The Birth of Olivia Gray

The first sign that you were on your way appeared on Friday, November 4th, one week before your due date. I was so excited that I would soon meet our darling baby! But when Saturday came and went without so much as one contraction, I was convinced that you weren’t on your way after all. Sunday brought me a new energy, and I spent the morning shopping for Christmas gifts and then reorganizing the utensil drawers in the kitchen (last-minute nesting?). At 2 o’clock that afternoon, after a short nap, I drove to my friend Barbara’s baby shower where I received many predictions that you were certainly a boy. As I listened to her guests ooh and aah over all the little baby things Barbara received, I remember feeling a desire to completely relax and focus my concentration on you. I suddenly felt a small gush of water and knew for sure that you were on your way!

Driving home I felt nervous and excited and a little concerned that I hadn’t yet had a contraction. I didn’t need to worry long because soon after getting home, around 4:30, my water broke completely and the first contraction arrived 15 minutes later. While I labored in the bathroom for the next half hour or so, your Daddy started filling up the birthing pool we had set up in our bedroom a couple of weeks before, and 2-year-old Trent was running around the house like a tornado. Time seemed to slow down because I didn’t realize that my contractions were only three minutes apart. In fact, I had told Cathy over the phone that they were five or seven minutes apart, and that I didn’t think I needed her to come yet! I spent the next half hour alternating between sitting on the toilet and kneeling on the floor, all the while conscious that I was leaking water. What a relief it was when your Grandmama arrived to pick up Trent! Once things were quieter, I knew I was ready for Cathy. We decided together that Connie would come first to check things out and be with me.

The contractions were very intense, and while I was managing them well, I desperately wanted to be out of the bathroom and to have your Daddy close to me. He was furiously trying to prepare our bed for your birth and to fill up the pool. We thought we would plenty of time for these things, but you were moving quickly and surely. This was the only moment I remember feeling a little scared. I longed to be more comfortable and needed someone near me. Thankfully, the feeling passed as soon as the next contraction took my entire focus! I was finally able to move to the bed, and I labored intensely on my hands and knees with your Daddy by my side until Connie arrived at about 6 o’clock. She was surprised at the frequency of the contractions and soon discovered that I was already dilated to 7 centimeters and that you were “very, very low!” I knew you were low because I was feeling strong pressure on my pelvis. Your Daddy had to press hard on my hips to help me through the contractions. How I wished I could get into the birthing pool, but it was still less than half full!

My entire focus was on relaxing my body so that it could do the awesome work of birthing our baby. I kept my mouth open and jaw relaxed while my womb contracted and quickly but steadily pushed you lower and lower. I remember a sudden change in how the contractions felt and knew then that you were about to be born. I breathlessly told your Daddy, “The baby’s coming NOW! Where’s Cathy?” At that very moment, Cathy walked through our bedroom door and saw the top of your sweet little head crowning! Another contraction and your head was born. I looked up at your Daddy and laughed - Could it really be this easy? It was so different from the pushing I had to do to birth Trent. I wasn’t pushing at all! A final contraction birthed your body at 6:54 on the evening of November 6th, and Cathy guided you forward through my legs so I could have my first look at our sweet baby. “It’s a girl!” I shouted, smiling through tears of pure happiness and awe that our baby – baby GIRL – had arrived, and in less than three hours of labor! We didn’t get to have a water birth, but your birth, Olivia, was absolutely amazing. I wouldn’t have changed a thing!