We welcome Alex Santana as our guest blogger this week. Walk with him through his journey of supporting his wife through her natural birth at the SCV Birth Center. Grab your tissues and enjoy.
“I’d love to share a brief recap of what turned out to be the most beautiful experience of my young life. And while you’re reading, please remember there were four other people in the room to verify my story…
After a very long day on Friday, Madi and I had settled in to watch some tv before bed. Around 11:30p, Madi said she was having some light cramps and wanted to lie down. I said I’d join her and rub her back until she fell asleep, planning to pass out right alongside her. Once settled and cozy, Madi started breathing heavier than normal and adjusting her position. We spent the next 20 minutes working through these short and foreshadowing birth waves before calling one of our unbelievable midwives, Renee.
We told her that Madi’s water had officially broken and she calmly asked that we begin timing the birth waves and start getting ready to hop in the car if they were 4 minutes apart for an hour. Well, as soon as I clicked the stopwatch, we were PRECISELY 4 minutes apart and Madi was still only moaning softly through deep breaths. Over the next hour, I took the time during birth waves to follow my beautiful wife between bath and bedroom giving back rubs. While Madi rested, I knew I had 3 minutes to get as much ready as possible before returning in time for back rubs and loving affirmations. These are what I now like to call, “Dadtractions.”
For any expectant Father, this is the process of collecting everything you and your wife might need for the next 7 years of labor. Just imagine you’re packing for a flight that leaves in a half hour but you’re just getting out of the shower… I think everyone’s been there.
Looking back, I was obviously preparing myself for the “real” labor to kick in, but I can say with absolute confidence that my beautiful wife had hypnotized me. I was unknowingly mimicking Madi’s peaceful state of mind and making every single one of my choices deliberate and consistent. Her strength gave me the confidence I needed to be the rock every Father should be during this experience.
Maybe that’s why I had no issue stopping at 7-11 to pick up snacks and gleefully chat with the jaded cashier about my amazing wife sitting alone in the car (sorry honey, I get excited sometimes).
We arrived to the SCV Birth Center around 3:45am and were met by our all-star team of Renee, Sara, and our birth photographer Becca. Within minutes, Madi was settled and undressing for the tub.
Before cannonballing into the warm water, our licensed midwife did a quick check of Madi and told me that not only was everything perfect, but she was ready to rock & roll. I think we were all a little shocked. Madi’s breathing and body language had still remained below a strong breath. Even more impressive, it calmed further once entering the therapeutic warmth of our waterbirth tub.
This next part is for any man reading:
I NEVER left my beautiful wife’s side. I silenced my mind, put my emotions to bed, and simply made my whole self available. I needed to be completely in tune with my wife’s breathing, movement, and intentions. Her body became my body, her breath my breath, her comfort my full responsibility. When she needed my voice, my voice was there.
When she needed silence, I disappeared, but I was always completely returned before she could even think of asking. If there is one piece of advice I can give to any expectant Father, it is learning the art of invisibility without moving. Your energy has to be flexible, moldable, and perpetually shaped by Mom’s needs. I’m not kidding, your temperature needs to fluctuate seamlessly with the room.
Within moments of sliding into our groove, I was looking at my son’s hair. Madi had begun giving birth without a single prompt or redirection. This was truly her own experience on her own terms; nothing was forced, like Madi was weaving the moment into a winter quilt. All of her positions felt snug and connected. The moment her body touched mine, we became Legos in love, clicking into place and building a foundation for the birth of our son. It was the most in tune I’ve ever felt with another human being. More than any passion you will carry while making love, more than any vow you will proclaim at the altar.
At this point, Madi had naturally positioned herself with knees up and open. For every push, we saw more of Maverick’s little head and then watched him slowly return to his first little home. My unbelievable wife was giving birth and we could’ve been at the front desk in a library. You could hear the water shuffle and the Midwives smiling. It was magic.
For the rest of my life, I will never forget what can only be described as, “the calm before a light drizzle.” Madi seemed to follow the pressure of my slow back rub and began breathing in unison. She took a deep, steady breath in through her nose and let out a strong tone of pure tranquility… There was my son’s head, gently bobbing underwater.
I looked up to tell my wife but she already knew, of course she already knew. With the gentle grace of a resting heart, Madi caught my eyes and smiled. She was the purest vision of contentment, a sweeping portrait of joy… My angel.
In that brief but everlasting glance, I saw the cosmos; stars gliding across a blanket of space, infinite possibility and wonder on the crest of her lips, a mirrored reflection of my greatest accomplishment as a man. I could’ve stayed there forever, but my family was waiting…
Madi broke my trance with a comically casual request, as if she was asking me to take out the recycling: “Is it ok if I take a little break?”
The corners of my mouth touched the back of my ears with an immeasurable smile.
“Of course you can, my love.”
But before I could take a deep breath of my own, the woman of my dreams was bearing my son. Our remarkable midwife Sara (also licensed) guided my hands underneath the warm water and I felt the soft shoulders of precious life. I lifted my palms with the confidence of a king and handed my prince to our queen. Everything ~ the power of contact, the connection of spirit, the mating of souls ~ had just begun…
On Saturday morning, at 5:03am, I experienced the very essence of family, the unbreakable bond of life, and the simple perfection of love. I held, in my hands, the literal birth of my purpose.
Thank you Renee, Sara and everyone at SCV Birth Center.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from Alex as much as we did. Make sure to check back weekly, for more incredible natural birth stories and articles.