Sunday, June 21, 2009

A father's birth stories

In honor of Father's Day, I wanted to post the birth stories of Zari and Dio, as told in Eric's journal. He has been--and is--a wonderful father to our children. I especially like how he loves to play with them. I remember back to when we were engaged, and I was over at my mom's friend's house. She was playing around with my hair, coming up with ideas for the wedding. Her daughters got hold of Eric and proceeded to do his hair too. He got the works: hairclips, elastics, gel, and hairspray. My mom's friend saw him enjoying the makeover and commented that he was going to be a great father.

Zari's Birth:
So. I am a father. As of 11:23 this morning, I have earthly posterity, a beautiful daughter. We haven’t named her yet, probably won’t until we find something that suits her. What an experience! I think this calls for exclamation points! Rixa woke me up around 6:30 this morning saying that she had been having regular contractions since about 1:30. She told me to cancel my classes, which I did. And take out Zeke, which I did. After a brisk run, Rixa continued to have regular contractions and they got stronger and stronger until about 9:30 when she started pushing.

Pushing took much longer than she thought it would—the baby’s head took a while to mold and move down the birth canal. I did my part by giving Rixa a blessing when she needed it and basically by staying out of the way and helping only when she needed it. She really was amazing. Rixa spent most of her time on the toilet but she also went on the floor and used the birth ball for stability or she went in the tub. I was sitting in the bedroom most of the time, trying not to focus too much on the loud vocalizing that Rixa was doing. Like from the belly of the beast. They were about a minute apart for most of it and when she got close to the end I thought labor was stalling. She wasn’t making as much noise but breathing heavily. Then I heard, “OK, the head is out” and I came in to help catch the baby. She came out smooth and slick, bright pink with a full set of lungs. She cried for about a minute or so but calmed right down when we put her on Rixa. Her head was very molded from the birth but already it looks round and normal. She has a full head of hair and the little Freeze nose crinkle. She looks very much like Freeze babies usually do. Same eyes and forehead going on. Still, it is hard to distinguish characteristics from newborns.

After she was born we took pictures and a couple videos. Rixa went probably prematurely to the bed because it took her a couple hours to get the placenta out. She continued to have strong contractions like she did during labor, but these were for the placenta which stubbornly would not come out. Rixa didn’t want to force it because that could cause unnecessary hemorrhaging so we waited it out. We decided to cut the cord and then Rixa went to the bathroom to labor and get it out, which she did after a short prayer. She even had a small chunk of it to chew on to help stop the bleeding, etc. She really felt great, looks great, and has been recovering nicely. We had Bernice over at the end to help stitch Rixa up and do some blood work. It was very nice to have her just to verify that we did everything right (which we did). Rixa has had pretty minimal bleeding and she can walk, etc. Very functional for a woman who just gave birth.

We put pictures on the family site and we had phone calls all afternoon and evening. We’re dead tired. Right now it’s about 10:45 p.m. and we’re sitting with the girl (still not sure what to call her—Jezebel was the winning vote on the family site and that isn’t going to cut it for long) and changing her diaper. She has already had a couple good meconium poops. Slick and black as fresh tar. We’re just so happy that everything went so smoothly. I gave Rixa a couple blessings that helped both of us feel comfortable and happy about going forward. She is such a beautiful baby and her whole body turns beet red whenever she cries. Now all we need is a name. A NAME! Bonne nuit.

Dio's Birth (written two days after he was born)
So. Saturday night. Rixa was acting a little strangely; we were trying to get to bed and we had just finished watching a semi-scary movie, Disturbia, and she started getting contractions. She had mild contractions during the day as well. We did a bunch of planting and shopping and getting these screen boxes over our square-foot gardens and I think that the exertion may have pushed her over the edge. She didn’t really get to bed much and stayed up until almost 1 AM.

The next morning, she was still having regular contractions but they weren’t strong enough for her to stop everything. She kept saying that with Zari it was boom, she couldn’t do anything else but labor. But with these, she was more relaxed and she could talk through them, etc. She was getting to the point, though, that she needed to move around a little so she opted to not go to church, so I took Zari and faced a gazillion questions about how Rixa was doing while I was there. I called in between meetings to see how things were going and then hurried home with Zari in tow. Thanks to the Madsens for helping watch Zari during church while I had to play the organ and for the great nursery leaders who amuse her so much that she could’ve cared less that momma and papa weren’t around.

So, after church we ate and Rixa started having stronger labor. I put Zari to bed and we could hear Rixa making a little noise, mostly just heavy breathing and the occasional drawn-out “oohhhh”. Soon after I put Zari down, though, Rixa was having stronger and stronger contractions. She called Penny (the midwife) and we filled up the birth tub and headed upstairs. I was pretty busy from the get-go for this birth. No time to play Scrabble (especially with Zari to take care of and then put down for a nap). Before we went up, I gave Rixa a blessing and I blessed her that she would be able to trust her body during the labor and that the baby would be healthy. I felt very strong impressions that everything would be fine, but that Rixa was feeling less confident about her body for some reason. Turns out that’s about what was happening. Not exactly a lack of confidence, but the labor, especially pushing, was much stronger than the last time around. She felt more overwhelmed but she trusted her body and birthed baby Dio very smoothly.

I was with her through the whole thing this time. She wanted something to grab onto, so she would hold my arms in a kind of arm wrestler’s grip and she would pull on me when the contractions would come. The pushing was very quick, around fifteen minutes or so of strong pushing. Penny was there but she was very unobtrusive and only took heart tones a couple times and otherwise didn’t say or do anything (except take pictures once the baby was coming out). It was a beautiful birth and Rixa was so strong through the whole thing. Very self-assured and cogent. I took a few videos and helped get towels and transfer Rixa to the bed. The midwives (she had an assistant there by the end) were pretty chill and they left us alone for much of the time to spend time with Dio. Zari got up after everything was over and awoke to a new baby brother. I’m going to have to cut this short and fill in the rest tomorrow, but things have been good and people’s outpouring of friendship has been phenomenal.


  1. Rixa, there are many things I disagree of with you. This I totally agree. A man who can sit and let a small child do his hair, is good husband and father material!

  2. Lovely - it is always nice to read birth stories from the partners perspective. Happy Father's Day Eric and to your whole family, enjoy your time in Canada!

  3. : )

    Super cool to hear Dad's perspective---you guys are a great couple and an awesome family

  4. ahh, I love reading your husband's birthing accounts. It's so great to hear it from his own mouth, what he saw with his own eyes.


  5. Hi Rixa, its always good to read the husband, partner point of view - great read!

  6. What a great way to honor your husband. And what insightful and sweet thoughts he recorded in his journal! ^_^


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