Monday, March 5, 2012
Ike is born
Ike's birth story really begins a couple of days ago. I'd been struggling with not only the idea of having to give birth (because OW) but the idea that I would need to be a parent to two children. Early Thursday morning (the 13th) I woke up in the middle of the night with a revelation that, hey, I can do this. Later that morning I told Bunny (as Ike was called while baking) that he could come any time, because we were ready. I may not have been entirely done nesting, but it seemed insignificant now that the emotional stuff was squared away. I did have a reflexology session on Wednesday (a freebie as part of a class final, so nothing labor-triggering was done, specifically), which totally infused me with a sense of calm and centered me, and I wonder how much that had to do with it. Also on Thursday, I woke up with a strong urge to burrow somewhere dark and be left alone until I had given birth (to which Matthew responded with, "Oh no! I need to go boil water!") and we finally figured out the names we liked.
Thursday night around 10 p.m. I sat on the birth ball and knit for a bit while watching TV. Matthew had gone to bed early and I was alone with my knitting and bread baking in the oven. (I felt really energetic that evening, obviously, and had attributed it to remembering to drink my red raspberry leaf and nettle tea.) An hour later I felt the baby very obviously drop in my pelvis and my belly was so low. And then some contractions started up. They were mild, even pleasant, and regular. I alternated between doing figure 8s with my hips while standing and sitting on the birth ball; I didn't think anything would come of these but wanted to make them work a bit. About 12:30 a.m. I decided to get some sleep, figuring that they'd peter out. I ended waking around 4, having had just an occasional contraction. I emailed Vanessa, my midwife, to update her, though I figured I'd probably have prelabor like that for possibly days.
Then, 45 minutes later, while playing Bejewled Blitz on Facebook, I felt a POP. I got a little giddy, stood up, and sure enough, dribbled fluid everywhere. I went to sit on the toilet and called out to Matthew that my water had broken. Poor dude shot out of bed looking little panicked, but quickly set to work calling Vanessa and his boss and setting up and filling the birth tub, which had only been dropped off the day before.
While Matthew was on the phone, the contractions started up - 45 seconds long, 1.5 minutes apart. Like with Nora's birth, the awful part was my pelvis feeling as if it would split in half. I walked around a little, discovered sitting on the birth ball or toilet was excruciating, and settled with kneeling with my arms on the couch. I was getting very nervous that Vanessa wouldn't show up in time, since she had sent and email with the tub instructions when Matthew called and said she was going to go back to bed and I very quickly went from being excited to very serious (yay emotional signposts). Luckily, she couldn't sleep and we kept having to pester her about the tub anyway, so she arrived within a half hour.
When Vanessa showed, she changed the bedsheets and got me into bed, which was miserable. She suggested I sleep and I said there's no way that would happen. She also said that sometimes this happens early on - things are really, really intense, but then they even out and you can deal with it better. I whined, "Don't tell me that!" because the last thing I wanted was to think this was going to be anything other than a really quick thing. Kneeling on the bed stunk, too, so I got out of bed and went back to the couch, after declaring that I just do it anymore (could I be more textbook?). The contractions kept up the same pace the whole time, increasing in intensity. I got through them by attempting to relax (as if), swearing, whining, and bearing down ever so slightly (but not pushing quite yet).
I had invited two doula friends along for the ride and both Vanessa and Matthew kept asking if I wanted to call them. Nope. I wanted to be left alone, husband and midwife included. I'm afraid I make a snappish laboring woman and those two were subjected to much attitude. My apologies.
The tub still hadn't filled by this point but Vanessa asked if I wanted to go in. Heck, no. I wasn't moving, no matter how uncomfortable it was to kneel on the floor. Shortly thereafter, I announced that I was going to push, but went into "vulnerable and needing reassurance" mode and cried out for Vanessa to be by me. As it turns out, she WAS by me; I was so far in my own world that I couldn't hear her talking to me. I asked her permission to push, to which she said I could when my body wanted to, and I asked if it was all going to be okay, to which she responded that it would. Pushing was pretty intense, though more pleasant than just dealing with contractions. I made lots of noise, and I wasn't sure what I was feeling at all, though soon Vanessa had announced that the shoulders were out. Soon after, I felt his body spiral out of me and he was passed to me through my legs. His cord was short so I held him a bit awkwardly, but there he was, a little man just like I had hoped for! It was immediately apparent that he looks like his daddy. Vanessa told me today that she had seen Ike's head crown, then go back in and spin around, so he decided to be born anterior, thank goodness. Good baby.
Possibly due to his quick arrival, he had issues with goo in his lungs. Matthew cut the cord a little sooner than planned so Vanessa could work on him (just keeping his face down and head below his butt); it took awhile and his wee face was a little blue, but eventually the mucous cleared and we got him nursing. He certainly loves boobies.
Having experienced a very, very fast labor with Nora after my water was broken, I knew I could probably expect similar this time around, although I had no idea what to expect leading up to it. I am so grateful for my midwife, who was just what I needed - very hands-off (no cervical checks the entire pregnancy or labor!), trusting of my body, reassuring when I needed her to be, and calm. It is also so nice to be recovering at home, where it's quiet and calm and comfortable. It was all wonderful. Our living room rug might disagree with me on that point; it took the most abuse of any of us.