William Patrick Riley Dresslar
Born at Home
Friday December 7, 2007
5:09 pm
9 lbs 0 oz
20 inches
14.25 in head circumference


Monday, December 3, 2007 was my due date. I had only recently begun to feel uncomfortable with the pregnancy and was getting more and more ready to meet the little baby I carried inside of me. My mom had come to stay with us for the week to await the baby’s arrival so she would be sure to be here for the girls during the birth. Monday morning of my due date I was not feeling that labor was imminent despite being 2 centimeters dilated and the baby being at 0 station the week before. I took my mom with me to drop the girls off at school so she would know how to get to their schools should the need arise for her to go get them. After dropping them off we went to the chiropractor to get adjusted and then my mom treated me to a pedicure at a local salon. Then, we did some Christmas shopping and went out to lunch until it was time to pick Maya up from preschool. I was disappointed not to be having any real contractions or signs of labor as we had thought I might follow the pattern I had with the girls who were 3 and 2 days after their due dates, making this baby expected one day after his. We went to the grocery store and picked up ingredients for casseroles to freeze for after the baby was born. When we got home I took advantage of my mom being here and took a nap while she got Seri off the bus, just in case that night was the night. But alas, I awoke December 4th still pregnant. That day I decided to go have a prenatal massage, something I had never done, to pamper myself in my last days of ever being pregnant. I came home very relaxed & spent the late afternoon taking a nap again, just in case. But again, I woke up the next morning, still pregnant. By Wednesday I was getting a bit frustrated. Maya had a field trip that day so I enjoyed spending that time with her since I still could, but just kept thinking it was time for the baby to be born. I was starting to feel the pressure of everyone watching and waiting for this baby to get here, feeling like I was somehow disappointing everyone. By Thursday I went to my midwife appointment feeling very tired and much like a watched pot. I talked to her about this a bit and she reassured me that she really thought I would go into labor before I hit 41 weeks the next Monday. She asked if she could check me and offered to strip my membranes. I accepted and when she checked me she found that I was 3-4 centimeters dilated and the baby was at 0 station. She stripped my membranes and when she removed her fingers we discovered that I had some bloody show. She assured me again that she really thought it would be soon and told me to call her as soon as I thought I might be in labor because it could go very quickly based on my past labors. We made an appointment for the following week and I was on my way.
On the way home I stopped at the grocery store to pick up ingredients for that night’s dinner. I went to the bathroom when I got there & discovered a little more bloody show. While walking around the store I started to feel a bit crampy & had a few irregular contractions. This continued throughout the afternoon. I decided to try to take a nap while my mom got Seri off the bus again, but I had trouble falling asleep. I was having irregular contractions and just couldn’t fall completely asleep. So I rested for about an hour & then went out to help get the girls ready for their swim lessons. My mom & I took the girls to swim lessons & then we all went home to try the taco soup recipe I’d found on the internet that came with claims of sending one into labor. We all really liked it & afterwards, Sef & I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood while my mom got the girls ready for bed. During the walk I had to stop for a couple of strong contractions, but they stopped shortly after we got home. We got the girls to bed and my mom and I settled in the living room to watch a recording of Grey’s anatomy. Around 9:00 I noticed that I was starting to have contractions off and on again. They kept coming so around 9:45 I pulled up my laptop and logged onto a contraction timing website to start timing them. It was easy, I just pushed the spacebar at the beginning and end of each contraction and it timed them for me, no need to alert anyone else. Around 10:30 Sef came into the room & leaned over my shoulder to ask if I’d had any more contractions since our walk. I smiled & showed him my computer screen to which he replied “You’ve been sitting over here timing contractions and not telling me?!” I informed him that while they were regular, at about 5 minutes apart & lasting about a minute, they were not strong yet so I just wanted to monitor them. He of course, wanted to tell my mom, who was getting ready for bed, but I forbade him in case it was a false alarm. I then took the laptop with me to the kitchen to continue timing contractions while I made the girl’s lunches for the following school day & joked with Sef about whether to make him a lunch. He then decided to make a quick trip to the store to go get the tapes for the video camera we’d borrowed and some Polaroid film. I continued to time contractions while I picked up around the house, just in case. I wouldn’t want the midwife and her assistants to have to trip over our clutter on the way into the house for the birth! Although I knew what I should be doing is going to bed to try to get some rest. I was just too excited to sleep so I kept finding things to do while I timed contractions, which were now about 3 minutes apart. Finally around 12:30am, Sef convinced me to call Cathy, our midwife, just to let her know. By the time the contractions became this regular with the girls, active labor was just moments away and being that this was the third child, we didn’t want to take any chances of the midwife not making it. However, the contractions were still not strong and I could still easily talk through them. I told Cathy this, but convinced my labor could pick up & progress quickly, she decided to come anyway. At this point I decided to wake my mom up and let her know what was going on. I tried to get her to stay in bed and sleep, thinking it could still be a while, but she got up anyway, excited that this could be it.
When Cathy, her assistant Connie, and her apprentice Amanda arrived around 2:00 am our house turned into a whirlwind of activity as they wheeled in oxygen tanks, set up trash bags, receiving blankets, hot compresses and separated the birth kit supplies. I found myself walking around the room between contractions and starting to wonder why they were setting everything up when I still wasn’t in hard labor & no one had checked me to confirm I was even really IN labor. Once everything was set up I started getting that watched pot feeling again. Everyone was standing around the room just waiting for something to happen & nothing was. I felt the need to apologize to everyone for having a boring labor. As everyone milled around Sef began playing music on the laptop, watching music videos on youtube, starting with none other than “Carol of the Bells”, my least favorite Christmas song that he likes to annoy me with regularly. Luckily we progressed to songs like John Mellencamp’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” Charlie Daniels Band “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, Eric Clapton’s “You Look Wonderful Tonight”, Dwight Yoakam’s “Suspicious Minds”, Kenney Chesney’s “Don’t Blink”, Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl”, and Skid Row’s “I Remember You”. I had been sitting cross legged on the bed listening to music and chatting with everyone in between, and during, contractions, but by about 3:00 am I found myself getting tired & was laying on my side listening to music as my mom was making coffee for everyone. By 4:00am it seemed fairly obvious to everyone since my contractions were 5 minutes apart and I was still able to talk through them that we were not going to be having a baby any time soon. Cathy decided to leave Connie with me and go get some sleep on the bed in our playroom. Amanda retired to the couch while my mom and Connie got pillows & lay on my bedroom floor with Sef & me on the bed. I dozed between contractions, keeping the laptop in front of me so I could push the spacebar at the beginning and end of each contraction. I also got up to use the bathroom periodically. I think I finally fell asleep for about 15 minutes and then when the contractions started waking me again I decided to sit up. Cathy came in around 5:00am and checked me. I was still only 4-5 centimeters dilated and about 80% effaced. We decided to try using the breast pump to try to get things going. She said we would try that for about 30 minutes to see if it made a difference. When it didn’t, we decided to try getting in the bath tub, which she said would either intensify the contractions or stop them so I could get some sleep. I got into the tub around 6:00 and while the contractions didn’t stop, they did get a bit further apart and shorter. I stayed in for about 45 minutes and then decided to get out and try to rest a while. I was getting very frustrated with the labor at this point. By the time I’d been in labor this long with the girls, they were born. I never expected this to happen! If anything, I expected it to go really quickly. But I was tired so I decided to try to sleep. We decided to stop timing contractions for a little while & I would just do my best to get some rest. By about 8:00am, I said goodbye to Seri for the day, (it was rodeo day at school and she really didn’t want to miss it), and settled into bed with Sef.
I managed to get a bit of sleep but by 8:45 the contractions were getting strong enough I had to breathe through them and about 3 minutes apart so I gave up on sleep and started timing the contractions again. I had no energy after the long night so I just lay in bed with the laptop again pushing the spacebar with every contraction and dozing in between. Around 9:30 Cathy came in to see how I was doing and said she had an appointment for 10:00 and was trying to decide whether she should go or not. I felt pretty confident once again that there would be no baby anytime soon so I told her to go ahead and go. Connie and Amanda stayed behind to keep an eye on the situation and would call Cathy if we needed her. I was starting to feel a bit nauseous so I took my daily Zofran and asked for a piece of toast. I tried to sleep again after my snack but only lasted about 30 minutes before I decided it was time to get up. At around 11:00 my mom, Maya and I decided to go out for a walk. It was about 85 degrees and humid outside, unseasonable for a December day, even in Houston. We only got a few houses down the street before a familiar car pulled up alongside us. It was a neighborhood friend, Kim, who was surprised to see that I was out for a walk in the neighborhood when she’d heard I was in labor. She even had her camera & took a picture of me walking in labor. She quickly wished us luck and let us on our way. We walked to the back section of the neighborhood, stopping along the way to pick up snails, look at worms and various other things that three year olds like to explore on a walk. About half way through the walk my contractions started picking up and getting a bit stronger. They were about 2 minutes apart & by the end of the walk I was having to stop walking to breathe through them. We came home and used the bathroom and went right back out to walk some more. This time we took Maya across the street to the park. My mom pushed Maya on the swings while I sat down and had a snack of yogurt at the picnic table. As I walked over to join Maya and my mom we saw another familiar car stop, turn around & pull up to the park. My friend Tracy got out & came over to see how I was doing. I had to lean on the swing set to work through a contraction just as Tracy walked up and then I was able to chat for a bit and give her the update. She stayed for a little while, pushed Maya on the swings while we chatted about how the labor was going and what we were expecting for the rest of it. Then she wished us luck and was on her way. I began walking from tree to tree in the forested part of the park, stopping and leaning on the tall pine trees for support when I’d have a contraction. I would mentally make a goal of getting to this tree or that tree before the next contraction started. I stopped to watch some squirrels chatter at each other and jump from tree to tree, I watched ants on the ground & birds flying overhead. I held onto a tree and squatted through a few contractions and got up to walk again. As I neared the other edge of the park I turned around and saw Maya and my mom walking through the trees behind me. Every once in a while, Maya would stop and hold onto a tree, just like I was doing and then start moving again. It was so precious! She kept doing it until she put her hand next to a spider on a tree and that was the end of that.
After about an hour of laboring in the park we decided it was time to go home, as the contractions were getting much stronger and I was starting to feel more pressure in my sacrum and at the peak of the contractions. As we walked toward home yet another familiar vehicle stopped us to see how we were doing. It was my friend Carmen, who commented that she thought I should be in the hospital & lightheartedly called me a crazy woman for doing this at home. Like the others, Carmen wished us luck & was on her way. By the time we got home it was just after 1:00 pm and labor was really starting to pick up. The contractions were strong enough I had to breathe through them and they were coming consistently at two minutes apart. Connie checked me and I was 6-7 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. Finally! Labor was really setting in! I got tears in my eyes, I was so happy it was finally getting going. Everyone was in the kitchen fixing themselves sandwiches for lunch as I walked around the living room, stopping to lean on the arm of a chair and rock my hips during each contraction. Sef would rub my lower back during contractions, taking turns with Connie who did a sort of hip lift on my sitting bones that relieved some of the sacral pressure I was feeling. At 2:00 we decided it was time to call my friend Christie who would be photographing the birth for us and to go get Seri from school. Christie arrived just as I was getting ready to go get in the tub to labor in the warm water and my mom left to pick up Seri. I got changed and got into the tub. The warm water felt wonderful, but at the same time I was very worried that it could slow my labor so Cathy, who had just returned from her appointment, was closely monitoring my contractions to be sure that nothing changed. My first two contractions in the tub were five minutes apart, still intense, but spaced further apart. I immediately wanted to get out, but Cathy encouraged me to wait it out & see if they re-regulated themselves. Sure enough, they did and we were back in business. Sef and Christie were in the bathroom with me, Christie was taking pictures and Sef was sitting by the tub rubbing my lower back. In between contractions I sipped Red Rasberry Leaf tea from a straw. Cathy sat on the bathroom floor next to the tub, chatting with Sef & me between contractions about how we met and how he proposed. It was nice to relive those moments while getting ready to give birth to our last child.
Soon Seri arrived from school. I remember looking up at her standing in the doorway in her rodeo outfit, smiling from ear to ear, so excited that she would soon be meeting her baby brother. She went up to change clothes and Maya stayed in the bathroom to rub my arm and pour warm water on my back during contractions. I leaned forward over the edge of the tub to work through each contraction. I had my left leg straight & leaned slightly on my right hip. Sitting straight up was just too painful during a contraction. We were trying to closely time contractions so every time one started, someone would call out “STARTING!” to someone in the next room, who I assume was keeping track. I was beginning to moan with the contractions and it wasn’t long before they started double peaking. I got up to use the restroom and had a horrible contraction while sitting on the toilet and quickly moved back to the tub. The baby had the hiccups, which made for some interesting contractions with my belly jumping at the same time. We thought things might be getting close so Sef put on his swim trunks and joined me in the tub. At first he sat behind me, rubbing my back during contractions, but at some point it progressed to his standing in the tub and my burying my face on his leg and moaning through each contraction. The contractions were very intense at this point, every two minutes, lasting over a minute and many were double peaking. I started to feel pushy at the peak of some of the contractions so Cathy began to get suspicious that I might be fully dilated. She had started talking to me about pushing positions in the tub and decided to go ahead and check me to see where we were. She was very surprised to find that I was only 8 centimeters dilated, although a loose 8, 85% effaced (my cervix had started to swell & I’d lost effacement) and the baby was at a –1 station, higher than he had been. Clearly, something was wrong. At this point I had to pee again so I got up to sit on the toilet. As I was sitting on the toilet the contractions really intensified. I called Sef over to me & held onto him, burying my face on his waist while I moaned through two contractions. On the second one I got an overwhelming urge to PUSH. As I did I felt something slide down my birth canal. It didn’t feel big enough to be the baby’s head so I figured it must be the bag of waters. I reached down to feel & sure enough there was the bag, bulging out of me. Cathy told me to try to break it with my finger. I felt around for a second & quickly found a weak spot & SPLASH! into the toilet. Everyone laughed “What a perfect place for your water to break!” someone said. At this point Cathy asked if I’d like to get back in the tub or move to the bed. I decided to move to the bed and it was a good thing I did. As soon as I got there I got a hard contraction that had me pushing involuntarily. Cathy reached in to feel the baby’s head and discovered that my cervix was literally stuck on his head and was coming down with him! She tried to push it back, but it was so swollen that it wouldn’t budge. She had her whole hand inside me & it burned so much that I thought the baby was crowning! I complained loudly about the pain and even said a curse word. Cathy apologized to me but said it had to be done to keep my cervix from coming too low or tearing away from my uterus. I tried pushing through another contraction while Cathy tried unsuccessfully to hold my cervix back once again. She then decided that it might be better if I didn’t push for a few contractions. It was really difficult not to push when everything in my body was telling me to push. I had to blow through the contractions. I blew so hard I hyperventilated myself. My face and hands started to tingle & I felt lightheaded. They put an oxygen mask on me and told me to take some deep breaths. It took a few minutes before I started to feel better, then we decided to try pushing again. Cathy reached inside me again and tried to push my cervix over the baby’s head. This time it worked & I continued pushing with Cathy’s hand holding my cervix back. This was the one point in the labor that Maya got scared. She could tell that what Cathy was doing was hurting me and she could also see blood on Cathy’s glove. Sef asked my mom to be with Maya and Maya, who had been standing right at the foot of the bed, went to my mom. Seri, who was playing in the other room while I was in labor, had now joined Sef & me on the bed and was sitting on my left side holding my hand. Once his head got past my cervix the baby was crowning. However, his head was asynclitic, which means his head was cocked to the side instead of the top of his head coming out straight on. When they checked fetal heart tones, they detected a significant drop in the baby's heartrate & Cathy told me I needed to push him out NOW. I had planned to push this baby out slowly & allow myself to deal w/ the pain slowly so I could manage without screaming. I didn’t want to scare the girls. But with his presentation and the fact that he needed to come out now I pushed w/ all my might & screamed as his head popped out. My mom and Maya were on their way out of the room and when they noticed his head was out Maya ran back to her position at the end of the bed. She wanted to see her baby brother! The contraction I pushed his head out with was gone and I thought at this point I’d wait for the next one to push his body out, but Cathy told me I needed to just “get him born” & push him out, contraction or not. It was really hard to push him out without the help of a contraction, plus his shoulders came out crooked just like his little head, but I pushed with all my might, screaming all the way, and out he came. I put my hands down to try to help prevent myself from tearing & relieve some of the pain of the birth & in doing that I felt his wet little body emerge from mine. It was an incredible feeling as Cathy and Sef lifted him onto my belly and I looked down at my newborn son. The first person I looked at was Seri. She was smiling so big & I just looked at her & said, “You’re a big sister again!” Maya immediately climbed up onto the bed to see her new brother and we all just gazed at him on my chest. Connie helped me take off my wet tank top I’d been wearing so William could lay skin to skin with me on my chest. He didn’t cry right away & we rubbed his back with blankets while he lay on my chest until he let out a wail & started crying. The sound of that first cry never gets old. It is a beautiful noise. He was a little pale so Cathy decided to give him a little bit of oxygen to perk him up. There was a whirlwind of picture taking between Christie, my mom, and Sef. And the girls prepared to cut the cord. Maya ended up being afraid it would hurt the baby and chose to watch as Cathy handed Seri the scissors and let her cut her brother’s umbilical cord. It was such a special experience to have my girls right there to see their brother be born. They were really a part of the whole experience and I know it’s something they will never forget. We had a little more difficulty when it came time to deliver the placenta. My cervix had swollen so much that it was coming down with the placenta and the placenta wasn’t delivering as expected. We had to wait a while and I had to give a hard push & it was actually painful to deliver the placenta! Once it was out, Sef and the girls took the baby, they weighed him, 9lbs, a big surprise to us as he looked so small, and measured him, 20 inches long with a 14.25 inch head. He had a full head of brown hair & looked very different than his sisters, but a lot like his dad! Cathy gave me five stitches for a small tear and then William nursed for the first time. He latched right on like a champ and snuggled right down into my arms. When he was done William and I went to take an herbal bath. While we took the bath, Cathy gave the girls a lesson on placenta anatomy while she checked over the placenta. They were both fascinated by it and even took turns poking at it to see what it felt like. After the bath, they dressed William in a cute little blue T shirt and swaddled him in a blanket while I took a shower and got dressed. Then William and I snuggled into bed for a much-deserved nap and the beginning of a week of bed rest to prevent any after birth complications.