Welcome Griffin Blake!
Welcome to the world, Griffin Blake!
Griffin surprised us all by arriving 8 days early, on April 6. His arrival was fast and furious and joyous and completely unexpected but precisely what our family needed.
The night before I went into labor, Tyler and I managed to get out for what would turn out to be an exceptionally last-minute date night. We left Logan with our amazing babysitter, and got dinner at Lodgepole followed by ice cream at Panhandle Cone and Coffee. It was such a nice evening, and I’m so grateful we were able to squeeze it in. Once we were home, I had a bit of a tummy ache, which I attributed to eating 2 scoops of (epically delicious) salted caramel brown butter cookie ice cream, and napped on the couch until Tyler told me to go to bed.
I woke up again at about 3:00 am, feeling crampy. After a few minutes, I realized the cramps had a rhythm to them, and figured that it could be labor. I got around to downloading one of those contraction timing apps (the second baby procrastination is real). I also woke up Tyler to say that I thought labor was starting, but that he should keep resting since we’d likely be waiting for some time. I went to the living room, and timed contractions for about 20 minutes. My contractions were about 45 seconds long, and 3 minutes apart, but the pain was manageable so I figured we were in the earlier part of active labor. It should also be noted that, compared to my labor with Logan, I felt like everything was very manageable. Logan’s labor was very intense from the beginning because it was a medical induction and my water had broken to start labor. Labor was also about 9 hours long, so I figured that I had lots of time. I was wrong.
So, even though I fit the traditional measures of “411 - time to go to your birth location,” I was squarely in denial about it all. Either way, I decided to wake Tyler again for some support, and text our midwife and doula to let them know that things were getting started. At this point I was also needing to use the bathroom pretty regularly between contractions, which in retrospect meant that my body was already feeling an urge to push, even though my brain wasn’t acknowledging it. Tyler joined me in the living room, but convinced me to come back to the bedroom to rest (another sign that I was coping well - even Tyler thought that things weren’t very serious yet).
I also started feeling nauseous at this time - a common sign of transition. I did have a fleeting thought at that point - either I have wicked bad food poisoning, or I’m really in labor, and also a brief flashback to when I vomited all over a nurse toward the end of Logan’s labor. I had Tyler call the midwife at this point to let her know that it was “go time” and that we were ready to meet her at the birth center. She told us to meet her there in 20 minutes.
Little did we know that 20 minutes later, we’d have a baby.
Shortly after we hung up with our midwife, I vomited, and became acutely aware of the fact that not only were we going to have a baby, we were going to have a baby SOON. I started barking orders at Tyler between contractions - call the babysitter! Call her AGAIN! Abandon the babysitter and put Logan in the car! Get our bags! Put our bags in the car! NO the other other car! We’ll worry about the infant carseat later! All the while, I’m slowly making my way from our master bathroom in the back of the house toward the running car in our driveway. Tyler was an absolute rock during this chaos - following my orders precisely, encouraging me as much as possible, and leaving me to be in “labor land” mid-contraction. I’m still amazed that he wasn’t panicking at this point.
15 minutes later, I’m walking to the car, where Tyler has laid a towel on the seat, just in case my water breaks. Also at this point, it’s worth noting that I am an absolute wreck on the outside - my underwear long ago abandoned on the bathroom floor, forehead drenched in sweat, and wearing a non-maternity nightshirt that barely covers my pregnant belly. If an early morning jogger were to have run by our house at that point, there would have been no doubt that I was about to have a baby. I look to Logan, who is sitting in his carseat, groggy eyed and confused.
I say to him “it’s ok Logan, mommy’s just having a baby” when a contraction hits me hard and my water breaks, splashing my feet and the driveway below. I hesitate for a moment, then summon the courage to reach between my legs, where I FEEL A HEAD. There’s no time to panic, and no way I’m going to sit down, so I yell to Tyler “I feel a head! I’m going inside” and turn to go back into the house. He looks at me confused, then asks what to do about the midwife. I yell “CALL HER!” through a contraction, and proceed to waddle into the house. There was no way I was going to make it the half mile to our birth center. Our midwife was going to have to come to us.
(It’s also worth noting that we live insanely close to where we had planned to give birth - about a half mile away. We actually joked all the time during my pregnancy that there was “no way” I wouldn’t make it there - it’s just so close! And since Logan was born at 41+3, I would also frequently say that there was “no way” I would have this baby before my due date. Yet, here we were, at 38+6, not making it to the birth center because this little guy was ON HIS WAY. Every baby definitely has their own plan when it comes to birth. The parents are just along for the ride.)
Tyler gets the midwife on speakerphone, then leaves the phone with me just inside the door to our house. He hurries to get Logan out of the carseat and safe in the house, while I yell directions to the midwife through a contraction. Once Logan is safe on the couch, I again try to console him (he’s not upset at all, just confused and tired) with another “mommy’s just having a baby”. Meanwhile, Tyler grabs the emergency flashlight from the laundry room and uses it to flag down the midwife as she drives up our street. As she parks, Tyler breathes a sigh of relief - a professional is here. But I’m not so relieved. I’m leaning over one of our chairs and feeling stinging - the baby is crowning. I put one hand down to check on how much head I can feel, and Tyler puts both his hands underneath me (“for moral support” he’d later say - he did not think the baby was that close to arriving yet). Just a moment later, the stinging stopped as all of baby’s head emerged, followed quickly by his body - he was born! Tyler and I caught him together, and were trying to pass him forward toward my chest as the midwife ran in the front door - maybe 10 seconds after Griffin was born, and less than two hours after I was awoken with a contraction.
Our midwife jumped into action immediately, helping us bring Griffin to my chest, then lie down on the wood floor of our entryway. He was breathing well, and very calm - a real change from Logan’s birth. I was able to enjoy having him on my chest as she checked him over, all the while laughing at how quickly labor had gone and nothing had gone according to plan. Minutes later, we got a phone call from our doula - she was at the birth center, but no one was there - we told her our surprising news and to meet us at home. She and the assistant midwife arrived shortly after.
These three wonderful ladies proceeded to spend the next three hours helping me deliver the placenta, laughing as we called our shocked family members, feeding Logan breakfast, and doing Griffin’s newborn exam. By 8 am, they had started a load of laundry, done the dishes, and tucked us into bed as a family of 4. I was so amazed by the quality of the care we received - it was so obvious that these women were professionals, well-trained in their jobs, and so full of heart for the work they were doing. The environment was always calm and relaxed, and I was included in every decision along the way (including a shot of pitocin to help deliver the placenta, and deciding when was the right time to cut the umbilical cord to allow Tyler some skin to skin time). It was not only healthcare with heart, but healthcare with respect - and precisely what I needed.
Even though it was sometimes chaotic, it was ultimately so peaceful to bring our baby into the world this way - and I think it’s evident in Griffin’s personality. He’s a relaxed baby so far (we call him our “chill dude”). I also feel drastically different from my hospital birth. Physically, the recovery has been easier, as I’ve lost less blood and didn’t require any stitches. I also feel so different emotionally - I suffered from the baby blues pretty rough with Logan, and ultimately sought treatment for postpartum depression. This time, I’ve felt emotionally stable, my anxiety is under control, and I’m proud of the way my baby entered the world, as well as the fact that I was able to handle it without intervention. Like so many women I’ve spent so much of my life doubting my body - expecting it to betray me at any moment, instead of trusting that it is capable of amazing things. For me, the experience was intense, but empowering - and empowered is a great way to start life as a mom to two.
And with that, welcome to the world, Griffin Blake Biggs! Born at 4:43 am on April 6, 2019. 6lbs, 14oz, and 20.5 inches long. Sweet and relaxed and adored by his entire family. We are so grateful for his safe arrival, and the fantastic care we received with Vivianne and KO at The Nest Birth and Wellness, as well as Rebecca from Palouse Women’s Wellness. If you’re local to us and in need of a midwife, naturopath, or doula, we can’t recommend them highly enough.