The Slow and Speedy Birth of Raylan Emerson

5 Aug

It’s been over two months since my third child came into this world. I’ve been wanting to write about his journey here, but it feels exhausting to even stop and think about it. Maybe because I am afraid I won’t have any of the right words, and I will just write in a clinical, fact-only way that I despise. I will try my best to capture it. Keep reading if you are interested.

There is no better way to remember how little control you have then to have children.

From the moment of conception, from seeing those 2 lines on the pregnancy test, you are thrown onto a chaotic ride that just doesn’t stop. Often there is vomit too.

The funny thing about babies is that as small as they are, they are very much their own beings. You get to carry another within you. A vessel, a “mother” ship. Hate it or love it or both, it is a crazy thing.

Starting at about 36 weeks, I thought I was going into labor. I had intense contractions, that got longer and stronger, only to fizzle out. Prodromal labor is exhausting, physically, but more mentally. It’s like knowing you are about to meet the love of your life and they keep standing you up!

Towards the end, I listened to this podcast my dear midwife, Kelsi sent me. The woman speaking talked about how physically your brain is mush, especially towards the end of your pregnancy. She said instead of being annoyed or ashamed or always condemning yourself, (guilty) embrace it. While you can’t remember what you did 5 minutes ago or the name of your favorite movie, your body is preparing you for something that goes way beyond intellect or black-and-white thinking.

Birth is other-worldly, and we lose part of that when we treat it clinically and make it all about the numbers and the dates and everything lining up just right.

We play into fear and wonder why the pain is too much.

Even as I am writing this, the cynical side of me is rolling her eyes, “Come on! Get over yourself. Everything isn’t magical, some things just SUCK. It is painful. It is hard. It’s part of our lot in life as women who chose to birth children.”

But is it? Or have we just been conditioned to think so? Have we been conditioned to approach the most intimate, earth-shattering, spiritual moment in a way that is clinical and fear-driven?

I decided to have this baby at home. I felt comfortable with it, I trusted my midwife, husband and (most of the time) myself. I knew from the two previous births I could do a natural birth. I knew since I had a 12 hour labor with my daughter and a 6 hour one with my son, this one could be pretty quick. (HA! I had NO idea!) This baby was the wild card. I didn’t know the gender and had no idea when he/she would come.

For about a month, I thought I was in labor almost every day. It was hard to plan anything. It was hard not to get my hopes up, then be disappointed. It was hard to ignore the contractions and carry on with every day life, but I knew I needed to to stay sane.

My due date came and went. Both my other kids were born at exactly 39 weeks. This one was taking their time. I learned once again to stop and breathe and be ok with the unknown. (Lesson of my life right there!)

My birthday came and went. On top of everything, our hot water heater broke and leaked all over the downstairs (my birthing area) we had already decided to move and got permission from our landlords to break our lease early. So we would start moving on June 1st… this was the end of May.

Finally, at 41 weeks, I saw some REAL signs of labor in the toilet. I cried with joy as I text my husband who was at work. Contractions sped up that day and got really intense that night. Then, as always, I went to bed exhausted and they stopped.

Then that morning at about 4 am, I woke up with more contractions. It was May 29th and I was technically 1 week and 1 day “over due.” I told Jean-Thomas today could be the day, but maybe not. By now he had heard that dozens of times, but he decided to take the day off just in case.

I was having contractions pretty consistantley, but I wanted some alone time so I told Jean-Thomas he should take the kids to the YMCA. They left after breakfast and I did some cleaning and some sitting and lots of eating.

It got more intense. Kelsi text me to check in. I told her I was ok for now. My friends Danielle and Kyrstan text me saying if I needed to kids to come over, they could come get them. I said maybe later.

Then everything sped up. I thought about texting Jean-Thomas to come home from the Y, but they hadn’t been gone that long. I think I was still in denial. Just then he text me and told me Wyatt had wet himself and he didn’t have a change of clothes so they were coming home. I told him that was probably a good thing.

I got hit by a wave that made me moan outloud. I realized then this was for real. I text Kelsi who said she was on her way. I text my friends back to see if they could get Wyatt.

Jean-Thomas got home at about noon with the kids and some lunch. I ate quickly and headed downstairs. I could barely walk down the stairs at that point but I managed to get down and onto the birthing ball my friend had lent me. I could only think about getting on my knees and leaning into the birthing ball to rock. That was the position I stayed in, almost trance-like, just rocking through the pain.

Jean-Thomas started blowing up the birthing tub and filling it, I just wanted to get in the water so bad, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t need it. Kelsi arrived at about 12:30 with another midwife, Mary. Kyrstan arrived to pick Wyatt up. We had decided ahead of time my 5-year-old Aurelia would be there for birth. She was a great helper, telling me gently to breathe and offering me sips of water.

I stayed on my ball, rocking, and realized that the sounds coming out of my mouth were changing. Everyone was still trying to fill the tub.

“I don’t think I need the tub…. I need to push!”

I can’t quite recall what I said after that, but I know I cried out to Jesus and asked for His strength. Kelsi had me move my leg positions a bit, and after a few pushes, my baby came out into the world.

I grabbed him and checked and realized he was a boy.

“I knew it! Hi, Raylan!” I managed to say.

He came fast and furious after only about an hour of active labor, but he had weeks of practice beforehand.

He was perfect and I felt strangely calm, at peace, and even strong.

I am so happy we chose to have a homebirth. If we hadn’t, he probably would have been born in a car!

I am so happy I approached this birth assuming the best and really had a beautiful experience.

Raylan Emerson Louvier

Born May 29th, 2019 at 1:20 pm.

9lbs 3oz

19.75 inches long

13.25 inch head

14 inch chest

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