9:30-9:45 a.m. and the time when things very noticeably picked up in labor. I became very vocal with each contraction, making “hooo hooo hooo” sounds, feeling the need to have counter pressure or heat against my lower back (I always have intense back labor), and attempting to find different positions that made the time pass a little more easily. I continued this way until Kim showed up at 10:20 a.m. When she walked into my bedroom I was on my hands and knees working through a rather strong contraction. She said hello to me and I believe my response was, “I need you to check me, like, now. I need some serious encouragement.” I climbed onto the bed while she retrieved a pair of gloves and I silently prayed that I’d be at least six centimeters dilated. It hurt far too much to be any less! When Kim checked my cervix, she was surprised to find that I was 9+ already with a bulging bag of waters! My reaction? “Are you serious? Praise the Lord!”

After my one and only cervix check, I laid on my back through several more contractions. It just felt right at the time. But suddenly I couldn’t find a comfortable position at all, no matter which way I turned, sat, or shifted, and so I just sat on my bottom, breathing rapidly and continuing to vocalize the pain. Then I began feeling the need to push, so I said aloud, “Push!” Robby and Kim mistook this for my asking for someone to put counter pressure on my lower back, so I said, “No, PUSH!” That’s when they understood and started gearing up for the baby!

During the next couple of contractions I felt the need to push even more and just went with it for as long or as short as I felt I needed. I recall Kim saying, “That’s right, just let your body do what it needs to do.” Suddenly I had the urge to push long and hard, without letting up, and my water broke. I managed to inform her that my water was now broken and she said, “Okay, now baby may be right behind that…” Another long pushing contraction came and I remember thinking to myself, “I’m sitting on my bottom and I can’t have a baby while sitting like this. I don’t want to move, but I have to…”

While still pushing, I made the quick decision to lift myself up onto all fours. It felt like that’s all I was capable of! I knew the baby was on his way out, yet I couldn’t manage to vocalize this; instead I just pushed, figuring someone would figure it out very quickly! With R. at the front of the bed and Kim behind me, I pushed out my son’s head and the rest of his little body immediately after (I thought to myself, “That has to be a head and I’m not stopping until all of him is out!”). Kim said that he never really even crowned, it was more like, BOOM, there’s baby’s head… and he’s out! As soon as the head was out, I heard Kim call out to R. so that he could catch his son, but he couldn’t even make it from one end of the bed to the other before the baby was fully born! R. quickly whistled for everyone (the kids, my mom, and my sister) to come running and when they made it to the back of the house seconds later, they were surprised to see a baby crying on the bed beneath me! A. was born at 10:56 a.m. (a total of just under four hours of labor), weighing in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces, and was 21 inches long. He was and is a very healthy baby boy!

My labor went very fast and while it was definitely work, there wasn’t enough time to be completely exhausted. It was perfect and just how I would have wanted it, had I had a choice in the matter at all. I hope my future labor and deliveries will be just as quick and also in the comfort of my own home. I am exceedingly happy with the outcome!

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