We were just sitting down at the bar of one of the nicer restaurants we’ve ever been to for a final pre-baby date night when I all of a sudden realized that the satin bar stool beneath me was covered in liquid. I jumped up and said, ‘I think my water just broke!’ and ran to the bathroom, leaking amniotic fluid the whole way.
Noam reached into the recesses of his brain and seemed to remember from our class that some women can ‘spring a leak’ and have their waters seal back up and still go weeks without birthing their baby. He managed to convince me that this probably was the case and that we were definitely NOT having our baby anytime soon. Nonetheless, we called Kimm Sun, our amazing midwife. She had us take a cab to her place so she could check on the baby right away.
After a cab ride of more gushes of fluid (I will never look at the back seats of taxis the same way again), we arrived at Kimm’s and asked her what the heck was going on. She said that my water was definitely broken and I would have my baby – one way or another – in the next five days.
She got to work checking us out (no cervical check, just blood pressure for me and heartbeat/position check for Amiel) and then did acupuncture which relaxed me a lot. She sent us home with lots of vitamin C, and gave us instructions on preventing infection now that the waters were broken. She said she didn’t anticipate anything happening for a while and that we would check-in the next morning.
Noam and I made it back to Brooklyn by 10:00pm, ate some dinner and took a walk. We took a hint from Kai and Meredith from our birthing class and did some ‘sumo’ walking for a few blocks to try and bring on labor. I was still not feeling any contractions yet, though I had been experience dull lower back pain for a day or so prior, but just credited it to being pregnant in general.
At this point, Noam was very excited and I was a little anxious. Knowing that the hard work could hit me at any minute was very different from the ambiguous anxiety of approaching an arbitrary due date.
We settled into bed at 12:00am and BAM! there it was. I heard a distinct pop from the core of my body and what I still think was the strongest contraction of my labor shot me straight out of bed and to the toilet. Less than 5 minutes later and another. Even though I was hesitant about ohming and ahhing when we discussed it in class, I immediately went there and became a total where-wolf howling with every contraction. Noam called Kimm to tell her what was happening. She listened to me through a contraction and had us time the contractions for 30 minutes.
I was having contractions every 3-5 minutes. This was active labor and Kimm was on her way to Brooklyn.
I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t not want to be touched during contractions. I was most comfortable on all fours or leaning my chest on our couch. During contractions I swayed front-to-back which helped me feel like I had more control over my body and go ‘towards the pain’. Since we didn’t have an early stage labor to get the house ready for the active time, Noam was very busy laying sheets down, getting towels together and moving furniture around for the birthing pool to be set up. At the same time I didn’t want to be alone during contractions. It was pretty overwhelming. Luckily, our doula, Leda, lived nearby and came over by 1:30am and took over those things.
At about the same time, and before Kimm had arrived, I started feeling the urge to push. I was scared. The birthing tub wasn’t set up and, more importantly, we didn’t have a midwife! Things felt like they were moving too fast (my labor had only been 90 minutes so far!) and I was afraid of tearing without someone there to slow me down. I resisted pushing which made the contractions even more painful. At this point they were constant, I didn’t feel like there was any break in between.
Kimm arrived at 2:00am and immediately got to work coaching me through the pushing contractions, using olive oil to prevent tearing because this was a ‘precipitous labor’. I was fully dilated and the baby hadn’t even dropped, I would need to push him down. Our doula took over setting the pool up and I grabbed onto Noam for strength and we breathed together through the contractions. It was hard for me get into a place where I could set aside the pain of the contractions to focus on the work of pushing down the baby. Having Noam by my side made him feel like almost an extension of me and I felt like I was sending the pain over to him so I could focus on the pushing down of the baby. And Kimm was incredible at encouraging me along and telling me how much I was pushing the baby with each contraction – knowing I was making progress was huge since I couldn’t really tell where he was!
Luckily, things slowed down a bit, I got breaks between contractions and pushed for the next hour. The pool was set up just in time at and 15 minutes after I hopped in, our son Amiel spilled out (psshhh, i wish) weighing 6lbs and 5 oz.
can’t wait to meet everyone at our reunion!