Aamina Leila Eckerson
9 lbs, 20 inches
It was a beautiful Sunday, and my mom was in town from her home in Missouri. She had been waiting to hear that I had given birth before coming up to help, but I was now a week overdue and the weather was predicted to be pretty nasty the following Wednesday, so she decided to come for the weekend and help tidy up before the baby came.
The usual routine was Kira would go to her Islamic studies class Sunday mornings. My husband and I dropped her off and went to breakfast with my mom. I had some cramps while eating breakfast, but didn't think anything of it until I noticed that I had a bit of show. Still, I figured I had a few days before anything was going to happen. After picking up Kira and going home for lunch, we decided to go to Babys R Us to pick up a stroller. By now, I was having more cramps but just figured it was the food not settling well. Still, I asked my mom to drive because it was distracting.
After leaving Babys R Us, my mom and I went on a walk. It was a beautiful day, and the "cramps" kept coming and were getting harder to talk through if I was sitting down. Walking felt good. It felt good to be doing something, and to get some fresh air. After about 30 minutes of walking though, one contraction stopped me to the point I was hunched over a bench holding on to the back. I finally decided about 4pm it was time to head home and start timing these because maybe, just maybe, this could be it.
While at home, I was trying to time the contractions, write them down, and help put the stroller together. Heh... all these responsibilities soon fell off my shoulders as things got more intense. Kira was then timing the contractions and we decided to call the midwife on call and our doula, McKenna, about 5pm to tell them the contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and a minute long each.
Unfortunately, there was a glitch with the phone system, so we needed to Paula directly. Lesson learned: give your husband all the phone numbers! I knew where everything was, so along with directing where all the bags were and what last minute things to pack, I was directing my husband to where the ONE piece of paper was that had Paula's number in the file cabinet! Everyone just had to wait until I was done with a contraction if I was mid sentence with telling them what to do next!
It didn't take long to get ahold of Catherine, the midwife on call and I was extremely happy to hear we could go to the birth center because I really didn't want to be at home any longer as things felt like they were getting too close. I knew the drive would not be fun at all, so I prepared for that. It was not easy to stay sitting the whole time, and crunched in a compact car, but I was so glad to have my husband next to me and that my mom was there to drive. My husband whispered in my ear during the drive, "You are so beautiful to me right now." Honestly, it made that contraction so much easier to get through.
When we entered Morning Star I don't even remember who was all there right away except Catherine. I kept my eyes closed with just about every contraction, so I really didn't pay much attention to what was around me. Catherine checked me, and I was already dilated to 7cm!! I was elated and looked up at my husband with a huge smile! Quickly, I got into the tub and my husband would keep putting a cold wash cloth on my forehead (we started this at home because I was feeling warm) and this was one of the best pain management techniques we used. It was distracting me from the pain on the contractions and it felt very soothing at the same time. Also, people talking and coaching in soft, gentle voices helped a lot because it was a way to focus on something outside of myself. McKenna and Catherine were especially helpful as they knew exactly what to say to help me relax.
The tub felt very good, mainly because I could move freely, without my weight and size being cumbersome. It wasn't too long before I could tell my baby moved into the birth canal and it was basically time to push. It was hard for me to wait until a contraction to push because I wanted this to be over now! At the same time, I was deeply scared. Labor wasn't as hard as I imagined, but all I could think of now is that this is where the injuries come in and this is where I'm going to tear. I doubted in my ability to birth my child safely, for her and myself. Pushing was an act of will if nothing else and I couldn't help but yell and scream... I mean, what else do you do with all that energy?! If a guy lifts a really heavy weight, he moans and groans. Well, I'm doing something far more powerful than he is! I felt a little embarrassed, but at the same time I couldn't hold it all in. It is hard to know when one push ended and the other started, but she came very quickly. We were also very surprised that my water never broke and Catherine told me to feel the water sack. It made me laugh amidst everything, and my husband said it looked like I was blowing a bubble. I gave a big push to birth her head and her head came out in the water sack looking like an astronaut (says my husband), but finally broke at this point. One more push and Catherine was putting her on my chest!! At 6:48pm, it was over, and felt amazing!
I did it, and didn't tear or injure myself or my baby! It was all just doubt in my head about what my body was able to do without a problem. With all the excitement that we now had our baby, I forgot to check if we had a boy or a girl! We had a beautiful baby girl, Aamina Leila, with a full head of hair at 9lb 0oz. We were met at the birth center with family before going home shortly before midnight. Aamina's big sister Kira, who was 10 years old, was especially excited as she had been wanting a sibling for a very long time. She is now the biggest helper I could ask for and a very loving and caring sister. We are very blessed.
I want to thank the entire Morning Star staff as they were incredible.