The birth of Mace John Bowman:
by Megan Kapolka Bowman
by Megan Kapolka Bowman
Those of you reading this likely follow me on social media and know that I was “overdue” the expected due date with mister Mace. Just like his older brother he was just too cozy in my womb. Since midway through my pregnancy I had joked that Mace wanted to be a Labor Day baby and start his life out with a pun! My mother-in-law and mother had been in town for the week prior and we were all just waiting anxiously. Since my mother-in-law and I love to cook, that is mostly what we did; we cooked, we cleaned and finished up what we thought needed to be done pre-baby! We had planned a nice barbeque for Labor Day and spent the day cooking, grilling and hanging out with Reiss as the day was beautiful. While we were out grilling it looked like a storm may have been rolling in, which I thought surely would bring me a baby! Sadly, the storm blew past within minutes and it appeared nothing was going to happen for me this day.
After continuing to post my readiness for sweet Mace to come meet us on the outside several people suggested some of the potentially labor-inducing tactics that had worked for others in the past…so I thought – WHY NOT?!
Around 6:45pm I decided to use my breast pump and try some nipple stimulation. My body must have been READY because it felt like ALMOST INSTANTLY “things started moving.” I started to get some “real” contractions, not like the usual Braxton Hicks that had been happening most of pregnancy. Things were calming down around the home front – Reiss goes to bed around 8pm at night and I decided it would be best to lay down and try and get some sleep in case we were going to have a baby tonight! I sent a text message to my two midwives letting them know what the deal was and that things felt different now but I was going to rest first.
I had also been texting with my doula advising her of the happenings; she texted around 9pm to inquire on any progress. Around this time I was having more intense contractions but they weren’t quite regular and Mace was getting more active as well; which she advised was normal as he could sense the changes. I couldn’t get comfortable in bed to sleep so I decided to try the recliner in the living room. I had a burst of several intense contractions then they spaced back out to 5+ minutes apart. My doula had suggested this was early labor and could go through the night; or…full force in an hour. She suggested a bath and/or some wine (she’s pretty great!) I decided to take a bath; because I love baths, but I wasn’t sure if I could SLEEP through contractions at this point.
I went back to my bed and kept track of my contractions on a contraction-timing app I had downloaded just a few hours before. At first they were 15-20 minutes apart and just progressed…as things do! I think it was around 3:30am I couldn’t handle it anymore and decided I wanted another bath. I advised my doula that my contractions were lasting about 1-2 minutes long and in 15-minute intervals and I was getting shaky…like, it felt very convulsion-like as a contraction would build up. Both the midwives and my doula suggested having a snack or something if I could. I remember Dennis offering me a peanut butter cracker, which I took a small bite of but just didn’t feel like eating. By 5am contractions had been steady in interval and duration for over 45 minutes and I felt I was about time to go to the birth center. (Which it is really hard KNOWING when you should) Reiss usually wakes up around 6am and THANKFULLY he had slept through the progression and sounds of my labor (I was getting a little loud towards the end) hadn’t bothered him. So we were able to get out of the house before Reiss woke up, I was concerned I would scare him or he would want to go with us. My mom and MIL stayed to take care of Reiss’ morning routines.
We arrived at the birth center right around 6am to be greeted by Heather who attended Reiss’ birth also. I had, what felt like, one continuous string of contractions the whole (maybe 10-15 minute) drive to the birth center. I was thankfully in a different mindset this entire pregnancy and that continued through labor. I felt more aware and was able to converse with people.
From there: my primary midwife, Randi; my doula, Ashley; and my photographer, Amanda and a few other students showed up. At some point another one of the Central Texas Birth Center midwives Salli showed up too! Labor progressed and I did my best to find the most comfortable spot. From the bed, to the birthing tub, to walking, to even the potty (hey, that position feels good to be in!) I navigated the best I could. I remember being just RIDICULOUSLY HOT! Thankfully the midwives and my doula were on it and got a fan and moved it around as I did. I honestly cannot imagine giving birth without the tender love and care that midwives and doulas give! Also, doulas DO hospital births too ladies!
At some point there was some discussion about my possible dilation and guesstimate on how dilated I was. Heather said she thought I likely had a bulging bag of waters (like when ladies’ water breaks this is the sack holding baby & water) I have no idea on time, as there are no windows (for obvious reasons) or clocks, but Randi asked if I wanted “to be checked” meaning to check my cervical opening for dilation. I agreed and I was sitting between 8cm but very close to 9cm with a “bulging bag of waters” – just as Heather had guessed! She’s pretty good like that. J This gave me a little more courage that things were JUST ABOUT THERE.
I continued to labor and I was back in the tub having some pretty decent contractions while everyone coached me through; and monitored baby’s heart rate regularly. In between a contraction a little while after Randi checked dilation – Heather spoke up and said “Well if you wanted we can break your water and that may speed things up if you want.”… (pause) I just responded; “Did you just say I could have my baby faster?” – everyone laughed! “Well then OF COURSE I want you to do that!” haha. So Heather & Randi got things prepped and we broke my water. That definitely helped things get progressing faster! Again – no real concept of time here but I moved from the bed back to the bath (I think?) but the last move was from the bed to the POTTY. I really wanted to be in that squat position – for this birth it just felt like the best spot to be. I was feeling REALLY pushy and continued to labor with the assistance of a SQUATTY POTTY (yeah man!) Randi kept me informed on where he was, what we could see; I just kept pushing didn’t feel like long and he was in my arms! He had a pretty short umbilical cord so I couldn’t move him too far past my belly button. BUT HE WAS HERE!! Just over 2 hours after arriving at the birth center – he was Earth-side. Whew! Overall the experience and my perspective of pregnancy, birth and labor were just so different and I am so amazed with this experience (just as I was for Reiss’ birth for different reasons.) So here we are – the birth of Mace John Bowman – little bro to my sweet baby Reiss.