126 Cornish St.
(Country Rd 15)
Sherman, NY 14781

Birth Stories

The birth of Silas

I woke up at 12:20am on March 22nd. 10 days overdue. I was having a contraction.  I’d had lots of them over the last several weeks. Nothing new. A little annoyed it was happening again in the middle of the night, I got up to walk around. It only took a few more contractions for my mind to think “gee, this is a little different. I kind of don’t want to walk around. I want to be still.” I started timing them. Six minutes, two minutes, four minutes, eleven minutes, three minutes… all over the place. That’s not labor right? That’s false labor… hmm… I’ll google it… no help. Could be real labor. Could be false labor. I kept timing them, walking around, sitting on the couch, standing in the kitchen, leaning on the table.
Finally at 2:30am I woke up my husband. I asked him if I should call the midwife. “How would I know?” He said… “I don’t even know what false labor is. You would know better than me if you should call.” I knew the rules… contractions that get closer together and increase in intensity.. that’s labor. Well, they were still all over the place in their timing, but I was starting to not be able to walk and I had to stop and breathe through them a tiny bit. I guess it can’t hurt to call the midwife.
So, 2:30am I call Jennifer. I explain that I’m having contractions but there’s no real pattern to them. She informs me that “contractions at intervals from 2 to 6 minutes apart IS a pattern” but we’ll see how it goes. The only way to know if it’s going to continue is to wait and see. I knew that. But I had to be told again. She said she’d call me when she woke up in the morning and see how I was doing. Great.
It wasn’t long after that I started getting uncomfortable. I got out the birthing ball and put it at the end of the bed. I leaned onto my elbows on the bed and put my head in my hands. I rocked and swayed. I had to breathe deeply through each contraction. But it was going well. Really well. I was doing it! This was definitely it. It better not stop or stall. I was ready to meet baby.
An hour or so later and the birthing ball just wasn’t working for me. I went out to the living room and knelt down on some foam we had for this exact purpose (thanks to Jennifer to making that suggestion!). I leaned onto the couch. My husband had turned it around so there was lots of room in front of it. It felt like the right place to be. I labored there for a while as my husband made arrangements to take the day off work. He was busy doing things around the house but I have no idea what it was he was up to. At 5:00am I started feeling a little alone. I felt like everything was going well, but I wanted reassurance. I asked my husband to call Jennifer and ask her to come to the house. I wanted her near me. He did, and she was on her way. I knew it would be a while, but I was glad she would be there soon.
Jennifer arrived at 6am. I was so thankful she was there. I heard her say I sounded good… I was vocalizing through each contraction at that point… something I had tried to do early on and it just didn’t feel right. At that point, I couldn’t help it… noise escaped my lips every time.
Jennifer sat in a chair next to the couch, perfectly in my peripheral vision and yet not the center of my focus. She’s good at her job. I think my husband was working on making her coffee? I don’t know what he was doing. He’d check in every so often, then bustle off toward the other end of the house for a while. I started to feel like I NEEDED Jennifer and my husband with me. Any time one of them would get up and leave the room I felt strong anxiety. I really thought I was going to want to labor alone… but I needed them there. They calmed me. Just by sitting.
Jennifer called her assistant, and Andrea came to the house, though I can’t remember what time. I was glad she was there. I needed Jennifer, and I was glad Andrea could help so that Jennifer wouldn’t have to leave me.
The contractions got much stronger as time went on. I remember noticing it was getting brighter… the sun was coming up. And I was surprised I was still in labor… still working through that first stage of dilation. It had gone by very quickly, and yet seeing the sun come up made me feel like I’d been in labor forever. Jennifer had me use the bathroom a couple of times. I hated that.
I don’t know when I hit transition… but looking back I remember a very distinct difference in my contractions. I felt like I couldn’t manage them well anymore… I couldn’t keep a low tone of voice… I couldn’t keep my body relaxed.. I started dreading each contraction. I remember shaking my head “no” several times, looking up at my midwife as if to say “I can’t do this”. She was calm. She was encouraging. It felt to me like this was all very routine, very normal, and she just continued to tell me I was doing a good job. She understood. She was watching. She let me squeeze her hand in an effort to be silently heard. So I kept waiting… waiting for something different. Jennifer asked several times if I wanted to try a different position, if I wanted to use the bathroom.. but I felt stuck. Any attempt to move at all was met with increased discomfort. I was staying exactly where I was!!
Around 9 or 9:30 in the morning I was feeling that I might not be able to go on. I asked Jennifer how much longer this would last. I knew if she told me it might last many more hours, I was going to give up. I was going to go to the hospital and get drugs. I just couldn’t any more. Jennifer offered to check me and see where I was. I was SO THANKFUL for that offer. I desperately needed to know where I was… what I was in for.
We went into my bedroom and Jennifer checked me. I was over 9.5cm and she said she could feel a lot of water. She thought perhaps all that water was keeping me from dilating that last little bit. She offered to break my water to help move things along. I remember stopping Jennifer while she was preparing to break my water and asking her “will it get a lot worse?”. I can’t remember her answer. It didn’t matter. It was going to happen. I was going to work my way through it.
Jennifer broke my water and I had a few contractions in my bed. Then Jennifer suggested an assisted squat position. So we went back to the living room and my husband sat in a chair. I squatted in front of him and he helped to hold me up. It was a little awkward at first, but we got it figured out after a few tries. I continued to labor there, wondering how long it would be before I was ready to push. Jennifer was coaching us, and I thought it was going fairly well. After a while though, Jennifer thought I should be making a little more progress and asked if I’d be against some “hospital pushing” on my back. I remember thinking: “I can do that… I’m okay with that.. but… am I supposed to be pushing??” I never felt that urge to push that I’d read about. I somehow had completely missed the memo that I was at the pushing stage!
At that point, I got pretty excited. Finally! Something different! So we went back to the bedroom and I pushed there for a while.. everyone helping me, cheering me on, letting me know when I’d had a good push. It was hard work, but it was good. It wasn’t painful like the contractions had been before. Everyone was working so well together. Andrea and Jennifer doing their thing, most of the time I was completely unaware of exactly what it was they were doing, but I knew they were working hard for me and for my baby. My husband was my constant support.
Jennifer said I’d made good progress, and asked if I wanted to go back to squatting.  Heck yeah! I liked that position, and now that I knew how to push effectively, I was READY. So back to the living room we went. Jennifer was monitoring the baby’s heartrate quite frequently at this point. She couldn’t find it easily when I was in the squatting position, so I had to stand up between contractions. But as soon as another contraction started, I NEEDED to squat down. For a while the contractions were so close together, Jennifer couldn’t find the heartrate and get a good listen before I was squatting down again. I started wondering why we were playing this game… up and down… up and down… why not just let me do my thing? Later I found out that Silas’ heartrate was dropping a bit. Nothing dangerous, just a little concerning… in that range that needed monitoring. She was doing her job. She was doing it well. I was just completely oblivious.
Jennifer told me I needed to work hard, so I did! And I was making progress. She could see the progress I was making. She asked if I wanted to feel the baby’s head. I didn’t. I had never had any desire to do that. It didn’t change during labor. But it did encourage me to just keep working hard. We were almost there!
I kept waiting for the “ring of fire” to announce I was almost done. But I only felt it on my very last push. It wasn’t nearly the terrible pain I had anticipated. And it was so very short lived. Jennifer told me the baby’s head was out. I thought it would take one more contraction to push the body out, but nope! All in one contraction out the baby came onto the floor in front of me (with Jennifer’s guiding hands of course). I looked down. Perfection. And then I saw… it was a boy!! I waited a few seconds (what seemed like forever) for Jennifer or my husband to announce it. When neither of them did, I went ahead. “It’s a boy!!” My husband was so happy… we were both thrilled. We’d desperately wanted a boy. I found out later that I was blocking my husband’s view… he couldn’t see if it was a boy or girl, so it was my announcement that gave him the good news. We had already settled a very long time before on what we would name our first boy. It makes sense now that we hadn’t been able to settle on a girl’s name. It didn’t matter. Our little Silas Todd was born at 11:30am on March 22nd, 2016!