Birth story: Parker Cromwell (part 2)

cont’d from Part 1

We settled into bed around midnight, but I wasn’t ready or able to sleep.  After all my apprehensions, I was still just a little nervous but finally looking forward to meeting this baby.  Contractions continued to build in intensity and frequency and I watched the clock, timing them at 8 minutes apart, then 7.   At about 2:30 AM with contractions at 5-6 minutes apart, I turned the laptop back on to update the blog and Perry woke up.

He began setting up the birth pool even though I didn’t plan to get in right away.  We knew that it would take a while to fill with warm enough water, so he rushed back and forth, heating water in pots and pans on the stovetop while the water heater recovered.

Becca also woke up about this time to let us know that she was sick.  After throwing up once, she kept me company while Perry continued to prepare, checking in often.  Becca was excited and a bit of a chatterbox but she understood the need to keep quiet during contractions so I didn’t mind her company.

I soon found I needed to focus more on relaxing during contractions, so Perry sent Becca back to bed.  She was replaced by Kaitlyn, who confessed to lying awake in bed and using her iPod to check our blog for updates on my labor.  Kaitlyn helped Perry while I wandered between the bedroom, the bathroom and the deck.

By the time the pool was ready, so was I.  It was after 4 AM now and though I was holding up well, things were getting intense.  I was planning to get in and out of the pool and move around regularly, but was ready for some relief by means of “nature’s epidural,” as laboring in warm water is often referred to.

Contractions stayed steady at 4-5 minutes apart, but the water did its job and the pain stayed manageable.  I noticed that my back hurt, though not severely.  I was surprised to feel most of the pain in my cervix rather than all over my abdomen.  I don’t remember having such sharp and localized pain with past labors but thought maybe it was better than having the pain spread out.

Perry wondered aloud whether it was time to call the midwife, but I assured him that we probably had plenty of time.  I was plagued by fear that she would arrive and find me at 5 cm.  I don’t like an audience, and wanted to be sure things were well underway before she arrived and called in the assistant midwife and the midwife-in-training.

I think he waited until about 5 AM, then called. When Jennifer heard that contractions were 4-5 minutes apart, she agreed that it was time to head out.

About 5:15, I got out to use the bathroom.  I wasn’t surprised when 2 long and painful contractions came nearly back-to-back.  I headed back out to the pool again and noticed that my face in the bathroom mirror was very pale.  Another strong contraction hit me as I reached the doorway.

Instead of trying to climb into the pool in the middle of a contraction, I staggered across the deck and leaned against the rail for support.  Perry saw what was happening and came to help support me.

I felt myself getting woozy and sank to my knees.

Then I was soaring over verdant hills in bright sunlight.  All was peaceful and quiet except the rushing of the wind in my ears.

Gradually, I became aware that something was wrong.  Wasn’t I supposed to be somewhere?  Was I in the middle of doing something else?  Something important?

The sunlight around me faded, and everything was dark.  I heard Perry yelling into my ear, or so it seemed.  He told me later he was praying, afraid that I was dying or had already died.  I opened my eyes and remembered where I was and what I was supposed to be doing.  The peaceful feeling lingered, fading slowly.  I felt refreshed by my little break.

“I’m fine,” I murmured.  “I was dreaming.”  He was relieved, but not at all refreshed by my little break.  By our reckoning, I was out for about 45-60 seconds.

While I was out, he had yelled to Kaitlyn to find his phone.  She scrambled around, found it, and dialed the midwife.  As Perry prayed aloud, Kaitlyn told Jennifer I had fainted.   Then she brought him the phone and he spoke to Jennifer, who was already on the road and would be here asap.  She assured him I was probably fine and it was likely due to a combination of low blood pressure and low blood sugar, both known issues for me.

They were still on the phone when I finally came to, and since we didn’t have any orange juice Jennifer told Perry to feed me bites of sherbet between contractions to boost my blood sugar.

Contractions came again, easing me back into the real world.  The first 3 or 4 were still close together but either milder than before or I was still slightly sedated by having passed out.  They quickly built to their former intensity and I stayed where I was on the deck, leaning against Perry for support.

He called the midwife once more to let her know I was ok but things were happening quickly.  She was still at least 10 minutes away.  She told him not to let me back in the pool right away just in case I fainted again.  She needn’t have worried.  I wasn’t going anywhere.

Kaitlyn was rushing around inside the house, preparing our bed in case I ended up delivering in there.  Presumably, this was the back up plan, but I wasn’t moving.  I sat on the deck, right where I had landed, bracing myself between the rail and my husband’s body.  Contractions came one after another, with no break between.

I warned Perry that I was feeling “pushy” and he asked if I could wait, then called my mom to let her know that she’d better get here quickly if she wanted to witness the birth.

I had one or two more contractions.  “Are you pushing?!” Perry wanted to know, still shaken.  He sounded like he’d caught a child being naughty, and I felt like one.  “Just a little,” I admitted.  Under other circumstances, I would have found it hard not to laugh.  I think I did chuckle just a little.

Headlights came up the driveway and Perry suddenly looked relieved: “Here she comes.  The midwife is here.”  He sent Kaitlyn to help her carry up her equipment.  I felt the baby descending and shifted to all fours.  There was a loud pop as my water broke.  I knew it was too soon for the midwife to be here but had other things on my mind.

“Here it comes!” I told him, as footsteps topped the stairs.

I think there was half a moment of stunned silence, and then: “The baby?  The baby!!!”  I was briefly afraid that Kaitlyn would have to catch while Perry supported me, but he didn’t hesitate now.  He scrambled around to the business end of the affair and assumed the catcher’s position with hardly a second to spare.  I was oblivious as my mom and Kaitlyn joined us.

For the first time ever, there was no distinct “ring of fire.”  I felt the head and then the rest of the baby’s body emerge all in one quick push.  It was still dark and we were far from the windows and lights, so Perry was catching blind.

The rest happened just as quickly.  At first, Perry thought that the baby slid through his hands in a smooth curving motion and landed face up on the surface under my belly.  Having reviewed the event in his mind, he thinks what happened was that he caught the baby then tried to pass him into my hands, but the cord was around the baby’s neck and/or body.  There wasn’t enough slack so he quickly set the baby down to unwind things, letting his bottom hit the deck with a thump and then easing his head down.

Either way, the baby was on the surface directly below my belly, just as surprised as the rest of us.

Then he yelled.  Somebody – Mom? – brought a towel to wrap the baby, who was already crying lustily.  She called for a suctioning device and checked to be sure his airways were clear.

{Parker and Grandma Brown}

It was 5:50 AM, just 35 minutes since I had climbed out of the pool.

Perry announced that it was a boy (“Really?” I asked him, wondering when he had found time to check.  “A boy?  Really?“), and we all relaxed, laughing over how quickly everything happened.

Jennifer arrived about 5 minutes later, followed a few minutes later by April, the trainee.  The second midwife was called off since she wasn’t needed at this point.

After that, things proceeded more normally.   I peeked under the towel when Perry wasn’t looking, still disbelieving.  Yup, it was a boy.  He was breathing well, nicely pink and very angry.  The adults discussed the baby’s position and landing, and decided that he must have been delivered sunny side up to have landed the way he did.  He was unscathed by his ordeal except for the ridge across the top of his skull indicating that he was, indeed, born posterior.  I was doubly thankful for the relatively short labor and swift delivery.

{angry little man}

Perry, on the other hand, has vowed to call the in the midwife much sooner in the future.  He is also ready to institute a new rule that I’m not allowed to leave the pool for any reason until the midwife arrives.  He didn’t mind my having jumped the gun once in 9 deliveries, but now we’re at 20%.  That’s a little worse, and he wants to play it safe.  I can’t say I blame him.

{Deanna takes a picture of Dad taking a picture of Grandma taking a picture. Note my jelly belly at 1 hour post-partum.}

{with sister Rachael}

{with sister Kaitlyn}

{with uncle William}

{with sister Lydia}


  1. Dana Adams says:

    Congratulations on your new little one! I just checked your blog wondering when ‘he’ had arrived! Youre story made me giggle! Funny how we ‘dont move’ when we are very close! I had one of our babies in the bathroom! I think the funniest part of your story was the reproving ‘are you pushing?’ I have heard that many times!!!
    Blessings to you and yours!

  2. A beautiful birth story Kim! Thank you for sharing 🙂 I just finally uploaded my birth pictures to our flickr account and I will be writing up my newest birth story soon.

    It’s always amazing to me to read the account from the mother’s perspective. Birth is such a personal and individual experience. So thankful to hear that Parker’s birth went well. I can totally relate to those apprehensive feelings pre-labor, and then after it’s said and done thinking, why was I thinking that God would just leave me alone in the valley?! His promises ARE yes and amen! Some of us, it takes 6 or 10 births to figure that out 😉 and then we forget the next time around don’t we?! Blessings to you all! Enjoy that new little guy!

    • Jenni,
      I can’t wait to read your birth story. I can never hear enough of them! Be sure to come back and leave a link in case my mommy-brain forgets to check on you. 🙂

  3. I have been reading your blog for about a year now, and so many times I have wanted to leave a comment. I just want to thank you for your time that you spend leaving your thoughts for all to read. So many times the Lord has used you to encourage my heart. Parker’s birth story really touched me at a time when I needed it most. I am currently in the early weeks of carrying baby #9, no one knows yet, except my husband- of course- my mind has been so full of fretting thoughts like: how, Lord can I do this? or: even MORE laundry…..after reading your story tonight I just was brought back to the BLESSINGS in it all. How thankful I am that the Lord has once again blessed my life! All the “things” that have consumed my mind lately have been off of what really matters. So i just wanted to say THANK YOU for the encouragement, thank you for living your life making choices to impact this world for the Glory of God. Thank you for being so open about your family “inside” life. I am just one of MANY who has been impacted.
    May the Lord Bless you with many hugs this week!

    • Sandy,
      Thank you! Comments like yours encourage us to keep blogging for all of our blog-friends out there, and not just as a family journal. I’m constantly amazed at how God uses poor sinners like those in our family to bless and encourage His children.

  4. I loved reading your story. You need to publish a book of your life…if you haven’t already!!! Can’t wait to read the other ones. Blessings to you and your family

  5. It’s good to hear The 4 Moms will be back 3 children richer.
    May the Headmistress and etal. have a very restful summer!

  6. krisstel says:

    Congratulations and well done!!

  7. Faith Maldonado says:

    Great story! I have just 1 question though. Throughout the whole experience, only 2 kids (Rachel & Kailyn) were around? No one else creeped out of bed to check?

    • Faith,
      I think we had just had a couple of long days/late nights in a row, so most of them slept pretty deeply that night. Somehow it always seems work out that way.

      The 4 Moms series isn’t over; we’re just taking a summer break since 2 of us have new babies and one more is expecting very soon.

  8. Thank you for the rest of the story. That is quite an experience.
    What’s next?
    The 4 moms, 35 kids series is completed.
    You won’t go completely black on us, will you?

  9. A wonderful birth story (except for the passing out part – – um, scary!)! So glad he’s here!

  10. Heather H. says:

    I had baby number 6 in the truck on the way to the hospital. Went much faster than I ever thought possible:) You have a beautiful family. May God bless you all.

  11. Wow!

    My last baby (who is now almost 5) was born while I was standing in the tub – I just couldn’t climb over the side of the tub – and slid through the nurses hands into the tub! Fortunately he did not take a breath yet and was just fine! I completely understand how quickly these things can happen!

    Congratulations on your new son…I have two with four girls in between!

  12. Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing!!

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for Part 2 ; ) I promise not to whine anymore!

    Parker’s delivery was done in true Coghlan style, with flair and blog-worthy drama ; )

    Now, its time to rest…..let the girls take over…….unless you’re looking for another drama filled blogging story, that is!

    Looking forward to meeting Parker. Will his nickname be Boy2?

    The Seargeant Family

  14. Could he be any cuter? I don’t think so!

  15. I LOVED your birth story! It’s like sitting around the table with you and, oh, a couple hundred other women, listening to everything that happened!! Why are we women so interested in each other’s birth stories? Even my little girls already love to watch the show “A Baby Story”!! Your baby is beautiful, your family is beautiful, and you look “fah-bu-lus, dahling” for just one hour post-partum!! Congratulations again!

  16. What a powerful story. Reading it brought tears to my eyes. Can’t wait to meet him!

  17. Congrats! I’ve also secretly hoped I wouldn’t make it to the hospital, but then I’ve always ended up being induced. I would love to have a baby without the blood pressure cuff around my arm. I have such low blood pressure, I’ve never understood why they insist on plagueing me with that thing all through labor.

    I love that you were able to be up and around so quickly afterwords. Maybe all the walking helped!

  18. Loved reading this. It made me relive my own birth. My midwife didn’t make it. Her assistant barely did. Dad was happy he didn’t have to catch, although he feigned confidence that we could do it without help if we needed to. hehehe!!! Loved the gentle description of Perry. Sounded much like my husband as well. I am shocked that you are out of bed so quickly. I was really sick after my baby was born. I couldn’t even get out of bed without nearly passing out. My MW made me stay in bed for a full week. You look so good though. Probably all that walking. Congrats again!!!

  19. Terrific story! That’s the kind of thing Rich dreads the thought of… baby and no midwife! Great job Perry! : D

  20. Wonderful story, full of God’s grace! Thanks for sharing it.

    I hope you are reading this on your laptop…IN BED or somewhere else suitably reclined. 😉

  21. What a beautiful story! 🙂 I’ve only had 2… never had one come out and be screaming mad yet. Hehe… Seems to me that’s probably a good sign though.

  22. *sigh* You have such wonderful birth stories. I just love reading them. Thanks for sharing!

  23. The pics of your kids holding him brought tears to my eyes–such a beautiful family. Can’t describe that sense of awe and joy on Lydia’s face. . . .blessings to you all! Congratulations on son #2! God is amazing and so very, very good.

  24. Meredith_in_Aus says:

    Great story, Kim. You look great for 1 hour pp. But, gee, it does feel great to be over, don’t it?!?!

    In Him


  25. Lori Browning says:

    I LOVED this!! So many instances when God was SO good! Thanks for sharing… Welcome precious Parker 🙂

  26. Congratulations. I’m glad that everything went well.

    This is Mark’s worst nightmare, although I must admit that I’ve prayed on more than one occasion that the baby would come too quickly to make it to the hospital on time. (yes, I’ve even prayed that during this pregnancy.) I figure that if the baby comes that quickly, there are probably not going to be any complications.

    You’re right this is certainly another one for the ‘books’!

Don't just think it: say it!

%d bloggers like this: