That's right, folks! Time for a birth story! Y'all probably didn't know that we've been concealing a pregnancy, but now it's time to meet the new young'un!
Just kidding. I can hide a pregnancy for about as long as it takes me to get from the bathroom to the computer.
BUT since I just put up my birth story sidebar...
Look THAT WAY to see it! ----------------------------->
(Okay, and scroll down a little.)
(Okay, and scroll down a little.)
... and simply cannot find where I published my second birth story on this blog, I have decided to republish it!
As it will come up in your newsfeed (my apologies), I'll just invite you to enjoy reading it again!
One HUGE added bonus is that I have taken the time to go back, find our birth photos, and add them to this originally picture-free story. Is that fun, or WHAT? Many of them I haven't used, because at the time I chose - for whatever reason - to labor completely nude. It was the hippie in me coming out. But there were lots of usable pictures, and even our close friends have not seen these - and I hope you enjoy them!
Both DH and I look completely different - this birth was eight years ago! - and I think you guys will get a kick out of seeing how we've changed.
We had my last prenatal on Monday, June 20, 2006 - my due date. We were worried because Wendi, our midwife, was leaving the country for six weeks that Saturday, and didn't want to have to have another midwife if we were a few days late. Wendi, bless her, wasn't a bit worried, and she was right. I lost my mucous plug the next day, so things were in motion.
(I should mention how I came to choose a midwife - When I got pregnant, we didn't have maternity coverage. In my cherubic innocence I thought that "no maternity coverage" meant that while our insurance wouldn't cover hospital birth, they would cover other services [such as homebirth midwifery]. Well, I was wrong - they wouldn't cover any of it. But by that time I'd done enough research and read enough stories that I was hooked! I didn't care at that point - I knew I wanted a midwife.)
On Wednesday night I took a firm hold on DH and told him that we were going to get our to-do list done, as I was tired of putting things off indefinitely. So we hung our clothesline, set up our bassinet, and did several other things. My one and only instance of nesting!!!
Thursday morning I awoke with a start at 4:28 a.m. with the odd dual sensations that (a) I really needed to use the restroom, and (b) I was already doing so! It didn't take me too long to realize that my water had broken. I was nervous and excited! I got up and cleaned like a maniac and then got dressed, being very careful to do my makeup and clothes nicely, since our midwives would be coming over! (Ha! As if that would last!)
My contractions immediately made themselves known. I had had rolling Braxton Hicks contractions since my second month of pregnancy, but as soon as my water broke they became much more intense and uncomfortable - labor had started.
When DH got up, he immediately freaked out and insisted on calling Wendi. After that we had breakfast, and then I headed back to bed. Getting up at 4:30 a.m. and cleaning wildly had been tiring! So I slept lightly, waking up for contractions.
Sometime that morning the toilet decided to overflow, so there I was - trying to help DH clean up a flooded bathroom in between contractions. Rather amusing! We called for emergency maintenance help which, as expected, never came, so the carpet had to dry on its own. We were too busy to fuss with it anyway.
Our doula Jennie came over in the early afternoon. Sometime during the afternoon, Wendi came over to check on us. I asked her if I could labor in water, and she said yes, so I immediately headed to the bathroom and stayed there - first in the shower, and then in the bath.
I have to put in a plug here for laboring in water. This may sound weird, but when I got into the tub/shower, labor pain initially vanished. Completely. It was wonderful. Of course it built again from there, but I don't think I could have done it out of water. It is, after all, reputed to reduce labor pain by about 40 percent, and I highly concur.
Another amusing thing was my total loss of modesty. When I initially got in the tub and DH asked if our doula could come in to say hi, I was really reluctant. Well, it went downhill from there! By the end of the night I was walking around stark naked in front of everyone and not caring a bit! So funny.
One thing I also learned about myself was that I am loud in labor. Very loud. Think male sea lion during mating season. Or maybe a wounded bull moose. Many women are. I'd read enough birth stories to know this, so I didn't try to fight it (couldn't have, probably, anyway). So I yelled my head off with each contraction! Thankfully, none of our neighbors seemed to notice.
|Setting up the (dead) video camera.|
However, after going through childbirth, I realize how important it is to have an advocate with one - an informed husband or doula. A woman is really helpless during a lot of childbirth - she is vulnerable to suggestion and unable to fight for her rights. If I'd been with an unscrupulous caregiver, he could have given me pitocin, an episiotomy, whatever he'd cared to, because I wouldn't have noticed and/or been able to stick up for what I wanted.
|Back-up midwife, Sue!|
|This single picture is why midwives are awesome.|
|Dealing with a contraction.|
|Sleeping through a break between contractions.|
Our cat was totally freaking out. She had no idea what was going on - we have some great pics of her going around sniffing everything.
|"There are some really weird hormones in the air and I am NOT happy about it!"|
When I would ask "Am I almost finished?", Wendi would wisely say, "Soon!" I'm so glad she didn't tell the truth - I couldn't have handled it. She also told me that the only way she could know for sure was to do a vaginal exam. I refused each time. I knew that I couldn't handle it emotionally if she said something like "2 centimeters!"
When my vocalizations changed from yelling to grunting, Wendi said she'd like to check to see how things were going. She did, and not only were we fully dilated, but baby was at a station of +4! Almost there!
I should say that it is one of the proudest points of my pregnancy that the first vaginal exam of my entire pregnancy was an hour before baby's birth. Wendi is so, so hands-off (not all midwives are), and I loved that about her. No fuss!
She tried to help me push more effectively in the water, and then after a while suggested I get out. Wendi mentioned later that most primips (first-timers) don't end up giving birth in water, as they tend to find the lack of gravity confusing. I concur!
So we went in the bedroom and pushed in a variety of positions, ending up with seated. I pushed like anything for one or two hours. It hurt! At the very end I just gave up and pushed, because I wanted it to be over more than anything. And baby Caleb was born!! At 10:35 p.m. - 18 hours and seven minutes of labor. We'd refused prenatal ultrasound, so the first big excitement was finding out that he was a boy! DH had desperately wanted a girl, but he immediately fell in love with his baby BOY and hasn't looked back since.
|Calling the family - it's a boy!|
|Just a few minutes old!|
We'd discovered mid-labor that our video recorder had quit, so our doula only caught the last minute or so on her camera. Big disappointment. Next time we're going to check it before labor starts!
One of my big disappointments was that I (through some odd act of divine intervention) missed out on the birth ecstasy - that "my baby, my baby!!" moment. I was really bummed. I wasn't actually that interested in baby at all. I just wanted to go to sleep! But he was pretty cute, and we spent the next couple of weeks falling in love.
Wendi and Sue and Jennie and DH took turns cleaning up, getting rid of the birth pool, bathing baby, and doing a gentle newborn exam (we refused eye prophylaxis and vitamin K and Hep B vaccine, and delayed newborn tests). I myself had only torn slightly (nothing to worry about), so I went and showered while they changed the sheets (after eating an enormous bowl of strawberries and cottage cheese, I should mention) and then went back to bed. They all left a couple of hours later.
(I should mention that midwives don't forbid eating during labor - in fact, they encourage it - but after breakfast, I hadn't wanted to eat anything. I just drank Gatorade. So I hadn't eaten since about 6 a.m. that morning!)
|Our beloved midwife.|
So that's my birth story! I have a feeling that I'm going to be coming back to my blog every couple of hours today to input little details I've forgotten, but that is the main!
|Taking heart tones with daddy!|
And that was our first (live-birth) birth story! Reviewing this birth story and adding pictures has been so much fun! Thanks for joining me on this journey!