Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Out-of-hospital Birth Center Birth from a Father’s Perspective

I am including this birth although it is not local but it does have a local connection. I met Jessica and Clayton when they participated in one of my childbirth class series. Jessica gave birth to their first daughter at French Hospital. Everything went very smoothly and they felt very good about their experience and their care by their midwives and the nursing staff. Then they moved away.

On Monday, September 20, 2010 Jessica gave birth to their second daughter. Feeling empowered by their first experience they chose an out-of-hospital birth center for this birth and planned a water birth. I was excited to hear about their story and wanted to share it because our community is about to have our own out-of-hospital birth center complete with birth tubs. Besides Clayton was always such a sweet, enthusiastic, supportive dad during classes and Jessica was such a great birther I couldn't resist including them in my birth story project.

The birth of Shiloh Rose...

It was Saturday, September 11th and I was excited for a number of reasons. One reason was that the Ocean Beach Jazz fest was happening all day just a couple miles from my home. The other reason was that I had a sneaking suspicion that my 2nd daughter would be born that day. That morning as I was eating breakfast with my buddy Danny, I noticed that Jessica was running around in a flurry cleaning everything. Now Jessica keeps a tidy home but her efforts that morning were extreme. I looked at Danny and said “I think Jessica is going to have our baby today... she seems to instinctively be preparing for it.” At that time there were no major contractions to speak of so I went down the street to catch some first rate live Jazz.

The music was great, over 8 stages of sounds to choose from! At about 2:30, half way through Charlie Hunter, I received a text from Jessica that said “My Water Broke!” I immediately returned home to my dear wife who was excited to finally be in labor 9 days after our "due date". I asked Jessica if she had called the midwife, but she was waiting until she knew for sure she was in labor. After some convincing on my part she eventually made the call. Our midwife Brooke agreed to meet us at the birth center whenever we felt ready.

Now Jessica wanted to labor in the comfort of her own home as long as possible before heading to the birth center. I was in support of that, however about a week prior, in my prayer time I felt the spirit speak to me that when labor began, the baby would come quickly. I spent the next couple of hours preparing our things and loading them in the car. We had packed pajamas, swim trunks for the water birth we had planned, music, video camera, all sorts of clothes for mama and baby. The additional car seat was installed and family members were contacted.

During those couple hours, I could see the contractions becoming stronger. She began getting very quiet and still when they would hit. At this point I suggested that it was time to go. She said that she wanted to eat a quesadilla first... I did too. Following our pre-game meal we left Kairah with Aunt Robin and hopped in the car to meet Brooke at the birth center. We arrived at 5:15 pm. The birth center was so peaceful at that time of day. It was Saturday evening and there were no people in the waiting room and no one else there giving birth. We talked a bit with Brooke and had a look around to select which room Jessica wanted. By now it was about 5:30. Jessica had been having contractions throughout our conversation but was still very much engaged with us. Then Brooke asked to check Jessica’s progress. To all of our surprise she said that Jessica was dilated to 10cm which meant she was ready to push the baby out!

It was Jessica’s desire to have a water birth so Brooke turned on the faucet to fill the tub. I began setting up the video camera as well as preparing some music. During that time I watched Jessica have an intense contraction while laying on her side in bed. It was then that she said “I’m ready to hop in the tub now”. After a couple minutes I went in to check on Jessica who was kneeling ninja style in the tub. The water was about up to her hips in this position. I took a minute to put my hand on her shoulder to comfort her. When I looked down I was shocked to see that the head of our baby was crowning! I asked Jessica if that was the baby’s head and she said yes! Brooke responded in astonishment, "The Baby is coming out?" Jessica nodded yes. The next thirty seconds was a whirlwind. Brooke turned off the water, I moved the video camera, and Jessica pushed one more time. I adjusted the camera just in time to capture Jessica reaching down into the water to deliver her own baby. It all happened so fast! Jessica reclined into the tub without even breaking a sweat saying “Hi little one, That was fast!” Shiloh Rose Connolly was Born at 5:42 pm. I couldn’t stop laughing in amazement. There was no build up, no drama, no “you can do it Jessica”. We were literally there less than a half hour and Jessica delivered so fast no one but her and the baby were ready! I then got to climb in the tub and meet my new daughter. She was so beautiful. She was so captivating. We hung out in the tub for about 15 minutes and then decided it would be a good time to cut the cord. I had the honor of that task. After I cut the cord, Shiloh nursed for the first time... effortlessly. After getting out of the tub, Jessica, Shiloh and I were left alone to spend time together. It was all so amazing! I was so proud of my girls. We couldn’t have asked for a better situation. We were laying together in a queen size bed in the comforts of a room that could have easily qualified for a bed and breakfast suite under different circumstances. There was no commotion, no interruption, no sick people across the hall. It was only us, with Brooke and her assistant in the other room if we needed them.

A couple hours later, we let the word out to all our friends and family. This was the first time we formally announced her name! The first to arrive were Robin and Kairah! It was so awesome to introduce Kairah to Shiloh. Kai had been preparing for months anticipating her new role as a big sister and finally got to hold Shiloh for the first time. Soon after, the Pearsons arrived bearing gifts of birthday cake, champagne and best of all... Sushi! My family also began to file in from all corners of the state. My mom traveled from the Central Coast, Heather came from LA and my Dad and his family drove from Lake Arrowhead to be there. It was such a glorious time of celebration. We all took turns for a personal photo shoot with Shiloh as well as taking turns watching the ever so short birth video. The day ended at about 10:30pm with us loading Shiloh into the car and bringing her home for the first time to begin her new life as a Connolly. The Good Lord was so faithful in answering our prayers! All of our expectations were exceeded, and most importantly we have a new member of the family that we are so excited to do life with!

Welcome Shiloh Rose Connolly! I promise to be a good Daddy!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Shannon wrote via facebook:
    "Wow that was truly amazing and so inspiring! Thank you for sharing!"

  3. Colleen wrote via facebook:

  4. SO happy for Jessica, Clayton and Shiloh..and Kai! What a beautiful family with an amazing story to share!