I told myself throughout the last year that when C turned 1 year old, I’d finally have edited his birth story and put it on my blog. So here it is. Just to warn you:
- it is excessively long. Don’t read it all if you don’t want to.
- Also, some people might find the language and descriptions offensive or ahem, honest, so feel free to also skip those parts.
This is pretty much the 100% truth of how things went down with C’s birth.
Baby C’s Birth- August 22, 2010
August 21, 2010
We went to my mom’s house for J and Jo’s birthday parties. Had a fun night with everyone, I felt pretty good! No signs that we would have a baby in a little more than 24 hours! I decided to spend the night at my mom’s since Jo wanted me to go apartment stuff shopping the next day. J went home in my car and Jo and I talked and watched TV in bed till 11:00. I remember rubbing my belly, feeling the baby kicking, and getting so sleepy. Finally I went to bed close to midnight.
August 22, 2010
I remember jerking awake around 1:00 AM because I thought I had peed my pants! Funny how the wetness woke me up. I went to the bathroom and peed a ton, changed my panty liner, and crawled back in bed. Then it happened again and I thought, geez, I really need to do more Kegals!! Changed the panty liner to a pad and started wondering. I lay in bed, thinking and trying to go to sleep but every time I’d relax, I’d leak more fluid! Now I was getting a bit suspicious because the baby felt different on the outside. Did he always feel like this? Tight? I went and changed the pad again and each time I went to the bathroom, I’d pee a lot. This time I caught some in my hand and it didn’t seem like pee!
Well. There I was, sitting on the bed in my mom’s guest room, and my water had broken? I wasn’t even at my own house where I was SUPPOSED to have my baby! So much for not having to be in the car while in labor… My water broke? Seriously? The baby really felt very different inside me then, like my skin was really clinging to him without any coosh left in it.
I decided to check with my mom, seeing as how she birthed 9 babies and she might know what I should do. Mom and I talked for a few minutes and I went back to bed to sleep until things got started. But then things got started around 2:00 AM, only a few minutes later. Everything began gently but the contractions were coming pretty close. So I just lay in bed, with this buzzing of excitement and fear in my mind. I distractedly timed the contractions and started getting worried. They were coming every few minutes, easy and gently but I wanted to be home, at my house with J. I didn’t want to jump the gun but I went back to my mom and asked her to take me home. By this time I had my second hand towel between my legs. Those pads weren’t cutting it anymore!!
We packed up, organized things, I grabbed some applesauce and a water bottle, and then we set off for my house a little before 4:00 AM. On the hour long drive, I had about 20 contractions and in between I called Lynda my midwife and Terry my doula but let J sleep. Also, I tried to relax and drink lots of water. Mom attempted to distract me during contractions but I was having to close my eyes and concentrate. I wanted to stay in a zone of relaxation as long as I could.
So on we drove in the early morning darkness, me wondering what the day would be like and worrying about how fast everything was happening. I had projects planned for this slow early phase of labor. Maybe I’d be able to do them when I got home and rested?
We arrived at my house around 5:00 and rang the doorbell to wake J since he’d taken my house key with the car keys last night. He answered the door, bleary and confused. “We’re going to have a baby today!” I told him and for a few seconds he just stood there!
The three of us (well, really the two of them) got things ready around the house and decided not to call anyone else until 6:00. I mostly walked, leaned, and squatted in random places. Mom and J scurried around working and I tried to ignore them for the sake of The Zone. Contractions were coming three minutes apart and I was starting to wonder how long this was going to take! Sadly: little did I know…
Finally I decided to call my sister Leah, J figured out our birth pool, and he called Terry and Lynda again. By the time they all trickled in, I was really getting into a rhythm and losing track of time. I think I was moaning with contractions, trying to find good positions, and starting to zone out a little. But I knew I could do this! I remember it was light outside as my mom still tried to distract me and talk to me during contractions but my midwife asked her to quiet and let me be. Most of the morning everything felt manageable and I could handle it though the contractions were very close and getting intense. I got in the pool after my mom and Leah filled it and that felt marvelous!
Life started to dim at this point. J was always with me, I know that much. Terry mostly stayed by my side. Lynda and her birth assistant stayed out of the way. I remember missing my mom and Leah since they also pretty much kept out of the room. I didn’t feel like eating a lot but tried to when food was put to my mouth. Food made me want to throw up but I methodically chewed the ice, Emergen C slushies, and sipped the water I was given. Oddly, I couldn’t talk of focus enough to form complete thoughts or words! My whole being was starting to focus on getting through the wave of pain, riding it to the peak, then sliding down and resting.
Things didn’t seem to be going fast and Lynda checked me around lunchtime. This was when we found I had a cervical lip still around the baby’s head (not once during labor or even after did I ask Lynda how many centimeters I was dilated. I preferred things vague so I wouldn’t be discouraged!). I was pretty deflated that a whole morning of work hadn’t gotten me to the end. L I walked through the house, sad that I was still in labor AFTER lunch. Yes, I was only sad. I wasn’t distraught or worried, I was just sleepily sad.
At this point it was Sunday afternoon and I hadn’t slept more than 2 hours in this 30 hour period. I found a clock and saw that it was only 2:00 PM. That was a confusing surprise. Only 2:00! I could keep going for a while longer, until 6:00 at least. That’s what I’d try for: 6:00 would be my goal. That would keep me going. That and the fact that Leah had brought her baby, my brand new 1 month old niece who was sleeping soundly on a blanket in my living room. I’d walk around the living room slowly, pausing every 5 feet (or so it seemed!) for a contraction and look at Lilly. I could do this. I could do this so I would get MY baby.
Lots of things happened during the day that I don’t remember. Some I do, such as lots of slow walking, Lynda making me labor with my leg propped up on a chair (hurt so bad!) in an attempt to get the baby’s head positioned better. It’s so odd trying to recall the day because I simply don’t remember much!
So basically all afternoon and early evening, I just did what I had to: move and rest to get that baby out! I moved around the house, squatted, and sat in the pool. I felt like pushing some but it felt odd, not like what I thought pushing would feel like. Lynda checked me again around dinner and there was STILL a cervical lip.
I really wanted to quit at this point. I remember kneeling and swaying on the birth ball and softly crying that no one would listen to me. All I wanted was to stop. Why wouldn’t they let me stop? I just quietly cried and mumbled about wanting to stop. Seriously, how much credence do you give a laboring mom who says: That’s it, I’ve had enough, you all can make this stop now. Hehe. However, no one seemed to listen to this at all and everyone said I could do it. It was like they listened to me but it went in one ear and out the other. What awful people not letting me stop laboring! Looking back, I was in such a quiet funky place in my mind. A secret birthing zone I guess!
Finally, Lynda made me push while she pushed the cervical lip up. That was hard!!! OMG, hard. I do remember yelling at her to stop and leave me alone during this part. Wow, birth attendants sure must have to put up with a lot 😉 Finally it seemed to have moved some but now the baby’s head was starting to get a bit swollen so Lynda told me I had to start getting him out fast(er). That was when the REAL pushing began. And boy did I HATE pushing.
So everyone told me pushing was great, it felt very satisfying, it was work a mom could DO during labor. Not so for me. I hated it so veryvery much. After lots of coaching on how to push (with my bottom, how to breathe, how to focus), I pushed for probably 3-4 hours. I mentally and verbally told myself over and over I could do it. I promised I would push 3 times at least with each contraction. I made them tell me about my baby, they had me feel his head as it slowly (torturously slowly) began to emerge. It was so hard to keep pushing! It did not feel good to me at all!
Pushing went very fast (and slow!). Everyone around me was so very supportive and wonderful, keeping me focused and helping me in any way possible. And J never left my side. I developed such a new and amazing respect for my husband, a bond that has only seemed to grown. I never felt so loved as I did that day with J always next to me, always sensing what I needed, always holding me and helping me. Wow, he was so wonderful!
Toward the end, everyone was in the room, watching and cheering me on. Yes, I had a group of 6 people watching me birth, yelling that I could do it, that I was so very close! I listened to Mom and Leah more than anyone when it came to the cheering. Somehow I assumed my midwife and J and my doula weren’t telling me the truth about my progress. Why? Because they were the mean people making me push the baby out, that’s why. Very logical 😉 But whatever Leah and my mom said or cheered, I focused on.
This pushing phase of birth was so hard! But I knew I could do it. I was in the zone, I had to get this kid out, I had to get that damn baby out so I could stop the stupid pushing!! Yes, I actually had those thoughts. It got to the point where I didn’t care about anything but myself and ending this pain as fast as I possibly could. Who cared about the baby, I wanted to sleep! After a while, I wasn’t even doing the focused, quiet pushing like my midwife wanted in the beginning. The closer I got to the end, the more I pushed without a contraction and the more I roared to make the pushing right. Time became a blur!
I wanted to squat and push, I knew it would help move things faster but Lynda had to keep opening me more since baby’s head was getting swollen. Finally, after so much work and burning and OMG the stretching was so powerful, C’s head was about ½ out and they helped me up. I pushed harder than I ever had and in a few pushes, the head was out but damn it if I was going to stop! I heard everyone telling me to slow down and stop but no freaking way, I wanted this OVER.
I pushedpushedpushed and roared and A BABY came sliding out! It was about this same time that I told everyone I couldn’t support myself anymore, my legs were sooooo exhausted. When the baby came out, I just drooped down and J was scared and yelled that I was going to sit on our baby! Somehow people pulled me back, leaning on J and set C on my chest.
There he was! Our baby! I did it! I had birthed a real baby! I was laughing and crying and there was this floppy little grey creature, amazingly there, on me and J and I rubbed him while Lynda quickly checked him. My boy! For a few second he didn’t breath and Lynda told me to talk to him. So I said hi, cried, and marveled at him but I wasn’t worried at all really. I knew he’d listen and perk up. Then he was spluttering and opening one eye a little slit since the other was gooky with vernix. The vernix got all over me (lotion from my baby!) and got rubbed in him, me, J (and Jojo’s sports bra).
C never really cried, he just made little squawking sounds and looked around with that one open eye. And he just laid on me. He was such a big baby though he only weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces. I imagined him much tinier I suppose. And oh, he was so calm and so amazing J His sweet, beautiful face was such a welcome sight. I double-checked that he was a boy (yes, he was) and J and I marveled at him.
J and I have talked about and relived this moment many times. It’s a very special and magical-like memory. Nothing like holding your baby for the very first time. Nothing like it J
Everyone admired the baby and we sat there for a while, basking in the moment. J cut the cord after a while, I easily delivered the placenta, but C didn’t want to nurse right away. I tried to go to the bathroom but couldn’t (FUN!), Lynda stitched me up while I lay on the bed, talking and reliving it, listening to my baby grunting and making baby sounds in J’s arms. I could hear my mom and Leah cleaning things up outside the bedroom and wanted them to come in as soon as I was finished. I had a few tears, maybe 3-5? And lots of stitches (10-15?) but didn’t dare ask the details which I think Lynda caught on to and happily never offered.
The next day I asked J about those scrapes on his hands and the ones on my legs. Apparently I scratched him and me while focused on pushing. Oops. I do remember grabbing J’s hand to bite on it during pushing and Terry gently pulled it away and told me not to. Hehehe. So THAT’S why women get epidurals!
Even now, 1 year later, everything seems vague, amazing, dark, and surreal. Details flash in my mind but the whole evening (the whole day really) is one of feeling and flashes of memories.
Our next and final baby will also be a homebirth. Main reason? Because I want my baby with me, right on me as soon as he/she is born. I want that precious little person to stay by my side, for every touch he/she feels to be respectful, loving, and kind. I want my kids to be born in a safe place. C stayed in our house, in the arms of a family member or trusted friend until he was 8 days old. Our house was cleaned by our birth helpers after the birth. We slept in our own bed and woke to the sun shining through the windows and a perfect new baby sleeping next to us. The main person who bothered us that night we became parents? Ourselves, leaning over to look at our baby every 5 minutes.
Wherever you birth a baby, make sure it’s right for you, that’s all I’m saying! We felt like birthing C in our home, with qualified, trained midwives was the best thing for us.
Still, I’m pretty sure as soon as I feel that first contraction with the next kid that I’ll think: OH SHIT. Doesn’t every mother? Birth was the most intense thing I have ever EVER experienced. So strong and consuming that it was only with a lot of reflection and talking that I was able to understand it. I still wish things had gone faster, that I would have been stronger, that I would have been more mentally prepared. The only way I could have done ANY of those things more than I did was to give birth. So now I’ve done that. Next time will be calmer, right? Hehe.
My boy is amazing. I love him so veryvery much. The world is a better place with him in it and I am a stronger women because of him.