Oliver's Birth at Connecticut Childbirth & Women's Center | Danbury, CT
With all of the newborns I've been getting to photograph lately, and with Oliver's FOURTH birthday (I can hardly believe it) come and gone, I have been thinking a lot about his beautiful birth and I thought it would be fun to share his birth story here. I had a water birth at the Danbury Birth Center (formally know as the Connecticut Childbirth & Women's Center), though it wasn't always going to be that way...
I don't know how I knew, but when I was pregnant with Oliver, I just had this very deep knowing that I would have a natural childbirth. I was scared as hell about what that would be like, so I started doing a ton of research, watching videos of natural childbirth and the documentary The Business of Being Born which really got me thinking about the type of environment I wanted to bring him into on his birth day. I began speaking to my OB about natural childbirth and she was not enthusiastic to say the least - it was an immediate red flag and so I began searching for alternatives. Thank GOODNESS I found Cynthia Overguard from Hypnobirthing of Connecticut and she completely changed the course of my pregnancy & birth (and has since become a good friend!). Hypnobirthing helped me prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for the challenges of birth and I also discovered the Connecticut Childbirth Center and my doula, Laurie. I finally felt prepared for Oliver's birth and eagerly awaited his due date, though I had no idea I wouldn't need to wait as long as I thought...
Tuesday, Feb 19th started off like just another day. I was 37.5 weeks pregnant and running through my nesting checklist trying to complete all of our final home renovation tasks in the few weeks before the babies due date. I went to see my midwives in the afternoon - things looked good and Cathy indicated that he was very low, perfectly positioned, and could be ready to make his arrival any day. She joked, "See you in a week for your next appointment, if not sooner!" to which I responded, "No, he can't arrive yet, our furniture isn't being delivered until Saturday!"
I spent the rest of the afternoon in nesting mode, doing 3 loads of laundry, 2 loads of dishes, unpacking supplies and arranging them in our brand new kitchen. I went upstairs to use the bathroom at 5:15 pm and just as I walked in I heard a pop and felt a gush of water (just like they describe it, which I wasn't expecting to actually happen to me!). I immediately called Gary, who was both shocked and skeptical that this was it, and he said he'd be right home from work. I called the birth center, and they were skeptical too - asked if I could come in by 6:30 pm (before the office closed) but said that I would probably be going back home. By the time Gary got home, my surges had kicked in and were coming about every 5 minutes, so we got our things together and headed off as quickly as possible.
When we arrived at 6:15 pm, Cathy put me on the fetal monitor and then checked me and I was 3 cm dilated. At that point, it didn't make sense to go home but was too early to be admitted so we were told to hang out upstairs in the waiting room. We finally got into our room around 7:15 pm and when the nurse checked me I was 5 centimeters. My surges were really increasing in intensity, so I asked to hop in the shower while we anxiously waited for our Doula to arrive. Finally, Laurie got to the birth center and immediately provided great support and suggestions to ease the intensity. When I got out of the shower, all I wanted to do was sit on the toilet! I was slightly embarrassed, but let my body tell me what it needed to do to open up and let the baby come. At that point my surges were so strong and I kept asking Laurie if this was transition - everyone thought I still had a ways to go, but little did they know that by about 8:45 I already was in transition. By 9 pm it was time to get in the tub - with Gary by my side providing loving and supportive words, as well as Laurie and the birth affirmations recording, I began to push until about 30 minutes later (4.5 hours after my water broke!), Oliver made his debut into the world via water birth. It was truly the most beautiful and emotional experience of our lives, and we were amazed at how alert and peaceful our son was for the next few hours as the three of us cuddled in bed and bonded.
My recovery was so easy that after a short night of sleep, we left the birth center just 8 hours after giving birth. Going home and getting settled in to recovery and begin bonding was absolutely amazing. The midwives made several visits to our house to make sure everything was going as expected - it truly was the dream birth I had been hoping for and I definitely give a lot of the credit to Hypnobirthing, the midwives at the birth center, and my doula for all of their education and support. Birth is an incredibly miraculous event and one that a woman carries with her for the rest of her life, so I truly feel so blessed that my entry into motherhood was so memorable.