Our son, Peter Jozsef Bakosi, came into the world on a rainy Saturday morning. He made his debut on the living room floor at 8:47 a.m. Long before he arrived, we were planning to have him at home. I never would have believed you if you told me that 5 years ago. I mean who does that, right? Read more about why we decided on a home birth.
I knew our baby was a boy, I had a feeling he would come early, but I didn’t know he was going to have all that amazing hair. I was 38 weeks along when the contractions started but I was afraid to get excited. My worst fear was that it was false labor and I’d be pregnant for up to four more weeks. At that point, natural child-birth looked easier.
It was a Thursday night and I particularly remember because I watched Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal trying my best to ignore the contractions. That night I slept and the contractions subsided the following morning.
They started again Friday midday and continued getting closer and closer. We started at every 15 minutes and then eventually went down to about 7 minutes. Up until that time the contractions were not too bad. I could just breath through them. When they reached 5 minutes apart they were too intense to handle on my own. I woke Jozsef up and told him it was…
Time to call the midwife…
Woohoo! Tanja and Myriah (our midwives) arrived at about 3 a.m. and a quick check revealed that I was already 8 cm dilated. Whoa, I finally believed that I was having a baby and was so happy to see them.
Jozsef and Tanja filled up the birthing tub for me. Something I always thought I wanted to try but in the moment wasn’t really sure about. I’m so glad I tried it.
I labored in the tub for what seemed like an hour (but really who knows – I was in labor land where minutes feel like hours). I immediately noticed the contractions were easier to manage. A lot easier…the pain went down by at least a third. It was AHH-mazing. I was singing and laughing between contractions. Everyone should try the tub.
And then I took a nap?!?!…
The darn tub was almost too relaxing because it felt like everything started slowing down. All of a sudden I was exhausted and all I could think about was getting my face on my pillow and that I better get out before my labor stopped. So I laid down in my bed and actually started to doze off between some intense contractions.
Tanja kept saying how amazing it was that my body was able to let me rest like that – something she attributed to how well I took care of myself during the pregnancy. I was annoyed. I wanted to progress – to reach the goal – to be over it already…not take a freaking nap.
I was concentrating hard on relaxing – what I considered my top priority. When I could completely relax during a contraction instead of fighting it, the pain was manageable. There was a distinct moment in each contraction when I would feel my body just go with it and the pain dissolved. It was empowering but not an easy task.
Sometimes I would just focus on relaxing all my muscles – harder than it sounds during a contraction. Other times I repeated to myself “I surrender” over and over again. I would imagine my cervix opening like a flower. I imagined my body easily opening up to let him out. I did anything I could to stay positive and relaxed. Music really helped with that.
I change my mind, I can’t do this…
Pretty soon though I could see the sun rising, I was sick of being in labor, and sick of surrendering to contractions so I started bargaining. I’d read about that in all the pregnancy books – the point where you know you have to push the baby out for it to be over but you’re terrified to do it so you try to find a way out of it.
I was asking God for a miracle. I was even thinking about a c-section at that point. I finally asked Tanja if she could just reach up there and get him out.
I didn’t know how I was going to keep going but I knew I needed to. I wish I could say that I found the courage or the power and went into the next phase as a birthing powerhouse. The truth is… I went in like a pouting child. I was so pissed but at least it was time to push.
I jumped the gun…
At least I thought it might be. Looking back though, I think I just wanted it to be time. I may have jumped the gun on that one. I was back in the tub and pushing with everything I had. It felt really great to do something different but I could tell I wasn’t making much progress.
I was so scared I would never be able to get him out. Eventually though he moved down enough to where I could actually feel his little head full of hair (surprise). That gave me motivation to keep going.
Tanja asked me to get out of the tub so she could assist me better. So with baby Peter’s forehead already born (yep), I got out of the tub (still not sure how I did that) and got into a squat position and leaned back against Jozsef who was sitting in our lazy boy recliner. He held me and I gave it one more push and our baby’s head was born. I pushed again and the rest of him shot out in to Tanja’s hands. I guess I needed the firm ground to finally get that baby out.
The next thing I knew that slippery, beautiful, very alive little person was up on my chest. I was in total shock and amazement. It was like I recognized him instantly but I had so much fun checking him out for the first time. He didn’t cry, was so very alert, and was staring right up at us with deep gorgeous knowing eyes.
Jozsef was behind us – the amazement and joy of the moment streaming down his face. I was too shocked to cry and frankly relieved for a break from contractions. I wanted to celebrate! I was so relieved to have that little guy in my arms. It was the greatest moment of our lives. He was nursing within minutes.
Here we are a few hours after he was born…
- 1 home birth
- 32 hours of (manageable) early labor
- 6 hours of intense but peaceful active labor
- 5 stitches
- 2 proud parents
- 2 excellent midwives
- 1 beautiful baby – 7 pounds and 20.5 inches with blue eyes and light brown hair
He still parties all night long just like he did in my belly (but we’re working on it). Being a mom is the best thing I’ve ever done. We’re tired but still loving every minute. Here’s a shot when he’s a few days old…
What surprised me about labor…
- I thought it would hurt more (and less) – I guess enough people scared the hell out of me to the point that I thought my contractions would be way worse. Not saying they were easy, but they also weren’t unmanageable. Thanks are in order, I guess, but shame on you for scaring pregnant people. I also thought it would be easier to push but that was the hardest part for me.
- I didn’t know it was going to hurt so long afterward – I’m pretty sure someone told me that once your baby was born the pain went away – LIAR. I guess they didn’t get stitches. I was completely unprepared for how hard it was going to be on my body and that I would be able to just to barely function – not to mention trying to take care of a newborn. I’m really glad to be over that part.
- I didn’t know that I like to work through pain alone – For 75% of the labor I wanted to be alone. I barely spoke and didn’t even open my eyes. I guess it makes sense if I think about it. I don’t like anyone to see me vulnerable – part of my control-freakness probably.
- I didn’t know I was strong enough – Who knew I had that in me? I had high hopes that I would be able to go through with the natural birth but part of me was always afraid I couldn’t do it. I also had no idea that I was harboring an inner Deepak but it’s in there and I’m happy about that. Namaste. Om.
- I didn’t know I’d be quiet – I always imagined I’d be vocal and cursing like a sailor but to my surprise I was exactly opposite. I did drop the F-bomb once while pushing but other than that I was very quiet and internal – so not like me usually.
- My husband is a rock star. I know this shouldn’t surprise me and it doesn’t but I can’t get over how supportive he was during the pregnancy, labor, and now in the first weeks after our son’s birth. I am one lucky new momma and certainly have to count my blessings for the two beautiful men in my life.