Birth of Quinn Charles
The end of pregnancy came way too fast. I really enjoy being pregnant and I wasn’t quite ready for it to be over, even though I was beyond excited to meet my baby. I expected to go a week or two past my due date because I was induced with Cora at 41 + 3 weeks. I should have known that Quinn had other plans because everything about my pregnancy and birth was so different this time around. On the day that I was 39 weeks pregnant I had an appointment with my amazing midwife, Shari at the birth center. (Side note- my experience at the Denver Center for Birth and Wellness was so great!)
Everything was going great and I was showing zero signs of labor. I figured I had at least another two weeks or more before I would meet my baby. Ethan drove back home to Vail so he could go to work the next two days. I decided I would stay in Littleton until the arrival of our sweet boy (and I am so glad I did!). I had a list of stuff I wanted to get done including finishing knitting his baby blanket and spending some intentional quality time with Cora.
On the evening of August 14th around 7:15 pm I was laying on the couch at my in-laws house when I felt my water break. Although I really wasn’t sure that was what happened. I assumed it had been my water breaking because it wasn’t urine but it also wasn’t a big gush of fluid. I texted Ethan and let him know that I thought my water broke. At 8:05 pm I called my midwife Shari to discuss what happened. She was so excited for me and reassured me and mentioned that it was probably my water and I might just have a small tear that is slowly leaking fluid. She encouraged me to monitor the fluid and call her back around 10 pm to update her. At 8:58 pm I started feeling regular early labor contractions. The contractions were only tight with absolutely no pain but they were coming every 2-4 minutes.
Around 9:40 pm I asked Ethan to come back to Littleton as our baby would likely come sometime during the night (my labor with Cora was super quick!). When I called Shari back at 9:54 pm, I told her I hadn’t noticed anymore fluid leaking. She encouraged me to rest as best as I could and to giver her a call when I was ready to head to the birth center. I had regular painless contractions until 1 am and then they stopped. From that point on I had irregular painless contractions off and on throughout the night. And I only was able to sleep for a couple hours.
Shari called at 7:14 am on Wednesday August 15th to check in with me. She asked me to meet her at the birth center at 8:30 am for a non stress test. At this point I thought I was crazy and that I wouldn’t actually go into labor for another couple weeks. The NST showed that baby was doing well and that I was having regular contractions (still no pain at all). Shari informed me that my baby was posterior but that it was nothing to worry about. She checked me and confirmed that my water did break and that I was dilated to 3 cm and was 70% effaced. She also swept my membranes. During the sweep she told me she could feel his hair! She told everyone in the birth center that we were having a baby today. But I didn’t believe her because I didn’t feel like I was in labor at all.
We left the birth center to try and get things started. We went for a long walk and then I took a good nap. We had lunch at cafe rio and then I rested some more. During this time contractions were anywhere from 10-50 minutes apart and not painful at all. Around 3 pm we decided to head to target to walk around (out of the heat). As soon as we walked in the door, our sweet nurse, Brianna called to ask us to come to the birth center to try some homeopathic stuff to encourage labor.
We were at the birth center until 5:15 pm. We tried pumping, squats, some homeopathic stuff and the contractions starting coming every 5 minutes or so. We left at 5:15 pm to eat dinner. We ended up going to my in-laws so we could love on Cora and I ate a few peaches. Contractions died down again and were still not painful at all. We went back to the birth center around 7 pm. They tried a maneuver to get babe to turn over by laying down with my hips raised and rubbing my belly with warm oil. Shari checked me and I was now 5 cm dilated and 90% effaced and she did another sweep.
At this point I still felt like I wasn’t really in labor. I bounced on the birth ball and did some more squats. I face-timed my sister in law Ama and I had a couple real contractions during the call. Around 8 pm we texted our birth photographer (Monet from Monet Nicole Birthing Stories) because we felt like we were entering active labor. Around this time is when the contractions turned from just tightening to crampy and uncomfortable in my back. I labored on the birth ball for a while, I leaned over the bed to help with back labor and I swayed and danced. It was super easy to get through these contractions and I was really enjoying the process. I started to have Ethan do counter pressure to help ease the back pain.
My birth team and I were dancing to ed sheeran in between contractions. I was having such a good time! I am unsure of the time but I chose to labor in the shower for a while. The contractions were still very manageable. I loved laboring in the shower! The hot water on my back really helped with the back labor. After laboring in the shower for a bit I started shaking slightly and squatting with the contractions. Our wonderful birth photographer encouraged us to think about filling the tub if we wanted a water birth. I was unsure if it was time to get in the tub yet because I felt like I wasn’t very far along.
The contractions were not very close together and I was feeling wonderful in between them. Shari encouraged me to have a couple contractions on the toilet before getting in the tub. Those hurt! The warm water in the tub felt AMAZING and my birth team set up the room to be candle lit and very cozy. I remember my midwife speaking so softly and calmly and she told me I could push whenever I wanted to. I felt so confused at this point because my contractions weren’t that close together and were not that painful. I hadn’t felt a transition point like I did with Cora’s labor and I never felt any panic or feelings like I couldn’t do it. Shari assured me that I was having a peaceful birth and everything I was feeling was normal.
The tub seemed to have slowed my labor and I began to feel very sleepy and discouraged that I wasn’t where my birth team thought I was (I know now that they knew my body way better than I knew it). I asked Shari to check me so I knew it was time to push. She checked me and assured me again that it was time whenever I was ready. She broke a bulge of waters which made each contraction much more intense. I now needed counter pressure on my back for every contraction. I could feel the urge to push very strongly but I was feeling extremely resistant to it. I labored on my side in bed but still was not feeling ready to push. My labor became very intense at this point and I had to vocalize to get through each contraction. Shari encouraged me to push on my back with my legs up but I really hated this position.
Shari informed me that I had a cervical lip that she would like to help move out of the way and she did. She also informed me that if I could let her turn my baby’s head into a better position then I would have him out in just a couple contractions. But the pain was too intense so I just couldn’t let her do it. I remember feeling so conflicted and discouraged at this point that it would take me hours to push out my baby with him in the posterior position. Shari suggested we try the birthing stool. Quinn came pretty quickly after pushing on the birthing stool. Once I was in position I just couldn’t avoid pushing any longer. I knew that I needed to start giving every push everything I had to get my baby out. The amount of pain I was in was insane.
I remember my legs shaking uncontrollably and groaning and roaring through the pain. I could now feel his head start to move down like a bowling ball stretching and charging through the birth canal. I was giving each push everything I had because I knew he would be out any minute now. He began to crown and my midwife held a mirror for me to see him and she encouraged me to feel his head (which was crazy). His head came out in a push or two and his shoulders came quickly after. Shari said “reach down and grab your baby” so at 11:29 pm Ethan and I both reached down as Quinn was still halfway between worlds and we caught our baby together and pulled him up to my chest. I’ll never forget the way his vernix covered skin felt in my hands and that feeling of relief/joy/intensity in the moment. I felt like such a badass birthing goddess. I was superwoman. It was the most euphoric and intense moment of my life. I just cried and kissed him. I couldn’t believe he was in my arms.
The. Best. Feeling. Ever.
The moments after his birth were amazing. I walked over to the bed and birthed the placenta. Shari repaired my tear and then I was able to get in the bath with my baby. I breastfed him for the first time in the tub and it was magical. Quinn had a quick newborn exam and he was 8lbs 13oz and 22 inches long. He had a 15 in head!
We were then able to breastfeed more and cuddle in bed. My in-laws brought Cora over to meet Quinn. She was so excited to see her baby brother finally.
The first few hours of Quinn’s life were pure bliss. We were able to leave the birth center around 6 am and take our baby home.
I had the best experience at the birth center and I can’t even describe how much Shari means to me. I absolutely wouldn’t have had such an amazing experience without her. She is the most most caring and knowledgeable birth worker I have ever met and she will always have such a special place in my life. I always felt so safe and supported during my labor. I felt like I was in the best hands and that Shari and Brianna truly cared and loved me. I am super thankful for my whole birth team: for Shari, my nurse Brianna, my birth photographer Monet, and especially to Ethan. I’d do the whole thing again any day.
If you actually made it through all of that I am impressed!
I also have a video from Monet!