Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sweet Baby Ray's Birth Story, Part 1

This is the story of the labor and delivery of my third (and last) child, Stewart Raymond Kirkpatrick or "Ray." It is a story that I have been wanting to write for awhile, but just keep putting it off because in some ways it is equally too beautiful and painful to put into words.

***Warning: this is a post about childbirth, and while I tried not to make it too graphic it is childbirth after all! There is also a picture in which I am not dressed but nothing is showing. Please do not read if you are squeamish or easily offended. :-)

Here I am at 38 weeks pregnant

My labor with Ray began as did my labor with my second child: my water broke quite unexpectedly. Well, as unexpectedly as it can be when you are only a few days from your due date!  I had been overdue with both other kids and fully expected to be overdue again. My husband Jared was planning on heading to a mandatory work meeting in Las Vegas the next morning, so my mom had flown in earlier that evening to be with me and the kids while he was gone for three days. Once we got her settled in, we all headed to bed around 10 PM.

Around 11:30 PM, I woke up to a trickle feeling between my legs. I sat up with a gasp and told Jared, "I think my water just broke. Or maybe I peed myself, I don't know!" I headed to the bathroom but when no more fluid leaked out, I decided that I must have just had a slight bladder malfunction and went back to bed (with a towel under me, just in case). About ten minutes later it happened again and I knew for sure. My baby was on his way.

I called the midwife on call (I was giving birth at the University of Colorado with a group of nurse-midwives). I was having light contractions about 10-15 minutes apart so she told me to try to get some rest and call her at 6AM if things hadn't picked up before then. I tried to rest, but every time I laid down I would invariably have a super strong, painful contraction. I hate to labor in bed, so I sat on my birthing ball and paced for the next few hours. The contractions slowly picked up but were never really painful as long as I didn't lie down.

Around 6 AM I called the midwife and we decided that I should head in since things were gradually picking up and I did not want to get caught in rush hour traffic if baby suddenly decided he wanted to come now. With Hannah I had gone from very light contractions and 5 cm dilated then suddenly back to back double-peaking contractions and baby coming out in just over an hour, so it was in the back of my mind that could happen again!

We got settled into the hospital and my contractions and Ray's heartbeat were monitored for about a half hour. Since everything looked good (my midwife Jessica opted not to check my cervix yet so as not to introduce bacteria since it was obvious I still had some time left), they let me walk around the room as I wanted with only intermittent fetal monitoring.

From 8 AM to 11 AM I walked the room, chatted with my husband, and dealt with contractions as they gradually increased in intensity and frequency. It was an amazing time for the two of us. During my previous labors, we had never really been able to connect. Jared had tried to help me but in the middle of labor I had found myself more annoyed by him than comforted. It's terrible to admit, but true!

This time was different. As each contraction came, I would put my arms around his neck and he would massage my lower back and hold me. I was able to completely relax through the pain. Several times he massaged lavender on my lower back, which was soothing and calming. We also diffused doTERRA's Balance oil, a grounding blend. I felt that it kept me rooted and gave me confidence to capably handle my labor. It was painful but never overwhelming, never defeating, and I never felt like I couldn't handle it.

Around 11, my contractions were about five minutes apart and I asked if I could labor in the tub. My plan was for a water birth, but they didn't want the water to get too cool as the pool can only be filled once. We intended to fill the pool once I reached 7 cm, but I still had not been checked at this point. I think because I was still so calm, my midwife and nurse thought that I still had a ways to go. My midwife said I could labor in the tub as long as it didn't slow things down.

The tub was glorious! My contractions did not slow down one bit, but the warm water just took the edge off so I could relax. We continued to diffuse Balance and I listened to Josh Groban. I remember thinking I could do this every day, it was not bad at all!

After about 15 minutes, Jessica checked me. Her eyes widened in surprise and she softly told me "You are going to have a baby soon!" I was 8 cm dilated with just a little lip that she said if she pushed out of the way he would be on his way out. Since things were progressing so nicely and calmly we just decided to let things progress on their own. Jessica sat by the tub with a portable monitor and chatted with me and checked on the baby frequently.

Since I was so close, she did not think we would have time to fill the pool so we decided I would try a water birth in the tub, with the option to get out if I wanted. Outside the bathroom, the baby nurse was getting the warmer crib ready for Ray. She laughed at how relaxed I sounded as I moaned a little with the contractions then chatted happily with Jessica between them. "You sound like you're shopping on ebay in there!" she said.

With Hannah I had felt an unmistakeable urge to push, but over an hour went by and I never felt that. After awhile I asked Jessica to check me again. I was completely dilated except for that same little lip. She offered to push it out of the way during a contraction while I pushed, but warned me that it would hurt. I thought about it for a couple more contractions then decided to let her do it. Not fun! But it worked and I started to feel a bit of an urge. I tried pushing during the following contractions but it seemed just impossible. He felt so huge! We tried several different positions trying to get the pushing urge to get stronger: on my back, squatting, on my hands and knees...

Part of it was a mental thing, I think. My labor had been so calm and beautiful, but I knew that this next part would be intense and would hurt. I finally told myself to buckle down and push the baby out!

I'm not going to lie or sugarcoat this: for as calm as my labor was, the pushing stage was intense and crazy. I screamed like a banshee and shouted several times that there was no way I could do this! I was on my hands and knees (still in the water) and the head was out but I could not keep him submerged in the water. This is important during a water birth because if the cold air hits any part of the baby, it will stimulate him to take a breath which could cause him to aspirate water into his lungs. Jessica told me to stand up which was not an easy feat with a baby's head between my legs but I knew how important it was. I stood up in the tub and pushed him the rest of the way out.

"He's so sweet! Isn't he sweet?!" were my first words when I saw our baby boy. Jared looked a little shell-shocked but agreed. After our third baby he should have been used to it, but this birth was so primal and different (both other babies were born in the hospital bed), I didn't blame him for being a little speechless. Jessica let me sit in the tub for a few minutes and hold Ray in the warm water. He was perfect and beautiful. Pure bliss.

Then it was time to get out of the tub and birth the placenta. I handed the baby to Jared and stood up to walk over to the bed. A gush of blood suddenly streamed down my legs and I knew that something was horribly, terribly wrong.

To be continued...

Sweet Baby Ray's Birth Story, Part 2


For more information on using essential oils during pregnancy and childbirth, please join me for this free online class:



Online Maternity, Labor and Delivery, Postpartum and Well Baby Care with Essential Oils Class

Simply click on the link below to join the meeting from the comfort of your own computer. You will be able to listen in, view the slides, and type in any questions you might have as we go.
We will be going over simple ways to use doTERRA Essential Oils for the following:

• Nausea and Indigestion • Morning Sickness • Heartburn, Acid Reflux • Hemorrhoids • Muscle Aches • Leg Cramps • Stretch Marks • Swelling and Water Retention • Labor and Delivery • Perineal Support • Oils for the New Baby • Postpartum for Mom • Breastfeeding • Well Baby Care

No Maternity Class scheduled at this time, contact me for more information


  1. A-mazing birth story! I had my 2nd and 3rd in a hospital but all natural. The first time happened so fast, I didn't get to make the decision on my own, and the third time, I figured if I could do it once, I could do it again! Can't wait to read about the rest of the story, but I am glad to know that you are healthy and happy now!

  2. That's awesome, Ashlee! Natural birth was so empowering to me, so much better than laboring in bed strapped up to monitors like with my first.

  3. OH MY GOSH!! what a way to leave a girl hanging!!! I'm So impressed with your stregth. I remember being at that cant control yourself screaming stage, and then you had to stand up in the middle of that....I know I couldn't have done that. You're a Superwoman!

  4. You're sweet, Shawnna. It was an amazing, intense experience.