Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Benjamin's Birth Story - by Andrew

This is the story of Benjamin's birth as told to him by his daddy.

April 25, 2018
Welcome to earth, Benjamin Bodhi Achilles Canter.  You were born at home, in our bath tub, at 12:49pm on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.  You were 4.25 kilograms (9 lb 6oz), 54cm long, and your head circumference was 34 cm.  Jane went into labour very early in the morning (about 4am?), and gradually built up to having you.  I woke up about 8am, and was immediately conscious that Jane’s  mood had shifted… she’d visibly started going “into herself”, and was peaceful and focused.  She was finding my presence distracting, so I left the room to allow her to find her peace and vibe.  Things got more intense later in the morning, and she had me alert Ruth at about 10:20, and also Samantha (your photographer).  So you can see the timeline, here are the whatsapp messages…

Andrew & Ruth:
[10:21, 4/24/2018] Andrew: Hi Ruth. It’s Andrew. Are you there?
[10:21, 4/24/2018] Ruth: Hi Andrew. Yes
[10:22, 4/24/2018] Andrew: It’s baby time. Come when u can.
[10:23, 4/24/2018] Andrew: She says “more intense” and she’s running the tub....
[10:23, 4/24/2018] Ruth: Cool. Will get my things together and head through. About half an hour away
[10:24, 4/24/2018] Andrew: Good. Thanks.
[10:56, 4/24/2018] Andrew: All quiet. No stress.
[11:19, 4/24/2018] Ruth: I'm outside
[11:19, 4/24/2018] Andrew: Coming
[12:15, 4/24/2018] Andrew: Please come in [to the room]

Andrew & Samantha:
[10:22, 4/24/2018] Andrew: Hi Sam. It’s Andrew. Are u there.
[10:22, 4/24/2018] Samantha: Yes 
[10:23, 4/24/2018] Andrew: It’s baby time.
[10:23, 4/24/2018] Andrew: I can’t estimate but contractions are more intense and she’s started running the bath.
[10:24, 4/24/2018] Samantha: Wow that’s great!
[10:24, 4/24/2018] Andrew: Come when u can.
[10:24, 4/24/2018] Andrew: This isn’t going to be a long drawn out labor.
[10:25, 4/24/2018] Samantha: Let me make a few phone calls quick and I’ll be in touch ASAP 🏼
[10:42, 4/24/2018] Samantha: Babysitter on their way. 🏼 About 30 minutes away from me. Once she’s here. I can come straight away. I will let you know I’m leaving From Tokai. 
[11:16, 4/24/2018] Samantha: Ok, leaving Tokai now. 
[11:19, 4/24/2018] Andrew: All calm. Thanks
[11:47, 4/24/2018] Andrew: Hi. When u arrive just message me and I’ll come down. Doorbell is too buzzy
[12:03, 4/24/2018] Samantha: Hi. I’m here x

When Ruth arrived she had all her medical kit – in case of some needed intervention – but she was firm that it not be in the bedroom, and rather she laid out all her equipment in the hall (presumably since merely seeing all that stuff can create fear – e.g. “what’s all THAT for!?”). 

Ruth settled herself in the guest bedroom, expecting that if she was needed that she would hear: I told her that there were two concrete walls between us, and she wouldn’t hear anything!  It was pretty clear to me that Jane wanted Ruth in attendance for the birth, so as Jane’s contractions got more intense – about ½ hour before your birth – I messaged Ruth to come into the bedroom.

For Jane’s last 30 minutes of labor we all – me, Ruth, Samantha -- just peacefully attended to Jane as she had increasingly intense contractions – and increasingly vocal, allowing herself to express herself (not verbally, but with moaning)…  she ran some more hot water… and she moved around the tub to find comfortable positions.  Ruth was quiet, attentive and meditative … which helped us all stay calm… while I sat by the side of the tub – also trying to be meditative – and Samantha was “catlike” in taking photos.  Perhaps as Jane approached the final contractions we all became much more alert/attentive and that might have disrupted the flow – but Jane was deep enough into her process that she was oblivious to us.  In the course of a contraction I realised Jane had your head in her hand.. you were being born!... and within moments you slipped out of her into the water.   She did it herself, easing you out… and lifting you up out of the water.  You were born “en caul” meaning your amniotic sac never broke (i.e. Jane’s waters didn’t break):  When your head was out of the water, Jane pulled the sac away from your head, and lifted you out.  

While you came out very grey and squashed, within moments you came to life and shortly after started squawking: I had no moment of fear or uncertainty, as you were almost immediately alert and visibly alive.   Jane has told me before that giving birth is intensely painful, but that no damage is being done… as nearly immediately after giving birth the pain ceases: That was evident yesterday as well.  You sat on Jane for about 30 minutes, still attached by the umbilical cord.  Ruth observed everything, and later reported your APGAR scores as 8 and 9 – out of 10 – indicating you were alert, responsive, strong, and healthy.  You even opened your eyes and chirped.  Clearly, you were ready to be born!  After a while, and when Jane was ready, Ruth clamped and tied the cord, and I cut it with her scissors.  Then, while Jane birthed (the large, heart-shaped, placenta) you and I lay in bed—you on my chest – and got connected.  We all lolled around in bed for a couple of hours… with Ruth checking in occasionally, Samantha coming and going for some photos… but mostly they all left us alone with you to get acquainted.  

Caitlyn, another midwife who works with Ruth, arrived shortly after you were born – but never came upstairs -- and was doing a thorough inspection of the placenta (to ensure its completeness, and do blood tests on the cord blood) in the kitchen: I came down to make tea, and took the opportunity to photograph it: Quite an organ!!  Now it’s in an ice cream tub, in the freezer, neatly labelled (“Benjamin’s Placenta” so as to avoid confusion with the other chocolate ice cream).   

The whole team had left by about 15:30, leaving us alone with you to get acquainted. 

In short, you were born perfectly… and you are perfect.


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