Snow in October in Philadelphia is not a common occurrence. But after this year's weather, we all know anything is possible. So when I heard from Ammie and Schuyler early on the morning of the 29th that early labor had begun, as we prepared to set out for some snowy Halloween parties, I wasn't at all surprised. Both because I had a feeling Ammie wasn't going to wait for November to have her baby, and because big changes in weather often bring on labors!
Contraction waves stayed about the same for the day and the family (big "brother" Toby the dog included) went on a snowy walk in Mount Airy. Close to midnight Ammie's water bag released and things intensified so Janeyne and I headed over. It was such a treat to see several inches of snow on all the fall trees in Mount Airy, a veritable pre-winter wonderland, in contrast to just the sleet and slush in South Philly. Those couple degrees of heat in the heart of the city make a big difference I suppose!
This yoga mama was relaxing well through the contractions and mostly upright in her bed. That yogic breathing is so helpful for labor--Ammie's powerful breath directed the energy of her surges and things were moving along. But baby Bhima (sanskrit for "The Mighty One") was still working through things on his journey. Mama cajoled her son encouraging him to cross the threshold into life on the outside and making sure he knew they were ready and he was most welcome! At one point she said, "Let freedom ring Bhima-it's time to be born!".
As dawn approached we were all a bit surprised to not have met this little one yet. I encouraged Ammie to try some squats with Schuyler supporting her as she really did not like the birth stool but we wanted some gravity and to help her really sink into the sensation of the baby moving down. That was the trick-- what a sight to see this loving, strong, couple both squatting for most of a half an hour with no other support than each other. Ammie really began to moan and move the baby downward and Schuyler was quietly focused on supporting her and reminding her he was there for her to lean on and to offer strength and love for their family. At one point during this time, Ammie finished a contraction and with wide, beautiful eyes shared, "It's not about opening your cervix, it's about opening your whole heart!". And then just after saying that, exclaimed, "Something's happening!". We shifted back into the bedroom and after a bit more work including some hip rocking to help baby navigate the pelvis, Bhima's head emerged. Ammie was semi-reclined on the bed with Schuyler behind her helping her pull back her knees towards her ears during her pushes. With Ammie being as incredibly flexible as she is this was quite a sight as her knees were literally up behind her ears really accentuating the passage of the baby through the birth canal towards crowning. The parents had a great view from that vantage point of seeing the head slowly emerge and baby Bhima moving his head around even as it passed through the ring of fire- those babies are such active participants in their births working with their strong mamas!
6 lb 13 oz Bhima latched right onto mama's breast and had continued to be an amazing nursling gaining weight like crazy! Ammie & Schuyler & Bhima snuggled up together for a snowy Sunday in October- what a (trick-or-) treat! And little Bhima is another early EC baby-he's even learning to signal for pees at 10 days old! Wow!