Silas Robert Gorski
The birth of my second son was a wonderful journey. When I got pregnant for the second time, I knew I wanted a few things different from that of the first, but I didn’t know just how different they would turn out to be. My first son was born in a hospital, attended by our family physician. She was pretty open about our decisions throughout pregnancy to go all natural and we were clear we did not want interventions unless absolutely necessary. I found a Hypnobirth instructor and trained myself in this technique and was, unlike most women, anxiously awaiting the day I went into labor and I was so excited to try out my breathing and visualization which I had been practicing for months.
All went well when I was one day over due and started labor. I went to the hospital after my water broke, told my nurse I refused to answer the “What is your pain on a scale of 1 to 10?” question and got in the bathtub and Hypnobirthed my baby down. Until it was time for him to come out, as my husband watched my lower half convulse, and we were both sure I was ready to be delivering a baby, but I couldn’t because our doctor wasn’t there yet. No one actually said this to me, I was just encouraged to keep up the good work. But it was horrible and on top of that I had to get out of the bathtub to deliver because my doctor wasn’t trained in water births. Russ had to eventually pick me up and carry me out of the tub because my contractions were so close, I couldn’t move, much less pull myself out of the bathtub and walk.
This was the experience I did not want to repeat: being ready to deliver a baby, but no one was there to tell me it was time. So I started my journey to find a midwife—one midwife, that is. I did not want the clinical setting of a midwife “team.” I wanted one person who would be there with me from start to finish, not a group of seven midwives I would alternately see each month. This led me to Morning Star, and I immediately felt at home when we met with Paula and Erin the first time. Regardless of the money it was going to cost us to go out-of-network with the insurance company, I wanted this.
After some deliberation about birth center vs. home birth, we decided to do it at home. So we started preparing for our homebirth, and started fielding the “Are you crazy?” questions. In the meantime, I continued to read and we learned a lot about homebirth. Russ and I went to the showing of The Business of Being Born and felt empowered by it. We were certain in our decision to birth at home and we were excited about it.
My pregnancy was long but quick at the same time. I was sick a lot and had about every symptom that pregnancy can bring. In my last month I was feeling great and I guess I was feeling so great, my little one didn’t want to leave. Getting a little frustrated on my ninth day of being overdue, I took my two-year old son Mason out on the town for the day. We walked around the Farmer’s Market, around the river, and kept going through town. We walked about two hours that 90 degree day in early August and I really felt great. By that evening, I knew something would happen. And it did.
I think I was having contractions through the night but sleeping and breathing through them. By 4:30 a.m. I couldn’t get back to sleep in between them, so I tried waking up Russ and got up for the day. I figured we should probably start timing them. I called my sister in Milwaukee at 5:00 a.m. and told her this was the day and that she should get on the road. She really wanted to be here for this birth and I really wanted her to see it.
I called Paula at 6:00 a.m. and told her I was having contractions 5-7 minutes apart but I was feeling good. She said to call her again when they were closer and stronger. I think she called me a few times after that to see how things were going. My contractions were pretty intense—a lot more intense than they were with my first birth. I just kept waiting for something else to happen, like for my water to break, but it didn’t.
In the meantime, my husband and I continued to eat, do some things around the house and play with our son. I spent a lot of that morning laying on the couch and reading books to him. Every time I had a contraction I would ask him to settle down and let momma rest for a minute. He usually would and I would breathe through it and we would get back to our book. Russ started to fill up our birthing tub and we just hoped it would be ready in time.
At 10:30 or so, Paula called again and Russ told her that my contractions were really strong and getting a little closer and asked if she thought it would be okay for me to get in the tub. She said go ahead. By the time I got downstairs to the tub, Mason was already naked and had jumped in the tub, so I got in after him and he danced around me and made me into a tunnel and all sorts of things. When I needed him to stop, he would and I would continue to breathe.
I was really hot and Russ and my sister got some fans going for me. I told Russ he should probably have Paula come. At this point my contractions were probably two minutes apart. At close to noon, it was time for Mason to take a nap and Russ went to put him to bed and my sister stayed with me, still timing contractions, which were now less than two minutes apart. That seemed about right to me and I knew I was getting really close.
Amy and Megan got there first and I was sure something had changed. Amy told me to keep up the good work and a few minutes later Paula arrived with Rosalyn. I was relieved and told her that something had changed and it was starting to burn. She asked if I wanted her to check me and I said yes. I was completely dilated and ready to push. Again, that seemed about right and was music to my ears. I couldn’t believe it. This was at 12:00.
I had Liz go get Russ so he wouldn’t miss it and he had just come out of Mason’s room. He got downstairs and knelt beside the tub and he held on to me while I knelt towards him. We hugged, kissed, and I gave him a smile. We were ready.
Paula told me to reach inside and see if I could feel my baby’s head. I could! It was amazing and it felt soft, something I hadn’t expected. Russ felt it too. I flipped over and took a minute to gather myself and then took one long birth breath to bring the baby’s head out. As it crowned, I paused again and Paula helped me apply pressure to my perineum to support it. When I felt I was ready, I breathed again and out came his head. Paula checked his neck to make sure there was no cord around it and there wasn’t. I think I leaned back on Russ and he held me as I breathed once more to bring the body out.
Paula put him right on my chest and there was my baby, calm, and in my arms, and I was in Russ’s. It was 12:27 p.m. We rubbed him and he started to breathe. It was a few moments later that I asked if it was a boy or a girl and I turned him over to see we had another beautiful baby boy! It was truly amazing!
His cord was a little short and it was hard for me to keep him on my chest, but still in the water enough to keep him warm, so Paula checked his cord and it had stopped pulsing. She clamped it and cut it and gave Silas to Russ. As he held him in a towel, all I could see were his little feet dangling down out of his daddy’s arms.
Paula and Rosalyn helped me out of the tub and I got into the bed, where they put Silas right back on my chest as I delivered the placenta.
As soon as Paula checked me to make sure I hadn’t torn (I hadn’t) and there wasn’t a lot of blood loss (and there wasn’t), all four of the midwives/assistants left the room so we could just be with our baby. I felt wonderful.
After about an hour or so, Mason was waking up. Everyone helped me get out of the bed we had set up in our downstairs living room and I went upstairs to our bedroom so I could be there when we brought Mason in. I was tucked in bed, Silas in my arms, when Russ carried Mason in to meet his new brother. It was a moment in time that will forever stand still in my mind.
That evening, Russ grilled salmon in our backyard and made a salad fresh from our garden. He brought it to me in bed and fed me and Mason, while I fed Silas. Our first meal as a family of four was in our bedroom and was wonderful.
After my midwives drew me an herbal bath and I bathed with both of my sons, they cleaned up, gave me instructions for me and Silas, and left us to be our family. It was such a calm, amazing experience, I just can’t imagine doing it any other way.