Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Birth of Griffin Ranger

Griffin Ranger
Born May 28th, 2010 (Friday)
at 3am
11 lbs 10 oz
21 inches

Thursday, I was officially 1 week overdue. Went that morning for my weekly chiropractic adjustment and she really worked on my lower back and then saw that I was lopsided so she gently massaged me and got the baby scooted over more aligned. I was STARVING all day, which was wierd because I couldn't eat very much without getting really bad reflux. I was eating like a maniac. At dinnertime, I wasn't feeling very good. Felt like indigestion and I figured I just wasn't hungry cuz I had chowed down all day. I tried to eat a bit of spaghetti but it just wasn't working for me. At 8pm, I was so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open so I went and slept until about 9:30. Was having reflux so I got up and decided to watch SYTYCD. During the show I was having BH, which was such a normal occurance these days but the pain was in a different spot. I laughed and told Jeremy that maybe I was going into labor. We went to bed at 10:30 and the cx completely usual. I had been having signs of impending labor for over 3 weeks and we weren't 100% sure on my exact dates so I thought for sure I would have an early May baby and here we were at the end of the month. I was really getting used to having painful contractions that lasted most of the day or night and then fizzled out. I knew that they were working on something, but I couldn't physically see any difference and there was a point when having to do all the work with no outcome was very taxing on my emotions. Sometime during this week, I moved passed the frustration and into a more zen place and so I laughed because I knew that if not tonight, perhaps tomorrow. The baby would arrive soon. And tonight was a full moon.

At exactly midnight, the pull from the moon worked its magic and I was awoken by a gush of fluid. Jeremy got me a towel and I waddled and leaked to the bathroom. The fluid was so neat. It was really warm, and thick and smelled really sweet. It had little bits of vernix in it and I felt so connected to my baby thinking these little bits were on his skin and that he is coming today! I started shaking and felt really cold. I called my MW to report the broken water and went back to bed and snuggled up with Jeremy planning on resting as much as possible. I've had a 22hr, 5 hr and 14 hr labor so I was preparing for the long haul. I was getting up every 10 mins because I needed to use the bathroom and my stomach felt queasy. I decided maybe I should eat something and went to make myself PB toast and post on FB that my water broke. This was about 1:30. I called my MW to let her know that cx had begun but I wasn't really sure about them. She asked if I wanted them to come now or if I wanted to call them back when I was ready. I said we'd call back, these were still quite manageable. They were seriously like 2-3 mins apart from the very beginning and they hurt but seemed to be only 30 seconds long. I went to try and eat my toast, but instead I started throwing up. I told Jeremy to fill the birth tub.

At this point I am moaning and swaying and moving and walking and they are hard, still 2-3 mins apart, maybe 45 secs long. Every cx I said "here comes another one....OPEN OPEN OPEN...these are FREAKIN AWESOME" and Jeremy would laugh at my sarcasm dripping through when I was trying to be "Miss Positive Affirmations". I was feeling a lot of them in my back at first, so I was on my hands and knees or leaning forward a lot. It just really felt like the most natural and comfortable thing.

I told Jeremy I was in transition. He didn't believe me. He said that I was still too lucid and talkative and directive. Move your hands here. Stand like this. Push harder on my hips. Don't touch my back! Get some towels. Don't forget to switch the baby monitors (we moved Hudson to another room). You need the plastic liner to put under the sheet on the bed...etc etc. He asked if I wanted him to figure out if I was dilated and I was like sure! But everytime I tried to lay down, another cx would hit me fast and furious. At this point for every cx I was grabbing him from where ever he had gone to try and prepare things and using him as a support post. My favored position was with my back to him, his arms under my armpits supporting my weight while I bent down and kinda hung off him, swaying and moaning and pushing my lower back against him. Later I read that this position was called a "Standing Supported Squat" and it increases the pelvic outlet by 15% which would help a larger baby get through. It's amazing to me that this was the position I instinctively got into and I think it was something I only felt comfortable enough to do without an audience.

I asked him if the tub was ready and it had just finished. I told him I was feeling the slightest bit pushy with each cx. I could feel the endorphins kick in, I felt sleepy and otherworldly in between the waves. I knew it was getting close, I felt it, but in the back of my mind I worried that maybe I wasn't because Jeremy had insisted that I couldn't be in transition. To his credit, in all my other labors I would be on the bed for the last hours of labor but this time I had so much energy...I had to keep moving. I got in the pool and the cx seemed to hit harder. I cried and I said I can't do this, and I knew that was the sign for being in transition but I was worried it was a sign that I was a wimp. I yelled "IT HURTS, IT HUUUUURRRRRRTS" and told Jeremy not to just stand there staring at me DO SOMETHING, TOUCH ME. I think that flipped a light on and he was back to his very supportive self, telling me soothing words and trying to use counter-pressure on my hips. Getting in the tub definitely made it more intense for the next couple of cx.

He left to call the MW's and I thought about the next cx. I started repeating to myself that I am strong. I can do this. I am strong. I am strong. I was on my knees with my arms draped over the tub wall. A cold wash cloth on my head that I tossed halfway across the room when each cx started. I was sipping cold water. And I was chanting....I am strong. I am strong.

When the next cx hit, I didn't moan, or shake my arms or shallow my breaths or let it take me beyond control. It hurt just as much as before but I breathed and I swayed. I did this for 3 cx in a row and Jeremy was like "um are you still contracting? OMG. Really??" I could feel myself wanting to freak out, wanting to moan and shake but instead I breathed deeper and could feel the muscles tightening in waves. It was really cool (in retrospect LOL) at the end my body would push just a bit and it would hurt. I knew I wasn't ready to push yet, it felt like it did when I had a cervical just slightly pushy but not full on.
It was such a big difference in how I handled these cx, normally I would try to get away from them, push the energy out somewhere (vocally or physically or something) but these ones I just let them be. It was the hardest and most rewarding thing I've ever done. I've never felt so powerful at any other moment in my life than when I accepted the pain and didn't try to be the victim of it. When they say you need to surrender, to give up control and ride the waves I think they had it wrong. In all my other labors I tried for that and never felt like I did it "right". Maybe to me surrender means to give up. But I didn't give up, I didn't fight myself to try and let go of control. I realized that I was in control, that I could decide to let it overtake me or I could choose to look the pain right between the eyes and say "i got you. Lets do this" It wasn't a surrender. It was a compromise, a partnership. Jeremy said that watching me in this process he was in awe. From his view, I was serene, calm, with no tension showing. My breathing wasn't labored, my face showed no exertion. The only indication he had that I was having a cx was that my fingertips would gently press together. All I could think of was the flowing of energy, the connection, the spiral of it.

When the 4th cx came in the tub, I sat back on my heels and I felt the baby slide right down to my perineum. My body pushed him down fast and I reached down and felt his head coming out. Jeremy noticed I sat back and thought I was having a harder cx so he started saying his encouragements, "nice and he coming out?" I tried to nod yes, but it was more of a small grunt. Baby was coming fast, so I started blowing out of my mouth "pwah pwah pwah". I was trying to slow his descent because I knew the tissues needed time to stretch. My hand was caressing the babies head, it was squishy and soft and covered in hair. The ring of fire was burning as he stretched me, and I softly held his head as he was crowning. I felt his forehead, then nose and then chin come out. Then I looked up at Jeremy and said "his head is all the way out, do you want to come over here and help me or what?" Jeremy laughed and put his hands down to the babies head. I felt the baby rotate and on the next cx I realized he was big. I cocked my right leg up, shifted my hips and pushed hard. The shoulder sliding under my pubic bone hurt (I have been having issues with that area the whole prg). Out he popped, Jeremy slide him between my legs and into my arms as I sat back and held him. We cried and laughed. It was 3am. Only 3 hrs from when my water broke. Jeremy called the MW, she was 20 mins out and speeding her way to our house.

Griffin started crying and pinking up nicely. We just gazed at our new little bundle for a few ethereal moments that seemed to stretch on for eternity. He was here. He was beautiful!

I had a cx and my placenta came out but the membranes stayed halfway in. I was a little worried about it but our MW over the phone was there to help us out. When I stood up to get out of the birth pool most of the membranes fell out and the rest came out slowly over the next week.

Madelyn came in to meet her baby brother and was very cute and excited. Our MW showed up with a police escort. She got pulled over and he followed her here, but he only helped bring her bag in the foyer and left. I was very happy about that because I wasn't exactly dressed for company! I have a tiny tear that doesn't need a stitch or anything, it should heal up together nicely. At now 4 weeks postpartum, Jeremy and I both agree that this was by far my easiest recovery from childbirth. Our MW's were fantastic and so supportive and wonderful all the way from the prenatals, to the awesome phone labor support and the postnatal visits. It was everything I've ever hoped for. At night, kids were all sleeping, it was short, 4th birth, 3 homebirth, my 1st waterbirth, and it was unassisted. It was awesome. Griffin is so so so soft. His skin is like silk. Soft and chubby. He is so sweet.

There has been questions about the unassisted part and whether that was planned. Jeremy and I knew it would be a possibility that the MW's might not be there in time based on our previous births and how we seemed to call them to arrive within 30-45 mins of the baby's arrival. I had done lots of research on birth because I did not go into birthing at home lightly and part of that research was into unassisted childbirth. The concept behind it was something that I identified with because I really feel that it only takes 2 to make the baby, why would the outcome of that conception need anyone else to complete it? But I truly believe the best and safest place for a woman to birth is one were she feels most comfortable. For me, I wanted to have a birth team available. Not because I didn't think I could do this on my own, but because I wanted the support of knowledgeable women in case something came up that I wasn't fully prepared to handle. We went into this birth like we did every other one, calling our support in when we felt like we needed it. Little did we know that this birth was going to be fast and relatively easy!

Every birth I've had has been a transformation. I've learned so much about myself in each one and have grown so much as a woman and mother as our family has grown. This birth has taught me something that I will carry with me throughout my life journey: I AM STRONG.


  1. This is the best thing I have read in ages! Beautiful story, Dana. :)

  2. You've come soooo far! Remember when you were barely pregnant with your FIRST?!? You are a rockstar, Dana! I love you so much! Thanks for sharing this!!

  3. Wow Dana & J you are both so amazing! This account of Griffin's birth was beautifully written. I feel so fortunate to get to read & share your experience. I am so proud of your courage & strength, it is one more reason to respect and admire you as the beautiful amazing woman you are.
    I love you all very much!

  4. Thank you! I love your description of partnering with the energy and how you caressed his head as he was coming -- what a reassuring way to enter our world!

  5. What a beautiful birth story. And what a Chunky cute baby! Awesome! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Wow he's a handsome little guy and what an amazing story! Glad it all turned out well for you!

  7. Amazing story! And Griffin is a beautiful, chubby little guy. :) Thank you for sharing this!

  8. That was a great Birth Story. I would love to share it with my Birth Stories group next month if that is OK. I am assuming that is OK since you posted it publicly. :)

  9. I was induced on May 28th, but my birth didn't exactly go as planned. Your's sounded wonderful! Congrats to you and your family!

  10. I love the name! I am expecting in 13 weeks and we have Griffen picked out for our boy :)

  11. Oh I cried when I read this! BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations, Mama, on being so STRONG and working with the contractions! Welcome to the world, little Griffin Ranger! :-)

  12. Look at his wonderful chunkiness!!!!! <3

    Congratulations! I loved your story, and I think you made an excellent word association with the surrender vs. compromising with contractions. Great!

  13. Such a beautiful and empowering story! I love intuition :)
    (and that delightful squishy little arm is just so lovely!!)

  14. Beautiful! I went into labour on the 28th and took photos of the full moon if you would like a copy? My son wasn't born til 6am on 29th :) planned unassisted homebirth :) congratulations to your family on the birth of your big gorgeous Griffin! (not sure why it's coming up as anonymous but email me at if you would like me to send the moon photos)

  15. What a beautiful birth you had! I am so thrilled for you, proud of you, and just plain pleased. Tears of joy for you, mama. -Anna

  16. Beautiful Story! I would love to share in my childbirth classes if you don't mind?
    He is beautiful.

  17. What a cutie and so chunky!! Congrats on your amazing birth!

  18. Thank you all so much for the kind words! And please feel free to share!