Slow cooker...

Charmaine is a slow cooking mama. Her first child, Reese, was a New Year's baby in 2009 after a several day induction at home after having an ultrasound showing low fluid. He was born around 42+5 days with lots of vernix and lots of clear fluid. This time around we decided to give this baby more time to come on his or her own! However, once the 43 week mark came and went with little signs of labor, and fluid levels seemed to be dropping some more, the decision was made to once again try to nudge Charmaine in to labor while we knew the baby was in good shape. We weren't super certain about the dating of the pregnancy but thought we were within 3-4 days or so we were over 42 weeks already no matter which way we sliced it.

Things have a way of working out as they should. On Friday January 28th I moved my family to my aunt's nearby Charmaine's for the weekend so I could go back and forth and visit Itzela so we could settle in to our efforts to get labor started. Charmaine took castor oil that afternoon and we waited to see it take effect but nothing too exciting was happening. We were debating a second dose when we had another mama go in to labor on her due date and Char was tired anyway so I went to join Meredith at the other birth (story forthcoming) and left Charmaine and Jamie to go sleep for the night and regroup in the morning.

The next day we started with another smoothie, this time with 4 full ounces of Castor Oil. Charmaine is a big believer in muscle testing and this was what her body was telling her would be effective to move her in to labor. By nighttime things started picking up and we decided to do a little bit of breast pump and herbs to help tip her in to an active labor pattern. All the while, Charmaine was handling her surges beautifully and listening to the Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations and other tracks from the Hypnobabies Program she had been using for the past 2 months. It was working well!

The herbs and pumping after the castor oil had gotten things moving did move Char into true labor. I called Meredith to join us and we got ready for the baby to come! Big brother Reese must have felt the excitement as he woke up and was up for much of the night anxious to meet his sibling.

Things really started heating up as dawn approached. Although Charmaine expressed the rushes were much stronger/more intense than with her previous labor, from the outside she seems comfortable and very relaxed-those Hypnobabies techniques were really working for her!

At various times in the process, we talked about potentially opening the bag of waters to move things along and make the labor go more quickly. But each time we decided that it was best to let the bag open in its own time (which is what we almost always do). Charmaine was so patient with the process unfolding. I think especially because we ended up having to coax labor into starting again it was extra important to let everything else unfold on its own. Her mama instincts were so right!

Charmaine was incredibly strong yet very gentle in breathing her baby down the birth canal. There was never any noticeable pushing effort the whole time baby Bryson was making his way between worlds. About an hour before he was born, there was a huge release of the bag of waters (the outer layer had ruptured around 10:30 pm the night before-we've been having a lot of one layer of the bag breaking at a time lately!) with lots and lot of clear fluid. So much for that low fluid seen on the ultrasound! Typically after the membranes open at that stage of labor with a mom who had already had a vaginal birth, the baby follows very soon after. But the gentle breathing the baby down and out that Charmaine used allowed the baby to move bit by bit over the next 50 minutes.

Bryson Glen Rusin was gently birthed at 8:21 am on January 30th (the day his mama intuited he would come as we made our plan to induce) weighing in at 8lbs. When his head was born it started to rotate to the left, then stopped and switched directions and rotated 3/4 of the way around to birth the shoulders the way that worked for him. He had a true knot in his cord which can sometimes be problematic if the cord gets pulled taut during the labor as it can cut off oxygen to the baby. Yet another reason to not artificially rupture the bag of waters and let the baby use everything he could to cushion his journey! (Did you know that according to midwife Cornelia Enning it is illegal to artificially break the bag of waters during labor in Germany because they recognize it can be dangerous?!)

Big brother Reese joined his mama, daddy and little brother minutes after the birth and he and Byrson enjoyed "Mem" i.e. milkies together for the first time!

Congratulations and thank you for sharing your strength and faith in the process!

Here's a poem Charmaine wrote about waiting for baby that she wanted to share, especially with other slow cooking mamas...

Never again will I feel these limbs kicking, jerking, in my womb. The woosh of a body inside a body pulling like the tide with the moon. Never again will I have this glow of a round and sacred thing, the honor of providing life to a brand new human being. Never again will I be attached so firmly to another An intimacy not even known to the steamiest of lovers. A new life growing and churning just beneath my flesh, A miracle, a mystery With who's care I have been blessed. Soon enough, this life we share will be a foggy memory, So why would I rush to cut the cord Where God tethered himself to me?

Charmaine Rusin