Thorsten Kiefer’s Birth – August 26th, 2016
Due to Kathi leaving for vacation on the morning of the 26th, I was more than a bit nervous and bound and determined to have this baby before she left town. I woke early without an alarm on Thursday the 25th of August. I started my day with a 6:30am Yoga class at Yen Yoga, followed by an acupuncture appointment at 10:00am. I went straight to Kathi’s office after and had her check my cervix, still 3cm dilated with baby’s head in position but chin slightly tucked. Kathi told me to eat lunch and go home to practice the “Miles Circuit.” I spent the afternoon doing as much preparation and nesting as possible, I ate eggplant for dinner, and drank red raspberry leaf tea to induce contractions. Then, I took my boys,Rafe (age 7) and Silas (age 4), for a walk around the neighborhood while my husband, Don, went to finish up some last minute things at a jobsite not too far from home. I was finally getting kids to bed, just before 9:00pm, when Don returned home. Beginning to feel the pressure of “Time,” I decided to try castor oil as a last resort. The first dose at 9:15pm and the second at 10:15pm….
I thought I’d pass the time by finishing up my pregnancy scrapbook because who really wants to do it after the baby is born, right?? I sat on the bed finishing up the last few pages and making notes, when I felt a little wetness. I told Donnie I thought I may have either lost a bit more mucus plug or peed myself because of the moisture. After going to the bathroom, I said “I can’t be sure, but I think my water may have broken.” He smiled and laughed, saying “you’d think by now, after three times, you would know if your water broke.” It was a few minutes after 11:00pm. Donnie quickly helped me put the scrapbook materials away and started making Labor Lemonade. I told him to quit with the lemonade and fill the birthing tub. By 11:25pm I had my first contraction. 5-10 minutes later, another and another. He texted Kathi to let her know, even though I wasn’t sure of exact timing between. I just knew they were very strong and steady. I had no idea how fast this labor was progressing, considering my last two labors were not nearly as fast. They each took about 4-5 hours from start to finish and I had time in between contractions to breathe… not so with this one!!! Kathi immediately called back and said she was on her way, as she knew better than I that this baby was coming, and fast.
Donnie called his mother Deb, our friend and birth photographer Colleen Losse, and our friend Chelsea at around 11:50pm. Chelsea was the first to arrive around midnight and assisted with pushing on my lower back while Don got the tub blown up and filled with water. It felt like an eternity waiting for it to fill! I started feeling incredibly nauseated at that point and remember squeezing the cool stainless steelbowl with each contraction.
Deb was the next to come in with a cool wet cloth for my head and neck. I remember telling her to “be quiet, be quiet, be quiet!”, as I squeezed the life out of her hand. I felt bad later and was thankful she didn’t take it personal.
Kathi came very soon after and her presence made me feel at ease, peaceful, and mindfully relaxed. She asked me a few times if I needed to go to the bathroom. I didn’t, but definitely feel the urge to push and have been a little through each contraction. At that point, her student midwife, Kristen, was trying to listen for baby’s heartbeat and I recall being annoyed with not only the sound of it but how painful the contractions were and having to sit still. I also started hearing the “clicks” of Colleen’s camera, but quickly tuned them out. (Both Colleen and student midwife, Connie, got there around 12:30ish)
During the freight train of craziness and contractions, I asked Donnie to apply some black pepper essential oil to my lower back. I didn’t care for the smell, but was thankful for the pain relief! At that point I started pushing harder and my water was gushing. I heard Kathi say “Get her pants off!”, and remember thinking “crap, I forgot about those!” It took the whole team to remove them. Kathi asked if I had to go to the bathroom again, and I was concerned that I would have the baby in the toilet. She promised she wouldn’t let that happen but did need to check me. As she did so, she said she could see baby’s head and that I was going to have this baby right here on the bed, unless we moved to the tub right then. I rolled to my left side and quickly realized baby’s head was crowning and this was happening NOW. “I have to make it to the TUB!” I was unable to get up out of bed on my own. I started pushing again with my water spraying everywhere. I had been squeezing and even biting Donnie’s arm during the last few contractions, but through it all he, the midwives, and Angels were able to Olympic leap me out of bed, sprint across the bedroom and into the nursery birthing pool.
Once in the tub, I had some relief upon submerging into the warm water. I grasped the outer handles, let my legs float apart, and began to bear down and push. I moaned and groaned heavily and had to be reminded to stop pushing and breathe. While doing so, Kathi applied a great deal of pressure to my perineum and held baby’s head in to allow stretching. I was thankful for this in the end because I had no tearing!
Donnie sent Deb to go wake the boys, as they were very adamant prior to bed that they wanted to be there for baby’s birth. I heard Deb say “your baby brother or sister will be here soon,” as I lifted my face from resting on the poolside and saw the three of them standing in the nursery doorway. The boys were quiet but had looks of shock on their face and I hoped they weren’t scared to see Mommy in pain. We had many talks of what they might see or hear during birth.
Feeling the burning “Ring of Fire,” and incredible pressure, I kept wondering how much longer and when will I be done?!? As quick as those thoughts popped up, I feel relief and hear Kathi say “Baby’s head is out.” I cried out more tears of relief and joy than anything, but everyone said “No, it’s OK, you’re almost done!” I felt so happy in that moment knowing the hardest work, and worse pain was over. “One more push, Colleen,” said Kathi. Giving another easy push and sigh of relief, Kathi caught baby and passed under water to Donnie who had been applying back pressure during labor. As he passed baby to me between my legs, I just looked at him in amazement, hearing Kathi say, “It’s a boy.”
Smiling at him, was so happy in that moment to have another boy, so perfect, beautiful, and precious! He was a bit stunned but had good color. I told him how much I loved him and how perfect he was. “take a breath and cry for Mama.” It took a moment for him to cry, but when he did, he didn’t stop. I realized as I tried to nurse him and have skin to skin contact, I never even had time to take off my sports bra!
Brothers, Rafe and Silas, were so excited and all smiles. Silas ran over, “can I touch the baby?!?”
I noticed the tub water was much clearer and not tinged red as with my previous birth. The “Reduced Bleeding Blend” of essential oils (25 drops each of ylang ylang, helichrysum, cypress, white fir, geranium, and clary sage- applied to ankles and lower back daily the last week of pregnancy) must have helped a lot.
When it was time to birth the placenta, just another few pushes was all it took an still not much bleeding. Silas was helped to cut new Baby’s cord, passing down the tradition of Rafe cutting Silas’s cord. The boys had been planning that throughout the pregnancy. We plan on planting the placenta with a tree in the backyard, with faith that our children will always come HOME to us.
We’re all on cloud nine, relieved, and overwhelmingly excited to meet our newest member of our family AND he’s perfect and healthy!
Quite the fast and furious labor and delivery. Born at 1:05am on August 26th, 2016. 7 pounds, 12 ounces and 20 ¼ inches long. Deb helped put the boys back to bed, reading them a story. The midwives left around 4:00am. Donnie and I found it hard to sleep we were so excited… The boys woke around 8:00am, Silas running in the room saying “Rafe, it wasn’t a dream! We have a cute new baby!…. Mom can you have another baby??… Because this one is so cute, but he’s going to grow up so we need another.”