Birth Story: A Singular, Clear Feeling

Mama: Kirsten Ellenbogen
Baby: Ezra, born October 29 at 1:35 a.m., weighing 8 pounds 10 ounces, and measuring 21½ inches

Excerpted from Belly Button Bliss:  A Small Collection of Happy Birth Stories

No one tells you that your body keeps producing amniotic fluid, so when my water broke with my second baby, I sat around much of the day as I had with my first: trying not to leak too much.

After twelve hours of minor, irregular labor pains, my midwife asked me to come to the hospital. I was given a gentle once-over and sent home. We all agreed my contractions weren’t that impressive. They did promise to hold a bed for me, wanting me back at the hospital within twenty-four hours of my water breaking.

A couple of hours later, the contractions became stronger and more regular. Between breathing, backrubs, and my birthing ball I did well for the next hour. When the pain-reducing techniques weren’t working so well anymore, we called our doula for help. She asked me to describe the pain in more detail; a contraction started, so I handed the phone to my husband, Charles. I must have sounded intense, because our doula suggested we meet at the hospital.

We had been told numerous times that we would really know when labor was progressing because I’d feel miserable even between contractions. But we still felt rather relaxed. Charles had me laughing and smiling. The drive to the hospital was short (but bumpy!); we parked in the garage and made the long walk through the tunnel to the maternity ward.

This took forever. Five steps, and a pause for contractions. Another five steps, and more contractions. It wasn’t like the movies; at 1 a.m., no one comes running with a wheelchair.

We stopped at the maternity check-in desk, but the next contraction actually made me yip. We were sent directly to the birthing room. I chatted with the nurse briefly and tried to give the urine sample she’d asked for, but I was overcome by a need to push. That was the clearest, most singular feeling I have ever had.

I gripped the wall. “I need to push!” I yelled. Charles ran into the hall, and whatever he said brought a lot of people running! With some convincing, I let go of the wall and made my way onto the bed. Pushing went quickly, and about five minutes later, our son Ezra was born, pink and loud. I’ve never felt so confident and sure of myself as I did in those few minutes.

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