Bryce and I both wrote out our memories of the birthing time and of Rose's arrival. I've just meshed them together to make one long narrative - so you can read as is, or you can read each separately (as it might flow better). Enjoy!
Bryce: Thursday night on the 20th of December. Chanae and I were thinking about getting to bed. This had already been a productive week. The Monday marked Chanae’s due date to have the baby, Tuesday was the day I was taking the Praxis located in Cedar City. The roads were paved with snow for the return trip home. Our midwife Katie’s husband had some surgeries that we had to try to avoid so she could be there for baby to be born.
That Thursday we finished watching the end parts of a movie called Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. After that I played a video game while Chanae found a book to read. Around 11:00 we decided that we should get ready for bed. We brushed teeth and had a prayer and lights were off. Only just after Chanae laid down she got up in a mild rush with a moan of pain. This was about 12:00. Alarmed, I inquired if she was ok. She said that she was hurting; I immediately got up to see what the matter was. She was in the bathroom with wet pants. Excited I asked if her water broke, she said it hurt and felt like a popping but that she thought that it might be that she wet herself. She smelled it and determined that it was inconclusive, I tried smelling it but almost threw up right away. I’m not sure if it was the smell or the look of it that set me off. She continued to leak and we determined that it was her water that had broken. We were both excited and almost immediately her pressure waves began.
Chanae: I had just laid down to go to sleep (around midnight) and I suddenly felt a pop, accompanied by a jab of pain, and a sudden pressure that, I thought, meant I needed to go to the bathroom. I jumped up – as fast as a woman nine months pregnant can jump up – took a step toward the bathroom trying to “hold it in” when I felt the pressure release and some liquid come rushing out soaking through my pajama bottoms. I finally made it to the bathroom and took a look. I wasn’t sure if this meant my water broke, or if the baby had just kicked me in the bladder. I remember reading something about how amniotic fluid smells different from urine – so I smelled it – but honestly had no clue what I was doing or smelling for. Poor Bryce also smelled it and almost puked immediately. I felt so bad.
Bryce: By 12:15 her pressure waves had begun and they were quite uncomfortable for Chanae. We had set a goal to have a natural childbirth and the pain of the pressure waves had me worried that Chanae may not be able to go through with it if this was her reaction to the beginning of pressure waves. I began to time them using my IPhone. It was difficult because I couldn’t always tell when a new contraction was starting. I called Kelly (our doula) to let her know that Chanae's water had broken and that we would be going back to bed to wait it out ‘til morning. My thoughts were that Chanae would be able to comfortably dilate under the protection of sleep. Kelly thought this would be a good idea too. After hanging up with her, I quickly arranged to listen to a hypnobabies track and Chanae and I got back in bed. I held her close and tried to time the pressure waves. She whimpered in pain and wasn’t able to hold still. She got back up and went back into the bathroom where she had leaked all through her pad. She was really hurting. I began to panic just slightly because I felt that the plan we had made wasn’t working out and I couldn’t handle soothing Chanae on my own. I called Kelly and asked her to come, and she arrived around 12:30.
Chanae: I decided to put on a pad, just in case it was my water that broke. Bryce at this point was pretty excited – sure that “this was it!” So he called our doula (and Hypnobabies instructor), Kelly, to give her a heads up – but told her we were going to go back to bed and wait it out before she needed to come over. I was still unsure and had Bryce get the iPad so I could google “how do you know if your water breaks?” One option they gave was to lie down for 30 min and then check your pad to see if it was wet. So this was the option I went for. We went back to bed, Bryce put on one of my Hypnobabies tracks to help me to start to relax and get in the “zone”.
We were only laying there for 5 min, maybe, but I could not get comfortable. I had told Bryce a few weeks ago that when the pressure waves (or contractions) started I wanted him to give me a blessing – thankfully he remembered – because I didn’t – and he asked if I wanted it now. After he gave me the blessing, I decided I could not stay down. I began to feel strong cramps and got out of bed to try to find a better position and when I got up I realized I had already soaked through the pad and another pair of pajama bottoms – this time however there was blood too. I changed again – this time Bryce gave me some of his sports shorts to wear, as I did not want to wear something too constricting.
We had planned to take some treats to the hospital with us to give to our nurses so I told Bryce to go get the cookie dough out of the freezer so it could thaw. I decided to kneel by the bed to pray – and in the meantime found a position I felt I could stay in for a while. Bryce came back in and got me a pillow for my head and knees. When each pressure wave began I would begin to rock back and forth and had Bryce start rubbing and putting pressure on my lower back – which really helped. Bryce was trying to time the pressure waves, but it was really hard for me to determine when each one started. There would sometimes be a hard long one – and then little ones in-between (Bryce later found a great way to describe them – as similar to an earthquake and then the aftershocks).
Bryce: After I called Kelly I went and opened the front door almost entirely. It is hard to get open and so Kelly would be able to push her way in when she got here. After she arrived she pulled her phone out and began to time Chanae and comfort her. About this point Chanae found a comfortable spot where she was on her knees on a pillow with her head and arms resting on the side of the bed. Kinda how you would pray kneeling at the bed. Waves came and went and Kelly observed that the pressure waves were lasting quite awhile. Time was moving fast.
Chanae: Bryce soon decided it was time to call Kelly to come over. Kelly got here and sat by me timing the pressure waves while Bryce continued to rub my back. Kelly said that it looked like they were really close and long. I told her I felt like I needed to push and she asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. I told her I didn’t know. It was decided Bryce would at least start loading the car and finish packing the last few things we needed for the hospital. While he was doing that Kelly took over rubbing my back, getting me water, and reading some scripts to me to try to help me relax and use the hypnosis techniques we had learned in class.
Bryce: 12:40am Chanae said something like, “I feel like pushing.” In the next few seconds I began to pick everything up that Chanae had packed and started hauling it out to the car. Kelly stayed with Chanae to help her through her birthing waves. I put on some jeans and we got Chanae in the car. Then, we were off.
Chanae: I felt the urge to push again and decided I couldn’t wait any longer – we were going to the hospital. Bryce asked if I wanted to change first – probably knowing I would normally never go out wearing what I was wearing (mens sports shorts, a mens t-shirt and flip-flops), but I told him no. I started making my way from the bedroom towards the car – asking Bryce as we went if he had remembered different things (my jacket, my purse, my ipod). As we passed the stove in the kitchen I saw the cookie dough out thawing and told him to put them away – he said, “don’t you want me to make some?” and I replied, “we don’t have time.”
There is only a few times that a man is above the law in his life and this was my time. I sped to the highway then proceeded to bust out 90 on the highway. I put on my hazards but Chanae told me not to. I think she thought I was being dramatic. She said this right before she told me that she was leaking her juices all over my passenger seat. I said I didn’t care but secretly I was super grossed out at the thought of bloody mess on my car seat. Sadly there were no cops to escort/chase me to the hospital.
Chanae: We finally got in the car, and Bryce began speeding and put his flashers on. I told him we did not need those on. Soon however I could not focus on his driving, all my focus was on trying to breathe through the pressure waves. I do remember saying something to him about leaking again, and I hope it wasn’t getting on his seat. We got to the hospital pretty fast – thankfully this was all happening at such an early hour, as we did not have to deal with traffic problems. Bryce pulled up to the entrance of Labor & Delivery and jumped out to run in. Kelly arrived and began helping me out of the car. Bryce went to park the car as we made our way into the building, stopping in the doorway as another pressure wave came.
I jump out of my car and run up to the emergency doors. They are locked, does that make sense to anybody? There are a couple of people outside the doors off to the side. They look like security or something. I tell them my wife is having a baby and they seem to do something. Kelly arrives and she starts to help Chanae out of the car. Whatever the security guards/people did seems to have worked because there is a nurse there coming out of the building with a chair. I quickly park the car. The parking spot was special; I suspect I parked where the ambulance usually parks. I don’t care. A quick look at the passenger seat and I’m relieved to find no trace of blood. I was almost worried there. I gather the bags and purses and quickly catch up to Chanae. By this time she had been wheeled inside and was on a course to enter her room. I ask the nurse if she had Katie’s (Chanae's midwife) number and to give her a call.
We enter the room and the nurse hands Chanae a cup and asks if she can pee in it. I’m beginning to tell the nurse that Katie should probably know that she needs to come. I hear Chanae whimper in the bathroom. I enter to find her pants down standing with the cup in her hand bracing herself with hands on the wall. She is in pain. There is blood and stuff all over her legs and floor….. and my clothes that Chanae has been using as pajamas for the past several weeks. Chanae says that she can’t pee in the cup. I take it and give it back to the nurse, or it might have been Kelly. I grab some tissues and start to help Chanae get cleaned up. I try comforting her while the pressure wave finishes. We get Chanae completely undressed and the nurse and Kelly help her get into a hospital gown. She gets on the bed and is restless because she isn’t finding a comfortable place. I ask if Katie has been called again and the nurse acts almost like I am not speaking English. Its weird, she is looking at me but not responding like social etiquette would insist on. She says that another nurse needs to come but that she can’t because there is an “emergency.” I can hear another woman somewhere screaming bloody murder and wonder if she is the emergency. I’m worried that Chanae is going to hear this other woman and try to engage her to act as a distraction. I’m reminded once of my Mom talking about giving birth and telling me that when she was having herfirst she heard a woman in another room screaming like a crazy person and decided that she would never scream like that no matter the level of pain she had. I was worried that Chanae would be a screamer and was worried that I might look at her as less if she did. Spoiler alert…… she didn’t ever scream.
A wheelchair arrived and I was taken into a room. The nurse gave me a gown and a cup and asked if I would be able to give them a urine sample. In my head I was thinking, “are you kidding me?” But I took the cup and went in the bathroom. Almost as soon as I sat down on the toilet another pressure wave hit – it was too much to stay sitting so I stood up and began to make some noises, which is when Bryce came in. I felt so bad when I looked down to see I had leaked more fluid and blood all over the floor and his clothes. I told him I was sorry and he said it’s okay we’ll just throw them away – but I told him I would clean them when we got home. He helped me out of the bathroom (without the urine sample) and the nurse helped me to get undressed and into the super huge and attractive hospital gown.
This other nurse comes in and says that she needs to check Chanae. As her protector I run interference saying that we will let Katie check her when she gets here. I follow that up with asking if she had been called yet. Apparently she hadn’t been called and the nurse then tells me that she isn’t going to call Katie until she has checked her. I’m irritated and tell her to proceed. She seems like Toby to me. As she begins to check Chanae I tell her not to tell us what she is dilated to, she can keep it secret to only tell Katie when she calls. Her expression is priceless as she runs from the room knowing the situation is as urgent as we think. I’m feeling a little satisfaction in knowing that I’m smarter then the nurse. We ask for the Jacuzzi room and the nurses take us there. We learn that at this point we can’t be in the Jacuzzi though. I was already getting in my underwear to enjoy a nice hot bath. Oh well, maybe next time. I mess with the CD player and hook in Chanae’s IPod and begin playing a hypnobabies track.
Chanae: Bryce kept asking the nurse if they had called our midwife, Katie, yet. She said that, “no they couldn’t call her until they checked to see how far along I was.” The nurse finally came to check me – and two seconds later she was running out the door saying, “I’m going to go call Katie.”
Chanae is in pain and is still uncomfortable. From the beginning at home she wants her back rubbed and this continues to be the case in the final moments of baby Rose’s birth. The nurse attaches some sort of belt with ultra sound technology built in. This doesn’t remain long because Chanae changes positions and wants it off. I suggest that she get in a cat cow position and she gets on her knees facing the back of the bed. She is using the bed as support through the pressure waves.
Katie has arrived and is looking tired with red in her eyes. She greets us and we are happy to have her. She checks Chanae and seems satisfied although quiet about her observations. She asks for Chanae to have the ultra sound machine hooked up for a moment so she can see whatever the data shows her. Chanae stays on her knees in that position for awhile. I help her breath baby down and continue to rub her back. Chanae is a picture of power and she has the entire room in awe as she pushes through each pressure wave in dignity. She is in pain and we all know it but she is brave through each wave. The hypnobabies tracks are playing in the background almost as an invitation to everyone to be reverent. The nurse that reminded me of Toby has won my appreciation begins asking me questions about Chanae. Medical questions like, “does she smoke or have any tobacco use? Drink?” I answer her questions in funny ways.
Chanae: After this point I only remember certain things, as I was focused on getting through the each pressure wave. I was not comfortable on the bed so someone (Bryce or Kelly) suggested I kneel over the back of the bed – in the same position I was at home. I did that for a while. Katie arrived. Katie began holding a warm cloth to my perineum to help it to relax and be able to stretch more – it really helped to relieve the pain. Kelly was a huge support – giving me sips of water, wiping my forehead with a cool cloth. Bryce was rubbing my back. Through each pressure wave I tried to “breathe the baby down” and make the guttural noise sounds that we had learned about in class – Katie suggested I do little grunts instead.
The baby nurse came in to prepare for the baby and she came over and began talking to me about the normal procedures that they do and did I want to have the vitamin K shot, and heel prick done, etc… I couldn’t really express or think about what our preferences were except to say – “No we don’t want those”, then I remembered our Baby Plan (which outlined exactly what tests and procedures we wanted and did not want done) as well as our Birth Plan (which outlined our goals and desires for the birth of our baby) and told Kelly where to find it in our hospital bag so she could give it to the nurses.
Chanae is feeling tired of this position. Her back is hurting and so she decides that she wants to lay on her side with her leg up. I am in front of her, Kelly is behind her, and Katie is at her bottom. She quietly gets my attention and points at an emerging baby in Chanae's nether regions. Katie has been keeping a warm rag on Chanae’s pelvic area and butt to keep it warm as baby comes out. Chanae is vocal about how good it feels. It is crazy to me to see that baby is on its way out especially as we have only been going for a few hours. My job at this point is to hold Chanae’s leg up. I am emotional at times for the miracle of the situation, for Chanae being so brave, for Chanae handling pain, and a little because I’m tired and emotional. Kelly continues to rub Chanae's back and I rub her legs and feet. With each pressure wave baby is two steps out, one step back and then a rest.
Chanae: After some time had passed, my knees were starting to hurt, so I wanted to change positions. So I laid down on my side – Bryce held my right leg up by his shoulder to help open up the birth canal and Kelly took over rubbing my back for each pressure wave. At some point the baby began to crown – this was painful. I could feel my perineum being stretched open – and staying open. I began to feel panicked and even more scared. I remember looking into each person’s eyes trying to get some comfort and reassurance (I’m sure I looked wild-eyed and crazy to them), and each person was so great. Each time I made eye contact with one of the nurses, or Bryce, Kelly or Katie, they each told me how great I was doing. Katie asked if I wanted to feel the baby’s head – but I didn’t want to. It was all I could do to stay focused and I was worried touching the head would make me break – realizing “hey this is real, there is a baby sticking out of me…” So no, I did not want to feel the head.
Baby Rose has her little head almost completely out. We tease Chanae that we almost know the color of her eyes. I watch as the head completely emerges and then a shoulder. There is a little bit of panic because the 2nd shoulder gets caught for a moment, but baby emerges and is fine.
Chanae: I finally pushed the head out - feeling my perineum stretch to its fullest and more. I was gripping the sides of the bed - it was so painful. There was so much pressure. The baby's head finally made it out, which I felt so relieved by, but then almost immediately I was being told to "push, Chanae, push! You need to get the other shoulder out" and I kept thinking, give me a minute - I just pushed the head out! But Katie and the nurses were pretty insistent about giving some big pushes so I kept trying. Finally the other shoulder came out and then the rest of the body.
I am helping dry off Rose and she is crying. My emotions are too difficult to control. I go to Chanae and kneel by her side crying. Baby is given to Chanae and we enjoy a few moments. The umbilical cord is finished pulsing and they offer me a chance to cut it. I don’t want to, I’m too busy with my sweet wife and Rose. After the birth Katie works on the placenta and other nurses help Chanae breastfeed. It takes awhile but everything works out after a short time. By around 6:00 we are put into a room where we promptly fall into a light coma.
Chanae: Then so many things began to happen all at once – Rose was being dried off, a nurse was helping me to unbutton my gown so Rose and I could have some skin-to-skin bonding. Rose was put on my chest, the baby nurse was there cleaning out her mouth and nose. Kelly was taking pictures, Bryce was up by Rose and me. One of the nurses began to try and help me to breastfeed – the umbilical cord stopped pulsing and was cut. Katie and the other nurse then decided it was time to get the placenta out. Wow – so painful. My stomach/uterus was being pushed and kneaded by the nurse; Katie’s hand was up inside my uterus scooping blood clots out. It was all too much. Once Rose latched on and began to breastfeed, the placenta started coming out, but not before I almost lost it – I kept telling them, “you need to stop, you need to stop. I’m done.” It’s a different pain from pushing out the baby, but still a high level of pain and I was not prepared for it. I had no idea that it would be so painful to get the placenta out – I mean isn’t it just a blob of blood/muscle? When it finally came out, it was such a weird feeling – the biggest blood clot ever slowly plopped out. Eww – it grosses me out just thinking about it.
Once again – I thought I was done – but no, Katie told me I had 2 small tears, both only 1st degree but they would still need some stitches. They numbed me up first, gave me some stitches, which weren’t really painful but I could feel the needle and the pulling of the actual stitches so that was uncomfortable and odd. And then we were done – it was finally time for some rest and recovery, and some time to get to know my baby.
Afterwards everyone told me how great I was, and how calm and in control I was (One nurse said she had neverseen someone crown for so long but still stay in control) – but that’s definitely not how I felt on the inside. I kept thinking, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this” and then someone would say something encouraging, or I would hear a phrase from the hypno tracks playing, and I would say, “no, I can do this.” I remember also saying over and over in my head – “God, help me!” I was praying non-stop throughout the entire 4 hours. I was actually very surprised when all was said and done to find out it only took 4 hours. It seriously had felt like 2 hours at the most. It seemed so quick. It was painful yes, and difficult yes, and I honestly don’t know if it’s something I would want to do again :) – but it was fast.
We had such a good birth experience - Rose's birth was fast, we had no difficulties or problems, almost no tearing, and we have a healthy beautiful baby girl! We were and are so blessed!