Hi Carol … my birth story is long, but I thought you might enjoy reading it. I wrote it for my pen pal. You were a true inspiration for me through my pregnancy. I found strength and empowerment for my birth through each and every one of your prenatal yoga classes. Thank you for all you do!
The Birth Story of Jack Roy Payne
By Lillian Payne
Jack Roy Payne
Born Tuesday, April 18, 6:48am at Providence Hospital in Portland, Oregon
J. Roy or J.R. as nicknames if they fit
8 lbs., 8oz.
14.75” head circumference
Mother: Lillian Hogan Payne
Father: John Trevor Payne
Maternal Grandmother: Jo Wiedemer Hogan
Maternal Grandfather: Kevin Thomas Hogan
Paternal Grandmother: Chris Perry Payne
Paternal Grandfather: John Roy Payne (deceased)
I’m writing this birth story on the eve of Jack’s one month birthday. I am enjoying a glass of slightly effervescent Txakoli wine after breastfeeding, celebrating a small victory after a successful meeting with the lactation consultant today.
I went off birth control seven months before Jack was conceived. I read Spirit Babies by Walter Makichen during the conception phase and practiced a few meditation techniques in an attempt to communicate with our baby’s spirit. The baby’s spirit appeared to me during the meditations mostly as an aura of purple in orb form. The strongest image the spirit baby showed me was that of a baseball field. Trevor has a strong love for baseball and daydreams of father/son games of catch danced in my head.
Jack was conceived at the end of July 2016. Jack’s father and I, Trevor, were together just over nine years when he was conceived. I found out I was pregnant on a trip to Seattle with Grandma Chris Payne and Trevor. I told Trevor we were pregnant once we got back to Portland from the vacation. He was in the backyard raking leaves. He hugged me and we high fived. I was five weeks pregnant and did multiple pregnancy tests before telling anyone, because I needed to be convinced. Getting pregnant is a bit surreal to say the least.
We told Trevor’s mom, Chris, soon after because she was visiting Portland from Asheville at the time. She was surprised and cried joyful tears. We told my parents, Grandma and Grandpa Hogan, and my brother, Uncle Trevor, on a trip to Colorado for cousin Kate’s wedding. The morning after the wedding, at a brunch for my mom’s side of the family, I made the pregnancy announcement to my aunts, uncles and cousins. A few of them had already sniffed it out. Probably because I was drinking Dr. Peppers instead of cocktails at the wedding reception.
We decided not to find out the gender of the baby until the birth. I had a pretty strong gut feeling the whole pregnancy that the baby was a boy.
We picked out a boy’s name – Jack Roy Payne – and a girls name – wouldn’t you like to know! – over an eight course pop up dinner that Trevor’s chef friend generously gifted us.
I had an active, enjoyable pregnancy. My first trimester was easy and joyful. I only got sick two times. Some “pregnancy brain” with botched work tasks. Nothing major. My second trimester was even better than the first. I was energetic, happy and focused. Plus, the baby bump appeared which I embraced with fierce femininity. I kept up a good exercise routine with yoga, booty luv (dance fitness) and walking regularly. I rounded out the third trimester with regular prenatal yoga, which I am certain made my labor, birth and postpartum recovery much easier. I gained thirty pounds during the pregnancy, all in the stomach. From the back, you couldn’t tell I was pregnant.
I had some food aversions and appetite loss in the beginning of pregnancy, but no particular cravings throughout. Grandma Hogan read a few children’s stories on speakerphone during pregnancy so baby could get used to her voice. I played “fireflies” by faith hill to the baby in womb multiple times – My favorite “modern lullaby” that I planned to sing to baby.
The grandmothers hosted a beautiful baby shower at my childhood home in Asheville, North Carolina, with the help of my friends. My best friend Charlotte Taylor led a bead blessing ceremony and I cried like a baby. My good friend Bonnie Watson hosted a baby shower in Oregon with a great group of women friends. I also had a small baby shower hosted by one of my favorite clients, Vanillawood. Baby was geared up and loved and still in the womb.
I worked up until the day labor started. I worked from home with client visits a couple times a week. This work lifestyle led to a very restful, relaxing and stress free pregnancy. Trevor and I felt prepared (as much as you can be) for our new child thanks to incredible resources including classes offered at the hospital and meetings with our doula.
My water broke at 6pm on Monday April 17, 2017. That very same day, Trevor was cooking for the final phase of an interview to secure the position of head chef of a new Portland restaurant. The ten course tasting meal he prepared for the interview was being presented to potential employers at 7pm the same evening. We now joke that the baby was eager to come but waiting till his Dad could finish the interview and secure his dream job.
When my water broke, it came out as a slow trickle. I contacted my doula and she advised that I get some sleep and keep her posted. I laid down on the couch and watched a movie as the amniotic fluid slowly seeped out over a few hours. I did not call Trevor because I didn’t want to distract him during his big tasting meal. Hold on just a few more hours, baby!
Quick and fierce contractions came on strong at just 1-2 minutes apart around 9pm, three hours after my water broke. I texted Trevor and told him my water broke and that contractions had started, but no rush to get home. I assumed I was in for a long labor at home overnight before heading to the hospital. I contacted the doula again and she advised me to try and sleep between contractions. I quickly realized they were too intense to get any sleep. I brought the birth ball into the bedroom, sat on it, and bent over onto the mattress to ride my contractions. As the contractions came, I envisioned riding a giant wave to the top and breathing out as the wave crashed. I texted Trevor again around 10pm telling him that the contractions were intense and that he might want to head home “soonish.”
Some time passed without response, so I sent another text message and tried to call Trevor – the contractions were getting super intense! Unable to get ahold of him, I finally called the restaurant where Trevor was interviewing. A server answered and I asked her if she could find him for me and tell him his wife was in labor. The restaurant was abuzz with the news as Trevor got the message. As the message came to him, he was toasting with his new employers after verbally getting the offer to become Head Chef of Tanner Creek Tavern. Huzzah! And time to have a baby? Double Huzzah!!
Trevor had left his phone in the kitchen during the tasting and felt terrible he had missed my messages and call. He rushed home to help me through the labor. He put on some music, got me some water and started in on the comfort measure massaging we had learned in class. At this point, contractions were all consuming.
Pretty soon I started having to poop while I was contracting, and realized that was probably a sign I was close to pushing a baby out. We called the hospital in our neighborhood where we were supposed to give birth, but their maternity ward was 100% full, and we got diverted to another hospital – Providence in NE Portland.
A fifteen-minute drive and multiple contractions in the car later, we arrived at the hospital at midnight. They checked me in at 8cm dilated. It was a huge relief knowing I was so far along.
Our doula Lindsay arrived just as they were sending me into the delivery room. We met our team of nurses and the midwife, Coco, who would deliver our baby. Everyone was amazingly reassuring and calm. I knew I was in great hands.
Almost as soon as I got into the delivery room I began feeling stronger urges to push. Squatting felt natural so I sat on a little stool and labored as the midwife shined a flashlight up the birth canal.
“Is this the transition period?” I asked her, hoping I was at the peak of intensity. “No,” she said, “This is the pushing and birthing the baby period.” I was so excited to hear that, remembering the graph from child birth class that showed the long climb from early labor to transition and then the short, quick descent from transition to child birth. I was amazed how fast it all was happening.
I continued to push and labor. I pushed on the toilet. I pushed on all fours. I pushed draped over the back of the bed. I pushed on my side with the doula holding one knee up. I pushed and I pushed and I pushed.
During the pushing period, they monitored my heart rate and the baby’s heart rate closely. We both had steady heart rates the entire time, which saved us from any type of intervention. My attitude was determined. I was in primal wild feminine mode. I was relishing the experience even though it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I labored in a simple cotton nursing bra and nothing else. I threw the hospital gown they gave me off almost as soon as I put it on. Being naked felt natural. Funny story: I had gone to Marshall’s that day to pick out a nice breezy long shirt to labor in. HA! So unnecessary.
My birth team included the Certified Nurse Midwife, Coco, my husband Trevor, my doula Lindsay, various nurses and an OB-GYN who stepped in at the end. They were all an incredible support during the labor. Positive vibes through and through. They brought cool washcloths to soothe me, gave me massages, and offered water from a large sippy cup (my favorite swag from the hospital – I still drink water out of it to this day). Their positivity and words of encouragement got me through and allowed me to have my ideal birth without the use of an epidural or pain medication.
After I had been pushing for almost four hours, my energy was depleting. I got into the hospital bed lying on my back to forge on and attempt to doze between contractions. The midwife tied a sheet around a bar above the bed for me to use for leverage during contractions and the team began counting and encouraging me to push longer and harder.
At some point towards the end of the pushing, the OB-GYN on call came into the room to check on progress since the pushing stage was getting to be so long. The team started talking about using a vacuum to get the baby out. Typically women push 20 minutes to 2 hours. My midwife made the call that allowed me to continue pushing – both our heart rates were fine – mom and baby were calm. I trusted my body and I was up to the challenge. I knew I could do it. The OB-GYN concurred. I would keep calm and push. Fun fact: I was wearing socks from Grandma Hogan that said this exact thing on the soles.
The baby’s head took a while to get under the pelvis; everyone started to hypothesize that we had a big baby on our hands. When the head started to crown, I reached down and touched it. Thankfully, I did not feel the ring of fire, because the baby’s head was around the crowning point for almost an hour.
After a contraction finished, Trevor would spritz an essential oil birth blend I made for the labor in my face. It was a mix of clary sage, geranium and lavender with distilled water. Taking deep breaths with the calming scents took me to a relaxed place before I started the next contraction. I’m now a newbie essential oil aficionado and have ordered more to help with everything from Trevor’s allergies to calming the baby.
Throughout the pushing, I made wild beastly grunts that made me feel deeply in touch with my womanhood. The midwife advised against the grunting because they take energy from pushing and cause a sore throat. I let them fly now and then anyway because I found the primal grunts and groans immensely satisfying. They were sounds I’d never heard pass my lips. So deep, sacred and real.
After close to five hours of pushing, and me mustering every ounce of energy to push hopefully one last time, the head was out. It was amazing how quickly the shoulders and body came after that. The doula and midwife exclaimed how beautiful the umbilical cord was – nice and spiraled and supremely healthy, but a little short so the baby rested on my stomach before Trevor cut the cord.
We were so beyond relieved to have finished with the pushing that we forget about our big surprise – the gender! The midwife exclaimed, “It’s a boy!” And we told him his name: “Hello, Jack!,” I whispered down to him, tears of joy falling.
The midwife allowed Jack to crawl up to my chest where we would spend the golden hour bonding and he would feed for the first time. Trevor and I basked in our new son’s glow. I basked in the pride of a job well done. I thanked the amazing team over and over for the support and for sticking by me and allowing the slow labor to unfold with the natural rhythms of my body and baby.
I birthed the placenta and the midwife stitched up a few minor tears, exclaiming that it was incredible how little I tore considering the length of pushing and the size of the baby. Our doula left with the placenta on ice, to freeze dry it and encapsulate it for me to eat over the next month to help with postpartum recovery.
Once the team said their goodbyes, one nurse stayed as our new family bonded. I began to feed Jack and close my eyes, feeling his bare skin on mine. I embraced being a mom and all that would bring. Trevor laid down for a nap after sending a birth announcement text out to family and friends.
After a few hours of mama/baby bonding, the nurse weighed and measured Jack, took a footprint stamp, and gave him his Vitamin K eye treatment and first Hep B shot.
He then slept in my arms as I ate breakfast in bed. A moment I will treasure in my memory and heart forever.
Welcome to the world, Jack Roy Payne.