How do you do it? How do you start to write about one of the most empowering times of your life without cheapening it or making it seem cheesy or a fantasy and unattainable to others who will travel the same road? I’m going to try.
In retrospect, I was feeling euphoric that weekend, walking outside was nice, and checking out this lizard that was crossing my path as I went to check the mail alone made me smile in this way that I knew something was up. I wasn’t going to give into it just yet, but subconsciously I knew. On Monday, August 21st, around 2 pm I was in the kitchen making some food for Aiden and myself, I felt a gush of fluid. Luckily I had on a cloth pad as I usually do because of a bought with incontinence. I went to the bathroom and peed, came back washed my hands, prepped the food some more and it happened again.
What up with this I was thinking. I just kept going about my day, feeling a little crampy, nothing of note. I had already set myself up to have another 46 hour labor like I did with Aiden, so I knew that if this was indeed it, that I would have to eat and rest and not tell anyone what’s going on because I did not want anyone looking at the clock. So I just went about my afternoon, hanging out with Aiden and changing my pads. Thank goodness for my cloth pads, they rocked. The afternoon wore on and the contractions actually started picking up a bit.
I called poppy and talked to her for a little while before I called my midwife to let her know what I was thinking. I called Jill and let her know what was up up, but not to get her hopes up. I was really concerned that my tub was still not here. The other midwife Nikole was supposed to del it the next day at our regular appt. I just wanted to get it there now, I felt somehow that I would feel better and progress faster if the tub was there. I had no idea how true that was.
I let Shawn know what was going on since he had the day off and all, he wasn’t instantly excited about the prospect of labor, but then again I wasn’t really either. Especially with the history that I have with long ones. But we pressed on. We got the futon and the bed ready with plastic sheets and got the towels out and whatnot, just prepping. I did some more cleaning and whatnot…I took Aiden to the market and bought some food that I felt like eating at the time. Chicken friend steak? Really for a woman in labor. The store was pretty neat because I knew I was walking around being in labor and no one really knew. I was cool. Nothing else exciting happened that Monday. Went to bed, contracted on and off all night long, though I did get a lot of sleep. I would wake up into a contraction and just tell myself, open open open and breath through it. I knew this was going to be long and I was alright with it.
I sent Shawn to work on Tuesday, he thought about staying home but I didn’t want him watching me all day. I tried cleaning, resting, talking on the phone a lot to poppy and other friends, trying to be as calm as I could be with Aiden, he knew something was up and was very high energy and needy. I kept eating and drinking, stopping to deal with contractions that sometimes made me lose my breath. I was dealing, but I knew I wasn’t progressing fast but that was ok. I honestly got bored and wanted labor to pick up. I got a call from the midwives and Nikole was coming to bring the tub around 2pm….I called Shawn around noon and asked him to come home. I felt like I needed him here, and we needed to move the table for the tub. Nikole talked to me about taking some homeopathic crap to ’get my labor going’ which I was not going to do. I didn’t want to take/do anything unnatural to this labor. Nipple stimulation, fine, spicy food, fine, kissing, walking, squatting great. But nothing extra.
I talked to Jill again later that day and she was going to come by at 4:45 to listen to the baby’s heartbeat and just see how I was doing, she too talked about augmenting the labor and the risk of infection. I know that as long as I’m not putting anything up in my vagina, I’m going to be alright. She stated that she would fully support any decision that I made and she had to just give me the information. Which is true, an educated decision is much better than a stubborn ’i want my own way’ one. Jill suggested that I take some echinacea and 1000mg of vit c to help prevent infection. Fine with me. I’ve taken all that before and it wasn’t a big deal.
Shawn came home and it was so nice to have him here. We cleaned up some more and were waiting for Nikole. We wanted to take a long long walk and do some curb walking too, which our birth instructor said is great for moving baby around and getting labor progressing nicely. Curb walking is walking with one foot in the gutter and one on the sidewalk. It looks funny, feels weird but I know it helps. Nikole calls at about 330 and says she’s running late, (no shit?) and that it will be another hour and a half or so. We decide that we’re just going to go for our walk and get out of the house, and she’ll call when she gets closer. My mom also called and wanted to stop by, at this time, she didn’t know what was going on and I wasn’t sure if we were going to tell her just yet. She was going to bring by some papaya, some vit c and the ech.
So we walk and walk and walk, over to the park. Talking about weather or not we’re going to tell my mom if I am in labor, talking baby names, chit chat. I’m not having any serious contractions, nothing to make me stop, so I’m thinking that I’m just chilling out. We get to the park and we’re talking about names and we ask Aiden:
Aiden what should the baby be named?
(he pauses seriously thinking for a second)
No really he said that. We laughed so hard that I had a contraction right then and there. HA. We get the call from my mom that she’s on her way, so we started heading back. We’re on the sidewalk when all of a sudden I feel a HUGE gush of fluid. You know how women are always worried that their water will break in public oh noes, yah well it happened to me. Just a huge gush of fluid and my cloth pad caught almost all of it. We get back to the house and I went ahead and told my mom what was happening, and asked if she could please come and get Aiden if I needed her to in the middle of the night. She was happy to do so. She leaves.
Nikole calls again and her car has broken down, and she’d like to know if Shawn can meet her at the service station to get the tub. Just then, Jill shows up and we have our talk about antibiotics and augmentation and whatnot. I tell her I really don’t want to do anything at this point, she listens and understands. She wants to do a Clindamycin dose every 8 hours for as long as I am in labor. This is also because I didn’t take a GBS test so she doesn’t know whats up with that. She’s not worried she just wants to be sure. She said that she knew this baby was fine and she trusted in my body to do what it needed to do. I agreed. I asked her to come back around 9ish and we’d talk again and see if I progressed any. She listened to the baby who had some great acceleration’s during my contractions, he sounded wonderful she said. She was kind enough to bring a doppler with headphones so I didn’t have to hear that canned heartbeat sound.
Jill calls Nikole to see what is going on and she tells Jill that she got a ride and is on her way to my house at that moment to set up the tub. Nikole shows up, sets up the tub and leaves. I get in the shower, and nice hot one, and let the water hit my back where I was having a lot of pain. Another concern of mine was that this baby was post. like Aiden was, and that labor was forever. I didn’t want that to happen again. =\ I did some nipple stimulation and had some kick ass contractions in the shower. I was moaning and it was really powerful.
I got out of the shower, dressed, and laid down with Aiden, this was probably around 730ish. I had another awesome contraction while laying down with Aiden. He fell asleep and that was the last I would see of him for the night. Shawn heated me up some miso soup that I had made. It was so amazing and good. Gave me energy again. I was laboring well. It felt good. I just had on my sports bra and I leaned on my ball and Shawn put pressure on my back, pressed my hips together and I feel like that helped move the baby down a little. He kept telling me I was doing a great job and to keep it up. He said I was strong and soon we’d have our baby in our arms.
The lights were low, the music was on and it was just the two of us. Shawn was really great about getting up and coming to me when I started a contraction. I felt like I was actually making progress. I had made up in my mind at that time that I would go ahead and let Jill give me the anti-bs. Not because she wanted to but I wanted to stay the hell home. This way, I would be able to stay home for another four days if my labor was going to take that long. I would also be able to get checked out for my own peace of mind and know how much longer I would have to go. I was at peace with my decision. The contractions were long and close together but not as painful as the ones I had with Aiden which had breaks, but were stronger because of the pitocin. I was handling it really well. But they were GOOD and STRONG.
Jill showed up around 945ish, walks in the door, sees the scene and says ’this is great!’ She knew from all her years of experience that I was moving along. She asks if she can check my dilation because if I am moving along, then we’ll just skip the anti-bs all together. She checks me and says I’m 4-5cm and very stretchy, that she could stretch me to 7. I was so happy to hear that. No anti-bs. She starts setting up and I just keep laboring. This is 10pm.
I am ROCKING with contractions. They are hard and I’m feeling a lot of pressure on my perineum. I’m walking around the house, leaning on the ball, which is on the futon, so I just stand behind it and lean on it. Standing was the best thing ever, it was so hard to do, but I KNEW I had to do it to get this baby to come. They really aren’t letting up, but it’s not like I am feeling out of control either while having them. I’m telling the baby that its ok to come out, and we’re all waiting for them. We have a cute shirt for them to wear. haha. Just positive energy and thoughts going to this baby to come out and positive thoughts to my body to open up. Just ooooooppppppeeeeeeennnnnnnn.
Jill calls the other midwife Mary, who I had not met before to come now. I joke with her that the first time I’m going to be meeting Mary, I’ll be half naked writhing around in pain on my futon. We all had a good laugh at that one. I’m still feeling some amazing contractions, and Mary shows up in the middle of one of them. Shawn comes over to rub my back some more and I look up at Jill and say ’I can’t do this any more and don’t tell me I’m in transition’. She laughs, Mary laughs too, and they both say, ’yes you are!’ It’s 10:45pm.
I laugh at them and say ya right. Another contraction hits, it’s good. Jill just says to go with the flow, where ever I want to be just be, if I want to squat, then do so. I just held on to the chair in the living room and braced myself for the contractions. Jill checks me again and I’m fully dilated to 10cm. No really. I couldn’t believe it myself. No one could. Well Jill and Mary could because they’ve been doing this for so long.
I said I want to get in the tub. Then another one hits, and I just stand there. I said it again, and it was really my only time to do it and Mary says to me, ok Noel get in the tub. I walk over get down on my hands and knees into the nice warm water. It wasn’t as much relief as I thought it would be at that far in labor, but I knew I wanted to be there to protect my perineum. Shawn was at my side, giving me encouragement all the way. Holding my hand and keeping me focused on low grunts.
I tried to sit on my butt and that was just not fun, so I got up on my knees again and held on to the side of the tub. Jill told me to reach down and feel for my baby’s head. I was scared. I didn’t want to, but I did. I could feel Mary’s hands on my perineum and I said, “Mary that doesn’t feel good!’ Which is funny at that time, I laughed even. That brought on another good contraction.
I reached down with my right hand and inserted a finger and couldn’t feel the baby’s head. I brought my hand out again, and just held Shawn hand with my left. I was really rocking and grunting and yelling. I was surprised that I didn’t wake Aiden.
I had another urge to push, I felt it deep inside me, Jill told me to feel again, and this time I could feel the head. It gave me so much encouragement. I told Shawn ’I feel the head! I feel the head!!’ He was so happy, I think that he was still in shock that I was already pushing.
I kept my right hand on my vagina and felt my baby’s head coming out. Shawn just held my left hand and rubbed my back giving me encouragement the whole time. Jill was saying encouraging words, and Mary was too.
I just let my body do the work. Mary and Jill were saying push, but it’s not like I was pushing when they told me to, my body pushed when it wanted to. I did however grunt and blow when Jill and Mary said to. I knew that they were there to help me keep my perineum intact. That was my goal as well and was happy to take blow grunt orders.
I felt my baby’s head crown into my hand. It was the ring of fire, but not as BAD as I thought it would be. I was scared. Terrified of this awesome power that I had within me. Birth is so insanely amazing, and to feel this power for the first time was unbelievable. I let someone else take my power with Aiden’s birth, and this time I was feeling it full force with my everything.
With one little grunt my baby’s head was born, I felt his head outside of my body. Its like nothing I can put into words. Then I pushed every so slightly, really a grunt again and his whole body slipped out, I felt his shoulders, then his stomach, then his hips, knees and finally his little feet leave my body. The midwives, handed him to me through my legs and I sat back and pulled him up out of the water.
He screamed at me, and pinked up I watched him pink up before my eyes. Jill and Mary just stood back and let Shawn and I enjoy the moment. It was amazing. Shawn was crying and saying ’I knew you could do it Noel!’ He was beautiful, and I was so in awe of the power that I felt. I just sat in the water admiring my baby, kissing Shawn and the baby. I fingered the umbilical cord, it was so cool feeling. I touched my baby’s head, his body, kept him in the warm water. Then I said, lets take a look! I looked between his legs and made the call….it’s a boy! Shawn was so happy!
I then wanted to get out of the tub, I was very ready. Shawn helped me stand up, and Jill helped me over the tub wall, and put a blanket on the baby, and a hat on his head. We walked over to the futon where chux pads were laid out and I got to RECLINE ON MY BACK! You have no idea how long I had been waiting to do that, well….9 months I’d say. Haha. It felt so good to have Shawn next to me, and my baby all wet and warm on my chest, reclining on the futon. I was handed a chocolate dipped strawberry, which is what I had been waiting for after birth my whole pregnancy. Shawn passed them around to our midwives as well, they both said it was the best they’d ever had.
Just then I head the familiar cry of another little one, and out came Aiden from the bedroom. He was a little startled at first with a new person in the house, Mary, not the his brother. So it took a little coaxing to get him out in the living room. He climbed on the futon with me and just looked at his little brother. He was in shock too and smiling and amazed. I laid there for a little while and then felt the pain of a contraction again. I birthed the placenta and it was lovely. I felt whole, it was placed in a bowl next to me and it got to chill out on the futon with us for a while.
Baby was making sounds and Aiden thought it was really cool. I made a couple calls to friends and my mom to let them know our little one was here. Jill assessed me and thought that I had a small tear that would require two stitches. I was not in the mood for stitches, so I asked her to check again. I handed our son off to Shawn and let Jill and Mary take a look. They both informed me that I could have stitches if I wanted to, or I could let it heal naturally, meaning lots of sitz baths and keeping my knees together for the next week or so. I opted to be a hairy arm pit hippy and forgo the stitches. *Crunch*
I got up and went to the bathroom and put on my cool mesh underwear and a sposie pad, man that thing sucked. I got into bed with a little help and Jill did the newborn exam right on the bed with Shawn and Aiden right there with us. No nurses bothering us, no hospital lights, no poking, sticking, drawing of blood, nothing. She just ran her hands along his body and checked him out. She dressed him in his cool hand dyed shirt and cloth diaper, remarking to Mary that it was so nice to be putting a newborn in cloth and not a sposie. I beamed. My little one was all decked out and ready to settle down for the night. I too was feeling tired.
Shawn brought us some peanut butter toast which was so good, and I had a big glass of water. The midwives left, and I feel alseep with my boys, in my own bed, in my own home, with no beeping, blinking lights, or thoughts of a nurse coming to take my freaking blood pressure in a half hour.
I have a lot of friends on the Internet, women that I will probably never meet in real life, but I feel like I have a connection to them through our words. Words have always been a powerful medium to me for many years. The phone calls, emails and journal entries that I’ve received and read over the past nine months, if not longer have helped me have the birth I had. I did this in honor of the women who have taught me through their own births, words, links, phone calls, what birth is about. I birth in honor of Tina, Jenne, Shanna, Lorrie, Morgan, Poppy, and all the women I call friends. I birthed in honor of you guys, because I know you were with me on this journey. I know you thought of me, prayed for me, sent good thoughts my way. You kept me strong. I know it. We all did this together. And when/if you ever have babies again, know that I too will be sending love, and strength your way as you all have done for me. I believe in you like you believed in me to birth this baby.
I feel whole today. I feel like a complete woman. I feel powerful. I want every woman to not be afraid of birth and the power of birth. We all posses it and we should guard it with our lives. It is so important
Things have been great so far. Aiden is getting along with his brother well. Baby, we’ve called him everything from Roco, to Gangus, is nursing like a champion. He knows how to latch on perfectly. I feel confident about my colostrum and my breasts and my body to provide the nourishment my child needs until my milk comes in which should be like Friday-ish.
Aiden has asked to nurse a couple times as well and I’ve let him, though he really doesn’t nurse, he just puts his mouth on the nipple and sits there, smiling, feeling loved and close to his mama and little brother. Aiden loves to hold his brother too.
Maybe today Roco will get a nice soft cloth bath. He’s been sleeping well, eating well…throwing up, pooping, just all around being a great baby.
I feel fan-freaking-tastic. Not all emo and lame like I did after Aiden’s birth. I feel confident, happy, healthy, aware. It’s fucking amazing I must say. My after pains are intense at times, especially when Roco nurses
Shawn is doing great, he’s home today too, but I think he’s going to go to work a little later when my mom gets here. Speaking of mom, she came over yesterday and make cous cous and tofu salad, yum and cleaned the kitchen. She rocks. Nikole is coming to get the tub today which is great, I’ll be happy to have that big thing out of my house and things somewhat back to normal.
I feel good. I feel really good.
Born 8/22 at 11:17pm
7 pounds 4 ounces
21.5 inches long
13.5 inch head
He has no name yet, but we’ve been calling him Roco. hehe.