By Renee M., Mother ~ (Adapted from Renee’s Instagram account @reneemorrison)
…our birth story…@_matthew.morrison_ & I were playing around & unpacking our stroller and car seat for the first time. Then we proceeded with our weekly massage that induced my labor! My @_r.e.v.e.l.a.t.i.o.n_ was ready, to say the least. For a few weeks he had been giving Mama signs that he was coming, but I was trying my hardest to convince him that the womb is where he wanted to be for several reasons, but 2 important ones being PAPA was in CHINA! and Mama really, really, really loved being pregnant!! However, 9 days early, this little angel gifted us with his presence!
Massage started at 7pm, slight crampy rushes (my preferred name for contractions) began around 8pm. Mama took a bath while Papa was on the table to distract myself & possibly stop the rushes. It did, kind of.. then Papa helped me out of the tub & we began getting ready for bed. At midnight the rushes were pretty steady, all between 2 1/2-8 minutes apart & I had the shakes.. we were confused since the birth center said to contact them at about 10 minutes apart.. we skipped that completely.. I was in denial cuz I was told the POWER of the rushes had to be present & to me it just didn’t seem like that was happening quite yet.. I know I have a high pain tolerance but I’ve also experienced intense cramps my entire life so I was just waiting for the power I had imagined to be labor.. At 1am we contacted our Midwife & she said I was definitely in early labor, to have a glass of wine & try to rest then to call her in the morning cuz it was about to be a journey.. Mama cried cuz Papa was leaving for NYC for a show that morning & I knew so much went into this concert & all the people who were counting on him we didn’t want to let down. But we are powerless to the timing of delivery in the end.. 2am we call Auntie & labor photographer who timed my contractions with me over the phone cuz I was pretty much still in denial that it was going to happen anytime soon. 3 contractions all at 5 minutes apart! She hung up & was on her way from Fresno, a 3 1/2 hour drive to LA..
I told Papa to go to sleep & I was gonna try to “rest”. Even though they weren’t what I had imagined in my mind, they were still the most painful thing I’d ever experienced! I allowed my body to surrender to the waves of each rush & moaning was how my wonderful vessel wanted to respond.. So, to let Papa rest, I got back in the tub, put a photo of my mommy and me as a baby next to me, lit some candles and labored for who knows how long in a quiet, meditative glow. I loved the bath. My mother used to make me a bath when I had extreme menstrual cramps, so those moments I felt her so close cheering me on.. I suddenly got really hot & with every movement at this point another rush would begin. I held on to the wall as I walked to the toilet to relieve myself. Suddenly I noticed my mucous plug… of course I had to grab my phone to take a photo of it! At that point I knew it was all happening & had to push aside the denial. I laid back down in bed next to my ever so deeply sleeping husband. I had a few rushes & was able to doze off in between. Then 1 rush came that made a sound come out of me that woke M! He started tickling me, cuz I LOVE to be tickled.. & I said “it’s ok baby, you don’t have to do that right now”… ???? I NEVER deny tickles.. then another rush came & my moan started elevating to epic proportions & suddenly I felt my child shoot down my birth canal! I said “wait… woooah baby noooo no no no what’s happening..” and I felt this insane, guttural and primal urge to push.. I put my hand on my vagina and felt my Revel’s HEAD!!!!! I started yelling “he’s coming! I feel his head!”
M later told me he thought I was being dramatic cuz it all happened so fast and like I said we were BOTH confused by the experience.. HA! so it is around 5am & he proceeds to call the birth center & I think at that moment the night operator took a bathroom break cuz NO ONE WAS ANSWERING! I move to the toilet cuz I feel like I’m going to explode all over our bed & that was probably not the right move because gravity started to step in. The sounds are indescribable.. feeling the innate power & will of your body to push this child out & all of my being & might to keep him inside is extraordinarily out of this world! I wish I had those sounds recorded. But I will honestly never forget them. M at one point hung up the phone after his stepmom, who is also a midwife, heard me & and said go now! He looked at me & said “we have to go to the hospital”.. I closed my eyes & went inside myself because I knew that was not the path for me. He made 1 more phone call to the birth center & Voila! A voice on the other end. She asked to hear my sounds & immediately said “connecting now!!” My midwife at Del Mar Birth Center was everything I needed at that moment. The peaceful & tender sound of her voice guiding my moans, telling me to pant cuz that would help me hold him in. She said that I will be having this baby at home & she was on her way but first she had to stop at the birth center to grab a few things. M told her that there was no way I would make it. Just then he looked at me & said “can you make it to the car?” I said “yes! I got this!” I finished another rush & then we both got up- M helped dress me, grabbed our freshly packed @sherpapa_life gear bags, & a pillow for me to labor in the back seat of the car & we headed out the door…
…I’m wondering now if I really grasped what was happening in those moments of walking carefully down those stairs as my hand was on the head of my child holding him inside of me… to sit & ponder on that significance now is mind boggling. However, I did have the wits about me to yell out for my husband to “grab the cameras!!” My mother filmed one of her births, also unmedicated.. it was the birth of my baby brother Brian, who is no longer physically with us, & it is one of my priceless possessions. So, going into this pregnancy, I knew I would want to record my child’s birth to look back on throughout the years. To see it through another perspective. As I listen back to the videos even now I cry as I can now empathize with the woman making those sounds…
ok so, where was I…? M & I are heading out the door… I am completely focused as I climb into the back seat & lay on my side as M gets behind the wheel & takes off. The following actions are like those from a movie scene. 100 MPH down 134 to the 210 FWY toward Pasadena. M is giving me a play by play as he drives & I am holding on to the back of his seat. As I mentioned before, it is a little after 5am at this point. The roads are clear & quite lovely at this time of day. The drive we had taken so many times before so it’s like a physical memory as my husband calls out the red light he is about to run & the train we are about to stop for… “really!? A train right now!?” He says… it passes & we proceed on our journey to Del Mar Birth Center, that on a normal day is about a 35 minute drive. Well, M got us there in 12 minutes! Ha! It is now 5:30am & my incredible midwife opens the door just as we parked & already has her hands up, gloves on, as if she’s ready to catch this baby the moment the door opens. I refuse to have my baby in the car, so as I finish my rush she says “it’s now or never. Can you make it inside?” I get up & they help me through the back door of the birth center, through the hallways I once stood only imaging this moment, & into the room we chose of the 3 birthing rooms there.
I laid down on the bed, ripped my Thinx underwear & slippers off & instantly felt this flood of relief & safety. I no longer had to fight against the natural urges of my body. I could lean into them.. yeah.. right.. the first 2 rushes were familiar at this point & I got thru them well as I sat back & allowed my vessel to do all the work. My midwife was talking about how special it was that Revel was still in caul, meaning my amniotic sac was still in tact. We decided to let it be & if it broke it would do so on its own. Before the next rush came, my midwife encouraged me to go ahead & push into it. That was the most intimidating statement I had ever heard in my life! I thought REALLY!? Do I have to!??? ???? I’m pretty sure my body would’ve gotten it done, but I acquiesced. As I pushed, something else took over & the power behind it was massive! My little Revel’s head was crowning & my midwife told me to slow my push & breathe. We had to stretch my perineum which was something I had prepared mentally for. The feeling of it on the other hand was insane! The next 2 rushes came & went without the urge to push. I found that very interesting because in hospitals when women are given epidurals they are told by their OB when to push as the machine is detecting another contraction. But what if your body doesn’t want to push & you’re wasting precious energy?? I found those few minutes very helpful as I gained more strength & confidence to push on.
M was with me every step of the way, kissing my forehead, telling me how proud he was… every bit of encouragement built me up tremendously.. I was DOING IT!! I set my mind on something, fully & wholeheartedly & it was all coming to fruition. I refused to live in fear, to let the idea of the pain sway me from having the kind of Birth I truly wanted. I announced my rush as I felt the wave growing, “here it comes..” this time with the power of the rush & my pushing, my water broke! It exploded actually, all over the place. This actually made things more intense for me as I tried to slow his head as it came even farther down, no longer having the water as a padding. Not sure how long it was before the next one came, the one that changed my life forever.. as I’m pushing it felt as if I were delivering the SUN! There’s so much force, pressure, fire, stretch… LIFE… something started to grow inside of me & the word “fuuuuuuuckkkkkk!” spilled out. I look down & see my baby boys head! It’s so tiny & FULL of dark hair!!!
I know next I’m supposed to pant & slow the descent yet again, but before I could think the next thought, Revel torpedoes out of me & jumps right over Papas hands who was supposed to catch him & into the hands of our lovely midwife.. All these next seconds were the fullest & most gratifying seconds of our lives… I was in a bit of shock as my SON is placed on my belly. The words “oh my God” & “is this real?” were all I could say.. We did it! M & I had successfully created the most perfect human. Healthy, happy, & already so aware. An old soul with so much to teach us.
Revel James Makai Morrison.. YOU are PERFECT my SON. Our lives revolve around you from this moment forward. You have gifted us with a greater life than either of us could’ve ever imagined. Each breath is so full. So deep. Such peace. My reason is YOU. Thank you for giving me the greatest experience of my life… our pregnancy! The wisdom, comfort & tranquility you provided me was glorious & I will hold onto it till my last breath. You are the best teammate, my boy & I am forever grateful. Forever in awe of you my moon, my Revel.
To my midwife, Hayley, you were everything I needed, the cherry on top, to complete my journey of pregnancy & welcome me into motherhood. Your work along with everyone else @delmarbirthcenter is so important in our time & I thank you from the absolute depths of me! We need more people like you doing what you do! I will continue to be your champion & look forward to doing this AGAIN!!! Until next time world… #reveljames #birthstory
Much Love & Aloha, Renee M Morrison