June 19th, 2019 Windham Hank Walden
As usual, her personality comes into the room before she does. She smiles, radiates energy and lots of sarcasm. “Bear”, her 3 year old, trails behind with his dimples glowing. His not-so-innocent, heart-melting grin has surely gotten him out of a lot of consequences. But I can’t help but remember his crazy entrance earth-side as my first VBA2C and smile. Less than 3 hours from 3 cm to birth and he hasn’t stopped moving since.
Just passing 38 weeks, Whitney announced this baby could not, would not and should not come for 3 weeks. Her history made this very probable, so I wasn’t planning it for a couple weeks at least. The dog had torn up her cushions -- the cushions in the very well planned birth area in the back yard. The area with the stones set up for the birth pool to sit on. And the canopy to give shade and keep bugs out because the midwife threatened to climb in the pool if eaten by mosquitoes birthing outside in the middle of East Texas summer. With plants around the pool, birthing card inspirations hanging, chairs with new cushions, and twinkle lights. It was all set. Except for the cushions. Okay … 3 weeks penciled in with 3 weeks of prenatal visits scheduled.
A nice barometric change triggered a text to Diane early the next morning. Water broke at 2:30. Contractions 8 minutes apart, but manageable. A tornado had taken out the power, thrown the birth pool into a tree, the canopy was destroyed and 4 wheelers were the only way up the driveway. Diane had quipped, “As you live, so shall you birth”.
Around 10, Matt had patched the birth tub, replaced the canopy and the roads were clear. Still no power. She wants to stay home. Mentally, I am calculating her last birth and the length of time since water has been broken now. I head to the birth center to be a little closer. She says she is managing contractions well. After trying to stay distracted, I find I just need to be closer and call Diane and tell her we can hang out at a nearby restaurant. I decided to drop by her house on the way.
At one in the afternoon, she is laboring well, in spite of a very hot living room from a generator not being able to keep up the air conditioning. Between contractions, she is threatening to murder Matt in his sleep if it isn’t cooler. (I haven’t verified but I do believe he is still alive.) A crazy day and she is finally starting to settle into labor. She breathes and moves as contractions become harder to ignore. Matt asks if I was in Vegas and having to place a bet, how long would I guess it will take? Normally, I refuse to be pinned down on such a volatile question, but guessed about 2 hours or approximately 3:30.
The heat moved labor outdoors. Counter pressure, birth balls, lots of movement. Diane, Bri and I waited, monitored as labor progressed and Whitney relaxed as contractions intensified. She was settling into labor. The day’s chaos was dimming and she was more focused on the task at hand.
Finally,there was enough water in the birth pool from heated pans in the yard. Moving to find the best position, Matt feeding her chips, Bear wanting to throw rocks in the birth pool, “baby moving down”, honey sticks, vomit, holding hands with Matt. Pressure. Then with much focus, she breathed to slow the baby down. She breathed with control and baby came. A head, a body, a spinning baby to unwrap a double wrapped cord from around the neck. At 3:50 a beautiful baby boy, Windham Hank, weighing 7 lbs 4 oz, snuggled into mom’s arms. Crying just enough to be pink, but in defiance of a crazy day, he peacefully transitioned into life outside the womb.