Brace yourself.

Updated 1/19/2013

*it's been almost two years since Paxton joined our family. I don't know if it's because of the time that has passed, or if it's because i'm pregnant again and reminiscing about going through labor , but I'm remembering a lot more details of his birth story

I had a baby.
That still sounds bizarre to me, but I did. I had a baby.
Life does not feel remotely close to what it used to feel like.
 that's probably a good thing.
It's something I have never felt before.It's a remarkable change.
It's squeaky clean. A page has turned.
It's a New life.

The superficial living has absentmindedly left us. It's not about us anymore. It's about US now. I feel a stronger gravitational pull towards my family, my faith, my husband, and new experiences in general. No, I am not the same person anymore.
I have SO MUCH to loose now. My level of vulnerability seems through the roof. I feel unable to protect myself from pain- and I'm not so sure I want to anymore.
This is challenging. This is serenity.

I never thought I could be so perfectly content looking into this little face for hours. Awake or asleep, I still can't believe he's here. 

some have inquired for details- a "birth story" if you will.
My labor, from first contraction, to a baby being caught by John's Strong and capable hands, was 55 hours.

yes, my husband delivered our son.
Yes, I had him at home.
Yes, that means I had zero medication.
and yes, I'd do it again.

I Remember the "ew!" factor of loosing my mucous plug the weekend before he was born. I knew that this was a sign that labor was imminent, so i put my energy in making sure that everything was ready, and that the equipment was set up for the midwives. 

I remember going to Homegoods to find some scented candles for the birth. It was the last thing on my list of to do's. I was with my mom and i found a pack of 6 scented candles from yankee candle- i think the flavor was coconut lime mojito. I smelled it once, and knew that was exactly what i wanted. Something about the way it smelled really soothed me and relaxed me. I felt my prior anxieties leave (my dad decided to come to Arizona that night even after i asked him to wait until after the birth), and as we got in the car to go back home i had a sense of this inner tranquility that i had never felt before, and i remember saying to my mom, "the baby can come now."

i believe the rest of the evening proceeded as normal. We ate supper, probably chatted for a while or watched a movie, and then we went to bed around 10ish.

 i felt like i had only been asleep for about thirty minutes before a contraction woke me up. i don't know if i had been contracting for the whole hour or so that i had been asleep, but i got up to look at the clock, and to use the bathroom. 11:50pm. My due date would be here in 10 minutes. i tried going back to sleep, and I laid there thinking that i would be holding a baby in my arms in 24 hours or so. 

For some reason, i couldn't seem to just relax. I had a few more contractions, and after emptying my bladder again, realized that this was certainly the real thing, because I was having bloody show (when your cervix begins to dilate, the capillaries  burst, and a tiny stream of blood with cervical mucous ends up on your toilet paper)That made things more solid for me. No turning back. Holy crap, i'm going to be a parent.I couldn't sleep after that point. I woke john up and asked him to please let the midwife know that i was in labor.i knew i needed to wake him up, because i didn't want to do this alone, even though it was still really early.

 It was well after midnight- probably around 2 am when i decided to go downstairs. i felt really bad, because my mom was sleeping down there. She woke up really fast- i thought i was more stealthy than that. i was going to sneak to the fridge for something to eat and drink. She asked if i was ok, and i told her I was fine, but I had a few contractions, and i was pretty sure i was in labor. She didn't seem to be sleepy after that. John and i watched a movie together, and i labored for several contractions. I could not get relaxed, and i was psyching myself out about what was to come. My contractions eventually stopped. It was 4 in the morning, and I was exhausted. 
The three of us went back to sleep until 8 or 9 in the morning.

 i hadn't had another contraction until I got out of the shower and was getting dressed. It was freezing outside. It was the coldest day mesa had seen in 50 years, and the next few days where going to be bitter as well. I was starting to get frustrated. My contractions were all over the place. I would go hours without having one, and then I would have two in a row that were really close together and LOOOOONNNNG. So i decided to go get an adjustment to see if i could regulate my contractions. So i had the adjustment. My contractions stayed the same. Super sporradic and un-timable. 

John and i decided to go for a walk, since I was having a hard time making up my mind about what i wanted to do. I had the option of going to a movie or going to paint some pottery at as you wish, but i just wanted to stay home. i didn't think i would be comfortable in either scenario. the rest of the day unfolded. My contractions had stopped. i remember feeling like i really needed to talk to someone. i needed my fears to go away. I knew that I was in the fight or flight mode, and I was slowing my own labor down. I remember telling this to john and he tried his best to re-assure me.
I decided i was going to go to bed. i wanted the day to be over, and I would start again tomorrow. i couldn't sleep. The moment i relaxed, the contractions started again, and I did the same thing as the night before. Woke up john, went downstairs, labored for a few hours. Went back to bed because of exhaustion. Woke up at 7 or 8 because of contractions. I think i took a benadryl and some tylenol so that i could sleep a little. that lasted 2 hours. 

John thought i was getting close, so he called the midwife, and they appeared at my door about 30 minutes later. i knew it wasn't time for them to come. i knew I was not close to having the baby yet, but john insisted. i was putting on a little makeup so that i would look somewhat presentable in the pictures that would soon ensue.  i had some clear broth and jello to eat also, and the midwife told me i could eat real food if i wanted to.  they observed me for about an hour, and then they left. They said i was doing great on my own and that they would be here when i needed them. i asked for a prediction of how much longer i would have to labor before I would have the baby, and i remember feeling so discouraged and let down by myself when she said " That's up to your body, but do i think the baby will get here before dinnertime? no." i didn't want them to leave. i needed something, some comfort, some pep talk from someone who did this before, but i didn't know how to ask for it.(hindsight is that they had 3 other moms in labor, and they are obligated to prioritize by progress in labor.)

At that point I asked john for a blessing. I was really afraid. i know that I had been dealing with the contractions alright, but what was it going to feel like when I pushed? how was I going to be able to care for a baby, when i could barely take care of myself. he gave me a blessing of comfort, and I went about my day, contracting on and off. I remember getting in the bathtub, because my contractions were starting to get a little longer. it was dark, and i had a little music playing, but that didn't seem to help me relax. All at once I remembered that being vocal and making noise helped open the cervix because the jaw would be relaxed. so i started to be vocal. that seemed to really do the trick, because my labor really progressed from that point. i got out of the tub and labored on the bed, and I couldn't move. I had to pee with almost every contraction i had, and I completely soaked our bed, which had already been made for the birth. My labor was in full swing, and I was grateful that I was finally getting somewhere. 

i put some clothes on, and went downstairs to get some food, and had two contractions as john helped me down the stairs. We would walk circles around our dining room table, and then i would drop to a squat and throw my arms around john's waist, and just hang there when i felt a contraction coming. I just let it all go. it was a system, and when i stopped caring about the puddles of pee i was leaving on the floor, I really got my labor going. i was close to transitioning when i started getting really lightheaded. i was taking singer's breaths, and releasing all the air i had with every contraction. Since they were so close together, i did not have a lot of time to rest in between, and I was getting close to blacking out each time. 

I knew I had to slow my labor back down, because we didin't have the midwife there who brings a tank of oxygen with her. my body had become weak over the last 2 days without much sleep, and the thought of needing a c-section because i was too tired to push scared the hell out of me. i knew i needed some sleep. ANY sleep before I could face the rest of the laboring process. i took an extra strength tylenol, had some food and a honey stick, and took another dose of benadryl. i asked john to please give me another blessing. 

He did, and It was one of the most beautiful and powerful blessings I have ever had in my life- greater than my patriarchal blessing. At that moment I knew i was going to be okay, and I felt the comfort of heavenly father surrounding me, and i could really feel his presence- and the presence of my female ancestors there in that room.the veil was thin, and it was one of the most sacred experiences I've had.(i'm tearing up really bad just thinking about it!) 

i slept for 2 hours in the recliner we purchased for my mom to sleep in. I knew if I laid on my side, my contractions would keep me awake and I would not get any sleep. I slept through my contractions, but i eventually woke up because they were getting longer again. I couldn't get out of the reclining chair I had slept in, and I peed all over myself and the chair. (I don't remember drinking a whole lot, but for some reason I had some unseen reservoir of urine that magically re-filled) Trying hard not to wake john up (because i knew he was just as exhausted as i was) i got out of the chair, contracted, hobbled to the shower while contracting twice more, and turned the shower on. I labored on my hands and knees with the warm water on my back, until i completely emptied out our hot water tank. I let the cold water run over me for about ten more minutes, and the next contraction i had felt pushy. you know that feeling you get when you are trying to go poo and your body kinda pushes without your permission? Well, that was the feeling i got, and I waited for another 3 contractions before realizing it was time to push. 

I got out of the shower, and had another 2 pushy contractions. I called out to john, who woke up right away, and told him to get the midwife here because i felt like i needed to push. he leaped out of bed, and I wrapped myself in a towel, trying to stay warm. I labored on the bed for about 20 minutes, when the midwives magically appeared at my bedside.(they must have broken a few traffic laws) I was totally naked and on all fours on the bed, and it didn't even phase me.I had another pushy contraction the moment they arrived, and my water broke at about 2 am.

I got into the bathtub. I had run the hot water out from the shower I had taken earlier. So my mom heated water on the stove.
My midwife had to comment that this was the first homebirth she attended that fit the stereotype of needing the boiling water.

I pushed with each contraction, but didn't progress.(between you and me, I was trying not to push that hard.)
After a quick cervical check (they NEVER do this unless they feel it's important-I'd been pushing for about 2 hours)they discovered his head was not quite in the right position. they pulled me out of the bathtub and I labored and pushed in a squat. Still nothing.
On the birthing stool... not much better. The midwife asked if i would be comfortable flat on my back to push. I wasn't going to argue. whatever got this done and over with was fine by me. At this point, my midwife called my mom into the room.

He was stuck on my pubic bone with his head turned to the side.
apparently being flat on your back does good things for that. i never worked harder in my whole life. With john and the midwife holding my legs practically around my neck, I would take a big breath and then bear down,feeling like the veins in my neck were going to pop, and a little fearful that i was going to give myself an aneurism.

There was a certain point when I was just so tired for pushing on my back. I kept saying over and over "I can't do this, i can't do this." but my midwives and my mom fought with me, and encouraged me. My mom would wipe the sweat off of my face and neck with a cool rag, which was so comforting and felt really good. When I pushed, I would hear her catch her breath and push with me. Then Stephanie told me the baby needed to move positions in order to come out. She could feel a hematoma (a swelling) on his little scalp, and the fact that he did not want to come out like that, gave her the decision to be a little more hands-on. She gently pushed him back away from my pubic bone, and immediately paxton turned his head into the right position. I did one more round of pushing on my back, and I started crowing. 

The midwives and john got really excited, "He's got a ton of hair, sweetie." he said with a huge grin.  they offered to hold a mirror up so i could see. I knew that option was available to me from day one, but I never thought I would take it so quickly as i did at that moment. I needed to see that he was coming and that my pushing was really working now. I saw his little head- covered in hair, and I suddenly had more energy.

Stephanie asked if i preferred being on the bed, or if i wanted to squat. I opted to squat. They helped me roll off the edge of the bed, and my mom sat on the edge of the bed behind me, and i looped my arms around her legs. John and the Midwives came down at the business end, ready to catch. 

I pushed once, and the ring of fire sensation was not as bad as I was told it was. I sat there a moment and Stephanie looked right in my eyes and told me, " next contraction, i want you to do short, little grunty pushes" I knew she was trying to keep me from tearing, but I knew I was so close, and I didn't want to have to push anymore. I bore down again, and i could feel his head coming out, and i felt the popping sensation of my perineum tearing. Stephanie said "HOLD ON!!" and put her hand quickly on my bottom, giving me counter pressure with olive oil. She gave me the go ahead to push again, and i did. his head was out, and We waited for just a moment to give me a little break, and so that he midwife could suction his nose and his mouth out. It was time for the last push, and the rest of his body came tumbling out, and john quickly caught him and
immediately handed him to me. All i can remember was looking down in shock that he was finally out. his eyes were wide open. "my baby, my baby" is all I could say at that point. I wanted to cry, but I was so tired.

they put him on my chest with a warm towel on top, and i leaned back onto the top of the bed, while they did all the after stuff like delivering the placenta, checking our vitals, repairing my self inflicted tear. Apparently it was small enough I didn't need to be glued back together, but we opted for it anyway. Dermabond is a gift from god. I can't imagine having STITCHES down there. 

we all shared a smoked salmon and capers bagel with orange juice.
We showered off and i peed before the midwives left
the best story of my life. This beats the wedding- hands down.
We are getting to know each other these days. He's almost three weeks old. that doesn't seem right. we have to get back to real life soon. this babymoon is almost over.


  1. So cool. You are a strong lady. Its a whole new ball game when you are at home so it was really cool to read how it happened. Thanks for sharing. I am glad the Meyers family are all healthy and happy. Congrats!

  2. Oh Tessa. I love birth stories. You are a champ and I am so proud of you. Take care of that baby. Congratulations!


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