A Birth Story: Beatrix Wilde Geyer
On the eve before I went into labor we had the pleasure of welcoming close friends to our home. Brooke and her two girls were to spend the weekend while Matt went to Baltimore to work with Brooke’s husband. We knew this was a risk, since the flowers were nearing bloom and that was the timeframe we were using for a “due date”, but Baltimore isn’t too far from home, and I was confident that if I went in to labor my support network would help me begin the journey until Matt arrived home.
Saturday morning we woke up early. I had some odd pangs at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00am, but thought little of them. We ate breakfast, got the kiddos together and drove to a nearby park where we wandered a flea market, played on the playground and found a quiet spot to enjoy some lunch. We were at the park for two hours and I had neglected to bring a stroller or sling. Two hours of carrying and running after my 23 lb. one and a half year old in the heat. Still, I felt good; and I knew it was good for me to keep active in preparation for labor. We got home around 1:00pm and I started getting mild contractions shortly after. They were inconsistent in timing and length but manageable in regards to pain so I brushed them off since I couldn’t possibly be in labor with Matt out of town.
My brother, his wife and two kids arrived a little later. I recall the contractions getting a bit more intense. I would be involved in a conversation and then zone out for 30-40 seconds and think no one noticed but of course they all were taking notice. Around 7:00pm we got dinner and I actually turned down my cheesesteak in lieu of going upstairs to take a bath. At this point I had the realization that you don’t leave guests in your home to take a bath unless you’re in labor. I started timing contractions and they were 7-8 minutes apart and 45 seconds in duration. It was time to call Kathy and alert Matt. At this point I was still somewhat mobile and present. I recall wanted to be up and moving so I walked the hall and almost instantly I my mucus plug came out and I had a bloody show.
With Matt on his way home I got in bed and gave my brother instructions on setting up a sleepover for the kids in the living room. I lay in bed and labored alone for a while, zoning in and out, reminding myself to breath, to be present but to also allow myself to find my birth song, to moan deep and to sway, to trust my body and my instincts. My sister in law and friend were both nursing their littles to sleep so my brother came to check on me. I recall him saying “the house is filled with love, just like you wanted”.
Matt and the midwives arrived about 10:30pm and with them there my body allowed things to progress quicker. Matt began to set up the birthing pool but couldn’t find the part for the hose to connect to the sink so he connected it to an outside faucet. Just as they turned on the water to fill the tub Kathy said “you have hot water outside?” To which Matt replied by yelling “turn off the hose!” Haha! Even though I faded in and out of my own world, being present for moments like this was grounding and in some ways made me feel like a fly on the way during my own birthing journey.
The beauty of being at home and being able to guide this journey for myself, move when I wanted, eat when I wanted, allowed me to focus on my baby and her journey. I recall a few times when Kathy was urging me to readjust if a position wasn’t helping me make progress I would plead; let me just stay like this for one more contraction. Moving from position to position or place to place wasn’t easy and although no position was technically comfortable, imagining finding another position that was bearable was difficult. But I knew that my sense of time was non-existent and if Kathy was suggesting I make a change then it was smart to listen.
Around 4:30am I wasn’t progressing at the pace we had expected so Kathy asked if I wanted her to break my water. I was in no place to make a decision so I told Matt to make the call and he told them to go ahead. Around 5:00am while bearing down through a contraction I shot amniotic fluid a good 8 feet clear across the room! I can still recall the feeling of the release of pressure as well as the laughter. So now it was time to push, to really push. We would meet our little girl soon.
Despite continuous encouragement that I was doing great, I wasn’t feeling any progress. I jokingly asked if they could just reach in and take the baby out and as soon as the words came out of my mouth it was obvious that I was in transition. This realization re-energized me yet again and then it happened, I could feel a little head crowning. I felt empowered and pushed through contractions and pushed when I wasn’t having contractions. I pushed and I pushed and with each push I felt that little head move further and further towards its first breath.
At 6:27am Beatrix Wilde was born and placed immediately on my belly. The juxtaposition of her previous home to what would be her new home was magical. I held her while Matt cut the cord and then moved her up to my chest and kissed on her sweet head over and over again. I remember almost instantly forgetting the pain of labor as it was replaced with overwhelming love. My son Rad woke up about 6:45am, which was a significant milestone since this was the very first night of his year and a half long life that he ever slept through the night. He was carried into the room to meet his baby sister, gave me a gentle hug and kiss, said baby and kissed the baby’s head as my eyes yet again welled up.
I nursed in bed while getting stitched up and then I showered while they weighed Beatrix, performed some other tests and changed my bed sheets. I quickly got back into the comfort of bed and continued to nurse and allow the awe of the journey to sink in. Welcoming my little girl into this world in the comfort of our own home with those who I love close by and no unnecessary rules, nurses, paperwork or distractions was exactly as I had hoped. It was relaxed and simple and pure. This is one of the most intimate times in a woman’s life and midwives quickly become extended family. Their connection, love and passion are palpable and helped make this entire experience the empowering, natural and comfortable experience I believe it should be.