Contessa Rachel’s Birth Story + pics

Posted on September 19, 2014

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September 11th 2014

When many people around the world were remembering what happened 13 years ago in New York, I woke up with the thought, “Today I will birth a baby.” Here is the story. It is short. Much shorter than I was expecting, but birth is one of those things comes in it’s own way, at its own time and in a few hours your life is changed.

*Note: I try not to be too graphic, but if a play by play account of labor and delivery is not your cup of tea, you can just scroll down to the cute baby pictures.

5 am

I wake up. The contractions have undeniably begun. No wondering if “this is really it.” I know. This is it. This baby is coming. So I lay there for an hour, thinking about and praying about what will come in the following hours. I am not afraid. I am excited, though quite aware that I am soon to undergo more pain than seems humanly possible. Again.

6 am

I decide to get out of bed, go downstairs and do what I often do in the mornings. Get Valencia’s oatmeal ready, check out if anything interesting happened on facebook while I slept, read a few lines of Scripture. Contractions are more painful than I remember them being at the beginning of labor with Valencia, and I wonder if I have become more of a pain pansy in the past two years. I can still walk and talk through them, but am realizing that things are going a bit faster than last time.

7 am

We make ourselves a big hearty breakfast: Everything bagel, fried egg, banana, a brownie, and carrot, tangerine, mango juice. We get Valencia up and dressed and I tell John that it would be best if he could take her over to Tom and Ali’s house. They have graciously offered to take her on for a few days while I have this baby.

8 am

I start thinking, wow, these contractions are really quite strong and I text Lucy, a midwife who is acting as a birth assistant for us. I ask her to come so that she can help us to decide when to go to the hospital. I really want to do most of the laboring in the comfort of home and show up at the hospital just a few hours before transition. Lucy says she will be at our house in 30 minutes. 10 minutes pass. I think, “Maybe I should time these contractions.” They’re lasting at least a minute, and are 4-5 minutes apart. Hmm. I text Lucy again: “Just meet us at the hospital.” John gets home and I tell him that we need to go the hospital. To be honest, at this point, I am a bit unsure of myself. I really don’t want to show up at the hospital and be only 2 cm dilated, and I can’t imagine that after only 3 hours of contractions I am very far along. But, I am also pretty uncomfortable at this point, barely able to talk through the contractions, and I am just wanting to get in the birthing pool at the hospital.

9 am

John has loaded the car with car seat and hospital bags, complete with frozen brownies I made weeks earlier and all other manner of munchies and possessions to make our stay more comfortable. One last contraction on the living room floor, then we jump in the to make the dreaded trek through Nairobi traffic to the hospital. Sometimes the drive is only 20 minutes. Not today. Today we encounter at least two gridlock traffic jams, though only once do we completely defy traffic laws in the presence of a police officer who was too busy texting to even notice. I kept urging John, “can’t you DO something??! Yell out the window that your wife is having a baby! Like in the movies!” And there were definitely a couple of times when I thought,”Having a baby in the car stuck in Nairobi traffic would make an awesome story…but PLEASE GOD, let us get to the hospital in time!”

9:45 am

At the hospital. Big props to the security guard who found us a place to park and a wheelchair to get me up to the maternity ward in short order. Yay! Lucy is here waiting for us, and we are immediately ushered into a delivery room. We ask about the room with the birthing pool and sadly discover that there is already someone using that room and they are in late stage labor, though not using the pool. At this point the contractions are too intense for me to even care much. I am just trying to get through each one, and am thankful that I am not in the car anymore. Within minutes a nurse is doing an internal examination and declares, Olympic National Forest, Washington State“You are dilated to 9cm!” “Yippy!” I think, “I’m NOT a pain-pansy, I really am in hard labor!” Not long after this the doctor shows up, and starts preparing everything to catch the baby. Within 10 minutes I am feeling the urge to push. That uncontrollable, primal urge that overwhelms every other sensation, in some ways even overtaking the pain of the contractions. In between the pushes, I lay back and imagine myself in the Olympic National Forest, surrounded by lush green (a place i went to every summer of my childhood). I’m sitting in a mountain stream that flows gently down hill and I envision the water smoothly flowing around me helping to move out my baby. Then a contraction comes an I’m violently thrust back into the reality that my body is pushing out this baby in a way that feels anything but gentle. At some point I am using John and Lucy on either side of me to pull up into a squatting position on the bed.

10:53 am

A final push and she’s out! They immediately put her on my chest, she begins crying and I am flooded with relief that she is finally here and that I did it….I pushed out another human.

And now she is here and I get to be her mama and to love her and watch her grow. I am so blessed.

So thankful for a healthy baby.

So thankful for a healthy baby.

Lucy and Contessa

Lucy and Contessa

Valencia meets her baby sister for the first time.

Valencia meets her baby sister for the first time.

Ali and Crescena meet Contessa.

Ali and Crescena meet Contessa.

How is it possible to fall in love so quickly with someone you barely know.

How is it possible to fall in love so quickly with someone you barely know.

IMG_5575

I can't believe I get to be a mama again. So blessed!

I can’t believe I get to be a mama again. So blessed!

Gotta love that fat little chin.

Gotta love that fat little chin.

Getting dressed by daddy.

Getting dressed by daddy.

Valencia is SO excited to finally meet her baby sister.

Valencia is SO excited to finally meet her baby sister.

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