Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Oliver Ryan's Birth Story

Oliver Ryan Dillon
7 lbs. 8 oz.
20 inches
8:50am PST

 On Wednesday December 12, Ryan was at work all day, and I had a bunch of errands to run. First off, I had to go to the chiropractor, where the doctor told me she felt like the baby was finally in the right position! After that, I still had a bunch of other places to go, but I kept feeling contractions every 10 to 20 minutes. Everywhere I went, I was so nervous that my water was going to break! The day before (on Oliver’s due date), at our appointment, the midwife said that it looked like Oliver wasn’t coming for another week or so. So, I went to the grocery store to stock up on some things to last us through the week just in case he came soon. When I got home, Ryan was home on his lunch break, and I told him about the contractions and how they felt different than all the other Braxton Hicks contractions I had felt before. Soon after Ryan went back to work I took a nap and was still able to sleep through the contractions. A little later, Brucie and I got ready to go on a very long walk, since my midwife told me I should be walking even more than I already was (which by the way was like 2.5 miles a day!). We walked about three miles around Yountville, and sometimes I even had to stand still, lean against a tree, or sit down to get through the contractions!! I got home around 3:30 – about the same time as Ryan – and we decided maybe it was time to start timing the contractions.
 My parents were coming to pick us up at 4:30 to go to happy hour dinner at Brix. So, we got ready, still not sure about the contractions but timing them nonetheless. They were definitely getting closer together and even a little more painful, but I still felt like I was able to go out to dinner. I ordered fried green beans and bacon pizza (which would make a reappearance later… yuck). Every time a contraction would start I would kick Ryan’s foot under the table for him to start timing it with the app on his phone. My dad thought I was kicking Ryan because I was mad at him for being on his phone! Grandpa Rocco also said that if my water broke there at the restaurant, we should name the baby Brix! I remember asking my mom if really early contractions felt like strong period cramps. She said she didn’t think they were really supposed to hurt at all at the very beginning, which made us wonder if this was the real deal! My parents dropped us off at home, and we all had a heightened sense of excitement knowing that baby Oliver would be coming soon!!

laboring in the birth center bathroom.

As soon as we got home, I got in the shower to try and relax, but instead, my contractions quickly picked up in intensity and frequency. About 7:30 when I got out of the shower we decided it was time to talk to the midwife. She said it sounded like this might be the real thing, but it was still too early to come in to the birth center. She told us that instead of staying at work all night, she would go ahead and go home and take a nap, knowing that I would probably be calling again later. We also called Jennifer, my aunt and doula, to let her know that tonight might be the night and that we would call back later. While Ryan was busy making sure everything was ready in case we needed to leave, I tried to take a nap. But, the contractions were far too strong and frequent, and I could not relax. We spent the next few hours making sure we were ready to go, while the contractions continued to pick up. Around 10:30, after a few really strong contractions, both Ryan and I decided it was time to call the midwife again. Since we had an hour drive, we all agreed it was a good idea to leave soon. We called Jennifer again and said we would be there in fifteen minutes to pick her up.
The car ride was bearable. I had to keep myself from asking how close we were, and thankfully the one time I did ask, we were almost there! Jennifer sat with me in the back seat helping me through contractions, while Ryan drove us there as fast as he could. He only had to run one red light! We got to the birth center just before midnight and met the midwife there. Because of how strong and frequent my contractions were the midwife even wondered if I might already be in transition… far from it actually. She checked me to see how far dilated I was because they don’t usually admit you to the birth center until you are 4 centimeters. With a little stretching, I barely made it to the 4 centimeters, ugh. So even though my contractions were strong and frequent, we still had a long way to go.

Awesome doula #1

Awesome doula #2
 We went to the birthing rooms, and I continued laboring for a long time. I tried to keep moving, so I just walked around in circles from one room to the next, stopping during contractions to lean on something. Ryan and Jennifer made sure to always rub my back because I was having bad back labor. I was feeling a lot of pressure from my bag of waters, but still it did not break. After several hours of walking around, laying on the bed, and laboring in different positions, the midwife checked, and I was 5 centimeters dilated – enough to get into the pool. But I still had to wait for it to fill up, so I went back to walking around and leaning over during contractions. Once the pool was filled, I spent the next few hours laboring in the warm water. The contractions were still very painful, but the water made them a little less bad, and I was even able to sleep for a few minutes at a time between contractions! While I was in the water I felt like I was also in a different dimension. There was no such thing as time, everyone around me disappeared (except for Ryan… I always was able to feel if he was near me or not), there was just me… and the pain. I could feel Oliver inside of me, moving and stirring. I kept imagining him moving into the perfect place, knowing just where he needed to go. 

The midwife suggested I get up and move around to keep my labor from stalling in the water. So, I got on the bed and labored on my hands and knees for a while. She checked again and thought I was about 10 centimeters, and my waters were bulging, so she encouraged me to start pushing and see if my waters would break. But, they still wouldn’t break! Since I was at 10 centimeters but not progressing, we all decided to have her break my waters to keep things moving. After that, we realized that there was still a little bit of my cervix over the head of the baby that wasn’t budging. So, during a big push, the midwife moved that lip to the side around his head, and then I was officially fully dilated and ready to push! A lot of women have said that the pain of pushing is not as intense as the contractions… That was not the case for me- my goodness it was so intense and strong! I just wanted him out!!

My amazing midwife!

On the bed where I later delivered Oliver!

While I was in the middle of pushing, my midwife’s shift was up and one of the other three midwives was now on call. The first midwife wanted to stick around longer to see the birth, but she ended up needing to leave. If only she would have known he would come just 15 minutes later! I pushed on the bed. I pushed on the toilet. Then I went back to the bed, and finally after almost two hours of pushing, the baby started crowning. My parents were in the waiting room, and at this point my mom was called in to see the birth of her grandson. Feeling him coming out was exhilarating but very very painful. My dad remembers being in the waiting room right next door hearing so much crying and screaming, and then all of the sudden, me in such a happy sweet voice just saying, “Hi baby! Hi baby!”.  Baby Oliver was here! After about 12 hours of labor, a few of those at home and about 9 at the birth center, Oliver Ryan was born into this world completely drug free and into his daddy’s hands. Ryan and the midwife lifted him up to me and placed him on my chest. I remember looking at him for the first time, into his wide dark eyes which were staring right into mine. He cried coming out but once I was holding him, he was peaceful and so alert. Absolutely perfect.
After Oliver was born, it came time to deliver the placenta. After the placenta came out, I ended up with a lot of bleeding. A lot. Things got a little stressful and I was still in a lot of pain from them trying to stop the bleeding, but thankfully through all of that I was still able to hold my baby boy in my arms. Fortunately, with just a quick shot of pitocin (it’s good for something!) my bleeding eased up and everyone was able to relax again. Unfortunately, little Oliver was quite comfy in the womb with his arm up by his head, and that is also how he decided to come into this world… ouch. So, thanks to that precious little arm, I ended up in need of a few stitches, but throughout the whole thing, I was still able to continue skin to skin with Oliver. Even when his umbilical tie fell off and Oliver’s blood was added to the pools of my blood all over the birth bed (sorry for the gruesome image… but hey… that’s how it was, really bloody), nobody rushed him away from me. We stayed together through it all, for a few hours even, he didn’t leave me. This is one of the many reasons I am so grateful to have delivered NOT at a hospital… he was never taken from me, even when we both were in need of medical attention.
Getting ready to leave the birth center!

            So there it is, Oliver Ryan Dillon was born on a Thursday morning at 8:50am. He was 7 pounds 8 ounces and 20 inches long. He was born at the Santa Rosa Women’s Heath and Birth Center, the only birth center in northern California! No doctors were present, or needed. We didn’t need a hospital, none of us were sick. We were up and walking out the door 7 hours after delivery and feeling great! Oliver’s birth was not only completely amazing and beautiful because we got a perfectly healthy baby boy in the end, it was also so very empowering for me to be able to birth freely and be in control of my own labor and delivery! Loved delivering at the birth center, wish everyone could have the same amazing experience that I did! Anyway, almost 4 weeks later and we’re still so happy and in awe of the birth of our sweet baby boy! He’s such a total blessing and brings us so much joy (even with the many feedings and diaper changes throughout the day and night). We love you so much Oliver Ryan! We thank God everyday that He chose us to be your parents! 


  1. so sweet! love it! Glad that your birth was empowering and that you allowed your body to do what it was created to do! blessings on the journey of parenthood!

  2. love it! i cried when he was born. i mean.. in the story ;) so happy that you got to have such a great experience for your first baby, and didn't have to learn from a bad experience how great a non-hospital birth can be. he is so beautiful!