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Between Families Between Families
reviews: 5
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Home birth- The real fuckin deal

So the end of pregnancy is for the fuckin birds. I'm sure plenty of you out there know this. There's nothing to say but that you're sick of being pregnant. You're a little sick of the sweet smiles and knowing looks from strangers. You're just all over sick of it. You're spectacularly sick of the: when's your due date how far are you are you having a boy or a girl I bet you're sick of this what hospital are you going to, conversations. You miss when people used to ask about the soccer game you played or the book you're reading. You're sick of swollen handsfeetfaceneckanklesEVERYTHING. Oh and from the beginning of pregnancy until FRIDAY, I had NO stretch marks. Friday my entire lower abdomen erupted into one. giant. stretch mark.

So all weekend, I thought, please let this be over soon. Every cramp I felt I welcomed and thought, "whatever work my body does now, it doesn't have to do during labor." Little did I know how much work my body was really doing.

Monday was Labor Day. I convinced Rob to have sex to try to induce labor. I went for a walk with the dog to try to induce labor. I swam to try to induce labor. I drank a beer to try to induce labor. You see the pattern, right?

Well, the shit worked. Because I woke up Tuesday morning around 2 am and was in active labor. I'd heard and read enough about labor that I was sure it was going to be a slow puttering process and so was prepared to read/rest/prepare. Instead, I woke up with pains doubling me over that were about 30 seconds long and every 5 minutes. Within an hour they were 60 seconds long and every 3 minutes. It was going to be fast and furious. Which seemed good, but scary.

I was glad we didn't have to go anywhere. I was anxious for the midwife and her assistant to arrive. I knew their expertise would comfort me and that they would take over some of the logistics so that Rob could settle into helping me.

There was so much I was confident about. I knew my body would push the baby out. I was certain the baby would be healthy. I was sure that Rob would be the perfect support.

There was more I was wrong about. I thought labor would come in stages and I would adjust and get acclimated to each phase. I thought I would handle pain well. I thought I would kick labor's ass in all honesty.

Truth be told: I cried out in pain a lot and needed every step of encouragement and positioning coaching and advice that I got. My body did know what it was doing. When it was time to push I couldn't have stopped myself from pushing if I'd tried. But it was far more painful than I could have expected.

So let me back up a smidge. I woke up at 2ish and waited until I'd had 3 contractions to wake Rob. We'd been sleeping apart the last week because of my snoring and erratic schedule. So I hollered at him that I was in labor and we both got up to get ourselves organized. We timed the contractions and realized we already needed to contact the midwife, there would be no waiting until morning to call her.

She said to try to rest in between and to call back if the contractions got closer together or more intense. Both happened within the hour and I have to say that I was already growing concerned about my ability to cope with the pain. I was breathing and resting and relaxing wherever I could. If I was already relaxed and lying down when a contraction started, I did ok breathing through it. But the reality of what I'd committed to was staring me down as I realized how strong the contractions could get and feared that I might not make it.

But as that fear stared at me, the logistical issue arose that the contractions were so close together, there was likely no transferring anywhere or doing anything but just getting through it. I was scared and overwhelmed.

Its hard to describe but your state of consciousness alters at this point. You go somewhere. Its not like you don't feel the pain. You do. Intensely. But you can't process everything going on. So you feel the contraction, you rest in between, you survive, you tune out. I heard the music playing that my husband picked (quite well I might add.) We started with Erykah Badu, then went on to some Toots and the Maytals, and finished things off with Chopin nocturnes that I love. I heard the sound of the midwife telling me to breathe, counting, telling me I could do it, telling me I was ok. I heard Rob telling me I can do anything, telling me I was doing great, he sounded so calm and even. (Faker) But still, he can hold his shit together in the moment like none other. And I really can't appreciate that enough about him. He did confess that his strategy was to listen to what the midwife said and if I didn't yell at her, he repeated it. It worked wonders and he was right next to me the whole time. I'm sure I bruised his hands squeezing through contractions. He was perfect.

I saw the clock tick by but didn't really feel time. 7:30, 8:30, 9:00. Nearing 10 I had to push. As the contraction struck, there was nothing but instinct. I was terrified I just had to poop. But it was the baby. Well... in all fairness there was probably some pooping too.

I was pushing in the birth tub, but that didn't seem to be working to everyone's satisfaction, so they had me get out. Which was hard. I gained a lot of weight and I really believe some of the difficulty for me was holding up my own weight. Its a lot to have an extra 70 or so lbs. That's a LOT, no matter what kind of shape you start out in.

So I pushed and made it through contraction after contraction. Listening to Rob's voice, listening to Chopin, going somewhere far but keeping my feet in now cuz you just don't have any other choice. You feel it all.

After I got out of the tub, they had me sit on the toilet, but then there was concern about my baby dropping in and I didn't like that idea either. So I came out and squatted at the end of the bed. I started getting tired doing that. So we changed again and I lay on the bed on my side with my foot pushing against one of the midwives. The small one. The one who weighs about as much as I've gained. I didn't say anything but I was so worried I was going to push my strong ass legs against her tiny frame and kick her straight into the birthing tub. Never happened though.

I stopped having a concept of time. But I did have a sense that the midwives wanted to see the baby come out. That it was maybe taking longer than they really liked. The problem was the contraction part where I could push and really use the contraction to push, wasn't lasting long enough to push the baby out. So then I was pushing past the end of the contraction.

I got up and they had me hang from a sheet in the doorway and push and then they had Rob attempt to hold my fatass up to push (which keep in mind he weighs my prepregnancy weight of about 140.) Neither of those was sustainable but they did see the top of the baby's head. "you can reach down and feel your baby's head." gross. I passed. "You're going to meet your baby soon." I have to say that did nothing for me either. I just thought, "Whatever. I just want this to be over."

We got back in the bed. Rob and the tiny midwife were back on pushing against my legs while I pushed right back. I became determined to push the dang thing out, contraction help or no. I pushed and felt myself ripping and burning. It stung and felt wrong. They assured me I just had to push through it. So I pushed more.

I pushed from the good point in the contraction, past it, after it, until finally, I felt so much tearing and this giant slimy thing come out.

They put the baby on my chest, slimy and wet. Rob caught a glimpse. A boy. And that boy immediately peed on his mommy.

I looked down at his face and could not believe how perfect, how beautiful, how golden, and how amazing he was. I don't think most babies are cute when they're born. And I was certain that if my own child was not cute, I would know. I would know and when people told me he was cute I would think "Liar." But he's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. All 8 lbs, 2 oz of him. All 20 and 3/4" of him. His hair and his long nails. His pooling dark eyes, and his short even breaths as he drifts to sleep.

12 comments:

Eric Alder said...

What a story! (Congratulations!)

By the way, the speed of going into labor is conversely-proportionate to one's distance from the hospital.

Kristina said...

I think I need a more detailed explanation of the "hang from a sheet in the doorway" phase. It sounds very bat-like...

C. Andres Alderete said...

Congratulations to you and Rob. Thank you for sharing something so intimate.

Lora said...

I can't wait to see that baby. Congrats, mommy. You did good.

NavelgazingMidwife said...

LOVE the way you tell the story. So many are floating hearts and singing birds; yours is grit and sweat. Beautiful!

Congratulations.

Judith said...

Love this!

Anonymous said...

That's my girl...grit and sweat...and like Kristina I need more details on the bat hanging process...

OK so that above shit was stoic dad...now for the scaredy cat dad...Oh my God punkin how ever in the world did you do it...my baby girl in pain and labor and sweat and pooping her baby into the toilet and and and...and finally two things...

THANK GOD FOR ROB, SAINT OF A MAN...and

Magnus is MAGNificent...

I love you all sooooooooooooooooo much.

The Beautiful Kind said...

OH MY GOD!!!! This was intense just reading it!! I felt anxious and wanted out! You are heroic!!! You did so many things I wish I did when I labored. Glad both our births ended well! NEVER AGAIN!!! :)

CONGRATS SKI MAMA!

Ladybug Crossing said...

Congratulations!
Enjoy every minute - they get too big too fast... Too soon you realize that they are off to college.
LBC

Heidi said...

Congratulations! I know what you mean about the end of pregnancy. I looked back at my journal from the time and every entry for 3 months was a variation on "I can't believe how big I am. I can't wait until this is over." And then it is.

Tammy said...

Wonderful. And...wonderful. All the best.

Silly Swedish Skier Says So said...

So the bat hanging thing- They closed a sheet in the top of the doorway and I held onto the top of the sheet by my hands and arms and let the rest of my body hang down to push. I'm sure that's clearer...

Thanks for all the supportive comments. Need to put up some pics for ya'll.