Balian Justice: Birth Story

This is just the initial story. I expect there will be loads of processing and reflection in the days to come. I hope it makes sense…. I’m not in any ‘romantic writing zone’ just now, this is just what happened, as it happened. So unexpected and random and exactly what it needed to be.

Me, the mama
Jeremy (J), the Papa
Sara-Lyn (SL) the friend/doula/neighbor
Jeremiah & Knightley the ‘big’ brothers
And Balian Justice, the long awaited arrival!

Stage 1: The Induction

6:30am that morning, heading in for the induction

Taking a minute to model my beautiful delivery gown while waiting for the dr.

As all dates and signs indicated we were ‘overdue’, we went ahead with the scheduled Cervidil induction. I arrived at the hospital at 7:00am, and after all kinds of fun details like fetal monitoring and waiting around, the stuff was put into place at 9:00am and I began the waiting period. I wasn’t excited about using the product or being on my back or being strapped to a monitor in the first place, but I grew even less impressed as the minutes wore on. Honestly, laying as still as possible on one’s back for two hours is not fun for anyone, let alone a past-term preggo!
I kept feeling as though I were having ‘some kind of’ contractions but I knew they couldn’t be anything real as I’d already proven myself crazy in the previous weeks. The nurses and I shared good conversation on the uniqueness of this baby (super active that morning), commented on how “yes, my belly just seemed hard all the time…”, and how the ‘contractions’ seen on the monitor were fairly close together but not big so likely just ‘tightenings’.
With the drug in place and the necessary monitoring completed, I changed and left. The nurses  wished me well and hoped to see me later in the day (Though they later told me that they had actually said to each other, “Aw, too bad We’re not going to see that baby born before our shift is done.”).

Stage 2: What’s going on?!

I drove home (Yup) and felt…gross. My back was killing me! My hips were about to fall off! As I hobbled into the kitchen at 11:30am I wasn’t sure if I should have a nap or go for a walk or just…cry. Jeremy (Home! Another story of providential timing!) asked how it went and how I was and what was up. “I don’t know….” I said, “I just feel awful! But I don’t know! I don’t get it! They said nothing’s happening but this hurts…”. I lay on the table groaning while he got the ball for me to sit on.
“Do you want to call Sara-Lyn? Maybe she can help you figure it out.”
“I don’t know! I just can’t read my body…. I don’t understand!”
“Give her a call and we’ll see”

I called SL who was at the grocery store.
“How’s it going?” she asked cheerfully.
“I don’t know!”
“Well, I’ll head over. See you in a bit.”

I sat at the table and felt what I was sure was a ‘real’ contraction. I asked Jeremy to mark the time. 11:36am.

Stage 3: Real? Surreal?

12:10pm Trying to figure out what was up, feeling the pain

I felt terrible. Overwhelmed with pain and confusion. It crossed my mind that if this were just the beginning, if I really had ten or more hours of this coming, I was going to die. None of it made sense. They felt like contractions, but they were only 30 seconds long. They were close (1-2 minutes) but I had just left the hospital so this couldn’t be real. After two weeks of being ‘so sure’ I wasn’t about to make another mistake of ‘crying labor’ and looking like the idiot. Instead I just cried.

Through this time (20 minutes?) Jeremy was amazing. He put Knightley down (who first had to give loads of hugs and kisses), set me up with juice and water, and kept rubbing my back and encouraging me with words and calm. He was just so good and exactly what I needed.
“I don’t know if I can do this hon, this is really crazy….”
“Yes you can. You can totally do this. You’re strong. You’re doing great.”

I used the bathroom just as SL arrived, then sat back on the ball. She was cheery, encouraging, and at ease. She tried some back rubs and ointments but nothing was touching the insanity of my lower back. “Do you want to try hands and knees and see if we can relieve some pressure?’

Jeremy lay out my friend’s (sorry LeeAnn!) pilates mat and the pain increased!
“Low sounds, can you find your center?”
“No! I can’t find it! I don’t understand…. This is crazy!”
{Background conversation: J wondering if we should head to the hospital. SL wondering if this was so intense due to the Cerividil. Me thinking that yes, it was time to hit the shower in the hospital but no I must be crazy. Pain coming in waves, no ‘low sounds’ possible, just deep crying and trying to keep my hands open and my jaw relaxed and to breathe. Hearing ‘Letter Factory’ as Jeremiah sat three feet away watching his quiet-time learning show.}

Stage 4: “________!!!”

About 12:20
And then…suddenly!
An overwhelming sensation of relief through rushing water and a push. Such a wave!
“Guys! Water! Um…!”
Jeremy on phone to baby sitter: “Hey Becca, yeah, we need you to head over here right now….”
Me: panting, huge cheek filling blows, breathe breathe breathe, I know this, should I move? this is real, I’m here, it’s now, I’m here and can do this.
SL: “It’s all okay, this is supposed to be happening, you’re okay, you doing exactly what you’re supposed to do” (helping get my pants part down to deal with all the water)

And then…!
That surge and that sweet other-worldly power of push and pull entirely beyond myself. Then his head was in my hand. “Sara-Lyn! BABY!”
J (so calm): Alright, I’m going to call the ambulance (staring at the blue silent face of his half-born son)
SL: Do you want to squat? Change positions? Jer, grab towels!
Me: Um, can you hold his head so I can get my pants off?
Jeremiah: Oh, there’s Balian!

And then…!
Pants off, a breath, yup all is well and this is really happening and I.feel.amazing., and woosh! Baby flew out and onto the waiting towel in SL’s hands, giving one short and gusty yelp.
J (on the phone to dispatch): Kay…no…the baby is out, born, (covering phone) these guys are idiots!
Me: I need my baby
SL: This is really happening!
Figured out how to turn and sit and get settled, baby on my thighs. Paramedics walking into the kitchen. Huge puddle. Baby sitter walking in—huge eyes. Jeremiah watching it all. Discussions on cord and placenta. Towels and blankets. Is baby okay? Yup, pinking up, staring.
Me: It’s over! I’m not in labor! I’m not pregnant! I just had a baby…I just had a ‘home birth’! No more contractions! I’m so happy!!!
Jeremiah: “oh, Balian’s hurt, he’s got some blood on him” “No sweetie, he’s happy, he was just born”
J: “You’re crazy Love”
SL: “You DID it!!!”
Paramedics: “Do you want to cut the cord?”

Cord cut. Placenta still in. Baby quiet. Walk out onto deck and onto stretcher. Carried to the ambulance. Weird sense of euphoria and giddiness and disconnect.

12:24pm Baby born. J on the phone with ambulance. Jeremiah still playing Mario.

"Oh, it's my baby brother Balian!"

Stage 5: Triumphant Return

It was about 12:30, hardly an hour since I’d been sent home. As I was wheeled past the nurses I beamed. Yup, I did it! Yup, that’s a baby in my arms! Yeah, you bet I did! What’s that, I’m amazing? Yes, yes I am!

Spent some time in Labor & delivery getting cleaned up. Remembered to have the cookies brought to the nurse’s station (you know, those ones I had made earlier in anticipation?). Welcome anyone who entered with continued euphoria and gushing chatter as I began to process that yes, this really happened. Pictures (Ohthat  LeeAnn…such amazing photos!), berries, congratulations, then toasting with wine and the beginning of many re-tellings.

we were brought into LDR to be cleaned up fantastic team of paramedics!



sweet support

anything better?

Was it the birth we planned? Nope. Expected? Nope.
Was it Good? Oh yes! Am I thankful? Yes!

People keep asking if I’m alright, if we were freaked out, if we wished it had been different. To be entirely honest, I love that it worked out this way. I recognize that yes, things could have gone very wrong. I know that he was born face-up, that I could’ve gone for a walk and had him outside, that I almost didn’t have Jeremy or Sara-Lyn in the house, and all kinds of other “almost”. But, it did work out…beautifully. For all the waiting and frustration and dark day and unknowns, in the end, I was given this gift of a birth and this blessing of a baby. I wouldn’t change a thing.

21 Responses to “Balian Justice: Birth Story”
  1. thismama says:

    Wow! What an intense and beautiful birth story! So much waiting and growing culminating in beautiful birth and baby!! Can’t wait to see pictures. Am I allowed to admit that I am excited for you that you were able to birth your baby at home? It is great that it worked out that Jer and Sara-Lyn were there and you did so well. I love the interjections of Jeremiah during the birth, how many big brothers get to say that they were present for the birth of their little brother…I love it.
    Good job Mama! Love you crazy lady:)

  2. Kmarie says:

    Love it. Home births are the ultimate! So proud of you. Intense and wonderful! Yay, congrats dear mamma and amazing friend. Philip and I can’t wait to see the new addition. Philip said to just wait until Jeremy calls so that is what we will do:)

  3. Jess says:

    Oh I cried friend. So happy for you and praising that he(and YOU) are ok! 🙂 Love that he is here. Love that Jer was home!
    So so happy!

  4. mothermary9 says:

    Beautiful story! Congrats!!

  5. Lola says:

    sounds pretty much how birth should be 🙂 Nothing like a good unexpected unassisted birth story to tell for years to come. And to think… I had always thought I would be the one to give birth in that house with SL. What a blessed little place it is. Congrats again… can’t wait to see pictures.

    • Dea' says:

      Haha, I know! Who would’ve thought hey? The funny thing is that, months ago, I asked her, “So, if things go nuts and I’m just at home, do you mind if I give you a shout?” Love that it worked out this way.

  6. Dana says:

    And, this story may have jsut convinced me to have another bio baby…..maybe. haha.

    Wow, that was the best story ever. I’m so proud of you. The more I think about birth and all the romanticized plans we have for it, the only story that is good is the one that happens. You know? If we have all these plans for a home birth and it doesn’t happen, then we’re disappointed. But why do we need to be disappointed when the result is a baby? I’m just wondering if birth plans are a healthy thing. That’s where I’m at right now. And I’m way too type A to not have a plan in place, so I get the planning. And I get its importance, but plans tend to give way to disappointment. Anyways…I’m so glad that your unplanned home birth worked out this way. Praise the Lord. I love LOVE his name.

    • Dea' says:

      Dane’ your comment really hit home for me. Ha, actually, I have a whole post of a response, but for now I’ll just say, “YES! I agree!!!” I’m in a similar place in reflection on the over-planning and the whole presence of expectations and dissapointment. I was probably the most ‘planned’ mama ever…and nothing followed it. Yet, I had (in my opinion) a phenomenal birth and I wouldn’t change a thing (well, except get the photographer to the house!). I’ve come a LONG way with expectations and plans and such in the past month.
      More thoughts in the future…..

  7. Kmarie says:

    Oh yes…name meaning and how you picked it? Would love to hear that story…and what is the pronunciation? I thought it was bay-lin, philip thought it was bay-lee-an and Sara thought it was bal- iyan??:)

  8. Kit says:

    His head was coming out, and you still had your pants on. That is… something. else! Congrats to you for the the craziest story ever! It is funny, and exciting all at the same time. And I like how you weren’t in a romanticized writing mood, yet you still completed the story with stages and everything 🙂

  9. Dea' says:

    Thank you to everyone for the beautifully supportive and joyful comments. I’m ‘baby mooning’ over here and somewhere between so happy and so exhausted. I can’t wait to share more pictures soon and more reflections on this whole journey.
    (hm…apparently this blog is gonna stay a bit birth/woman focused for awhile….)

  10. Jamie says:

    Wow!! What an amazing story!! Congrats on a wonderful, safe delivery, and on your beautiful little son! I’m so glad Jeremy was able to be there and will be home with you for a bit! Congrats, congrats, congrats!!

  11. Sara L says:

    *Love* seeing the pictures!!! What an amazing day!!!!

  12. Kit says:

    I LOVE that pic of Jer and Balian at the bottom! And I LOVE all the pics of you in your kitchen… with your minutes-old baby! CRAZY! I still cannot believe that wonderful story! Thanks for posting such great pics!

  13. What a wild and wonderful story! I also had one of those wild & wonderful & births! Congrats to your family!

  14. Laurie says:

    Ah, homebirth. I’ve had 5…3 land and 2 water births…all planned, all good, no meds whatsoever (some of the babies would have been considered overdue by medical people), and only one assisted with midwives. All you need is information, confidence and support. It is so safe. God made our bodies to birth, and if you truly believe that, you have the best physician ever.

    If you have another and wish to do it all this way, contact me. I can refer you to some fantastic sites and such. I would love to discuss it with you more! I am a full supporter of UC. I am glad that you had a taste of what it can be. 🙂

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