My Expected Due Date (E.D.D.) was May 19, 2016. Although an E.D.D. is only a guess date on when baby will arrive you can’t help but feel anxious when your E.D.D. comes and goes and your body has not given any signs of labor starting anytime soon. My oldest was born three days before his E.D.D. and my second child was born at 41 weeks, so the arrival week of Baby Dumas #3 was really a guess! After 40 weeks I tried many of the tricks to get labor started. I did squats, uneven curb walking, ate spicy food, made love with my husband, walking, talking to baby, drank raspberry leaf tea, etc. I often had to tell myself to relax and that baby will come when baby is ready to come. I was excited about meeting our Baby Dumas #3 and about learning the baby’s sex. We decided early on in this pregnancy that we would wait until delivery to learn if we were having a boy or a girl. We did not experience the element of surprise at birth with our two older kids, so this was going to be a new experience for us.

It was the Sunday after my E.D.D. It was a typical Sunday for us. We went to church, came home, had lunch, and simply relaxed to enjoy the day. However, there was one thing that was different about this day. I was having consistent cramps. Initially I ignored them because I had been having cramps on and off for the past couple of weeks, but no action leading to labor. As the day went on the cramps became more intense, but again I ignored them because they were not showing signs of leading up to labor. The cramping eventually subsided, so I went about my day as normal.

Later during the late night and into the next morning the intensity of the cramping increased. I found myself using my hypno-birthing deep breathing techniques to manage the intensity. I had a scheduled appointment with my midwife, Simona Istrate, for that morning (Monday) at 9:30am. We called Simona to share with her what was happening. She expressed that I may be experiencing early signs of labor or my body may be preparing to lose my mucous plug and that she would examine me during my appointment that day.

My husband was convinced that today was the day that we were going to have a baby! He loaded the car with our birthing bag and called on his family to care for our two children. He made phone calls to our family and put our prayer warriors on alert. We arrived to our appointment with Simona. She examined me at 10am and shared that I was at 2cm dilated. She encouraged us to take a walk for a couple of hours, go have lunch, and come back at 12:30pm to be examined again for any additional progress. She looked at me and said, “I believe your baby will be in your arms by 8 or 9pm. Let’s have a baby today!” I was so excited to hear that news! Since I was a few days past my E.D.D. I was anxiously awaiting this day and anxiously awaiting to have our new baby in our arms. The onset of this labor was very different from my other two kids, so I didn’t realize that all that cramping was progressing me towards labor.

We walked, shopped, and had lunch. We returned to Simona’s office a little after 12:30pm. We walked the stairs & the hallway of her office and did squats when we reached the end of the hallway each way. I was examined again at 1pm and was now dilated to 4cm. I was officially admitted for labor & delivery at the Birthing Center. We spent the remainder of the time in the birthing room and on the balcony of the birthing room. I used many of the labor techniques that I learned from hypno-birthing class and from my Doula, Angela Brown. I found that walking, standing, rocking my hips, and being held and caressed by my husband gave me the most relief and made labor much more calming and peaceful. I wanted to lay in bed to get some rest, but laying down made my surges (contractions) much more intense, so standing and sitting were my relief.

Fresh air on the balcony was helpful and refreshing and sitting helped me get some rest in between surges. However, when the surges started I had to stand for relief and to allow gravity to help me and help baby to come down. The surges grew more and more intense as time went on. Deep breathing, labor breathing, and breathing my baby down helped me stay calm, manage the surges, and to get through each one. I also managed by keeping my eyes closed until the surge passed. My dear husband massaged my neck, shoulders, and feet with rosemary & lavender essential oils to help me relax and to keep labor active as I relaxed. He also dimmed the lights in the birthing room, played gentle hypno-birthing music for me, and prompted me when it was time for me to drink more water and more Recharge to help maintain my electrolytes. He’s seriously the best “Daddy Doula!”

As time passed I began to feel the urge the push. Initially I thought it was too soon, but I quickly reminded myself to listen to my body and my baby and to trust the process. At 3pm Simona checked me and learned that I was at 6cm dilated. During my next surge she determined that I was now at 7cm dilated. Her team quickly filled the birthing tub and helped me undress to prepare to get into the tub because Baby Dumas #3 was coming! At this point things moved quickly. When I got into the birthing tub I felt my body relax. The water was comforting, warm, and calming. My surges became more and more intense. I felt my body wanting to tense up with each surge, so I knew transition was close. During this time self-talk, deep breathing, and the gentle touch from my husband became my best friend. I could also hear the Birthing Team verbally encouraging me with words like, “You’re doing good, you can do it mama.” With each surge I closed my eyes, took deep breaths in and out, and pushed.

As I began to crown I mentally wanted to push fast and hard to get past it, but Simona guided me and slowed me down so that I wouldn’t hurt myself. I had to tell myself to relax and to continue to breath slowly in and out. I also remember telling myself, “this part is intense, but you can do it, take your time, stay calm, you’re going to meet your baby soon.” Within 8-10 pushes Baby Dumas #3 was in the water and I heard Simona say, “Grab your baby!” I reached into the water and took my baby into my arms. My husband and I were overcome with joy. We immediately cried tears of happiness and thanked God for this blessing. I was excited and filled with so much joy that in that moment the baby’s sex did not matter to me. I was just so happy to have Baby Dumas #3 in my arms. The Birthing Team cheered with excitement and immediately asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?” I looked down to learn that we had a healthy baby boy!!!

Dillon and I sat in the birthing tub glazing into each other’s eyes; falling in love. My husband sat on the side of the tub behind me stroking my shoulders and glazing down at Dillon falling in love with each stare. Delayed cord clamping was on our Birth Plan so The Birthing Team waited until the umbilical cord stopped pulsating before they clamped it and then allowed my husband to cut the umbilical cord. They dried us off and transferred us to the bed near the birthing tub. Dillon and I enjoyed skin to skin contact and then he was passed to my husband for some bonding and skin to skin contact while I was examined by Simona. Our Birth Plan also included that we were going to keep my placenta for placenta encapsulation.

Dillon Monroe Dumas was born May 23, 2016 at 3:34pm. At birth he was 7lbs 4oz and 20 inches long. Dillon means, “loyal & true.” Monroe was Dillon’s paternal great grandfather’s name. My labor was about eight hours total from the start of the first surges to his delivery time. After our post birth examination we spent the next three hours at the birthing center relaxing, cuddling, and bonding. Dillon nursed like a pro while I enjoyed the delicious meal my husband warmed up for me. Three hours later we were discharged and headed home to enjoy our baby.

We were home resting and bonding by 7pm that day. Our family returned our two older kids to us the next day and they had a chance to meet and bond with their new baby brother. They are in LOVE! They are super excited to have a new sibling and we are excited to see the bond and the love between the three of them. God is great and He has been amazing to us. We are beyond grateful for our blessings. I don’t have enough word count to express the joy we have when God grants us the desires of our heart, but I can continue to say, Thank you Jesus!!!

If you are moved by Melissa’s birth story of Dillion and would like to contact her, go to: http://gladtidingsbymel.com/baby-dumas-3/

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