Mason, this story is about you and for you.

The day that we found out we were expecting you we were so very excited. I remember standing in the living room in the house on Bellaire Drive with your daddy and neither of us could stop smiling. I was holding a little pregnancy test still in disbelief but starting to feel the magic of knowing I was pregnant.

We went to a family wedding knowing that you were there. You were our little secret for just a bit. We gave each other private smiles all night long. It is such a nice memory.

While we were all taking a rest from dancing at the wedding Grammy leaned over and told me she got Rosser a new book. She said “I know it will happen one day, so I just bought it to go ahead and give it to you.”

The title of the book was I Am a Big Brother. I think Grammy knew before any of us that you were on your way.

We went for an early ultrasound because we had a few complications when I was first pregnant with your brother. We dropped Rosser off at Grammy and Pops and told them we were returning Christmas gifts. We were sneaky!

How relieved I was to hear your little heartbeat and see you for the first time. You were fine and I was fine, you were exactly where you were supposed to be. We were so ready to tell everyone that you were on your way and that our little family was growing!

You were given a due date of August 22, 2010. This due date is very near and dear to my heart.

You see, little Mason, it is your first cousin’s birthday. Mommy’s oldest brother’s (Uncle Ron) first son. My very first nephew. An amazing fellow with red hair just like mommy and Rosser. A beautiful and handsome man with such a caring soul and a fighting mentality.

A cool guy indeed.

Your cousin, Ron (or Pee Wee, as family and friends called him), passed away in a car accident a month before I looked at your pregnancy test.

Your due date meant so much more than a due date to mommy and daddy. It held special meaning and made us feel that you had an angel protecting you from the very beginning. I will never forget how I felt when they told me your due date.

We transferred care when you were about 12 weeks in my belly. The practice that was caring for us was just not a right fit for me or for you. They did not share the same feelings I did about birth. They made me feel like I was sick each time I went for a visit. I knew we were not sick… I was the healthiest I had ever been and was confidant in my birthing body.

We began being seen at the Women’s Birth and Wellness Center in Chapell Hill, NC. This is the only freestanding birth center in NC and I felt so lucky to be accepted as a patient. They believe that pregnancy is not an illness and that it is intended to be as natural as possible. We fit right in there.

When I was five months pregnant I took a week-long Doula training course. I took this course with all intentions of using everything I learned to achieve the kind of birth I knew all of my babies deserved. The course was eye-opening and I truly learned a lot. I met a lot of wonderful like-minded people as well.

I met a HypnoBirthing instructor. She told me about HypnoBirthing and we talked about our birth experiences.  I made a promise to myself that I would research HypnoBirthing and see if it was right for us.

The more and more I read and watched videos the more I knew that I wanted to use HypnoBirthing during your beautiful birth.

Photo by Court Kerr Photography

We studied and read and practiced. We were so excited to use such a calming approach to welcome you into our family.

We moved in June to a little home with a big yard. We moved so daddy could be closer to UNC (he was still in school) I was so happy because we were closer to the birth center.

Your big brother was born 3 weeks (at 37 weeks) before his expected date. I figured the same would happen with you. We skipped family events because I was having so many practice contractions that I was sure you would come any minute…

37 weeks passed… 38 weeks passed… 39 weeks passed… 40 weeks passed.

I started to get a bit concerned because the midwives really don’t want you to go past your 41st week. They would start suggesting induction. After 42 weeks they would require it. I knew an induction was not right for you or for me. I knew that the laundry list of interventions that I did not want normally stem form one “simple little” induction.

I tried everything to help you come naturally. I walked, I ate pineapple, I ate the hottest peppers I have ever tasted, I cuddled with your daddy, I bounced on an birth ball all over the house, I took tinctures, I tried so many other things. The surges kept coming (and sometimes soooooo strong) but they always fizzled off.

I finally decided to stop trying to make you come. I was so worried about being induced that I was forgetting that you knew what was right. You were safe and needed to stay.

So we went to the lake almost everyday. We swam and enjoyed the sun. We played with Rosser. We talked to you. I sat with you alone a bizzilion times in your bedroom talking to you and telling you that you could stay in my belly as long as you needed to, but it was safe out here too. I loved being with you like that. It was so peaceful.

Week 41 arrived

Grammy called to see if you were on your way. She called everyday while I was pregnant with you. Grammy and pop closed their antique shop for about 3 weeks straight because they were worried they would miss your birth!

We went about our day, daddy went to school and I cleaned up and played with Rosser. Daddy came home and I started cooking a pot roast for dinner. Daddy was studying on the porch. I finished cutting the veggies and daddy came in the house to taste the roast. I didn’t have any flour so I drove to the corner store to get some. I talked to the man there for about 30 minutes about me being 41 weeks that day and how I had given up on “making” you come. He told me they had 5 children each of them going over 40 weeks. This made me happy!

I drove home and walked into the kitchen.

Than it happened. 5:00 pm August 29th (41 weeks pregnant)

The practice surges again, but these were different. I felt breathless. I called your daddy in. I started to have to lean on him through the surges. They were coming quickly.

I was still not convinced this was the “real thing”. You my little stinker, had fooled me time and time again… but not this time, you wouldn’t fool me! I kept on cooking, just knowing that they would stop.

We called Grammy and Pop and invited them over for dinner. I remember telling Grammy “If I am not in labor than at least I can feed you guys”.

Daddy called our wonderful midwife, Jewell. She told me to relax and take a shower.

I got in the shower and it hit me like a wave.

THIS IS IT!!!!!!

I stayed in the shower for a bit letting the water run over my belly. I thought about you a lot and told you how happy I was that we would hold each other soon.

I got dressed and got a few things ready.

I laid down and tried to relax, but I couldn’t. I felt this impending doom that we were going to have to travel to the birth center. I didn’t want to leave the house.

I got up and swayed with each surge. I repeated over and over “I can do this, I am made to do this”.

Daddy checked on me and stayed with me for a while. He was still trying to handle the half-cooked dinner and get Rosser ready for Pop to keep him.

Grammy and Pop got there. Grammy came into mommy and daddy’s room and rubbed my back or a while. I don’t remember being in much pain, just feeling uncomfortable and more worried about the 20 minute drive. I did not want to be in a car!

Your brothers labor and birth was very long, about 30 hours. I was anticipating something a bit shorter but still pretty long with your birth. We did not call anybody or tell anybody that we were going to have you soon. We truly thought we would have time once we got to the birth center and  would call everyone once we knew how your birth was progressing.

We got in the car, Grammy following us, and drove to the birth center. I think I had about 6 surges in the car. They were very manageable. We had to drive thru the middle of campus to get there and I remember looking at all the college students and thinking that they have no idea a woman is in labor right next to them, it made me laugh.

We got to the birth center and we were met by Jewell and the nurse. We went into the room and Jewell asked me if I wanted to be checked to see how far dilated I was. I did want to, so she checked. I was 5 cm. This was a discouraging number for me because it took 12 hours to birth your brother after 5 cm.

I took a bit of time to process and reminded myself that each birth was different.

Your daddy and I stood in the middle of the birth room. He held me and I leaned on him. He gently whispered to me to relax. He could feel whenever I started to tense up. He knew that the more tense I was the more likely pain would be present. He held me and rocked with me. He told me what a great job I was doing. He was perfect in that moment.

I look back on it now and I think how romantic it kind of was. The love of my life slow dancing with me and whispering sweet words and reassurances into my ear. Thank you, Mason, for that moment I had with your daddy. I am blessed in so many ways.

Jewell asked if I wanted to get into the tub and soak for a while. I think she could tell that we were both getting a bit tired. She lit some candles and got the water perfect. I slipped in and closed my eyes.

I concentrated on my breathing.

I concentrated on relaxation.

I concentrated on you, my little Mason.

That moment in the tub, with the candles illuminating the room, is one of my favorite moments in all of my memory.

I was covered by a blanket of calmness and soaked in the natural numbness that my mind placed over my entire body. I wanted to stay like that forever.

The surges came and went. I rolled my head with each one and made a small groaning noise as they passed through my body and gently pushed you down. I fell asleep between each surge and gently awoke when another one rolled through. I stayed like this for about an hour.

9:00 pm

Jewell checked me again and told me you were almost ready. Daddy ran to get the phone to call Nana. We had planned on her being there with us, but had no idea you would come so quickly!

knowing I would hold you soon gave me a huge energy rush. I came out of my relaxation a bit and started to feel the surges a bit more. Pressure started growing and I knew it wouldn’t be long.

She asked me if I wanted to get out of the tub. I didn’t, I wanted to stay right where I was. It was perfect.

Jewell must have noticed that I was breathing differently because she said “If you feel the urge to bear down, do it. Don’t fight your body”

I started to bear down just a bit and could feel you moving down. Being in the water seemed to help with a very smooth birth for you. I think I did just  a few little pushes and there you were. I do remember making a bit of noise, using my primal instincts to help my body. I don’t remember feeling any pain during this moment. Just a huge rush of energy and excitement.

I reached for you and held you close to my chest.

You were perfectly beautiful.

The first thing I said when I held you was:

“I did it”

I held you and looked at you and loved you and counted everything and relaxed.

You and I stayed so still in that tub. Looking at one another in awe and amazement. I had been waiting to meet you for so long my precious baby.

I remember Grammy asking if I was ok because I was so quiet.

I was perfect, I was just in awe of you, Mason. I was in awe of your magical birth. I was in awe of how powerful my mind was. I was in awe of your daddy. I was in awe of every single thing that had just happened.

I looked at you some more and this huge emotion rolled over me. You were so tiny and fragile, but you looked at me with these all-knowing eyes. I felt like you reached into my soul and knew everything about me. I felt that you knew more about life than I did. I felt that you had such an old soul from the moment our eyes met. I felt so much in that moment. Mason, I can not ever accurately describe to you how your little body in my arms and your lovely beautiful eyes made me feel.

I felt that you, me and daddy had done something spectacular together.

I got out of the tub and daddy held you. I got a shower and got dressed. Grammy loved on you and rocked you. We all ate a bit of late dinner and talked about your birth.

Grammy tucked us all in the big bed and  left to go help Pop at our house.

Daddy studied in the bed and I nursed you right a long beside of him. We all napped a bit. It was hard for me to sleep. I just wanted to look at you and smell you. You were not taken away from us for even a minute. A hearing test was asministerd while you nursed. You received no vaccinations or medications. Jewell and the nurse only came into check on us, look at you and recount your beautiful birth with us. The amazing feeling that they truly cared for our family as a whole was so comforting. Nothing came between our bonding time.

At around 6:00 am August 30, you were only about 9 hours old. We said goodbye to Jewell and the nurse and drove home where Grammy and Pop were waiting for you. Grammy had put a big beautiful bow on the mailbox. I loved driving up and seeing that.

Rosser was still asleep and he was a bit surprised when he woke up to find a baby. He was skeptical of you at first, but we knew he would warm up soon. He didn’t like it when you cried, he often cried right along with you.

We spent the day loving on you and cuddling. Nursing was priority and  I knew it would be like that for some time. I loved that I was the only one that could feed you.

Grammy stayed with us for about a week. She helped so much with Rosser and let me get some much needed naps and good food.

Nana, Papa and Meme came to our house to see you the day after you were born. I loved that they met you in your home. We were all comfortable and relaxed. Everyone stayed and visited for a while. It just felt right.

Your birth taught me so many things. It taught me the power of my mind. It toaght me the power of my body. It tought me that babies come when you were ready.

Since experiencing your amazing birth I have started trusting my mind and body so much more. I know the power that my mind holds and that true happiness and relaxation come from within.

Your beautiful name, Mason Gray Oldham was graciously lended by your Pop, your uncle and your first cousin. Ronald Gray Horner the first, second and third. I am so glad that you will forever have a connection with these amazing men.

I am now a Certified HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator. I have the opportunity to help other families experience magical and transforming births just like yours. I owe this all to you, Mason. Thank you for all that your old soul has already taught me. I promise as your mommy to continue learning and growing with you.

We love you and are so thankful for your marvelous life.

Love Mommy and Daddy.

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