Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Look Back

Alright, we're home. Now that some time has passed I can tell the birth story

My water broke at 12:33am on Saturday morning. I thought I'd peed again, but when I returned to bed I was still leaking. I waited about a half hour before I peeled the covers away from my husband to wake him up. We hemmed and hawed for another ten minutes about calling the midwife. I smelled the wet spot on my bed and it did not smell like ammonia, which I told the midwife on the phone. She said it sounded like I was in labor. Because I was 36 weeks I could not give birth at the birthing center, so she told me to head for Chestnut Hill Hospital- they'd check me out.

I was so unprepared for a trip to the hospital. My mom (who was in town for the shower with our four year old nephew) was asleep in the living room. I woke her up to say we were leaving for the hospital, and the three of us scrambled around the house getting a bag packed, just in case I would have to stay. My husband and I are laughing the whole time, I'm shaking my head chanting "This is fucking ridiculous!" Even in the car we were in total disbelief.

The CHH midwife on duty took a swab of my vagina to check the fluid, which was indeed amniotic fluid. She told me to get comfy cuz the baby was coming today. Labor started slowly in the car, it felt like I was having menstrual cramps. The labor gradually picked up, and by 5 or 6 AM I was deep in it.

People describe labor as a marathon. I've never run a marathon so I dunno. I'd say it's more like hiking. My labor pains felt like the worst cramps I've ever had. I keep telling my girlfriends that the good news is you never go back to ground zero in labor, so your body does get used to the increasing intensity. When people tell you to rest between contractions, listen to them. The contractions are doing all the work at this point, you just have to ride the wave. How you do that is up to you. I did a lot of humming through contractions- loudly at times. I sat on the birth ball, my husband massaged my back and hips, I puked, I pooped, laid down, fading in and out of consciousness between contractions.

Melecia, the midwife on duty from the Center, came to CHH at 7 am. My doula reached us around 9 or 10. Ladies, find a doula - a good doula. You will need a lot of help in labor and you will need someone there to attend to your every need, even if you can't verbalize it. I was very blessed to have my doula, a very attentive husband, and a midwife who massaged held my hand and rubbed my feet and legs in the room with me. They are the reason I made it through an unmedicated childbirth.

I felt the urge to push around 11 am. Melecia checked me and said I was ready to go! Contractions are one thing, pushing is an experience that I can't even pretend to describe. Pushing is the hardest part, and the only advice I can offer you is to remain calm, do not fight your body, and be patient- the baby comes down, then slides back a little- two steps forward, one step back.

My daughter has a tiny head, but that shit hurt coming out! I asked for drugs but everyone ignored me. I told them I was having a C-section next time as I pushed out her shoulders. Pushing the rest of her out was a great relief, and now she's here, and we love her very much. I told my husband he has to have the next one, cuz I'm not doing this again. Other women who've had children say the amnesia will set in and I'll do it again.

So, I didn't get my water birth. But it was a beautiful experience, and I got to leave work two weeks earlier than expected. Tallulah was fed up with them triflin so-and-sos, and so was I :-)

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