S: The Birth of Jacob Ricord Griesemer
FC: A baby is something you carry inside | you for nine months, in your arms | for three years and in your heart till | the day you die." ~ Mary Mason
1: Jacob Ricord Griesemer June 30 9lbs 9oz 21"
2: Progress | Birth Story | Sarah and I had exchanged emails at her 41 week mark to formulate a plan for the remainder of her pregnancy. Her midwife had advised that at 41 weeks and 6 days they would insert a foley catheter to assist in cervical dilation in the late afternoon for Sarah to go home with. Then Sarah would come in the next morning to the hospital to have her bag of waters broken. And then everybody would wait for labor to kick in, with active labor by the 18 hours from broken water point. If no active labor, Sarah would need to prepare herself for another C-section, dreams of VBAC were dwindling. The day of the foley catheter Sarah was 2cm dilated and soft. The next morning I met her at the hospital shortly after she checked in at 7:15am. Dr. Schmitz came in at 8am to check her cervix – if it was favorable, and baby was low, she would be able to break Sarah’s water. As Dr. Schmitz was checking she couldn’t help but bust out a huge grin of surprise. Sarah was 7cm! I was expecting something like 2.5 as I’m sure Sarah was too. But Sarah was almost done her labor before it even started. She had been having some cramping at night while she was trying to sleep, but since she had been experiencing Braxton-hicks contractions for more than two weeks, she wasn’t sure if these cramps were labor. They were! That uterus was working overnight to get Sarah to where she was.
3: transition | Almost immediately, Sarah went from short irregular cramps to intense “real” contractions – textbook three minutes apart and one minute long. Sarah managed them beautifully, first in a side-lying position, and then up on her feet leaning on the bed where she was more comfortable. Sarah would close her eyes and focus deeply during each contraction. Her breathing was deep and slow – that yoga training was really paying off. Sarah asked me to refresh her on what to expect next, and I told her we’d expect this contraction pattern for a while, and then we’d expect a period of intense back to back contractions. Hardly before I finished that sentence, Sarah felt nauseous. I got some mint oil for her to smell, and iced some wash cloths to put on the back of her neck. Then her contraction pattern did exactly what I said; strong, intense contractions every 90 seconds for a minute in length, textbook transition labor. Sarah would get little to no break in between contractions, so decided to go back to a side-lying position which was more restful for her. She was feeling hot so Paul and I stepped up the cold compress rotation. Sarah continued to stay on top of each contraction by breathing slowly and deeply, and using her voice in a low grounded moan with each exhale. Paul was a pillar of strength, calm, strong, and held Sarah’s hand through her entire transition.
4: Progress | pushing | At 10am, Sarah was feeling pressure in her bottom. She continued to breathe and moan through each contraction, and they started spacing out again. Sarah was able to rest calmly and take cleansing breaths between contractions again. Sarah responded to this pressure by continuing to breathe and nudge her baby lower, she was listening to her body. Midwife Lianne popped in for a status check, and seeing the way Sarah was grunty breathing was convinced it was time for a cervical exam, She slipped one leg out of Sarah’s hospital issued underwear and let Sarah stay on her side. The second cervical check of the day yielded a similar expression of happy surprise. Sarah was a complete 10cm, and her baby was near crowning. Sarah decided that the side-lying position with gentle pushing was working for her, Sarah propped her top leg up on the squat bar, and Paul held her knee to support the weight. I held Sarah’s hand and encouraged her to focus her breath and energy down. Sarah reached down and touched her baby’s crowning head, and knew that she was almost there. After 4 or 5 more pushes, Baby Jacob met his parents. The third surprise of the day was that he was big! Paul and Sarah are both lean, fit people, but Sarah pushed out a 9 pound 9 oz baby in 5 pushes. Lianne also wanted me to note for the sake of the birth story, that she never had time to remove the second leg of Sarah’s underwear – so Sarah can have the bragging rights that she labored so efficiently that she didn’t even have time to take her underwear off. Baby Jacob spent some cozy skin to skin time with Sarah and latched and nursed without any trouble, of course.
5: VBAC | I remarked to Sarah as I was packing up to go, that I had anticipated a long day of slow, boring, drawn out labor, a host of medical interventions that Sarah would have to contemplate and navigate, and a possible C-section; but Sarah blew us all out of the water by having the shortest onset-of-active-labor-to-delivery-of-baby (2.5 hours) I’ve had as a doula in my 40-something births I’ve attended. Who knew it was going to be the 42-week VBAC induction mama that would get to wear this badge of honor. You are a birthing warrior Sarah, and I’m reminded again how miraculous our bodies are. Lots of love to Paul, Sarah & Jacob! AS.
6: Jacob: "May God protect this gift" - Hebrew | Six gifts for Jacob The first gift is Strength. Your mother is a woman of great strength. She carried you for nine months, and on June 30th 2011, she mustered all of the strength in her body to labor naturally. Your father is a man of great strength. Your mother leaned on him through all the ups and downs while you were inside her. He was her pillar at your birth. Just a hand to hold can be the greatest strength of all. May you remember to call upon the strength your parents pass down to you whenever you need it. The second gift is Beauty. There was nothing more beautiful than the round abundant belly that you had filled out the day you were born. Except for two things; the beautiful glow of your mother when she held you for the first time at 10:30am, and a beautiful kiss from father to son. May all your deeds reflect this beauty’s depth. The third gift is Courage. Your mother had the courage to believe she could deliver you naturally, peacefully, in a supportive environment. Your father had courage to support your mother on this journey, and the courage to believe in her and push her past any fear and doubt along the way. May you speak and act with confidence and use courage to follow your own path. The fourth gift is Joy. There was nothing more joyful than hearing your first cry as you were laid on your mother’s chest, and caressed with your father’s loving hand. May this joy keep your heart open and filled with light. The fifth gift is Reverence. Your mother is to be revered by defying many odds to give birth to you. You were a big healthy baby and lots of things could have gone wrong, but they didn’t, your birth was perfect. Your midwife Lianne, and your doula Ame will revere your arrival forever. May you appreciate the wonder that you are and the miracle of all creation. The sixth gift is Love. You were created in love. You born in love. May love grow in you each time you give it away.
7: The Story of your...
8: Timeline | 7:00am: Sarah & Paul checked in to North Austin Medical Center 7:15am: Doula Ame arrived to prepare for the big day 8:00am; Dr. Martha Schmitz arrived to do a cervical exam, 7cm and -1 station, and broke Sarah’s bag of waters 8:15am: More intense contractions, 1 minute long, 3 minutes apart 9:15am: Transitional labor, very intense contractions, 1 minute long, 1.5 minutes apart 10:00am: Urge to push, cervical exam, 10cm and +3 station, focused pushing begins 10:30am: Baby Jacob arrives, 9lbs, 9oz, 21.5” long, healthy, loved.
9: much love from your doula