Birth Story for Griffin Timothy Davis

Griffin’s due date had already come and gone by the morning of Saturday, 15 July 2006. I was sent out early that morning to go for a walk alone. I was elated that it was difficult to walk very fast, and once I even had to stop walking, as there was a strong contraction. I also experienced a bloody show that morning, and it felt like the baby’s head was much lower than it had been the day before. My seven year old daughter Annabella and I left the house at 9:15 AM for a full day of activity. We went to the library for a special craft time for children ages 6-12. Then we went to the bank, HEB, Walmart, Linens ‘N Things, Best Buy, and PetSmart. We have no pets – Annabella wanted to visit the dogs and cats that were available for adoption. We also went to a nice Mexican restaurant to have lunch together, as I had the feeling that it would be a long time before I would have a day like this with just the two of us. Alas, the contractions that were so promising that morning and afternoon all but faded later that evening.

The next day, Sunday, 16 July 2006, there were very nice contractions early in the morning, before the sun rose. I got dressed for church, and I had the feeling as we got into the car that it would be a long time until I would be getting into a car again. But those early contractions faded, and I was a crying mess on Sunday evening, wondering why I was being tortured so.

Early the next day, on Monday, 17 July 2006, I woke up before the sun rose with the feeling that I had a slow leaking of water. I took a shower at perhaps 4:00 AM, got dressed, and decided that perhaps I should rest some more. There were contractions that were even better than those from the previous two days, and I began to think that 17 July would be a really fun birth date – all those sevens! But, as I usually do, every time I get a break from contractions, I begin to feel that, “perhaps I am not really in labor after all.” At around 6:00 AM, my husband Victor wanted to know if I was OK. I said that I thought so. He took a shower, and then he called the midwife, Cathy Rude, at 6:20 AM to let her know that he was going to begin timing the contractions. She called back at 7:45 AM to find out the progress. She talked to me and asked if she should come and see how I was doing. I said I thought that would be a good idea. She let me know that she would be there in about 30 minutes. Before she arrived, my hands and then my legs began shaking, and I pointed this out to Victor. In the previous labors, this was always a sign to me that I was in transition.

I experienced almost all of these contractions either sitting in a wooden rocking chair or lying down on my left side. Any other position made the contractions much more intense. Victor was busy getting the children organized with food and clothes for the day, and he was timing the contractions, preparing drinks for me, and providing me with wonderful foot and leg massages between contractions. So Cathy, her assistant Leah, and my mother all arrived at the same time at some point after 8:00 AM. My mother was there to look after the three other children. Cathy asked if I wanted her to check me. I did want to know what was happening. She said that she felt no cervix – it was 10 centimeters and 100% effaced, and she could feel the baby’s head. So I got up to go to the bathroom, experienced a few more contractions for perhaps 15 more minutes, and then I experienced the wonderful feeling of pressure and wanting to push. I had never known that feeling with the other births, as I had always been directed that it was time to start pushing after the dilation was complete. So, after a little while, everyone could see more of the baby’s head, and I was reminded to wait for the “ring of fire” to pass – and it did! I do not remember that reminder in any of the other births. Griffin Timothy was born at home at 9:21 AM, and he began nursing at 9:47 AM. He was 9 pounds, 12 ounces, 22 ¾ inches long, and his head was 15 ½ inches. I had no tearing or cutting and no stitches. Annabella came in to meet her new baby brother, and as she had requested weeks ahead of time, she cut the cord. She and Zane and Simon have been so very loving and giving to their new baby. After the birth, a wonderful herb bath was prepared for Griffin and me. Annabella read the book, Welcome with Love, by Jenni Overend to us. It is a sweet children’s book about homebirth, and it was the very first book that was read to Griffin after he was born!

Victor’s assistant, Barbara, from the office, came over soon after everyone else arrived, as she had been selected to photograph the birth. She took over 100 photos. She helped give us lots of ways to make the memory of Griffin’s birth last. I am grateful to everyone on the birth team for contributing wonderful energy to the birth. I am thankful that everything worked out so well, as I had been worried about what it would be like to have a home birth with the other children in the same building. The first three children had all been born at a birth center, so I had always arranged for my mother to watch the children, and then I could leave for the birth to happen at the birth center. I loved not having to get into the car this time (neither before the birth nor after the birth)! Recovery is going well. I’ve been given instructions for a three week recovery, and it has been incredible. I am truly blessed with all the love and support with which I am surrounded. And I am in awe that I am the mother of four children!!!!

Valerie, mama to Annabella (03.15.1999), Zane (10.02.2001), Simon (04.01.2004) and Griffin (07.17.2006)