The birth story of Ellis Vincent Parsons. Fair warning, babies come out of vaginas so there may be some graphic bits in here. #sorrynotsorry
On Monday morning (day two of maternity leave and OMG just come already kid) I woke up to cramps and blood and thought THANK GOD THIS IS HAPPENING! Back in bed I pushed Mark and said in a cartoon voice “I’m having this baby”, a little joke phrase we had been throwing around for weeks, only this time I wasn’t joking. The midwives had pounded into our heads that when labor starts what you want/NEED to do is rest. Little did I know just how right they were. So I stayed in bed a while longer before getting up to call one of the midwives. We went over the plan and I thought I would be calling her later that night to come get this baby out of me. The whole day was filled with the Bradley Methods eat-drink-walk-bath-nap series. Mark had to run some work errands that morning so I went for a walk solo. It was a picture book spring day and I felt hyper aware of everything blooming. I told Ellis what a beautiful day it was, that I imagined him coming on a rainy day but today would be nice too. The contraction got closer together as the day wore on, more intense. But then sometimes they would space out again or I would barely feel them. I was even able to get a solid nap in. Mark made dinner and I watched the sun set on this potential birth day. It only took a half a glass of wine and a hot bath to put me to bed. Ok I guess this will happen tomorrow?
We decided Mark would start his paternity leave today. We ate breakfast and took a walk around the neighborhood. It was another gorgeous day and everyone was out jogging. It felt like a weird time to be self conscience but I was wearing the same pajama-esque outfit for days. I’m huge and contracting and my hair is a mess. So yea, was feeling a little self conscience. That evening my friend turned doula Sara stopped in after work. We went for another long walk and she timed my contractions. They were about 5 minutes apart but also I felt a pressure for them to be so. At times I felt like I was forcing them on. Eventually I told Sara to leave and another half a glass of wine later I went to bed. I guess this will happen tomorrow?
Another gorgeous day! Mark and I went for a morning walk and I watched the cartoon clouds floating through the sky. My midwife came to check on me and I was still barely dilated. But our heart rates were normal and my blood pressure still low. Mark was getting restless. He kept cleaning and making me food despite the fact that I was barely eating anything. His restlessness was making me restless. As any good doula would, Sara was diligent with her check ins. She was at work but from the amount of texting she did that day I doubt she got much done. Her texts were interrupted with other ones from random friends with well intentioned messages: “thinking of you”, “I just have this feeling your in labor”, “sending you good vibes”. Every one of them infuriated me. The contractions remained consistently inconsistent and with every passing hour the weight of everyone waiting pressed on me. As the sun began it’s journey to the horizon I lost my fucking mind. I sent Mark out of the house and told him that he was going back to work tomorrow. I texted Sara a not-so-polite “Don’t call me I’ll call you” message. And I rolled around on a birthing ball sobbing while watching planet earth and doing painful spinning baby exercises every couple of contractions. The midwife checked on us and found our vitals normal and the progress zilch. She asked if I wanted to go to the hospital for induction and I was surprised at how sure I was when I said no. There was no wine that night and barely any sleep.
Around 4am, the showers just couldn’t cut through the pain. I woke Mark up to let him know that I was just kidding about going back to work and to fill up the birth tub please. The water was barely shin deep when I plunked into it. They are often described as “midwives epidural”. Pre-birth I thought that description was cute at best. Post-birth I’m here to tell you that they are worth their weight in gold and they weigh approximately 1,250 lbs so you should probably double check the strength of your floor joists.
My midwife confirmed that morning that I was indeed in active labor and came to stay for good around noon. I toggled between the tub and episodes of Louis CK. In the tub the view of a picturesque spring day distracted me as I floated from contraction to contraction. And mid punch line on a Louis show my water broke. It felt like sitting on a huge water balloon and I couldn’t stop laughing over how ridiculous it was. I broke my silence to Sara and soon I was in the tub focusing only on relaxing between contraction and getting plenty of water. Everyone had told me that pushing was the best part. They said that you finally feel like you are doing something. A relief. BAHAHAHAHAHA. The pushing contractions were disturbingly intense and oh so painful. Once they started I had no idea how long they would last. And unfortunately for everyone I found that I could control them from coming on. Time has a funny way of warping when you are in labor. My midwives had enough and encouraged me to get out of the tub and on a birthing stool. I remember them instructing Sara to feed me honey for energy. This confused me because I did not feel tired. And when they predicted that I would push him out at 7:10pm “Just 10 more minutes” I, not realizing that I had been pushing for hours, thought “fuck that shit” and pushed him out in one go at 6:58pm.
The image of his back and the gleaming pink and blue chord is forever etched in my memory. Beautiful. It is so beautiful. He is so beautiful.
That moment somehow longer in length than the rest of the evening. There were our check ups and my after birth sushi dinner, a tea bath, and stitches. The midwives cleaned it all up and tucked us into bed around midnight. My oath to never co-sleep was broken instantly. The only place where I felt he was safe was on my chest. The next morning I watched the sunrise with him right there on me. Never in my life had I felt more capable or beautiful.