How He Entered

Cyrus Stephen Hammond
Born 01.24.2015
21 Inches, 7 pounds 5 ounces
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The details of his birth are still crystal clear. He came in his own way and in his own time, according to the moment in time that was ordained perfect for him. Despite the miles, we were all there, in that moment when he came through the water and onto my chest—Daddy, Mama, Sister, Brother. Teary, exuberant, wide eyed—we were all there to greet our new life, Cyrus Stephen.
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5 of us
Each day leading up to his birth, I was “more pregnant” than I had ever been. Having been absolutely certain (to the point of anxiety because nothing was ready!) he was going to arrive two weeks prior, each extra day I had to prepare felt like an absolute gift, even to those final days when I suspected I would forever be pregnant. On that final day, with beautiful support in place, I decided to do everything I could to get this baby moving—CrossFit, a long walk to Starbucks and back, topped off by an evening massage and dinner alone with a book and a cookie (completely spoiled)—all things that are so soul filling to me, things that I absolutely love. And all must have been right and ready—timing and schedules and body and baby all aligned, by prayer and belief for the perfect moment—because those cramps started, short and spread but consistent from day until night.
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Perhaps, I thought, it was a false alarm, that my body would calm and baby would relax. But perhaps my soul knew better. The call to a Dear Friend who long had a bag packed and ready was all it took to put everything into motion. She was on her way. Heads up call to the Midwife at the birth center (who likely thought she’d not hear from me again that night, based on her advice—take a bath, drink water and lay down). Doula on her way to graciously spend the night on the couch. Photographer warned. Cousin set to care lovingly for the big siblings to be.
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Then, I absolutely had to get some sleep. It was 11:00PM, and as relaxed as I was, I was exhausted, and not able to fathom the work of labor without some rest. So I laid. Using the iPhone contractions timer, 60-90 seconds on, a few minutes off. The cramps were longer and closer together now. Then, a moment later it seemed, it had been 105 minutes since I had pressed the timer button—I had slept. The knowledge of rest sent a jolt through me. 2AM. “Let’s get this thing moving,” was all I could think. So, I walked down and Doula aroused with a smile. The cramping had slowed but not ceased. Yoga poses, candles, essential oils, and lots of stairs. Calm, listening to my body, stepping through the surges.
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stairs for labor
My second or third trip to disappear to the restroom, and I came back with an update—“I think we should go.” 5:15AM. This sent a new burst of energy through my supporters. Dear Friend loading a freezer bag with sustenance, Doula calling Midwife, Photographer capturing the moments, I crouching and texting to let family know—we’re heading out.
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message out
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We parked blocks from the birth center (for the free parking!) and walked gingerly toward the door, open to us by the (absolute gift) Midwife. She welcomed us into the exam room and discovered I was indeed ready to go. 7cm. 5:45AM.
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checking in
I had my choice of rooms and had already predetermined the upper suite—a beautiful large tub under a large set of windows, a sitting room, and an airy light bedroom. What I hadn’t thought through completely was the tub. Everyone assumed I’d jump right in, warm water and buoyancy to ease the intensity of the surges that were now coming on strong. And by the time I reached the top of the stairs to the suite, I had decided—yes I’ll try it.
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For the next two hours, that’s where I sat, laid, and crouched. Moaned, breathed, sang, called off all touch, and added some incidental comical levity through my occasional extraverted musings (oh mercy! | who thought of this? | restart the playlist…from the beginning!). The experience, at once, both so glorious and so primal.
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hard work
The most beautiful part of it all was my Love. He was there. For months and months we had anticipated his absence at the birth of our third little one. What a shocking difference than our previous two experiences, where he was everything. Supporter, driver, logistics-manager, kid-wrangler, encourager, coach. Right there every moment. So, in the final weeks before our Due Date, we grieved that difference we were to face. And we prayed, so specifically, that the time and place would align to join us by video. Both God and Cyrus knew that perfect timing because that is exactly what happened. He was available and completely present the entire time. From the first moments in the tub through even hours after Cyrus was born. Graciously enduring through lost connections and poor audio. Always engaged, face expressive with interest and desire. As I sat down into the tub, we all gathered—Dear Friend, Doula, Midwife, my Love—and he prayed. And there, in that little room, there was Hope, Connection, and Determination. We were all there. We were ready.
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love present
Minutes rolled both quickly and painfully slowly into hours. My mind questioned my body—when would it happen, should I stand up and be dry—and each time my body responded with intense surges that sent me back into the water to breath, focus, exclaim, and then relax. There was one moment, not long before he came, that I think I really might have drifted to sleep in those 1-2 minutes between surges, and that rest gave me strength. To push through, to make it to the end.
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rest
Sometime after 7AM, conversation around me started to turn toward the kids. Were they on their way? Has anyone heard from sweet Cousin? And finally, they arrived. As the intensity of my experience heightened, I was certain they should not join us in that beautiful tub room, not yet. But, looking back, I think my body, this little brother, was waiting for them. 10 minutes after they arrived, a death-defying surge broke my water. The relief of both mental and physical pressure was immense. And I knew this was it. Surge. Head. Surge, scream. Body. Born into the water and lifted up onto my chest. 7:56AM.
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here.
smile
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