Warning: If you get squeamish by the thought of birth &/or bodily functions do NOT continue to read. This is my birth story and I’m about to get REAL with ya’ll.
So I’m sitting on my couch the morning of January 21st about to cry, again. I’m 42 weeks pregnant. I’ve had “false labor” and these “pains” for weeks now. The pains are hard to describe but I know that they are in the realm of normal pregnancy discomforts, the closest I can get to describing them is to say it feels like the baby is trying to wedge it’s head down town and it just can’t quite figure out how to get comfortable. About every other day would be a BAD day. I wanted my baby to choose the day it came into this world, I wanted everything to happen naturally, the way nature, my body and my baby intended however, on Monday the 21st at 42 weeks pregnant things were starting to seem hopeless. “Was there something wrong? Am I making the right decision? Can I stand another night in that much pain? How hard will I have to fight the doctors on the next visit?” These were some of the many thoughts going through my head on a daily basis. With the encouragement of my mother, my husband and a few close friends I was reassured that this is normal and I need to stay on the path that I set out to travel. I KNOW my body works, I kept thinking of that saying “my body’s not a lemon.” I talked to the baby everyday, I kept busy, I stopped the busy and turned inward, I relaxed, I walked but still nothing. Every morning that I woke up still pregnant I thought about a few moms I know personally, these women would have given anything to have carried their baby full term but for different reasons had a premature baby and spent weeks and months in the NICU, out of town and away from their homes.
The days and weeks leading up to the birth of my beautiful son were spent with natural labor induction methods, nothing extreme just the usual, walking, spicy food, sex (TMI? sorry, don’t you know me by now?) more walking, baths, the yoga ball, pineapple, eggplant, RRL tea, Primrose oil (everywhere) etc. Nothing “worked” and I just figured baby was not ready. On extremely rough nights with no sleep, lots of hands and knee positions and lots of tears my husband would get up with the kids, make me breakfast and coffee and let me rest once everything subsided. He was my rock, every hour of the day. The man I love supporting me with every ounce of himself and truly believing that we are doing the right thing. At 41 weeks I started to see an amazing lady named Cheryl Blankenship with Island Acupuncture. I told her I was on the clock, I had an appointment at North Eastern in Elizabeth City with the doctor there on Wednesday January 23rd and I knew that day would be the doctors “limit.” Once you go past a certain point in pregnancy you can no longer schedule appointments with your midwife, you have to see a doctor. Stress tests, ultrasounds, etc. Cheryl set me up with a series of three sessions, Thursday, Friday and again on Monday. On the days in-between I met with a local Chiropracter, Dr. Brent Vuyovich at Thrive who just happened to go to high school with me. He is wonderful and seems to believe in a lot of the same life style practices as my family. Everyone asks me if I think these are the things that sent me into labor and I do think they may have helped but if nothing else I physically felt lovely, refreshed and relaxed after my acupuncture and chiropractic sessions and plan on going back with the whole family once we get back on our feet.
My only sister flew all the way in from California (in hopes that a baby would already be here for her to meet) she planned her trip weeks back, I mean, with two previous children born at 38 weeks how could a baby NOT be here by that time?! Oh how wrong we all were. After a weekend filled with sisterly love, homeopathic remedies (that did seem to get things going only to have them stop dead in their tracks just like they’ve done before) acupressure (thanks to some amazing Spencer girls) and more of those “pains” I had to say goodbye to my sister and send her back home with no baby.
Monday morning the 21st I was at a breaking point. I began the day with coffee (duh) and belly binding. For this process I used my Sakura Bloom ring sling and tightened the top around my abdomen and left the bottom loose in hopes to help baby move down. After that I did a series of lunges, squats and stair climbs. I then broke off to see Cheryl at Island acupuncture for a session. As soon as I got back home I started herbal remedies, cotton root and blue cohosh along with some delicious castor oil smoothies. Yes, I went there. I never thought I would but never say never. I have to say, I’ve had worse. Around 6 pm I called my mother to come over and help with the kids and I told her I might be in labor (keep in mind this was probably the 10th time I have said that to her over the last few weeks) I was having contractions but no where near the type of contractions I was expecting from “real labor.” They were manageable with some wonderful positions my own mama taught me (check her out on Facebook, Outer Banks Childbirth Educator.) Looking back I guess that was “real labor contractions” and I was just able to work with my body through the pain not against it. By 9 pm we had been timing contractions that seemed to be all over the map, from 2-3 minutes apart to 7-8 minutes apart to 10-12 minutes apart. With the contractions getting farther apart I was getting super discouraged and feeling sick to my stomach. I retreated up to my bedroom where I had projectile vomit in the bathroom sink (again, TMI? Come on, this is a birth story what did you expect? Remember I’m keeping it real!) then headed straight to my bed where my husband joined me. We laid there me in the fetal position while trying to fight back my tears, discussing what we thought the next few days would be like and trying to think of a way to avoid induction and asking ourselves how long will we let this go on, what are we personally comfortable with. 20 minuets went by and I rolled over and said to Adam, “it’s been 20 minutes with no contraction, this is not “IT” about 15 seconds after that statement, BAM the flood gates open and my water broke like its never broken before. I’m not talking trickle like with the two kids before, I’m talking water gushing out all over my memory foam mattress. I yelled out in shock and we knew “it was on.” At this time it’s 9:30. I laid in bed soaked through two extremely intense contractions not able to move and as soon as I saw the opportunity I stood up and waddled (with my husbands help) to the bathroom where we turned on the bath water. Realizing how fast things were happening and the fact that there was no way I was going to be able to get down the stairs, I hopped (more like fell into the bathtub.) The bathtub is about 1/2 way full before I say “I have to poop” Adam and my mom reassure me that in fact I didn’t have to poop but that I needed to push, the baby out! “No, I know the difference” I say in a very concerned voice. I have trouble getting out of the tub but with my mom and Adams help we make it happen. I did in fact need to take care of business (remember the castor oil smoothie, well that bitch came back to bite me in the ass, literally.) My wonderful understanding husband did leave the bathroom at this point to give me a bit of privacy, however my mom stayed just for the fact that we knew there have been many cases of pushing a baby out while on the toilet. I then went back to the bathtub and was ready to work. A few contractions passed and I look at my mom and say “how long is this phase?” with the response of “it varies” I think to myself theres only so much of this a human can take. This time is best described by the word intense, in all capitals INTENSE. With a slight bit of panic I mustered up enough words to say, not that I needed a doctor or the hospital but that I needed Gen. “WHERE’S GEN?!!!” All of a sudden I’m thinking this is my last baby and I’m a photographer by career and all I really wanted besides a healthy baby was photographs of me having a healthy baby!! Mom reassured me she just called her and that she was on her way. I knew it was time to finally meet this baby we had been longing to meet for so long. I listen to my body and push when I feel the urge. Two pushes down. Again, I say “WHERE’s GEN?!!” Adam says, I just called again she’s at the guard gate (2 min away.) Something didn’t feel right. The tub was smaller than I remember and I can’t get my legs right, I suddenly think that I need to get out, that theres no way I’m going to be able to birth this child in the water. Right then Genevieve runs in and grabs at least one photo of me laboring in the bath, I’m so happy and relieved to see her in the corner of my eye. I take my husbands hand and get out of the tub. I use a small stool right beside the tub to squat down, just like millions of women have done hundreds of years before me. One big push, the ring of fire and a head. Push two, an entire body falls out into my husbands hands. 10:33 pm. Adam lifts the baby up just a tad and says “the cord is around his neck.” We both knew from all of our research that this does not mean emergency or immediate danger. He looped the cord up and off of the baby’s head and lifted him up to my chest. Baby starts to cry. I hold him tight and stand up straight. Adam yells “it’s a boy.” Carrying my new son, I walk to my bed (don’t worry, mom already changed the sheets & the mattress pad.) I laid down and immediately Jasper latches on and starts to nurse. Right before the hour mark of skin to skin and nursing I feel the urge to push again. It’s the placenta & I’m done. We all sit, smiling, laughing and re telling what just happened over and over.
Surrounded by my husband, my daughter, my mother and a dear sweet friend we welcomed our last puzzle piece into our home. Born at the home his mother grew up in, the home he was made in and the place where we will let love grow for the rest of our lives. Jasper was born in our very own bathroom back here in Colington Harbor, North Carolina. It was right for us and I would’t have it any other way. Go figure, my body’s not a lemon.
Jasper Mack Norko
9 pounds 2 ounces
21 inch’s long
alert & healthy