Birth of Grant Sallows

DSC04248I had heard these amazing stories, a mom dreams of having her baby under the tree in her backyard, then goes into labor the next day. She tells her midwife her dream and her midwife says “Why not?” So she does.  It’s the very tree, at the farmhouse her grandparents had lived. Another mom begins her labor and knows the Michigan weather is slowing her midwife down, she hops into the tub (maybe not hops, but you get the idea), trying to slow her labor. Instead, her baby boy appears and her husband scoops him into his arms. I was intrigued by such birth stories.

My labors with my beautiful boys were planned inductions by my O.B. The stories were the same. I arrived in the evening, had cervadil inserted, awaited a softened cervix, then a dose or two of Pitocin, and voila! A baby boy would be placed in my arms after the endless scrubbing probing and prodding of my sweet angels. I was fortunate that labor is quick for me. Yet, I felt that something could be different. Tony and I decided we were “done” after Grayden and Gavin. Just like we said we were never moving to Texas. That is another story. Two was enough and those beautiful stories were for everyone else.

Fast forward a few years…..

Grayden is 6 and Gavin is 5 and we had moved to Texas. I became a stay at home mom and Tony had a job he loves. Then baby fever. I make a few jokes but nothing serious. Tony jokes back and it turns into a serious DSC04226conversation. We aren’t “done.” We get pregnant quickly. I tell him about midwives and homebirths. We discuss the safety and laws and he agrees. We interview a few midwives in the area (“in the area” means within a couple hours away in Texas.) I met Darlene. I prayed. I knew she was “the one.” She was knowledgeable and there was special something about her. Tony was happy as long as I was comfortable. Pregnancy was tougher this time because I had morning sickness that I never had before but second trimester brings relief. Pregnancy was great and progressed well.

We reach the near end. Due date brings no baby but we decide he/she must not be ready and we will give it a few more days, before we have to have an ultrasound to be sure there isn’t something holding labor back. Darlene knew I had concerns over her not making it in time, due to my quick labors. (Grayden: I pushed for thirty minutes and Gavin I never pushed. My uterus did it for me in seven minutes with my O.B. barely making it.) Darlene calmed my nerves and decided she could come over before the ultrasound, spend the evening, and see if my labor can get started.

DSC04219Thursday rolls around. She comes over and gives me some herbal tea to drink. If my body is ready and the baby is ready, then labor shall ensue. She striped my membranes. We walk, talk, she crochets, and there are some contractions. Tony comes home, dinner with the boys, put them to bed. I knew I was tired but I wanted to get it all going. My eyes feel heavy. Darlene assures me I need rest but the contractions I have feel strong and I think “no way can I sleep. I need this to get going.” Darlene insists. I have her check me and I am dilated to a four. So I go lay down feeling comfortable that she is in the next room and my kids are peacefully sleeping.

11:27 p.m. I wake up breathing hard, contraction so overwhelming that it woke me out of a deep sleep. Labor begins on it’s own. I walk to the bathroom that is next to my room and have three contractions in that time. I try to breathe to get on top of them. They are fast and furious. She checks again and I am at a seven. I get in bed and she makes sure I am lying on my side to keep the birth canal open. My husband is warming water for the birthing tub that is a few feet from our room. Darlene has the birthing stool right outside our bedroom door. I continue to try to breathe. If only I could get on top of these contractions. I swore I would never moan or yell out like “those women” on TV. Well, I LIED! Darlene stops Tony from warming the tub and suggests he support me because I am not going to get out of the bed. She teaches him her “natural epidural” acupressure technique, by putting pressure on my lower back. Ahhh! Sweet relief. She asks if I can make it to the birth stool “NO way!” Then Tony moves front of me, hunching over, close to me, and I wrap my arms around his and pull down with every contraction. I am overwhelmed with love for him each one, his support is comforting. The pressure is getting stronger and I still just want to breathe. I feel pressure. My uterus is pushing down harder and harder. I yell “he is coming!” Darlene says it is my bag of waters. Then WHOOSH! It breaks. I think “Thank God for mattress covers.” Then came the famous “ring of fire” feeling that I had heard about and I knew it. It’s the baby and my body is doing all of the work for me. I have no control. I say “I can’t do this.” She and Tony reassure me “Yes, you can!” The baby is coming down and pushes on my bowels but there is no time to worry. Tony cleans me up (that’s true love.) The contractions wave over me but they are a constant flow. Darlene keeps reminding me to “breath and low tones”. I try. Just to have another “wave” hit me. Darlene tells me how God gives a five minute break, just before the big push. God knew better with me. I may change my mind. Then I yell “put him back in”. Tony and Darlene snicker. All I am thinking is “I just want to catch my breath”. There was no time. The boys were then at the door. The baby spirals down and out. It is 12:46. She puts the baby on my chest. She is so excited she says “It’s a boy”. We finally knew that our boys had their baby brother, Grant Edward, weighing in at 8 pounds 10 ounces, 25 inches long. Perfect. It didn’t matter that they had a brother, instead of the sister they wanted because “we have too many brothers” as Grayden says. Gavin was fascinated by the baby that “came out of your bottom, mom.” that he had to announce. We were all elated.  We had the cord pulsating as I snuggled our Grant. I was able to breastfeed an already hungry boy.  We were able to share in this experience as a family that we will never forget. We were in the moment, no distractions, just overflowing with love.

Darlene had checked me over after giving us our time. I had no tears. If I had gotten up, gravity would have taken its toll and I could have torn. It is as though we have this innate knowledge of positioning for each birth. My body did it all on its own. It was the birth I was meant to have and I thank God for, although, a water birth or orgasmic birth may have been nice. It was intense, empowering, short, and sweet. I felt great and looked great. Now I get to go to bed at night with my little boy, knowing he was born in the very spot I dream.

 –Angie Sallows–