Stephen's Birth Story: Part II
If you haven’t yet… read Part I first!
The thought that I might actually be ready to push still had not crossed my mind. I didn’t know why my body was telling me to push, but I figured it couldn’t possibly be because I was actually ready to push. I had only been in labor for about 35 minutes at this point. Regardless, the urge to push just became more and more pronounced. My body started pushing on its own. Three or four contractions after the phone call I knew I couldn’t help it anymore. I told Jake, “I can’t do this anymore!”
I thought perhaps I needed to go to the bathroom and that’s why my body felt like it needed to push something out? I wasn’t having much time in between contractions, but I needed to do something. So, when my last contraction ended, I got up and walked to the bathroom. I didn’t say anything to Jake; I was still in super-focus mode and needed to stay there. Evie followed me, but Jake stayed in the living room, slightly confused.
I sat on the toilet and started pushing… then all of a sudden I realized… that was a head. I felt his head come into the birth canal and immediately stopped pushing. I was still concerned that I was pushing too soon, and I knew I was probably pushing too quickly. I felt down to see where the baby was, and sure enough, he was crowning.
My very next thought was “My baby is not going to be born on the toilet!” I don’t know why, but that was just extremely important to me in that moment. I stood up and yelled for Jake, “Come catch the baby!” He ran in as I leaned on the sink for support. He knelt down behind me and said “I can see the face!” Knowing he was there I gave one final push and out the baby came. “He’s a boy!!” Jake pronounced and then handed him to me.
The cord was wrapped around his torso, so I untangled him. He didn’t like being moved around at all and started crying. That was good, as it seemed to clear out his lungs and we knew he was breathing. Not having a midwife there, that was good to know! Evangeline had done very well up until that point; his crying scared her and she started crying as well.
I sat down on the bathroom floor and brought the baby to my chest and comforted Evie in my other arm. Jake made sure I was ok and ran out of the house to help our midwife carry everything in. He really wanted her to be in there with us! That was the last time I saw him for about an hour after the birth. With all of the adrenaline from catching his son he was doing all sorts of things and couldn’t settle down! I remember actually having to call him into the bedroom after a while and ask him if he wanted to come meet his son now.
It all happened so quickly it was hard for either of us to sit and enjoy the moment as we were all still processing what just happened. Our little man was born at 4:08pm after only about an hour of labor. I delivered the placenta in the bathroom and then we moved into the bedroom. The umbilical cord had a true knot in it, which my midwife said was fairly uncommon.
He started nursing right away and continued to nurse for about an hour and a half after he was born! He did cry whenever we moved him for the first couple of hours. He must have been very sore after his speedy trip through the birth canal. His face was also quite bruised and he had broken blood vessels in his eyes. But after those first two hours he calmed down quite a bit and still doesn’t cry hardly at all!
Daddy got to weigh him, 8lbs 8oz just like his Mommy was! And Evie got to cut his cord. She loved him from the very beginning and even brought in two cookies to the bedroom, one for her and one for baby! It was super sweet, but we had to explain to her that babies don’t eat cookies! The rest of the evening was filled with many phone calls and skype sessions, a very healthy dinner of McDonald’s (hey, it’s easy!) and enjoying our new family of four.
He was a few hours old when we decided on his name: Stephen Patrick Mueller. Stephen, of course, for the first martyr of the Church. And Patrick not only for St. Patrick, but also for Jake’s dear grandmother, Pat, who went to be with the Lord earlier this year. Evangeline fell asleep and Jake, Stephen and I waited up for my mom who flew in that day from Denver. She arrived a little after midnight to meet her new grandson, and then we all promptly fell asleep.