She's Here! A New Dad Shares the Story of His First Child's Birth

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I was at the kitchen counter Thursday night, when Ginnie got home around 9:00 p.m. We said our hellos, and as usual, Ginnie’s next stop was the bathroom. Because the cats were meowing loudly, I asked her if she’d use the bathroom upstairs and please feed the cats while she was up there.

A few minutes went by. I heard Ginnie scoop the cat food out of the container and then pour it in their dish. Then, out of the blue, I heard, “Uh-oh.” I heard Ginnie walk back to the bathroom, and she said, “I think my water just broke.” Thinking she probably wet herself because she had just bent over to feed the cats, I asked, “Are you sure?” On my way upstairs, it occurred to me that I had heard the toilet flush before I heard her feeding the cats. That’s when I realized she could be right.

I grabbed the pH paper that our midwife, Mary Anne Richardson, had left for us, and sure enough, it turned from green to navy blue in color. Immediately, I paged Mary Anne. She explained that because Ginnie hadn’t had any pressure waves—“contractions” for you non Hypno-Moms—Mary Anne wasn’t overly concerned at this stage. She emailed us some information on safe ways to encourage labor progression. Ginnie and I read over the papers and decided that I needed to make a Kroger run.

Before I left for the grocery, we started getting things in order. Ginnie gathered all of the stuff the midwife had instructed us to have for the birth: peroxide, bleach, Gatorade, Chuck pads, etc. Meanwhile, I was inflating the birthing pool. At about 11:00 p.m., I left to go to the grocery store. While I was gone, Ginnie called her sister, Katie, and told her that the birthing time had begun and to come over. On my way to Kroger, I was worried that Ginnie wasn’t having any contractions. I kept thinking to myself, “We are going to end up in the hospital tonight.” I never said that to Ginnie, of course.

When I returned home, I found Ginnie changing clothes. When I asked what she was doing, she replied, “We never got any maternity pictures — let’s do some real fast!” We had planned to do some pretty, outdoor maternity photos the coming weekend, but obviously, that wasn’t going to happen. We did some very basic, very fast maternity photos. Sadly, I’m not in any of them.

After Katie arrived, the three of us sat in the kitchen and ate a snack. Ginnie had been instructed to eat a substantial, high carb snack, topped off with a “castor oil cocktail” made of 2 oz. castor oil, 6 oz. of soda, and a big scoop of ice cream mixed together in a blender (insert gag reflex here).

At about midnight, we all went to bed. Ginnie and I tried listening to her Hypnobabies CD while attempting to sleep, but when Ginnie laid down, her pressure waves started to come on more quickly. I laid on my side of the bed with a small flashlight, pen and notepad keeping track of her pressure waves. I’d note the start time and duration of each pressure wave, watching them get closer together and of longer duration as I went down the page.

By 1:30 a.m., Ginnie was experiencing some discomfort. She asked if I would fill the birthing pool. I called Mary Anne and told her that Ginnie was asking to get into the pool, and she said that I could go ahead and fill it, and that she’d be at our house in about an hour.

At 2:00 a.m. the pool was filled with soothing hot water, the lights were dimmed and the candles lit. Ginnie became much more comfortable. Mary Anne arrived at 2:30 a.m., and we were also joined by her assistant Lindsey (a midwife in training), Katie, and our photographer, Terri Cannon.

What happened from 3:00 a.m. until 4:27 a.m. is a bit of a blur for me, although I’m certain that Ginnie can give vivid details of this period of time. Mary Anne and Lindsey did their thing, and I stayed close to Ginnie, helping to comfort her.

By 4:15 a.m., we were approaching the birth of our daughter, Cora. Lindsey took the lead as Mary Anne stood by. At 4:21 a.m., I texted my Mom, saying “Head almost out.” Two pushes later, Cora’s head was out, and Lindsey asked Ginnie to get up on her knees in order to get Cora out more easily. Ginnie gave one more push, Lindsey said, “OK Ginnie, reach down and take your baby.”

I sat back and just watched as Ginnie marveled over our little Cora. Ginnie sat down in the pool and brought Cora up to her chest. Cora began to cry almost instantly as Mary Anne suctioned her mouth. I sent Mom another text saying “She’s here!” They moved Ginnie to the bed, and Cora started to nurse right away.

Two hours later, Ginnie and Cora had been tended to, the living room was cleaned out and everything was back in its place, and Mom and Dad showed up with breakfast.

I am so thankful that Cora’s incredible birth went as well as it did, and that we were able to be at home. Home births are amazing on TV, but to be there in that moment was awesome, in the truest meaning of the word. It was so peaceful and intimate. In my eyes, Ginnie is a rock star. I cannot begin to express my appreciation, admiration, respect and love for her.
 
Photo: Terri Cannon

Comments

Wow! What an incredible experience! Childbirths are amazing moments, but home births have something special that makes you think about life at a whole new level. Luckily, everything went well and both the mom and the baby are fine. Once things get back to normal, the mom should consider taking a few physical therapy NYC sessions, to get back on shape. From now on, life will be full of adventures, so she needs to be strong.

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