Friday, July 02, 2010

The Birth Story.

( I decided I wanted to share our birth story. I know some people don't like such a thing. So just skip this post if that is you but I'm a believer that hearing positive stories about childbirth is only positive, especially in a culture where childbirth is scary and feared.)


One month ago at this time I was in labor.

I had sort of been in labor for weeks. Baby low as could be. Dilated to numbers that my pregnancy book stated were in the "active stage" of labor, "*except for in a very small percentage of women," it said.

For weeks Dashing Boy and I were prepared for an early arrival. Bags packed and in the car. House immaculately clean. During the days I could feel my body changing, preparing. And at nights Dashing Boy and I would fall asleep both secretly thinking we might wake up to "This is it!" with a wild, exciting, middle-of-the-night drive to the birthing center.

But morning after morning arrived, uneventful.

"You know we can stir things up if you would like," my wonderful midwife had mentioned on and off for over a week. She said I was a highly favorable candidate for doing so.

And so we filed that away and instead went on long walks every night and waited and decided we really wanted our baby to come whenever he was ready.

The due date passed, no big deal, except for everyone reminding and inquiring about such an event. And then a few days passed and I was UNcomfortable. Very much so. And it seemed like our boy was doing his part in making his grand entrance. He was ready. And we were too. And so we decided to stir things up.

***

We visited my midwife on a Friday morning. She stripped my membranes, I drank some cohash. Then Dashing Boy and I went out to breakfast and on a nice long walk. We came home, I took a nap. Then at the very end of the day we headed back to the midwife's to assess where things were at.

"Well you guys can get comfortable and settled in because there is no way I'm sending a woman home when she is a 6."

It looked like stirring things up tipped me just over the edge of the labor dilation threshold! Could it really be?! It didn't seem like I was at a 6, based on how I had heard other women describe being at that place. But we were there!

We decided to strip my membranes once more to see how that might speed things up. And then Dashing Boy and I went to the mall to walk around. And I'm not kidding, it was pretty fun to walk around there with this giant fun secret that I was in active labor the whole time. Things were getting more intense. I thought it would be fun to purchase a little outfit for our baby on the way and we excitedly did so.


Back at the birth center, Mom came and we ate Vermont cheddar cheese with crackers and popcorn and Dashing Boy read me poetry as I went through contractions. It felt like a sleepover party, for real.

During the pregnancy Dashing Boy and did hypnobabies classes which were great. I listened to some hypnobabies during this time of the labor but mostly I chatted with mom and my midwife and Dashing Boy.

***

Later in the evening my midwife thought it would be beneficial to see where my progress was-- almost none. She suggested breaking my bag of waters.

Throughout the final weeks of my pregnancy she mentioned this quite a few times as she had suspected it might be the trick . But this seemed kind of invasive to me. Also, I was worried that it would bring things on with a rapid intensity all at once instead of gradually building up to things and that scared me.

I decided to wait one more hour, then see where things were and decide at that point if that was the best course of action.

***

One hour later and we decided to do it. I was feeling awesome. La la la la la. Isn't the labor sleepover party so fun! And now we're going to break my bag of waters! Party party party!

Holy Moley it was not even five minutes after that (she did say my bag of waters was very strong!) things instantly became extraordinarily intense. My goodness, it hit me like lightening and all the hypnobabies and relaxation techniques in the world had no chance of catching up. My fear was right.

Dashing Boy was awesome. Right by my side. And Mom was too. I got in the tub and during contractions Mom poured water over my back which was so nice and Dashing Boy held me.

I remembered a wonderful cheesy mantra from hypnobabies:
"In between my wonderful pressure waves I smile and feel very happy," and advice from Ina May to savor and enjoy the breaks between contractions. And so I smiled! I was very happy! This was really happening!

And then a pressure wave would come, gracefulness would fly out the window and it would all be very intense. My midwife kept saying "Alright Jenny 60 seconds. You can do anything for 60 seconds." And while I would be in the middle of a contraction I would think to myself "Hey I'm probably 30 seconds into this! I only have 30 seconds left!" That advice helped immensely.

Even in the most intense part of things I remember thinking how happy I was that I didn't have an epidural. (That is not to say that I don't understand why others want/need an epidural, every labor is so different. Everyone knows and does what they feel is best for them and that is just how it should be.)

Finally a little over an hour and I looked up and announced to everyone that I was done and I just wanted to go home and take a nap.

And then that phase was over.

And suddenly it didn't hurt at all anymore.

***

The most extreme focus and concentration I have ever experienced came over me. I was a completely different person from the previous hour or so. In total, one hour of trying my hardest for controlled pushing.

When he crowned my midwife got a mirror and asked me if I wanted to see, wanted to touch his head. I was so focused that I did both of these things so quickly then went back to hyperconcentration. I could hardly grasp really that I was actually having a baby.

Pushing did not hurt as badly at all as it had been built up to me over my entire life of hearing about childbirth. Don't get me wrong. I'm not superwoman, I definitely felt it. Maybe in my head I had imagined much worse. Maybe the hypnobabies techniques had seeped into my being. I don't know. But my honest reaction was, "this is it?! I can do this."

***

2 hours and 20 minutes after we broke my water... and these beautiful words: "Alright Jenny, Here comes your baby!"

I could hardly believe it. I reached down and pulled my beautiful boy up to my chest. He was covered in beautiful vernix. Seriously I think that stuff is beautiful and amazing. Right away he let out some cries. Dashing Boy leaned in and we sat there in awe staring at our baby. My goodness. It's just such a miracle!

For the next 3 hours we stayed up loving our baby. The birth center was wonderful. My midwife made hot cinnamon rolls for us that night and fresh breakfast the following morning. Truly it felt like a bed and breakfast.

As far as the recovery goes, I think however you birth, you'll pretty much feel like you've been hit by a truck afterwards. But then you have this awesome beautiful little baby there and there is no question how worth it it all is. I did feel substantially more normal by 9-10 days postpartum (aside from our breastfeeding saga-bah!)

I can't believe our boy has been with us an entire month! He is such a blessing in our lives. Being a mom is wonderful and hard and I feel so privileged to be here!

So here is our little monkey at one month. We couldn't be happier with him!

9 comments:

juju said...

i'm so glad he's here! and that picture is killing me. i want to hold that lil' monkey this minute!

Maren said...

Wow he looks wide awake in this picture! Has it been a month already? I guess so. I'm glad you had such a positive labor experience.

Heidi said...

Wow Jenny, you make it sound so ...... do-able!! That's wonderful that you were so positive throughout everything, what a trooper! And your birthing center looks awesome! Thanks for sharing your "story", I loved reading it!

Whit said...

Great telling of the birth story :) He's so wonderful, I love seeing him and his pictures. Its so exciting you guys have a little boy, how lucky :) Love you guys

Brittany said...

Jenny... I love your story. I'm teary eyed reading about your experience. I love being a mom so much and I'm so happy you guys are experience parenthood. We can't wait to meet him in real life. Congratulations again!

Emma said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. My husband and I have recently started trying for a baby and I'm really excited but definitely nervous about the actual birth, so to read such a positive experience was really lovely. Congratulations on your gorgeous boy! x

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

This made me tear up a little! So sweet. I want a birth story just like it someday. My friend has asked me to be her coach through the process and this helped a lot.

Mrs. Olsen said...

Beautiful birth story. I am amazed that you're labor was so short as a first-time mom. Shopping while dilated to a 6?! absolutely mind-numbingly crazy.

Congrats again!

Adrienne said...

Jenny, wow, that is an amazing story! Congrats again! I'll have to ask you who you used as a midwife - she sounds incredible! Not that we are quite ready for that adventure, but someday. :-) You are quite a woman to have and share that experience! Thank you!