Monday, November 26, 2012

The Joy Of Birthing

I promised to write up my birth story.  It has been nearly four weeks, plenty of time for me to recuperate, rest and reflect.

Every time I think on my last birth... I laugh.

At first I thought that I needed to ponder more and come up with some deep knowledge or wisdom to share that I learned while entering that dark valley known as labor, being rent in twain and living to share about it.

But instead, I laugh.

My birth was joyous and hilarious to me.  While that may not be deep, I doubt many mothers find such joy in birth.

So I will share it with you, and pray that others are likewise blessed with laughter both now and when you least expect it.

My pregnancy went pretty easily.

I did experience nausea from about week six to week fourteen.  But overall I only puked a few times so I considered it 'mild'.

My exhaustion was intense!  But it also improved in my second trimester.  I was even able to convince my children to let me nap sometimes.

We had told the children immediately.  We are always tooooooo excited to keep such news to ourselves.  The older children were happy and eagerly offered names daily.  The youngest, not unexpectedly, was confused and noticeably more clingy.  I was not worried though.  I knew that when the baby arrived, jealousy would have no place, shoved out by sheer wonder at what God creates in that hidden darkness. Our family would grow, our love would grow, our hearts would grow, again.

My belly grew much larger than expected, quicker than expected. I grew excited thinking TWINS!!!  I researched twin birth, compared to single babies.  I was concerned that if it was twins, it was more likely that I would experience premature labor, creating a real need for the involvement of doctors or midwives.  I prayed for help with this situation.  I didn't want to go to OBGyn's after my first two
pregnancies.  I was unable to find a helpful midwife with my second pregnancy and was hesitant to go on that search again.

But my husband, being more social (read that as, 'he talks and talks and talks like a woman....') was encouraged by some local cashier or something to contact our local midwife, with the promise that she was different.

So I called her and we spoke a few times before scheduling an appointment.  I tried to maintain my pessimistic, hard shelled demeanor.  But she won me over immediately.  Outgoing, easy going,
natural and honest.

We met in her inviting home office, filled with newspaper clippings, announcement cards, and photos of some of her births.  The wall was lined with books and videos on pregnancy and birth.  Soothing (hippy) music was playing.  She led us into a bedroom with a queen sized bed, a couch and as jacuzzi tub (tempting.....).  She had me lay down, ran the ultrasound over my belly and determined quickly that the 'second baby' I was sure I felt was in fact my also beloved placenta laying on top of my single, healthy babe.  It was one of those moments where you are happy and sad at the same time. Twins would be hard.  But twins would be awesome!  LOL!

The midwife refused payment.  I cried explaining to her how much she blessed me, especially after my previous experiences.  I pray that God continues to bless her, as I could see He was certainly with her now.

Towards the end of my second trimester, I got ill.  I started feeling like I had a bladder infection.  Unable to buy cranberry juice immediately I looked for other remedies.  I read that blueberries would work just as well as cranberries.  I had plenty of blueberries and blended them with water a few times a day.  I felt a little better and was hopeful that it was working.

But then I suddenly developed a high fever and sever lower back pain. I had also read that if not treated a bladder infection will go to your kidneys and a pregnant woman's body will usually expel the child.

I was terrified.  I sobbed bitterly.  I was afraid of losing my child.  And I was afraid of going to the hospital.  I prayed for direction. And the Lord brought to mind our local midwife.  Oh if she could help!

I called her, still sobbing, and tripping over my words in my frantic state.  She laughed.  She calmly, happily advised me to take 1000mg of vitamin c three times a day with a LOT of water, and to call her if it did not quickly, dramatically improve.  I was calmed by her calm.  I quickly took my vitamin c and water and fell deeply asleep.  I awoke two hours later with no fever, minor muscle soreness and an urgent need to visit the bathroom. :). After a week I was fully recuperated.

My due date came and went.  This came as no surprise.  My first babe came seven days after and my third nine days after.  My second only came on her due date because I took castor oil.

So I patiently waited.  We got to seven days....eight....nine....
I stopped taking and making phone calls and ignored numerous emails at this point.  I was tired of the conversation.

Friend or family member:  Did you have the baby?
Me: No, not yet.  Soon. :)
Friend or family member: What?!  Why not?  Its so late? What's wrong?
When are you going to the doctor?  What if its too big to come out?
What if you have some '_________' condition?
Me: No, no. I'm fine really.  It will be any time now.

I had braxton hicks, contractions that don't start actual labor everyday, all day.  I took numerous baths, stayed up late watching Heroes or reading Surviving Off Off Grid, thinking it was 'time'.

Ten days, eleven, twelve.....
I was getting worried.  Yes, I admit it.  I took castor oil.  That accomplished.... Nothing.  I called the midwife for advice.  She welcomed me to stop in that night.  After my husband got off work we headed over.  Tonight I was particularly bummed as I wasn't even having fake contractions that whole day.  The midwife felt my belly, ensuring the babe was in position.  We both agreed that forty two
weeks was kind of a cut off point.  If your dates are right, which I was sure mine were, that baby simply must come out.  So she checked my cervix and immediately laughed.  "Oh girl! You are having this baby, tonight probably!"

I was glad and reassured, albeit a little skeptical.  I certainly didn't feel like I was going I to labor.  But we went home, tucked the children into bed, praying for a good birth.  I put on Heroes to keep
me entertained and did squats in the hopes that something, sometime soon might happen.  I felt.... Not much different.  Slowly over the next few hours the light braxton hicks contractions started up again.
I was still pretty skeptical.  If this was my labor, I could count myself highly blessed among women.  It wasn't really painful at all.

Now, I remind you.... I have had three previous babies.  And while my first was a c-section, that happened AFTER 26 hours of labor. So.... This just didn't feel like labor.  It felt the same as false labor really.  In the middle of the night, I grew tired.  I wanted this baby to get out NOW simply so I could sleep.  So.... I lay down and slept quite peacefully for a few hours.  When I woke at five I was
still able to dose in and out while my contractions got stronger.  I didn't realize that, yes, they were stronger until almost seven.  I drew a bath because I find the warm water seems to relieve pain and
quicken labor.  I got in, and it became clear that this was 'real' labor.  I began to cry.  It really hurt!  My previous thoughts of 'oooh this is easy' were gone.

My husband heard me crying and helped me out of the bath.  He calmly listened as I cried, "I don't think I can do this.". He helped me to the bed as I sobbed, "Please, listen, I don't want to do this ever
again.  I can't, I can't."

I pushed and screamed.  Oh God it hurt sooooooo much.
I pushed a few more times.  The kids, not bothered in the least,
happily come out of bed to enjoy their birth morning treat, pop tarts!

Then... I feel it engaged!  Yay!  This is it!  The pain is lessened, replaced with pressure, solid pressure.  It was described to me as a hot bowling ball, and that is a really good description of it.

I push and my water breaks, everywhere!  Yes, until then it did not break.  I apologize to my husband at this point because I am pretty sure he got doused.
I push and a head is out!
I push and shoulders are coming!
I push and the baby is here!!!!!!!  It was 7:58.

I pick up my babe, seeing that it is a perfect tiny (to me) baby boy.

I hold him to my chest and lay down, on my own bed.  My husband covers us and invites the children to meet their new brother.

I laugh.  Yes, at this point I was laughing.  My labor was so hilarious to me.  I laugh that I was so afraid and in pain that I actually asked my husband for no more beautiful, sweet, joyous blessings like this babe!  How ridiculous!

"Aaron, it was so quick!  Did you see how quick!"

Fortunately my husband knows my heart.  I would never be able to say no.  I love them so.  They bring so much joy to our lives, they bring so much clarity of purpose, sense of belonging, courage to do what is right, and delight in all things new.

Since then I have already dreamt twice about my next babe..... Yes, my next.  Not because this awesome child is not enough.

But because my love for him whets the appetite.

I love my babies.

Praise Yah!  Thank You for my beautiful, healthy, loving, smart children!  May they follow hard after You all the days of their lives!



***

Liked this rain soaked ranting from La Soñador?  Check out these similar posts.....

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La Soñador ~: Finding the Hand of God in Homebirth - I would think that my first birth experience WAS part of our temerity in choosing to have another child. But once we stepped on that path and had our positive test, I began researching and reading about pregnancy and birth ...

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