The Birth of Finn

The day before (Wednesday) I had been having some very light contractions, nothing I would call painful, though they were regularly occurring. By the night when I went to sleep, I was able to sleep through them and they did not pick up in intensity. 

Thursday morning I noticed them again, but again they were not painful and I was able to ignore them for the most part. 

Around 9:45am, the intensity of the contractions picked up and I had to breathe through them. They were coming every 3 minutes or so and lasting about 30 seconds. Just before 10am, I went into the office where Ian was on a meeting, to make sure he would be done at 10 and tell him that I needed him to be with the older two kids (who were of course running around crazed at this time). 

Contractions continued throughout the day in 3-5 minute intervals, generally staying around 30-40 seconds in length. I spent a lot of the day trying to complete the puzzle we had started earlier in the week (it is a tradition to do a puzzle at the end of pregnancy before baby comes), while Ian got things ready around the house. My parents arrived around lunchtime and took over looking after the older kids. 

Contractions continued to pick up throughout the day in pain level, but it was obvious it was still early labor, as I was able to function totally normally between them. We had been keeping in touch with our midwife, Hayley, all day and decided that she would come around 5:30pm to check on the baby and me. 

When she arrived, we talked about ways to position baby better to help move into active labor. After the kids went to sleep, I took a shower where the intensity of the contractions seemed to increase. After that I laid in bed for awhile. While laying down, I had two really strong contractions that Hayley could hear from down the hall. We decided to do the antibiotics then (I was GBS positive) and then lay down some more. This is the time that labor really picked up (about 7:45pm). Contractions started getting longer and more intense, and I was resting/quiet between them. After sometime in this position, Hayley suggested I get back in the shower and try some more lift/tuck exercises to position baby. I got in the shower, but could not do the lift/tuck due to how much more painful that made each contraction, and at that point, I was using all my focus to manage the contractions as they were naturally occurring. Ian started applying counterpressure regularly from this point out during each contraction. I was crying in the shower and Ian said he knew then that I was likely in transition. 

Hayley asked if I wanted to start filling up the tub and I said yes. We sent word for my dad to do that while I finished up in the shower. After getting out, I labored leaning on the bed for awhile while waiting for the tub to be ready. These contractions definitely felt like a higher level of intensity and Ian was reminding me to keep my voice tones low. I kept telling him at this point “I don’t want to do this anymore”. When the tub was ready, I was standing in the middle of our room and Hayley asked if I wanted to get in. I told her “I don’t want to do anything”, because I knew it would be painful to walk/transition to the tub, but I also did not want to stay laboring in the room. 

We moved out to the living room where the tub was set up and then got in. The tub felt better, but really felt nice once I turned on my side to be mostly submerged. When I first got in the tub, I could hear Lucy, our dog, whining and crying from downstairs where she was. I told Ian to let her come upstairs and she immediately came next to me near the tub. It felt really grounding and nice to pet her and hold onto her through a few contractions. I also asked for my dad to come hold my hand during contractions, while Ian was applying counterpressure on my back. It felt very comforting to have the support of both of them while things felt so intense and unmanageable. 

I got into the tub not long before 10pm. Not long after laying on my side, I felt “pushy” during contractions. Hayley recognized this right away and asked me to tell her when I felt pushy so she could call the second midwife. I told it that time was now. Shortly I started to really push with each contraction. Ian was in the tub with me and somehow positioned himself into the perfect position where his arm was across my chest, so that I could use his arm as a pull bar for pushing. My water broke while pushing at 10pm (I had three separate, and seemingly full, gushes of water breaking), the second midwife arrived at 10:15 and baby was born at 10:16pm. 

I was hoping for this birth to not scream and feel more “in control” during pushing. That was not the case with this birth, as it wasn’t with the other two. Apparently this is just how I push babies out of my body; with wild, uncontrolled screams. 

When baby was born, Hayley caught him and lifted him to my chest. He cried so loudly right away once he was placed on my chest, and I broke into sobs of relief. Relief from the intensity and pain being over; and relief to hear him cry, knowing he was breathing and his lungs were healthy. He continued to cry loudly and it was the best feeling in the whole world to hold him. He turned pink immediately and looked so vigorous and full of color. 

Not long after, I transferred out of the tub to the couch and delivered the placenta there. 

Ian asked me about two pushes before baby arrived if I wanted to wake up the children. I did not answer him, and he correctly assumed that I did not want to. The intensity of that moment probably would have been overwhelming for them. Shortly after baby was born, we woke up Juniper, my older child, and she came out to be with the family. We decided to let Archie sleep. Junie was overwhelmed at first, seemingly from the loud baby cries. After a while she adjusted and then joined me on the couch to start telling her baby brother all about the world in a nonstop, stream of consciousness fashion. 

Finn Augustus Trettel was born 8 lbs, 4 ounces and 22 inches.

April is a birth photographer and certified birth doula in the Pasadena/Glendale/Los Angeles area. Interested in  birth services? Let’s connect!

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