February 16, 2013
Born in the caul


Orion and I are very proud to announce the arrival of our son, Benjamin Jacob! He was born Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 8:16 PM, weighing 7 lbs 8 oz and measuring 21 inches in length. 

We are so happy and proud to say that we got our all-natural hospital birth!  It all started around 4 AM when I started wondering if I was having early labor pains. We spent the day laboring at home, moving around positions, bouncing on the ball, etc. and timing contractions as we tried to assess the best time to head into the hospital.  Eventually, we were sure I was in full active labour for a while so we headed in and got to Rockyview Hospital around 5 PM. When I got checked at 6 PM I was dilated to 7 cm, 100% effaced, with the amniotic sac bulging out of my cervix and everyone was shocked at how calm and relaxed I was.  In fact, they had initially believed I must have been in early labour and only 2-3 cm dilated because of how I was acting. The nurse had mentioned the possibility of rupturing the amniotic sac as she said that this would likely make things progress quicker.  We had declined this, as we just wanted things to progress naturally, however my body determined that to be. 

We got transferred into labour and delivery and over the next hour and a half I quickly went into transition with contractions getting very close together and extremely intense. It’s funny how through labour, at each stage, it seems like the pain is challenging and you aren’t sure if you can handle more, but somehow your body just adapts and you are able to get through it! Orion was so fantastic throughout my labour – he was always there for me, providing support.  Through transition I really didn’t know what I needed, but he was there encouraging me and didn’t let me give up!  Around this point, the nurse had asked if I wanted to go into the shower, as I needed some sort of change to get through the pain. I had agreed to do this but she wanted to check me first and she checked and said I was only 7-8 cm. Orion and I are still sure this had to have been a misread and it was super disheartening to hear as I was thinking holy, I am in this much pain and I barely even went 1 cm, how will I get through the final two! 

Once again, the staff suggested rupturing the amniotic sac, but again, we didn’t want to do this yet if we didn’t have to, thinking perhaps there was a reason my body hadn’t done this naturally yet.  Instead, we thought we would try the shower first, so I got in the shower a few minutes later and Orion was spraying me with water and I felt like I needed to push. So, not telling anyone, I started to push right there and then and I could feel basically what felt like a balloon being blown out of me. I had said to Orion that my water had come out and he had looked at me from behind and said, no I don't think so. I clarified - "no, like my bag of water is coming out of me!!!"  He told the nurse and at that point she told me to get out of the shower and on to the bed, as it was likely time to push. At this point, the doctor still hadn't arrived. I started pushing with Orion and the nurse by my sides, helping me to hold my legs and Orion was counting out my pushes.  It was good to be pushing in that it was a relief to do something else through the contractions, but it was not a super comfortable thing to do!  It took me a bit to hit a stride and I basically felt in denial every time that Orion was telling me that I was doing so well and I was making progress and the baby was coming out. I was getting three pushes per contraction and that was intense as well! They were telling me I was almost there and the doctor arrived and on the next contraction on push number 2, the baby's head came out but no one really out-right said that and I had thought that they would tell me to wait if they wanted me to so I pushed for the third time and out Benjamin came. Orion got to announce that Benjamin was a boy as it was a surprise!  If the doctor hadn't gotten there then, Orion would have had to figure out some fancy juggling moves to catch him! So, Benjamin was born in his amniotic sac, which is called being born in the caul, and is quite rare (occurring in fewer than 1 in 80,000 births) and considered lucky! I was in total shock when he came out! Since it all happened quickly - I had pushed for 45 min, I did get a third degree tear.  After the delivery, they put Benjamin on my lower abdomen, as the cord was not very long.  They waited a couple minutes before clamping the cord and then got me skin to skin with Benjamin on my chest and I started breastfeeding shortly after.

We really think that the Healthy Birth Choices class gave us so many tools to get ready for Benjamin’s birth.  It gave us so much invaluable information to get prepared.  It allowed us to recognize the stages that we were in and anticipate what was coming our way.  I had been reading some of the recommended books as well but the class was perfect to get us both on the same page and work through things together, which was specifically necessary when I was unable to help out in making decisions!

Benjamin and I ended up spending a couple nights in the hospital.  We are home now and we've all been settling into our new roles.  We may be biased, but we think he's pretty darn adorable and has cool hair too!  We are doing well and we are completely in love!!!

- Sherri, Orion and Benjamin