Oliver Gordon Davis
The Birth Story of Oliver Gordon Davis
By Candace Davis
I never thought that I was the type to go for a natural birth. Whenever anyone had brought up childbirth I would instantly state "If I have kids, you can hook me up to the epidural and let whatever needs to happen happen." So when I got pregnant in the fall of 2011 we went to a traditional clinic and soon realized it was not the place for us. The doctors were inconsiderate and inconsistent and we never really felt comfortable there. I soon became uncomfortable with being seen as a statistic and procedure rather than a human. After my 20 week appointment, we (my husband Tony and I) knew we had to get out of there. I started my research and on a whim, set up a consult at Morning Star Birth Center.
I was skeptical but after the consultation we found we really liked it there. After talking with Tia, our friend and Doula, I had the confidence that I could give birth naturally. So I switched to Morning Star Birth Center in Saint Louis Park at 24 weeks.
It was nerve-wracking, changing midstream, but the way that they embraced us put us at ease immediately. It didn't take too long for us to feel comfortable with the staff and trust them completely.
During my entire pregnancy, I was convinced that this kid was going to come early. Yet I was told time and time again by friends and family, doctors and midwives, that it was just wishful thinking; that first time moms and babies rarely deliver early.
He was "due" on July 27th and since my husband's birthday is the 18th we all joked that Oliver was going to be born then.
So I should have known something was up when it was absolutely impossible to get any sleep on Sunday night.
Tony left for work as usual on Monday morning (which was the 16th) and by 830 I had finally mustered up enough energy to get up and get ready for the day - because I had 100 things I had planned to do of course.
When I rolled over to hop off the couch, I felt something odd and a slight pop, almost like my hip had popped but it was definitely not my hip. Immediately after I felt a gush between my legs and thought "Dammit, I just peed on the couch!" But when I stood up to walk to the bathroom, it wasn't stopping. It did take me a minute, perhaps because I was tired or perhaps because I was in disbelief, but I finally realized that my water had broken.
I was home alone and starting to freak out. I called Tony and he came straight back home. I called Tia to let her know what was going on though I felt bad considering it was her birthday and I knew that she was sleeping in. Regardless she was excited and said she'd be at our place in 30 minutes.
Tia asked if contractions had started yet and as I was new to this I had no idea and said so. She explained that they should start as a cramp/tightening and will get stronger and longer. Well in that case, then yes, they had started!
So my contractions started around 930am, and both Tony and Tia had apps on their phones that kept a reasonable track of them. Tony had called Morning Star to let them know that my water had broken and I remember hearing Rachel exclaim in excitement from across the room. We told her we would keep them updated and settled in for a long day. We watched television and talked to pass time, though I cannot remember anything we watched nor anything we talked about. Tony and Tia worked great together to help me out as much as possible – massaging my back/hips to help me cope with the growing pain of contractions, feeding me, helping me walk and making sure I was comfortable.
By 5pm, my contractions were getting much stronger – and much closer together; 3-4 minutes apart. And I remember Tia watching me when I was standing up and she asked where the baby went. I looked down and he had moved way down – ready to go already apparently!
We decided to leave for the birth center even though Myriah had told us that if I was not ready they were going to send me back home. I was okay with that, feeling that I was getting ready and trusting Tia when she said it was time to go now! During the entire ride there the only thing I could think about was how great it was going to feel getting into that tub.
I was brought straight back to an exam room to be checked out and it turns out I was 8cm dilated and 90% effaced – definitely well on the way to having this baby soon. They hooked me up for fetal monitoring and he was responding just fine to the contractions so it was time to head back to the birthing room.
They talked me back to the birth room of my choice and I was settled in a warm tub within minutes.
Tony hooked up my iPod and began the playlist that I had prepared which was actually just the entire album history of my favorite band. It turns out this was the perfect choice for me – perhaps it was just me picking up on it when I needed the inspiration, but it had the perfect highs and lows that I needed the entire night.
By around 8pm I had already felt the urge to push, but after Rachel (midwife) checked me out, she had found that my anterior lip had not yet fully dilated and I needed to do a little more work before I was able to push. This meant breathing and focusing during my contractions and I'll tell you that my yoga practice really helped me out there.
By 9pm I was fully dilated and really wanted to start pushing. So while still in the tub I pushed, in many different positions, with Tony outside of the tub there to support me wherever and whenever I needed. I began to feel very tired and run down and they began feeding me large spoonfuls of honey to keep my energy up.
I had an amazing support group with me - Tony was absolutely amazing and did anything necessary (even when I bit him while pushing, oops) and I really don't know what we would have done without Tia. She was intuitive enough to be at my side when I needed her and knew well enough when I needed a quiet moment to myself. The midwives, Rachel and Myriah, and birthing assistant, Michelle, were so brilliant at calming me down - getting me to do things I didn't really want to do (like push sometimes) and they really involved Tia and I know that meant a lot to all of us.
Luckily no one really seemed to mind the massive amounts of swearing coming out of my mouth and it was even encouraged. The swearing seemed to help me power through the push.
A little after 1130 it was decided that I needed a change of position so they helped me slowly walk to the bathroom to labor on the toilet. Tony sat in front of me and I held onto him for support during contractions. (This is when I bit him.)
I was soon beginning to feel progress; the change of position really did help. But regardless of all of the encouragement and progress I was starting to feel a little too overwhelmed. Rachel did a cervical check and asked if I wanted to feel my baby – that I was doing great and we were getting close. At first I don't think I could really wrap my head around what she was asking until she told me to just reach down and feel his head. I did, and it was incredible, and I was instantly terrified and energized at the same time.
They continued to feed me strawberries and massive teaspoons of honey and just before midnight I moved to the bed. I lay on my left side, all the while grunting and screaming like a crazed momma bear. We had previously talked about vocalizing and trying to avoid high pitched screaming and using low guttural moans to help me push. This sounds crazy but it helped so much.
I was surrounded by words of love and encouragement from everyone. He was coming soon and I just needed to listen to my body. We had begun to use his name - which was amazing to hear – to help beckon him out. And when I was closer, they offered to move me back to the tub, because we had originally intended to have a water birth. I'm pretty sure all I could manage to say was no, but in my head it was something like "if you move me from this bed someone is going to get hurt!"
So I continued pushing there on the bed, on my left side; Tia holding my right leg up, Tony behind me and the midwives and assistant either feeding me or giving me more leverage to push.
I remember when I began to feel his head starting to come out – it took many more pushes than I was hoping – but it was much shorter in reality than I felt it was. I could feel a small bit of his head push out and then I would take a breath and he would withdraw back in. Finally I could feel that this was it, that I needed to push with all my might. I used the support I had around me for leverage and raised my hands to push against the headboard. With one very long push and very low moan (and possibly some tears in my eyes) his head was birthed. (Later, Tony told me that he watched all of it and was in absolute shock when his head came out. He immediately opened his eyes and started crying.)
I knew then I had only a matter of time before I was able to meet him.
With a few more pushes he came out completely, broad shoulders and all, and they placed him on my stomach. Honestly, I could do nothing but stare at him in awe. Myriah and Rachel began checking on my placenta while Tony and I gaped at the fact that we now, had an amazing little being - 10 fingers, 10 toes, and a full head of hair.
Oliver was born at 1254 am on Tuesday, July 17th. I had to ask if it was still Monday. (Tia was really hoping he would be born on her birthday - the 16th, and I told Tony that I was not waiting until Wednesday to have him! Apparently he felt it necessary to have an entire day all to himself.
Tony cut the cord once it had finished pulsing and they continued to monitor my blood loss and placenta, which regardless of my pushing, had still not come out.
With Oliver on my stomach, he began to wiggle his way up my body towards my breast. It was amazing! I had read about the breast crawl and seen videos, but seeing him do it was incredible. So I fed my son for the first time (with some pointers of course) and they sat me up and gave me a shot of Pictocin meant to slow/stop the blood. After 45 minutes of pushing and finally moving me back to the bathroom I birthed the placenta.
I ended up losing quite a bit of blood (over a liter) and had 6 stitches for 2 tears.
They never took him from the room to do his stats and check up; everything was done while he was in one of our arms or on the bed next to us. He was 8lbs., 3oz., 22 ¼" long with a 14" round head.
Tia left around 230am and Rachel and Myriah had gone to take naps as they had another laboring momma heading in soon. Michelle stayed with us the entire time finishing paperwork, answering questions and making sure we got some rest before heading home.
We took an herbal bath, Oliver and I, and Tony fed me a rice dish that we had brought in. After a few hours rest and recuperation, we were on our way home by 730am.
I didn't cry when I first set my eyes on Oliver and at first I felt bad for that, like perhaps I should have or I was missing something. But the emotional outburst came the next day while I was watching him, realizing that all of the chaos and hard work of pregnancy and giving birth was through and here he was – this perfect little being was all ours. I still don't know how it's possible that you can love someone that you've only just met so much but it is just so natural and beautiful.
I realized that nothing was wrong with me and it had just taken some extra time for me to take in the immensity of his presence and what I had done.
It was incredible. Regardless of the fact that I was in immense pain, and took a little longer to heal than most, I would do it all over again.
I am so happy that we did switch to the Birth Center - from the caring prenatal care and happily answering all of our crazy questions, right down to being the most amazing people I could ever want at the birth of our son – it was the perfect place for us.