This week, in honor of Mother’s Day and our 9th blogoversary here, we’ve been re-publishing some wonderful mom stories we shared in the early days of the website. We received the essays after announcing a contest asking moms to tell us how they came to be the mothers of their children.
The story below first published on nwaMotherlode in May 2008 after it was chosen as a finalist in our essay contest. It’s in diary form, written by Kassie Misiewicz, artistic director and founder of the wonderful Trike Theatre in Bentonville. Kassie takes us on the journey with her through the birth of her second baby in real time, through the first contraction to the last. Through all the joy and pain.
Don’t forget to read the update at the bottom of Kassie’s post.
Story by Kassie Misiewicz
Jan. 9, 2007:
6:30 p.m. — I’m at a TheatreSquared board meeting and I’m feeling some contractions. I know the minute I say something, everyone will freak out and think that I’m going to give birth right then and there. It’s not going to happen! I’ve got this going on, Dan’s at a meeting and Sandy and Judi (my mother-in-laws) have stuff going on tonight. The due date is Jan 15. I’m sure that I’ll go early – but not tonight!
9 a.m. — Got some good sleep last night. No real contractions. It doesn’t look like the baby is coming today. I’ll take Maeve (21 months old) to daycare so that I can get some work done today.
10 a.m. — O-Kay. I was wrong. Contractions have started – not really painful – I’m doing a pretty good job of ignoring them. I’ll call Mom and Dad though and let them know to start looking for a plane ticket for Mom. When I call Dan, I can tell that he’s anxious. Since we’re doing a home birth this time around, he’s got more of a job setting up the house then he did last time. I’m so glad that Mom and Judi (my mother-in-laws) and Steve (my brother-in-law) are around and live in the house next door. This is very exciting!
Noon — Contractions are still happening but are not that consistent. I’m still ignoring them and am even getting some work done. I email a friend today and in my email exchange mention that I will be having the baby today.
I feel so much more confident this second time around. I had a good experience with a natural childbirth at the hospital with Maeve – but I’m really glad to be working with Jennifer and Maria, the midwives, and having the baby at home.
There are so many different labor and birthing positions I want to try. And I can’t wait to get into the Birthing Pool. If this baby is really going to come today – I better try to take a nap.
1:30 p.m. — Well, that was a lost cause. Couldn’t sleep at all. Contractions are still happening.
2:30 p.m. — I call Dan and tell him the baby is coming. He’s so excited. Initially I ask him to go pick up Maeve but then call him back and say that I will do it. He thinks I’m nuts – but since I can still talk while the contractions are going on – I want to ignore them as long as possible. Dan is going straight home and getting the house ready with the birthing tub, candles and food.
2:35 p.m. — Oh, while I’m out and about, better drop off this changing table to Robert and Aimee.
2:45 p.m. — Kristi calls. She talks to mom and thinks I’m crazy for picking up Maeve while I’m in labor. She wanted to know if I was really going to Dickson St. to have one last shot before the baby was born. Even the other moms at the babysitter’s place can’t believe that I’m in labor and picking up Maeve. The Midwives said to ignore them as long as possible and that’s exactly what I’m going to do!!!
3 p.m. — I bring Maeve home and the whole family has gathered in our small living room. So, in the effort to keep moving and to waste some more time, Maeve, Sandy and I go for a walk around the park. It’s cold, but not that bad. I’m wearing a sweater with pockets that let me hold onto my lower belly each time I have a contraction.
4 p.m. — Go for a second walk with Dan. This time he brings a watch and we time the contracts. They are getting stronger – but still, all I want to do is move.
5 p.m. — Home. Something shifts in my labor and I begin moaning with the contractions. I remember this from last time. I have one contraction in my bedroom and immediately tell Dan to clear out the party that’s going on in our living room.
My mothers and brother-in-law take Maeve next door and I get into the tub. It was very peaceful. Just like I had imagined it would be. Each contraction washes over me and I am able to keep my belly submerged while shifting into different lunging positions. Dan keeps the mood quiet with soft music and dim lights. Even with my in-laws coming back into the house to retrieve something, all the voices were low and quiet. Dan is taking great care of me and continuing to time my contractions.
6 p.m. (ish) — I am not keeping track of the time and am now feeling incredibly sad! I don’t know how far along I am, the contractions hurt like hell and all I can think is thank God they are not in my lower back like with Maeve. The warm water is helping, but I’m losing will power. It’s definitely time to call Jennifer and Maria.
6:30 (ish) — The girls are here!!! Upon hearing their voice – I yell out, “Get me pain medication!” Maria leans over and says something encouraging like, “I see that you are working really hard.” That new perspective and a hot compress on my lower back helps. So does hearing Maria and Jennifer start setting up all the stuff they will need for the baby’s arrival. That has to mean that I’m close!
7 p.m. (ish) — Before the girls can check my dilation, my body begins to push. It’s the strangest feeling. Like the times when I threw up, my insides were squeezing together to push out something – it was just pushing down – not up.
I never felt this with Maeve! I’m hoping that this time around, I’m not pushing for 4 hrs. At least I can let gravity work for me this time around and not push while lying on my back. My water breaks and the girls go into birthing mode.
I push on my hands and knees a couple of times and then Jennifer asks if I want to change positions. I read the book, Active Childbirth and really want to try the squat – so I turn over in the water and Dan leans over the tub to support me under the arms. (Not well planned on our part, because after two pushes in that position, my arms were going numb and Dan’s back was in spasms.)
I immediately flip back over onto my knees and wrap my arms around Dan. This baby’s head is definitely in my birth canal and not going back in. The pain is intense and there isn’t any time to relax. Maria tells me that she feels Rowan’s head and guides me on what I need to do to push him out safely. I breathe through a contraction and push him out slowly.
7:34 p.m. — Rowan Martin Misiewicz Hintz is born under water. Because he is born face up, it is imperative that we get me to a sitting position and Rowan above the water safely. Dan guides my leg over the umbilical cord and I sit with my back against the tub. It all happened so fast.
I grab the baby as soon as I can and hold him next to me with his head above the water. Although his vital signs throughout the delivery were normal, he is born with a bluish hue and breathing shallow. The girls and I quickly rub him and they give him a burst of oxygen. This is all it takes to get his color back and breathing normally.
7:45 p.m. (ish) — Rowan and I are moved to the couch where I deliver the placenta and Dan cuts Rowan’s umbilical chord. The girls move like experts to examine and clean up everything. (I remember asking the girls about the birth “mess” and they assured me that they would be in charge of cleaning everything up. That afterwards, no one would even be able to know that I had birthed a baby in the house. They were right!)
Oh, and as I was walking to the couch, I looked at Dan and said, “So, when are you going to have that little operation?! I don’t want to do this again!”
8 p.m. — Maeve, now fed and dressed in her pj’s, comes back home to go to sleep. Rowan is in my arms, nursing like a champion.
Maeve is quietly fascinated by his “hat” and had no problems going down to sleep. I eat some dinner. Everyone is in a great mood!
Jennifer draws me an herb bath. Rowan goes into the tub with me and he immediately relaxes. He seems to go to sleep. I wonder if this is how he looked when he was peacefully sleeping inside of me. The endorphins are now coursing though my body and I feel like I have run a marathon. I feel so alive and happy. Mom will be on a plane arriving tomorrow afternoon!
9:30 p.m. — Maria and Jennifer tuck Rowan and me into bed and finish cleaning up the house. It is hard to believe that I am in my own bed, holding my “hours old” baby. Dan and I call a few friends (since it is still early) and tell them that Rowan is here!
As I drift off to sleep, I imagine that someone will ask me, “So what did you do yesterday?” And I will reply, “Well, I took Maeve to daycare. Got some work done. Tried to take a nap, but couldn’t. Picked Maeve up from daycare. Had a baby. Ate some dinner. Took a bath and went to bed.”
Just like any other day.
A quick family update: Life is never dull in our house. We now live in downtown Bentonville and I’m the Artistic Director and founder of Trike Theatre. Rowan (10yrs) is very into soccer and can never take a serious picture. Maeve (12yrs) still loves her little brother and has caught the theatre bug. Dan owns his own consulting company, The Velocity group, and we love our NWA community. Thanks Motherlode for re-posting my “normal day in the life of Kassie” birth story!