DawningLife Midwifery

Experienced homebirth midwives serving Metro-Atlanta and North Georgia families for over 35 years!

Rory McKenzie

Rory
Born Sunday, October 9, 2005 at 1:11am.

Weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces, 20 ¼” long, 13 ½” head, 13 ¾” chest.

On Thursday and Friday I was trying to fill the days. I thought my baby would have already been born and I was ready. Michael came home on Friday and wanted to know what the vibe was he was picking up from me. I said, “I’m bored – I want to have this baby.” I was excited upon going to bed because we had a full day planned for Saturday.

Rory
Born Sunday, October 9, 2005 at 1:11am.

Weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces, 20 ¼” long, 13 ½” head, 13 ¾” chest.

On Thursday and Friday I was trying to fill the days. I thought my baby would have already been born and I was ready. Michael came home on Friday and wanted to know what the vibe was he was picking up from me. I said, “I’m bored – I want to have this baby.” I was excited upon going to bed because we had a full day planned for Saturday.

We were meeting Lynn, Colin and Beatrix Clark at the Atlanta Symphony Celebration in the morning and then in the evening we were going to my parent’s house to celebrate my father’s 62nd birthday. At about 11:30am we made our way upstairs to the Percussion Room – where kids were playing a wide assortment of instruments, such as gongs, drums, triangles, and xylophones. After a few minutes I noticed I had a strong contraction very low in my pelvis. Another one followed in a few minutes. I told Michael I needed to get out of there so I went in search of my friend, Julie, who was there as well with her twins. When I came back into the room looking for Challaghan (29 months) and Michael, I had yet another contraction so I left that room behind for good. We stayed until about 1:30pm at which time we went outside and ate the lunch we’d brought with us prior to heading home. 

Michael went for an hour run while Challaghan and I went outside to play, but there were too many mosquitoes so we came back inside. I had bought ingredients to make a raw apple pie earlier in the week so that’s what Challaghan and I did to pass the time. Contractions were about every 20-30 minutes at this point. My labor with Challaghan was 3.5 days so I wasn’t convinced this one was coming anytime soon. We left around 5pm from Marietta to go to my parent’s house in Acworth. On the drive I was having contractions every 15 minutes. I didn’t have a watch with a second hand so I asked Michael to time them with his running watch. They were lasting 1 minute. 

Tried to play it calm and cool at my parent’s during dinner, which consisted of veggie chili, rice and salad, all the while having contractions every 10 minutes. Snuck off to call Claudia upstairs around 7pm and she said anything could happen and to call when I got home or sooner if I needed her. My parents, brother, sister-in-law, 2 nephews and Challaghan went for a walk to a nearby church playground. My brother asked if I was going and I said, “Definitely not, I’m having contractions every 10 minutes.” His reply was, “Oh you are?” My mother said, “I wouldn’t want to be a watched pot so we’re going to leave you alone.” 

Called my friends, Donna and Melanie, who were planning to help out at the birth, to give them a heads up. I didn’t call Julie, because this was her first night with her husband away from their twins. Her parents were spending the night at their house to watch Jessica and Jackson. Then went to the couch with a big glass of water to try and relax. Contractions were down to every 5 minutes lasting about a minute when I decided to call Claudia again at 7:45pm. She asked where I was and I told her my parent’s house. She asked when I’d be heading home and said, “So you can be home in about an hour”. Michael wanted to know what time we should set to leave and we agreed upon 8:15pm and if the others weren’t back we’d meet them on their walk and pick up Challaghan. Just at 8:15pm they came home. I wanted to stay to watch my father open his birthday presents, not a quick process in our family. I tried to get my 5 year old nephew, Jonathan, to hurry him up by bringing him his gifts quickly. Challaghan was excited about singing Happy Birthday to Grandpa Jim and eating cake (I had brought a piece of vegan cake from home) so… we stayed a little longer to sing and eat cake. I decided to have some of my cake as I’d need the energy later. When I left my mother asked what I wanted her to do, as I wanted her at the birth. I said, “Don’t stay up until 2pm like you did last night as I want you to be well rested.” I told her to listen for the phone and she said she didn’t have one in her room. I told her to put one in there and turn the ringer on. She said, “I’d rather stay up all night than get woken in the middle of the night.” With gritted teeth I looked my father in the eyes and said, “Dad, please make sure the phone gets plugged in before you go to bed.” 

We finally got in the car at 8:45pm and headed home. By this point I was having contractions every 3 minutes and they were still 1 minute in duration. My breathing was starting to get heavier as well. Challaghan was in his car seat in the back moving his hands up and down while saying, “It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok… Mom will be ok, Mom will be ok…”, during each contraction. Between contractions I was telling him that Baby Sage, our nickname for this baby since February, was on its way and he’d be a big brother by tomorrow. As my husband pulled slowly up our steep driveway, I had a contraction and the position of the car made it feel like I had 30 pounds pushing onto me, so I told him to hurry up the driveway.

On the drive home we were making a list of things that needed to be done when we got home. Put the stroller and baby car seat in the car in case of transport; move birth kit, tarp, suitcase, and towels out of Challaghan’s room; call Claudia; move birth pool into our room and remove Challaghan’s sleeping bag; move the boom box into our room; pick out CDs I want played during labor; put film in the camera and in the camcorder; call my minister and ask for prayer during labor; get Challaghan to bed immediately so he’d be asleep as people were arriving…

Michael’s jobs were to put the stroller and car seat in the car and to get Challaghan to sleep. As I came up the stairs I heard the phone ring and thought that it must be Claudia wondering why I hadn’t called yet. To my surprise it was Melanie. When she heard my voice she said, “Girl, you’re in labor. I’m on my way.” “Oh no not yet, let me call Claudia first.” While he loaded the car, I moved everything from Challaghan’s room in between contractions. Then I called Claudia and told her contractions were every 3 minutes lasting a minute. She said, “Kim I’d like to get on the road.” I kept on talking; I was so excited. She then said, “Kim I’d like to get on the road. Can we get off the phone? Would you like me to talk to Michael? Do you have my cell number?” Then I said, “Sure I can get off the phone and yes I have your cell number.” I called my in-laws and told my father-in-law as he picked up the phone, “Hi, it’s Kim. I’m having contractions every 2-3 minutes so I’ll keep this short. You’ll have another grandchild by tomorrow.” His response was, “Alright”. 

Since it was cool out I turned our whole house attic fan on to muffle the noises so Challaghan would stay asleep. While waiting for Claudia to get here, I set the pool up in our room and loaded the cameras with film and called my minister.When I came into the kitchen to get water I was appalled to find my countertops were filled with stuff. While having a contraction I planned what I would put away for the next 2 minutes. “OK, on the next break I’ll pick up those 3 toys and put them in the toy box and that cake can go in the fridge.” “Now those things can go in recycling and that I’ll put in the cupboard.” “Those few things can get thrown in the dishwasher and I’ll wash those dishes.” Then I heard Claudia pull up.

I let my dog, Sierra, outside to greet her so she’d know people were coming. Claudia came up the back deck with her first load as I was having a contraction. Then I plugged in the camcorder and recorded a little bit while outside between contractions which were now every 2 minutes. Claudia said, “Oh you’re progressing very nicely.” I then put Sierra up for the night in her kennel and shut the laundry room door so she wouldn’t bark every time someone arrived I asked Claudia when I should call my birth team and she said anytime. I asked if she was sure. She said, “You’ll feel better if I check you and make this official won’t you.” So she did an internal exam and I was completely effaced and at 8cm! “It’s time to make those calls,” she said. I called Melanie and Donna very quickly and was on the phone with my mother when I had another contraction. I remember squatting in the kitchen, moaning, “Hang on Mom.”

Claudia came in and took the phone from me and said, “Mom, if you want to see this baby you better get here,” and she hung up. I told Claudia that my mother would think the baby was coming in a half an hour. Debbie and Nicole had arrived while I was on the phone. I went back to my bedroom with the camcorder and videoed them setting up the pool – it needed a little more air. I told Debbie that her daughter’s birth of her 4th child didn’t seem real it was so fast. She said that she’d warned me and she mainly gave it to me so Challaghan could see her other children in the video. She then said, “My daughter didn’t do any videoing while in labor though.” 

I leaned on the outside edge of the pool for a bit while it was being filled. Claudia then told me I could get in it when it was full. I was afraid that my labor might slow down once I got in, like it did with Challaghan, but I got in anyway. Melanie then arrived shortly followed by my mother who came up and touched my shoulder and said,“Hey sweetie. I brought Dad with me.” When she got the call to come over she had just poured herself a frozen daiquiri, drawn a bath and lit a candle to unwind after Dad’s birthday celebration. My father said he would come to pick up the pieces of my mother if need be. (At Challaghan’s birth I had to transport to Kennestone and forceps were used to nudge him. Michael and my mother both passed out after seeing that.) I thought my father would probably stay out in the living room. He hasn’t seen my naked since I was a little girl and he had never witnessed the birth of a baby. I was in for a wonderful surprise! The entire pregnancy I prayed for an easy, quick, natural homebirth in divine timing and that whoever was supposed to be here would be here to welcome this new spirit. There was a knock on the bedroom door and Melanie opened it to find my father standing there. She said, “Kim’s totally naked and in the pool.” My father said, “That’s ok with me,” and he came in and sat in the rocking chair and read a Men’s Journal. Melanie said he made funny comments throughout my labor. 

Donna arrived and Nicole showed her how to operate the camcorder. She also brought a digital camera with her. Finally Michael came into the room, meaning Challaghan was sound asleep in his room across the hall. He looked relieved to be in the room with me. I had him go downstairs in the garage to get the monitor and put it in Challaghan’s room so he could quickly go in there if he woke up. We usually keep the door open so he can come into our room. Tonight the door was shut to block out noises. From that point on he was with me the entire time. 

Last time I was in labor I went through about 12 bottles of Recharge so we had lots ready for this time as well. I drank a little bit of grape Recharge but I kept burping it up. I didn’t burp of chili though. Kept trying little sips of the Recharge but switched to plain water. My mother stayed on the edge of the pool the entire time, gently touching my back and letting me squeeze her hand during contractions. Melanie rubbed my forehead and told me to let go of the tension I was holding there and to relax everything except the muscles doing the work for a contraction. I squeezed her hand and Michael’s as well during contractions. At some point Claudia said it might feel better if I pushed with the contractions. I asked what time it was – 11:34pm. Being a math major, I was aware from the time Claudia arrived that myself (Jan 19th), Michael (Sept 29th) and Challaghan (May 9th) all have 9’s in our birthdates and tomorrow was the 9th of October. It was then that I saw my guardian angel, who comes to me in the form of twinkling lights. I smiled and felt reassured knowing this baby was coming here at home. I didn’t want to start pushing just yet in case the baby came very quickly. I gave a few tentative pushes but then backed off. Claudia thought I might be afraid to push and checked me around 11:50pm and confirmed that I was 10cm. 

From that point on, I started pushing during contractions. I tried several positions in the birth pool. Most of the videos I’d seen had women squatting the middle of the pool. I tried that position but found it to be very uncomfortable. I ended up laboring most of the time and delivering on my knees leaning on the edge of the pool facing outside. At some point Claudia said she wanted to check to see where the baby was. I said I was getting ready to have a contraction so wait a minute. On either that one or the next one, I felt my water break and I announced it. Claudia ended up not checking the position of the baby. After my water broke, I was very excited to feel my baby descend. I felt lots of intense pressure on my rectum and was so thrilled to feel this. I thanked God for bringing my baby safely to me and for feeling all of this. With Challaghan I did not feel this sensation as he got stuck on my pelvis at about +2. I knew this pressure meant my baby was coming nearer to me. I announced that I felt the ring of fire and the baby was getting ready to crown. Claudia told me to give little pushes. My father said, “Shouldn’t she just give a big push and get it out?” Claudia said little pushes would allow me to stretch. Claudia grabbed Michael’s hand and put it on the baby’s head as it crowned and I reached my hand behind me to do the same. I had to turn around slightly and it was then that I saw my father with a digital camera in his hands looking directly at the birth. I was overwhelmed to be sharing such an emotional experience with both of my parents. Prior to Challaghan’s birth I didn’t want either of them there and now it just felt so right. I took my hand away and Claudia said it might be easier to feel from the front but by this point I was ready to get my baby out of me and into my arms. Next thing I remember is pushing and hearing Claudia say, “Forehead, eyes, nose.” It was so fantastic to hear her say that! At 1:11am, I then quickly turned over and put my leg over the cord and was handed my beautiful, baby boy named Rory McKenzie. 

To see pictures of Rory’s birth click here.