by Eric and Cristina Marantette
January 16, 2011 (Due Date!)
(Cillian is my second child but first home birth. Ethan is my first born (born at St. Mary's Hospital) and he was about 22 months on Jan 16th 11. Tux is my 4 year old Boston Terrier)
3 am - I woke up to minor cramp-like pains. I felt these pains were slightly different than normal. I had been having "labor pains" since December. I turned to my husband, and just kind of stared at him for a second, debating whether to wake him from his slumber or not. I didn't want him to wake up and be excited if this was just a false alarm. Finally, after a few minutes, I shook him and said, "Eric, I'm having weird pains." He gave me the confused, I'm-not-awake-yet look, then passed out again. I sat in bed waiting for the pains of true labor.
4 am - I felt them alright! This time I didn't feel too bad about waking my husband, so I shook him a tad bit harder and said, "Wooby, I'm having pains." He quickly sat, rubbed his eyes, and looked straight at me. I knew now that I had his attention. We sat in bed, chatting in hidden excitement about what the pains were like and how far apart they were. The contractions weren't yet consistent; some would come 8 minutes apart, and others came after only 3 minutes since the previous. I knew deep down that these pains were different. After a while we knew that this was it because the contractions kept coming, progressively getting stronger. I decided that I needed O' Brother, Where Art Thou?, one of my favorite movies playing in the background. It was also playing while I was in labor with Ethan. After starting the movie, Eric went to the kitchen to warm up two of his home made cranberry orange scones from the day before, one for each of us. They were delicious!
5 am - Still in bed, we finally convinced ourselves that it was time to call our midwife, Diane. She assured us that we still had a while to go and advised us to call her again when the contractions were closer together. After hanging up with Diane, I stood and waddled to the bathroom. I sat on the toilet and had a couple of contractions. The contractions were becoming more painful earlier than I expected. They were strongly advancing. Every time that I felt one coming, I would look up and stare at the bright, round light bulb above me. It was my focal point during the toilet-sitting phase. My husband walked over and asked if I needed anything. He would stop talking if he saw me breathing heavily, which was really nice because I needed the concentration to deal with the pains. When I was almost ready to get off of the toilet, I noticed my bloody show. I was so happy to see that the labor was advancing that I called Eric over to let him know.
6 am - My husband filled the large bath tub and helped me in because of my desire to be submerged in warmth. The first contraction in the bath came, and I started swaying my body back and forth as Eric splashed the water on my neck and legs. It was easier to take the edge off of these contractions because of the toasty water that surrounded me. My contractions were now consistently coming 5 or less minutes apart and lasting for a minute. Eric was using a contraction timer on our iPad to keep track of them. At this point he insisted calling Diane again even though I didn't think that Cillian's arrival was near. She told him that she would call her apprentice, Liz, and that they would be there soon when he explained how often the contractions were coming. With me still in the tub, Eric took my hand and began to pray, "Dear God, ..." At this moment, a contraction began, and I squeezed his hand as he continued to pray.
During his prayer, I closed my eyes and felt the strength that God was giving me. "I can do this," I told myself.
7 am - I was able to stand up in the bath tub all on my own, then Eric helped me the rest of the way out. After drying my body, Eric clothed me with one of his white t-shirts and I made my way back to the toilet. The toilet seat provided the perfect support during the contractions because of the pressure that I felt. For each one of my contractions, Eric was there to put pressure on my lower back. He was my support angel. Eric heard a knock on the front door, so he had to leave me to go let Diane in. It was hard for those few minutes while he was away because I had no helper by my side. He quickly returned to inform me that she was here. Diane entered our room and quietly sat on the ottoman as Eric warmed up the last scone for her. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was playing in the background at this time.
7:15 am - I called Eric over to help me off of the toilet so that I could go lean on the edge of the bed. During the first contraction that I had there, my body told me what I needed to do, which was to get down on all fours and arch my back like a cat. I remembered to find a focal point and to intensely focus on it to help with the contractions; however, I found myself staring through things instead of right at them. After the first contraction that I had on the floor, I heard Diane reassuring me, saying, "That was good, Cristina. You're doing good." Almost immediately after she said that, I felt another one coming. The cat-stretching began, and I felt Eric's fist pushing down on my lower back, which eased the pain. After that one, Diane said that they were coming really close together. That was great news to me.
7:30 am - In the middle of one of the contractions, I heard footsteps in the hallway. All I saw were scrubs walking towards us, and I knew that it was Liz. I felt bad for not greeting her, but I figured that she would understand because of the heavy breathing. After the contraction was over, Eric apologized to her that there were no more scones. She said that she was okay because she had just eaten a big piece of banana bread. A couple of times, I pulled my body up against the bed to attempt to have a contraction there, but my body would take over, with almost animal-like instinct, to force me back down to my hands and knees. Around this time, Ethan woke up, and I remember looking up at him and saying, "Mommy's okay. I love you." Eric put Cars on in the living room and told him to stay out there, but he kept coming back in to see what was happening.
7:45 am - Eric realized that Forgetting Sarah Marshall was inappropriate for the situation, so he took the movie off. Diane asked Eric where the birth kit was, and Eric replied, "The towels and sheets are right here." However, she was referring to the kit that she thought she had given us during the home visit. To her surprise, she had never given us one. Eric could see the concern in her eyes as she left to go see if she had one in her car. We were all relieved when she returned with one. Diane and Liz asked me if I could make it up on the bed so that they could check me to see how dilated I was. Liz took my vitals and then saw that I was dilated 8 cm. I was pleased to hear this, even though I thought that I would already be 10 cm. Greedy me! Since we didn't have a complete birth kit, Diane asked Liz to call one of their other patients to see if they had any sheet-protection pads. We were in luck because the patient did have some and she only lived a couple of blocks away.
8 am - As Liz left to go get the pads, I got back down onto the floor to deal with the intensifying contractions that were coming every couple minutes.
8:20 am - Liz returned with the pads, and then I crawled back in to bed. I remember asking Diane if she was setting up the birthing tub. To my dismay, she said, "Oh no, we don't have time for that. This guy is coming soon." In a way, I was disappointed to hear that I wasn't going to have a water birth; however I was excited that he was coming soon. I don't know when or how, but next thing I knew, Ethan was in bed, by my side. I was so happy to see him and have him so close to me.
I remember turning over and grabbing his little face saying, "I love you so much," as a tear ran down my face. That was the only time during labor that I got emotional. Eric asked if I wanted Ethan to stay next to me, and I replied that I did. However, both he and Diane agreed that it would be best if he wasn't, so Eric took him back into the living room. When Eric returned, he asked if I wanted to watch A Night at the Roxbury. I responded that I did not care, so he put it on. Immediately after starting the movie, he turned it off because he realized that it wasn't necessary.
8:30 am - The next contraction that I had was the most intense one that I had before I started pushing. I felt my body taking over because I had no control. My legs were shaking uncontrollably, and I felt the immense need to push. It felt longer than any of the previous contractions. Finally, this contraction had ended, and I said to Diane with an almost whiny voice, "I feel like pushing!"
Diane responded, "I know, I know. You're doing good," as her and Liz turned me over to place extra sheets and the pads underneath me. Almost instantly, the next contraction started, and I began to push as I had never pushed before. I felt intense pressure and began to scream. Even if I wanted to stop screaming, I couldn't. Next thing I knew, I saw Ethan to my right, next to Eric, staring up at me. He looked interested but not concerned. We decided to let him stay. Diane was standing at the end of the bed, observing and instructing Liz, who was sitting just below my feet, ready for Cillian. My upper body was on its side, and Eric was next to me, pushing on my back during the contractions. During the next contraction, I pushed so hard that my water broke! It burst right at Liz, and everyone jumped in shock. Up until that point, I didn't even realize that my amniotic sac hadn't ruptured.
The next contraction came, and I felt a ring of fire. I pushed and pushed, and his head started crowning. I could feel the contraction going away, so I was so disappointed when I felt Cillian's head going back in. Another urge came, and the pushing began. Voila! His head was out. The pain from his head was actually more than that of his body. I could feel Liz gently removing the cord from around his neck; however, I was not worried because Ethan's had been wrapped around twice when he was born. With just his head visible, I yelled, "Can you just pull him out?" Everyone else quietly giggled. My last contraction came, so I began to push again. When his torso was out, I again yelled, "Pull him out! Pull him out!"
8:40 am - When Cillian L Marantette gushed out, it felt like a river down there. Then almost instantly, I had a soft, warm, and wet little body placed on my chest. That moment will stick with me forever. "I did it," I silently thought to myself as I looked down and squeezed him. "I love you," I whispered to him as he peacefully laid on me. After around a minute, he let out one tiny cry that already sounded so grown-up. Eric then asked if anyone checked if the baby was, indeed, a boy. I uncovered my little guy, and there it was. A boy for sure!
When I first saw him, I couldn't believe that he was real. Every feature was absolutely beautiful. I immediately noticed how hairy he was. It wasn't only on his head; he had noticeable peach fuzz all over his arms and back. He was a manly man already. Eric proudly looked at me and said, "Good job! I love you." He then leaned over and kissed both Cillian and I. Diane handed Eric the clamps and scissors as she asked if he was ready to cut the cord. He then put both clamps on and severed the physical connection between mother and child. Around three minutes after Cillian was born, Eric brought Ethan over to meet his baby brother. Eric said, "Look, Ethan, it's Cillian."
Ethan then pointed at Cillian, saying, "Baby!" Next, he pointed at me and said, "Mama!" Eric brought Tux over to meet his new brother, and Tux just sniffed him until he could sniff no more. Tux was probably more excited about the baby than Ethan was.
I was able to push out an enormous, 9 lbs 7 oz baby without tearing. I knew this was because labor went at the pace that my body wanted it to. Around 10 minutes after Cillian was born, the placenta was delivered. It was shown and described to me. I then asked, "People actually eat that?" I still had some humor in me. I felt amazing! After it all, I took a shower, breastfed, then took an awesome nap with Cillian. We called our families, I did my hair and makeup, and then visitors were here. This was an absolutely overwhelmingly amazing experience that took place in the comfort of our own home. We wouldn't have had it any other way.
Women were given the amazing strength to give birth. Women are capable. We are told now that we can't do this naturally, but we can! This thank you of ours, goes straight to the One Most High! To the King of Kings! To our Father, who art in Heaven! We thank Him for giving me the strength to birth our little Cillian. Thank you, God! Through Your grace we were given strength! Thank you, Father!
|5 minutes old|
|Cillian and Mama|
|With the Midwife|