Three weeks ago I still had a few points, three weeks ago I was so cool, I was about to give birth and was in such denial that it was ever gonna happen I had given up on the idea and was searching the want ads for a part time job. But those around me love to point out, I was right on schedule and falling into my personal end of pregnancy patterns. Mr. LbF and I even got into "heated marital discussion" which ended in him saying "You must be getting close because you always seem to piss me off right at the end". Thanks again darling for that wonderful prediction! But how right he was.. I had an appt with our wonderful Midwife here at the house at around 1pm. She looked me over head to toe and concluded, as we were suspecting, our bun in the oven was very high and other then enthusiasm I was not showing signs of labor. So she reached deep in her bag of tricks and gave me a homeopathic pellets to place under my tongue. We discussed more "in the event of" details and she promised to come by later that night to dose me up again with her homeopathic pellets. Somewhat disappointed at her concluding what I was already thinking, we moved on with our day. Kids came home from school, homework, dinner, kids to church. My neighbor invited me for a brisk walk around the block to encourage the few contractions I was having. I was glad for the distraction and even tried walking on and off the curb. Sure I would hurt myself I stopped. By 6 pm I had been contracting on and off most of afternoon however this was nothing new. For the past 3 days I had done the same thing only to go to bed still pregnant. At 7 pm Midwife stopped by and left a contraption she called a birthing chair, dosed me up with homeopathic pellets and said to call anytime. Oh and she did say she thought it would go into labor soon but not tonight. Mixed messages on her part as far as I am concerned.
By 8 pm Mr. LbF said I needed to think of something else so we both drove to pick up kids from church. I only had one small panic attack on the way and texted Midwife asking what we would do if I was still pregnant by the weekend. I had to pause every few text to breath through a contraction.
Hubby got kids in bed and we settled on sofa to watch TV. I could not concentrate past contractions so we went to lay down. By 10 pm I began to pace the house. I had myself so convinced it was going to just fad away that when Mr. LbF asked me to tell him when he needed to start calling folks I laughed and assured him it would stop any minute. At 1 am I figured it might be good to have the tub set up and at the very least it would be ready for whenever I really was in labor.... Soon after that I let the man make some calls...
Midwife came blowing through the front door in such a hurry she almost went right passed me standing in the kitchen. This point of it I was having a hard time staying on top of the contractions and needed to really focus to remain relaxed. The stage in our home my husband set for me was so nice. There were lit candles in every room, soft music, and a rumbling fireplace on his computer screen. He had done everything I had talked about.
I got into the tub and it became very clear that keeping the water hot was gonna be a chore. In full labor I hung half in and half out of the birth tub, rocking with the water to ease the discomfort. Mr. LbF became a one man bucket brigade and was making what ended up being 100x trip from the kitchen stove to the tub in our bedroom carrying stock pots of hot water. I knew he was near when my buns warmed behind me, so I would call out words of gratitude. When the tub was warm enough for the time being he would sit by my tub and kiss my forehead.
The Doula showed up out of midair. I had been out of the tub for a while pacing and meeting up every so often to hold on for dear life to my supportive husband, who would hold me up and whisper encouraging things. I looked up and Doula was sitting on the sofa in my bedroom. Labor really can be a vortex.
My biggest fears while in labor have always been the same. This labor was no different. I worry that it is all just one big joke and that labor will stop. I will not only have to do it all over again another day but that all the work my body has already done will be in vain. I will have to start back at the beginning. Kind of like when you die in a video game and instead of using a new life and starting from where you fell off the cliff or touched the ghost, the game kicks you back to the beginning. My second greatest fear is that when it comes time to push I will be so worn out I will not have the strength to get the job done.
My support group assured me that this was only fear talking, I was indeed in full blown labor and when I reached the end of this video game I would find a gold coin and power up! Or something like that.
The definition of the word transition is: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. When in labor transition refers to moving from the laboring to the delivering. The definition when used for this can be changed to: when the women in labor starts to really lose it, by ie speaking in tongues, cussing at innocent by standers, and/or making primate noises with nostrils flaring. When I am in transition, I am a textbook example of all of the above! It was about this point I huffed and puffed my buck naked self through my dining room stopped in the kitchen and buckled to the floor, unable to keep my cool or stay on top of the contraction. Mr. LbF left my side and ran to the stairs to intersect our daughter Moe who was calling from the landing. Midwife had brought me a dining chair and I was on my knees leaning on the seat. Then my water broke and out came that gold coin. Mr. LbF reappeared as Midwife looked me right in the eye and said "You need to be in the tub now, get up and get back in the tub." Part of me wanted to tell her where to put her tub, but instead I took a deep breath and stood up and huffed my way back into the bedroom. Mr. LbF said something about going to get Moe something and I looked at him through bloodshot eyes and in the deepest monster voice you can imagine burst out "STAAY". Midwife instructed me to squat on my feet and lock arms with Doula. I could feel the daunting pressure building inside my tired body and knew that one of two things was about to happen. One: I was gonna dig deep and tap into all that makes me a women, calling on every women in my genes that has done this before me, calling on Eve to give me strength. Or two: I was gonna die, right there, in a blue blow-up pool, naked. In a split second I decided I was not going to go out like that, I needed to live and to fight. I rocked back onto my heals and planted them firm. I closed my eyes and bared down as hard as I could stopping to breath I gritted my teeth and pushed again. I could feel that amazing burning that is perfectly named the ring of fire and I was filled with a confidant wave of deja vu. I had been here before and knew this pain well. I also knew what was on the other side of that ring. One more push and there it was, that massive release. Midwife said "there he is Dad, grab him, reach in and grab him" Mr. LbF bent over the side and reached down into the water. He brought up above the waterline a squirmy tiny pink body and placed him right in my arms. I grasped him into my chest and sat back against the wall of the tub. He made a little squeak as Midwife wiped his wet face and I gazed down into the eyes of my son. His little jaw quivered. Full of emotion all I could manage to say was "hi there".
I looked up to my amazing husband and thanked him. Then said "go get the girls". He rushed out and returned with 3 tired yet very excited little girls. Each one gathered as close as they could and became soft with their words and movements. They got to touch the umbilical cord and watched as Dad cut it to "make a belly button". They all looked at their own to see his previous work! Baby was placed on Dads bare chest and he took all his children out to the living room so I could finish my part of the job and get cleaned up. By then I was over being in the tub.
He was born at 5:20 am on the 17th. He weighed 7lbs 8oz and was 19 1/2 in long. All checks were done on the end of our bed and the whole family got to lend a hand. Dad held the scale to weigh him. Larry held the tape to measure him. Curly and Moe helped put on the first diaper and watched as he got his foot inked for the stamp in his file. I may have carried him for the last... forever, but it took just moments for him to belong to all of us.
He latched on to nurse like a pro. In 3 weeks he has put on almost 2 lbs. Nursing takes up the majority of my day so I have had time to sit and gaze into what I am calling an amnionic pool of reflection. I set out to achieve peace in our birthing experience. What I have come away with is peace and so much more. In our home were 2 very experienced confidant women, who trusted me to trust myself. I had my best friend and partner who held me at my weakest points and allowed me to shine at my strongest. He wiped my tears, rubbed my neck, swayed back and forth hour after hour and never once doubted my power. We were wrapped in a blanket of support that was sewn with treads stretching from Germany to California to North Carolina. I could feel my own Mothers spirit cheering us on without even hearing her voice. At one point I laughed out loud through the pain, as the music in the room flooded my ears and it was a song she has sang to me my whole life.
Someone asked me if I would recommend water birth. This was not as easy to answer as I thought it would be. The best I can say is I would only recommend it if the family had a support system like we had. And also as long as the women understood that her cool points are in serious jeopardy.
Now I am pleased to introduce our son that will be known in my blog world as the 4th stooge, Shemp!