Bjorn (A Birth Story)
It was still dark on Easter morning. It was 4am when the pain of my nine month baby that sat on my bladder woke me for one of my many bathroom breaks. Then a routine walk down the hall to make sure each of my children were covered and sleeping well. I laid back in bed and thought about the Easter outfits everyone would wear, and the one my belly would barely fit into. My thoughts were interrupted with a sudden snap! that came from inside my belly. Then another snap! My eyes opened wide as I realized the feeling I felt was my water breaking. Two contractions followed. Aaron rolled over on his side to face me. I thought it would be a good time to tell him he would be meeting his baby boy soon. I ran my fingers through his hair, "Happy Easter, I'm in labor." I assumed he would sit straight up and act surprised, but instead he was calm and ready to take on the moment we've been waiting for.
Just hours before I went into labor I was feeling anxious about being left alone. When we went to bed Saturday night, I cried to Aaron and told him not to leave me while I was in labor. He held me close and reassured me that he would stay with me the whole time. Little did we know that my water would break a few hours later.
Aaron began making phone calls and filling up our birthing tub. His voice was gentle. He wished everyone a Happy Easter, and then asked if they were ready to meet our baby. Listening to his short conversations made me excited for everyone to arrive.
I was focusing through a contraction when I heard a familiar sound. Someone was running down the dark hallway. Elias peered into our doorway with a big smile on his face, squinting his eyes at the bathroom light. He was the first one to greet me. I held him close through a contraction. His warm jammied body was comforting to me.
Just before the sun rose into the sky on my son's birth day, people that I loved came through the front door. My sister came first. She has been with me through every birth, a source of strength through my journey of motherhood. From the first day of meeting my little ones, then through the ups and downs of raising them.
Vitali, Elias, and Pia curiously wandered in and out of the room asking the same question with each visit, "When's the baby coming?" Pia would feel the water to make sure the temperature was just right. "Can I hop in the pool yet?" She would ask. No matter how many times I told her that no kids were swimming in the pool, she thought she was an exception. At one point Vitali entered the room in a button-up shirt, announcing that he was Dr. Falls and wanted to know if the baby had come yet. Then he checked my vitals.
As I labored, I went in and out of laughter and quiet, focus and joking. Beautiful women that I adore sat around the room. They laughed and cried with me. They didn't have to say or do anything, it was helpful to know they were with me, and I felt stronger with them there.
Aaron and Vitali were by my side when I transitioned into more intense labor. Vitali gently placed his hands on my belly. I felt so loved by him. His little hands would soon hold his baby brother. It was amazing to think that I was about to give him one of the best gifts he would ever be given.
Before I stepped into the tub and began my pushing contractions, I closed the door to the bathroom and prayed. Not for safety or an easy delivery, but that God would use my son's life. I thought back to the pregnancy before Bjorn and how my heart ached with loss. I cried out to God in the the darkness of the bathroom and asked him to help me not to live in fear but to trust Him with life. I needed a moment to think about the past and thank God for giving me nine months of a healthy pregnancy. I wanted to sit in the dark bathroom and be thankful for the gift he was about to give me.
Aaron opened the door and wiped my tears, he was a rock to me. I wrapped my hands around his neck and hung my belly through the intensity of a contraction. I let out a deep breath as we opened the door. Then I looked up to Karen, my midwife. "It's go time," I said. Aaron handed me a hair-tie and helped me into the tub.
I could hear the sound of distant camera clicks. Anticipation filled the room. More family made their way to the top of the stairs and watched from the doorway. I could hear the voices of cousins downstairs and uncles entertaining them. Vitali stayed close by with his hand on my arm. My midwife was where I could see her. I would let her know when I was finished with a contraction and she would monitor my baby's heartbeat. Her voice was gentle as she reassured me that the heartbeat was strong.
I remember when I tuned all the sounds and faces out except for one, my husband. I griped his arms to make it through the pressure of another contraction. Then with tired eyes I would take a break and look to him for strength.
Finally, I pulled away. It was time to embrace the little body that filled my belly for nine months. Everything in me was focused on bringing new life into this world. With my eyes closed I quietly let everyone know that I could feel his head. I knew this pain well, but remembered what the reward was like.
With my eyes squeezed shut and head tilted toward the ceiling, I let out the first cry. The burn was not in vain. I reached down and lifted his little body out of the warm water up to my racing heart. Air filled his lungs, turning his skin pink. Then he let out his first cry. Everyone cheered! I was immediately overwhelmed with joy, laughter filled my mouth. The intense emotion I felt made it hard to breathe. My baby was in my arms!
I brought Bjorn up to my face and kissed his lips. It felt so good to hold my gift up to my face.
I felt complete and exhausted. Drained and fulfilled. Emptied but full.
As Easter morning turned into a quiet afternoon, I held my son close and wept over him. I praised God for his gift to me. I gave him the glory for my son's life. Every rise and fall of his chest, every beat of his heart was fashioned by God…for me to enjoy. I thought about how incapable I am to design something so wonderful. The little eyes that looked into mine were a reminder that life is a precious gift. How beautiful to hold life that God has made.
My heart is full of gratitude for these amazing ladies, my birth experience would not have been the same without them....
Thank you Karen for caring for me so well, I have enjoyed every birth experience with you. You are an amazing midwife and so dear to our family. Blessed Beginnings Midwifery
Nicole, my sweet sister, thank you for your beautiful pictures, they are a treasure to me. How amazing that we have been able to bond over the births of our babies! Nicole Renee Koch Photography
Emily, you are so precious to me. Thank you for giving me part of your Easter to capture some of the best moments of my life. What an incredible gift you have given me. Oopsy Daisy Photography
Kelly, I had no idea how much I needed you. Your postpartum care has been such a blessing. Thank you for all the time and love you have given to me. How sweet to call you friend. Beautiful One Birth Services