The Birth Story of Magnus Rock Shulmistra
The backstory: We wanted a natural, water birth and chose a midwifery group and hospital that supported that plan. In addition to staying healthy and (very) active, we took a HypnoBirthing® class with Nicole from Bend & Blossom to help prepare us for Magnus’ birthing day. I think people thought I was crazy: no meds, in the tub and eastern philosophy—and, I taught 4 yoga classes and walked the length of Hoboken and back the day before I went into labor.
A week before my due date, around 7pm, while eating dinner, I thought my water had sprung a leak. However, I wasn’t entirely certain. I immediately reached out to some knowledgeable friends for reassurance since this was all new to me. Dale, of course, insisted I finish dinner.
We then did what all laboring women would do—headed to Walmart. You see, while I had the tub ready, I still needed a few last minute supplies that were being shipped from the west coast (floating thermometer and fish net). I guess I could’ve sprung for the next day shipping, but statistics say first time moms go 10 days late—not a week early!
Anyway, off to Walmart we go. . .and if there was any doubt that my water broke, it was over. I’m now walking through the aisles fully soaked, but it was late and it was Walmart, so no big deal. We picked up some “adult underwear” and continued on our journey.
I was still missing one critical item for my water birth though—a liner.
I am now in full scenario planning mode. My liner was meant to arrive in the morning—maybe it would arrive in time? Again, first time moms tend to have longer labors. I call my midwife and ask her if she has a spare. . .she said she might, but couldn’t guarantee, then I thought I could potentially just use the tub and replace it when done. I mean, what’s a few hundred bucks for your ideal birth? Dale didn’t like that idea and urged me to keep searching. I contemplated posting my inquiry to some mom and yoga communities. Although, that seemed desperate and panicked so I passed on that. It is now close to 10pm, but I had one last idea. . . I called some “yogi” friends and lone behold we located a liner. . .in Howell (about 20 minutes away). So off we went.
It’s about 10:30pm, we are now on our way back to the house, and I’m starting to feel the “surges” (HypnoBirthers don’t say contractions as it has a painful association). We get home and I set the mood with candles, lavender and trying to gather up all my meditative skills to relax my body and ride the waves.
I won’t lie, it was intense. The surges were only 2-3 minutes apart. After a while, the only place that I felt relief was in the shower. I asked Dale to call the midwife and he refused as it was his job to keep me out of the hospital until my contractions were at 4-1-1: four minutes apart, for ONE minute, for an hour. And, while my surges were intense and frequent, they didn’t quite get to a minute in length (thank goodness).
So, I sucked it up and continued to labor at home. It’s now just after 2am. I discover a bloody mucus membrane—Dale now takes me seriously and feels the need to update the midwife, who says it’s time to come to the hospital. So, off we went—tub and all.
Surges are every 2 minutes and what should be a 20 minute car ride feels like an eternity. And, of course Dale would not exceed the legal speed limit. And, for all the ladies out there, I was buckled up in the front seat—there were no alternate positions allowed while captain safety was at the helm.
Finally, we arrive! I have never been so excited to be at a hospital for someone to confirm I was in active labor. However, not so fast. Even though I was pre-registered, there seemed to be an endless supply of paper pushers asking what seemed to be irrelevant questions.
Based on my state, I skipped triage and went right up to Labor and Delivery. I saw my midwife, I saw 6 nurses there. I was happy. I was expecting people to jump up and help me. . .but instead more paper pushing! I wanted to scream. . .and I probably did. I know, I have high expectations.
I don’t think people were taking me seriously. Around 3 am, I finally was examined and to everyone’s surprise (but mine), I was 9 cm dilated. I made my way off of the bed and into the shower to find relief, while the nurses called for backup and Dale scurried to get the tub and supplies.
However, “little” Magnus couldn’t wait to meet us. Just as Dale arrives, the midwife exclaims there is no time to set up the tub. . .it’s “go time”. Plans are made to be modified so I make my way onto the bed without any resistance. I don’t know how many people were in the room, nor did I care.
Dale was up by my head—while the idea of watching the birth initially made him squeamish, he stepped up and assumed the role of my birthing coach. He was like an octopus: he seemed to be everywhere. He was helping to support my head as well as bring my knees into my chest, when I didn’t have the strength. He was counting with the nurses, encouraging me with each push. He was even watching the birth unfold in amazement as our baby entered the world, slowly but surely.
It took about an hour of “pushing”. I’m not sure how long it felt. . .maybe longer, maybe shorter. However, it was certainly the most intense experience of my life—and I just wanted a little break, but it never came and there was no turning back. I got some tough love from the midwife and stayed the course.
Magnus arrived at 4:21 am. I caught him and brought him onto my chest, while Dale cut the cord. He was a blue as a blueberry and covered in white gunk, but he was ours (and out).
It was an incredible, life changing experience in more ways than one. Dale, baby Magnus and I did it—just how nature and the universe intended.