Brad and Jennifer's Story

Triumphant Birth

On Thursday, April 11, I woke at 5 am with a contraction. It was a bit stronger than the braxton hicks I had been used to. A few minutes later I had another one. I got up, used the restroom and tried to go back to bed. When I had the third contraction I whispered to my husband, "Brad." He sat straight up in bed. I finished, "Donít get too excited, but I think itís happening." I told him to rest, as I got up, got some water and played on the computer for a while. My contractions were coming about 8 minutes apart. They were nice and fairly strong. I noticed the sun coming up through the window and was excited to get outside. I put on my robe and walked around the backyard. It was a beautiful morning and I felt so happy, excited but calm.

My body was working and it was amazing. I went inside long enough to get a banana and tell Brad that I was going for a walk. I couldnít wait to be back outside. I began walking up and down the street. I had a contraction so strong that I dropped my banana! I started walking a bit faster. When the contractions came I sang, clapped my hands lightly and put a spring into my step. That helped tremendously.

The sun got higher in the sky and the pink clouds got whiter as Brad came out to join me. We walked together, laughing as we passed by my banana, still laying in the street. We talked about how wonderful it would be to have a tiny baby in our bed as we fell asleep that night. We smiled and held hands as we walked through the contractions. Our front door was open, but I wanted to go in and check on our four year old son, Kaden. He was awake. Brad got breakfast for him and I told him that our baby was to be born today. He hugged me and asked if he could watch cartoons. I took care of him while Brad busied around the house preparing for visitors, labor and birth.

More contractions came. I wanted to go back outside, but felt better leaning on the arm of the couch through them. Oh, they were getting stronger and I told Brad we might want to start timing them. Thirty minutes later we called my midwife, Bonnieís, office. My contractions were 3 minutes apart and they were wonderfully strong. We called my Doula, Linda, my mother, and my friend Brandy. I told Brandy and my mom to take their time. The atmosphere in the house was so peaceful and nice, I wasnít ready for guests. Brad asked me to get on the bed so he could check my dilation. I told him to hurry.

Laying on the bed was not tolerable during a contraction. He checked me, and estimated I was at 4 or 5 cm, and the babyís head was on my pubic bone. I stood up and started walking around the house again. Standing and walking felt so much better! Brad called Bonnie to let her know how things were going. She told him she didnít think she was going to make it! I was in the bedroom with Kaden and my mom, who had just arrived. I felt another contraction coming and knew I was going to be making some noise! Leaning on the stool with my toes curling under me, I asked Kaden to help me "howl like a coyote" through the contractions. He howled and smiled, I howled and gripped the stool. I could have never imagined the power and strength my body was capable of as the contractions gained in intensity.

Brad still ran through the house, preparing the birth room while still massaging and supporting me. My Doula arrived. She hugged me and said, "You know you are in labor, right?" I told her I knew, and that Bonnie wouldnít be making it. I wanted Bonnie there, but I was so thankful to know that this would be over in less than the two hours it takes for her to drive in from Fort Worth! I walked in the living room and got Brad to bring the stool. Another huge contraction, Linda rubbed and pressed on my back. At the peak of this one I let out a huge grunting noise. I realized I was having the urge to push.

During the next contraction I felt it again. I told Linda, "I pushed a little and it felt really good! Iím not ready to push!" I walked into the hall thinking I may need to use the bathroom. I felt another one and hurried into the birthing room and called out for my trusty stool to lean on. This time, with Linda behind me and Brad by my side, I pushed. My water broke! I called out, "My water just broke and it felt good!" At that moment, my instincts and God told me to get down on my hands and knees. That felt so right. I pushed and crawled, then pushed and crawled a little further. Pushing felt so wonderful. Linda was massaging the cramp in my hip and Brad was trying to put water in the birthing pool. I felt my babyís head drop deep into my pelvis. I reached my finger in and felt the head. I told Brad I wasnít going to make it into the water. Startled, he accidentally sprayed me with hose! He apologized and I told him it actually felt nice!

One more push and I felt the head crowning. Linda said, "Brad, I see black hair!" Another push and Linda thought the cord was wrapped around the top of the head. Brad ran to phone Bonnie. I said, "No, everything is okay." I reached down and felt what they were looking at. It was the roll of fat that is at the top of the head as a baby crowns. "It is just the head, it is okay." I calmly told them. Linda called out for Brad to come back in. As he ran in the room, I pushed again. Brad said, "Oh my God, oh my God!" I could feel him smiling and I knew the face was out. Brad guided the head as I pushed again. Out came the body, right into Bradís hands! I held my leg up to be sure not to pull the cord as I turned over and sat down. I took the baby out of Bradís hands and noticed a velvety body, a beautiful face and a penis! "Hello my son!" I cried out as I held him to my chest.

I did it! I birthed my baby! There are no words to describe the way that felt! My best friend, Brandy had walked in right as he came out. Linda got my mom and Kaden, who had been playing with our bunnies in the backyard. As Kaden came in and I said, "You have a baby brother! What do you think?" He said, "Itís good." He smiled and kissed me, lightly touching is baby brotherís head. Brad sat close as I rubbed Donovan and began nursing him. Brandy called Bonnie to tell her our baby had arrived. One more push and the placenta was out. Soon the room filled with laughter, hugs, tears and the miraculous sounds of our babyís cries. It was more than amazing!

An hour later Bonnie arrived. We introduced her to our tiny son and she checked us over. We were both healthy and fine. Kaden got the honor of cutting the cord, just as he had been requesting for months. Bonnie said she was sad that she missed such a glorious birth. Then she said, "What a triumph for you, an unassisted vaginal birth after caesarian at home! I am so proud of you!" I agreed, I am proud of us, too!

Birthing Donovan was the most empowering thing I have ever done. It was hard work, but so much fun. God has blessed us with two Whole and wonderful sons, and all I can feel is bliss.

Brad and Jennifer Downing

NOCIRC of Wichita Falls, TX



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