Our sweet little baby boy Daniel entered the world via an all natural water birth – a Bradley Method water birth – at Babies in Bloom at 12:26 am on Monday, December 15. He weighed 7 lbs, .2 oz and is 20 in. long. 
Our due date was December 11 and while I knew that he would come when he was good and ready, I couldn’t help but start to get a little anxious as we began to approach the 41 week mark. He loved to have his feet and little behind pushed up against my ribs and it was extremely uncomfortable. In an effort to get things moving along, we spent the Friday before he was born, walking around the mall for hours. Unfortunately, all I ended up with was a sore lower back and feet. We did get to enjoy one last date night dinner though.

On Saturday evening we went for a walk around our neighborhood and I decided to try out curb stepping on top of brewing a few cups of raspberry leaf tea. Although I had been berated by an onslaught of “helpful” suggestions from friends and family over the past week, I didn’t want to attempt anything too drastic and knew better than to listen certain suggestions like “take castor oil”, thanks to Liza’s Bradley Method childbirth class. As it turns out, curb walking and tea were enough to persuade baby to vacate the premises.

On Sunday morning I woke up around 9 am and felt like I had a slightly upset stomach. Around 10 am I was introduced to my first contraction. After an hour of them being consistently six minutes apart and lasting for 30 seconds, I tried not to let hope invade too much of my mind that this was the real deal.

I didn’t want to jinx anything, as I always hoped I wouldn’t have to deal with contractions starting and stopping. While the contractions stayed consistent for the next several hours I kept busy by finishing up Christmas gift boxes, taking a shower, and getting myself put together for the last time without the cry of a baby interrupting my flat iron job. With every approaching contraction I would make my way to my birthing ball, hit the floor, and breathe while I rolled around on my new “best friend”.

By 5:00 pm my contractions started to come every 4 minutes and last a minute long with an occasional double dose in between. The intensity was a little tougher to merely breathe through and I needed my husband’s palms shoved into my lower back. We learned in our Bradley Method class that this was a good sign of labor progressing, so, I called my midwife and we decided it was time to head to the birth center. 

    Half an hour later we were in the car and neither of us were prepared for just how uncomfortable dealing with contractions in a confined space without the use of my ball would be. As I began chanting and sweating profusely, my poor husband was trying desperately to decipher the mumbling coming out of my mouth. I remember repeating “God give me strength” over and over for fear that if I stopped, I was surely going to open the door and jump out of the car.

We finally made it to Babies in Bloom and after one last contraction in the car, I speedily made my way to our birthing suite so that I could be reunited with my birthing ball. A few minutes later we got into the tub and I traded in the life preserver that was my birthing ball for the metal handle bars on the sides of the tub.

My water had not yet broken nor had I lost my mucus plug but I was fully dilated, so after a couple of hours of moving through the water with each contraction without much progress we decided to try the toilet. On our first trip to the bathroom I lost my mucus plug and that second my water finally broke. We made our way back to the tub and after some encouragement from my husband and midwife, I agreed to try a different position in the tub that granted gravity a little more leverage in my favor. I assumed a wide squat like position on my knees and gave up the metal handle bars for a couple of pillows and my husband. I leaned over the side of the tub and wrapped my arms around his lower back in the mother of all bear hugs.

A couple of hours of pushing (and the little stinker making headway only to slip back up a bit) later, our sweet boy Daniel, named after his daddy, was born. Everyone was perfectly healthy and I was extremely relieved the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life was over. 

Daniel is eight days old today and he has filled our home with so much love and joy. We could not have gotten through everything the way we did without the knowledge we gained from Liza’s Bradley Method class and the support of our midwife and Babies in Bloom team. I definitely understand now why some women opt for pain medication.  But to know that I was able to accomplish such an incredible feat, all in the name of love, is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Amber and Daniel Cousino