I remember looking over my fertility chart feeling queasy as I wondered… Could I really be pregnant again? It was the first time we had tried to conceive after the last miscarriage just a few months before. I was only 10 days past ovulation, there was no way I could be feeling sick already. I thought, its all in my head, its just not logical to have symptoms this early. But alas I could not wait, a few minutes later I watched a faint pink line stretch across the window, confirming what I had hoped for all along. I was pregnant! Suddenly a pang of terror ran through me. Would this child live? Two others had succumbed to the darkness of my body, denied the breath of life. There was no reason that this one should live either, sadness and woe filled my heart. I clung to the little hope I had left in my heart and I prayed that God would have mercy on me.
Sunday, October 14th, 2012 – 5 days past my estimated due date…
I awakened at what had become my usual time due to the incessant need to urinate and annoying back pain at 4:30 am. I waddled to the bathroom and then returned to bed hoping to sleep for a while before beginning my day. I lay there restless and hungry when I realized I needed to go to the bathroom again. I grumbled to my slumbering husband, “this is ridiculous, I just went pee! I cant believe I have to go again already!” I went to the bathroom again and upon returning to the bedroom, I felt a stirring in my abdomen. It wasn’t the normal violent attack that I had grown accustomed to from my extremely active and seemingly limber son, it was a flurrying of sort. Something inside told me “its time, your baby is coming today”. My first official labor pain was at 5:05 am. Brad, my husband, started tracking them on his phone to measure the duration and elapsed time. I decided to call my long time friend Hannah who had come to town to assist me in labor. I told her that I wasn’t sure if something was happening or not but I wanted to give her a heads up and that I would call her back later. Sure enough my contractions persisted and grew more intense. Hannah arrived sometime around 7:00 am to help me. I breathed deep and waded through my contractions like I was riding stormy ocean waves. They swept down harder and harder but I kept my focus on my baby. Hannah and I talked and laughed between pains and I got in and out of the bath tub a few times. Suddenly I felt overwhelmed and could not rationalize thought… all reason had left my mind. I remembered the great midwife Ina May Gaskin saying in her book “your brains have gone to your bottom” and so they had. My loving husband called the midwife and doula, then relayed to me their advice to rest and stay calm because I probably had a lot longer labor ahead of me being a first time mother. I could not accept what he was saying, I could understand the meaning of the words leaving his mouth but they held no relevance for me. I told Hannah, Brad and Eric (our friend and driver), “NO! This baby is coming soon! You do not understand, I am not doing this 12 HOURS!… We need to go to the birth center now!”
We made the hour long car drive to Lafayette from Baton Rouge where our birth team was waiting for us. They had the birth tub full of hot water and I could not have been more anxious to dive in. The warm water felt strange and almost foreign as every nerve in my body ignited with each rolling wave. I felt light and suspended, as if I could float away.
As my pain grew, I became acutely aware that my sons arrival was approaching. I made my way to the toilet where I regained some control over the pain and myself. At once, a shadow of fear fell over me. I went from total confidence in my body to sheer disbelief. I told my doula, “I don’t know about all this” she asked me what I meant in which I replied, “I’m just not sure, maybe I should be in the hospital.” She looked at me tenderly and said exactly what I needed to hear, “everything you need is right here, everything you wanted to happen is happening right now and your baby is coming soon.” In that moment I realized that unlike those other babies lost, I would soon be holding my very own son in my arms. Not a minute later I felt him push down hard inside me. This was it, no turning back, no room for doubt. This baby was coming out.
I stumbled across the room from the toilet to the bed and asked for the midwife to come in. She came in and asked if I was feeling pushy and with a nod I lowered myself to the bed for her to check me. Laying across that mattress became my personal hell for what seemed like ages as another violent wave crashed down on me. I felt as if my body might dismember itself right then and there. She assured me I was complete and asked if I was ready to push my baby out. “Yes” I cried out. I stood and felt him push down with such force that I felt he would fall out and on to the floor below. I felt a warm gush of liquid flow down my legs and splash at my feet. My bag of amniotic fluid had finally ruptured.
I rushed the 4 feet from the bedside to the birthing tub. I knew that if I didn’t get into the water right then, my dreams of a water birth would not come to fruition. The next and almost final wave brought my sons head down through the canal, the pressure was unbelievably strong. And then I felt it… a searing hot fire leaving my body and I remembered Hannah telling me “when you feel the ring of fire, that’s when the baby’s head is coming out.” Suddenly someone shouted “slow down, pant like a dog!” But I could not pant, I could not even remember what it would be to pant. After all, my brains were in my bottom just like Ina May had said. Yes, something primal took over me, that searing hot fire urged me to dig deeper, push harder and then, he left my body. Almost totally in one fluid motion he passed from womb, to water, to earth. Jackson Lynn Iverson took his first breath and then I heard his first cry. Instead of pain washing over me it was a wave of relief. Total relief and utter bliss flooded my soul. I turned over in the tub and took my living, breathing son in my arms. “Oh my God, I have a baby” I gasped. Surreal is the only appropriate way to describe the moment… He is my rainbow. My beauty & light after the flood of sorrow that could no longer hold a place in my life.
Jackson Lynn Iverson
Total labor 6.5hours
50 mins at birth center prior to birth
9 mins of pushing
8.2lbs and 20.5 inches long