The Birth

Sunday afternoon, 26 April 1998, Ginny began to feel slight contractions. Through Sunday night the contractions became more intense and closer together (3 to 5 minutes apart). Neither she nor Dan got much sleep that night. Around 2:30 A.M. they called the midwife and were hoping to go to the hospital, but she evaluated the situation and suggested that they stay at home a little while longer. During the day on Monday the contractions got a little lighter and further apart (8 to 12 mintutes) so they just hung around, went and did laundry, went to the mall, and went to Cave Hill to feed the ducks. They set up an appointment to go see the Midwife at 9:00 Tuesday Morning to check on things and see if she was progressing.

Monday night the contractions got more painful again and closer together. Ginny didn't sleep at all that night. Tuesday Morning they drove out to Shelbyville and met with the Midwife. After checking to see how far dilated she was, the Midwife got a shocked expression on her face and said: "Ginny. You get yourself over to the hospital right now and let's have a baby. You're nine centimeters dilated!" So, off they went over to the labor and delivery room at Jewish Hospital (the Midwife's office is right across the street). Dan called their parents and told them to get on out there (Ginny's dad was designated to video tape the birth). The Doula (labor assistant) arrived around 10:00 and started getting things going right away. Ginny began to walk around and squat with the contractions.

Not much happened until about twelve o'clock, when the contractions finally got closer together and she started to feel more of an urge to push. It took about an hour to get things going, and at 1:00 it started to take off. George Winston was playing on the CD player, the lights were dimmed, everyone was there--Dan, the Midwife, the Doula, Ginny's parents, two nurses--and the five hour marathon began.

She started out on her right side, then her left, then sitting up, then on hands and knees, then on her side again, then sitting up again, then on her side again, and finally on hands and knees again. The head very gradually made it's way out. With each contraction she gave three 10-second pushes and each time the head moved ever-so slightly. Dan and the Doula kept Ginny cool with wet cold rags. The nurses and the Midwife cheered her on with each push, telling her what a good job she was doing, giving her all the encouragement she could ever want.

At about 3:00 Dan looked around the room. As he watched the spectacle that most men never have the priviledge to experience, he thought: "This is what a birth should be like: a woman surrounded by other women who have all given birth before. They all know what she's going through--know what she needs--know how to give her the support, encouragement, and understanding that she needs."

As time went on they saw more and more of the head, and with each contraction the cheers and accolades got louder and more excited--it should come out at any moment.

The head was half way out for about the last hour and just wouldn't budge. They tried several positions. (At one point it went almost all the way back in! Luckily it came right back out again on the next contraction). At about 6:00 Ginny was on hands and knees and the Midwife had decided that it was time to give in and try a small episiotomy-- something she really didn't want to do (she was hoping for a small tear so that she wouldn't have to cut and it would heal better). Ginny was actually just starting to turn over when another contraction came. She stayed in that position to push with the contraction when finally the head made it through! A small tear had finally allowed the head just enough room to get through. With the next contraction the rest of the body came through and the boy with no name was born.

After the birth the baby was placed in the arms of his elated mother. After about fifteen minutes he began to nurse. The next day Ginny recalled that throughout the five hours of pushing she didn't really feel any pain, and the thought of using pain drugs never entered her mind. She felt exhaustion, fatigue, and constantly felt like she didn't have the strength to push any longer--but didn't feel pain until the head and body actually came through. Ginny stayed in the hospital for two days to allow her muscles to recover. The baby stayed in the room with mom and dad the entire two days and was never without loving contact with his parents and relatives.