40 weeks and 6 days pregnant, 50lbs, 3 days in early labor, 6 hours of active labor, 15 minutes in the pool, a few pushes and then…Guillermo was born on January 8th, 2018 at 7:25am at home naturally without any intervention or chemicals.
Seems so simple when you break it down like this but it’s not. The days and hours leading up to a birth are tough. The uncertainty is so frustrating and the waiting can seem endless. Yet, this is the lesson and the miracle of a natural birth. In order to birth naturally you must accept that you are not in control and you must surrender and allow nature, your baby and your body to do the work. The real challenge is in letting go of any expectations and releasing any thoughts so that you can become a pure channel that can birth life onto this earth.
And so I surrendered for a second time. I decided to birth this baby at home with a midwife like I did with my first, yet this birth was completely different from Joaquin’s. Guillermo was slow and steady unlike Joaquin who came like a bullet flying out in the middle of a storm. With Joaquin everything happened so fast I didn’t have time to stop and think. With this birth I actually had some rest between contractions and at some points even wondered if anything was happening at all.
I started feeling what I didn’t realize then, were early labor contractions on a Thursday but then they stopped. Saturday night we had a false alarm; around 3am contractions started to get stronger and we called the midwives to have them on alert, but I breathed through them and calmed myself down. I told my body and the baby not to give birth then because of fear that no one would be able to make it in the middle of the night.
We thought the baby was for sure coming on Sunday so we went into preparation mode. My sister in law took Joaquin for the day and I went for a walk to see if we could get things started again. Nothing all day….So we picked up Joaquin late afternoon and spent the evening with him thinking it could still be another week before baby was born. But then Sunday night around 1am labor started up again. Contractions were still manageable but I had a feeling this was it so we called Sheila our midwife. She arrived a little while later and things were still moving slowly. Around 3am I told everyone to go to sleep because I didn’t want to just sit around with everyone watching me. I had no idea how far along I was and I thought it could still be a while…
We all went to bed and I tried to sleep but I just laid there feeling contraction after contraction and at some point probably close to 5am I felt the need to get up from the bed and go to the cottage, which we had prepared as the birthing space, to use the bathroom. Luis, Sheila and I just hung out in the cottage monitoring contractions. I remember going outside, it was a cool night and I looked up and saw the moon and smelled the night blooming jasmine we have growing by the cottage door.
Luis had already inflated the pool and then he and Sheila had to dump water out and fill it up again because it had turned cold. Luis started running around to fill up the pool and boil water because the one from the tap wasn’t coming out hot enough. Around 6:30am, contractions got really intense; and at that point I was screaming and asking for my mom to come into the room. Contractions were coming very close together maybe about 1 to 2 minutes apart. I felt my water break around 7:00am, it wasn’t a big gush just a little trickle but I clearly knew it was my water breaking.
Sheila guided me towards the pool eventhough there was only a foot or so of water. Luis and Natalia, my sister-in-law, were still boiling water to heat up the pool and they were trying to fill it up. I got in the pool around 7:15am. I remember seeing my sister-in-law for the first time as she poured pots of boiling water. I relaxed for a moment but then felt the baby was coming, ring of fire was on; which only meant the baby was crowning. As the tissue stretches to allow the baby’s head to come through the mother feels a burning sensation. At that point the urge to push was so intense that I couldn’t help but pushing with all my strength. Only my mom was in the room when the baby’s head started to poke out. She nervously called Sheila and then Luis and Natalia, who were still boiling water, came into the room. I felt like I was being torn apart but a couple of pushes and Guillermo was born.
When he came out the cord had been wrapped around his neck and it took him a minute or so to take that first breath. He was limp and blue and everyone was very nervous. Sheila had to perform CPR on him and massage his spine. She asked me to speak to him to call him over. As she says the babies need to cross worlds from the womb to the real world and sometimes it takes them a bit longer. Thank God she was there and worked her magic. A few moments later he gave his first cry and the tension left the room and transformed to tears of joy as we welcomed Guillermo. Our sweet baby boy who brings his gentle heart medicine to our lives, your mama loves you.