October 29, 2011

Sebastien James - A Birth Story

Some folks like reading other people's birth story - I am one of them. I think they are fascinating.  Herein is mine for my second child:

My first born was almost a week early so naturally I expected as much from the second. I was soooo eager not to be pregnant anymore.  Despite the fact that during my first pregnancy we completely gutted our home and embarked on a major remodel whilst living in our westfalia camper and in our friend’s guestroom, this pregnancy felt, well, more tiresome. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t thrive in this pregnancy like I did during the first. I was tired more, my joints ached earlier and it seemed to go on forever. So when the due date came and went, I was beyond impatient. I was doing everything under the sun to get labor started but this kid was in no rush. I wanted to respect that but I just could not – I was too eager to get going, meet my new baby (was it a boy or a girl?!?!) and shelf the yoga pants.

I was a little nervous about labor too. My daughter’s birth had gone smoothly, albeit fast and intense for a first birth. We had her at home, in bed, with no complications what-so-ever. But it had been 2 years and I was secretly afraid that I would forget what to do – not that I knew what to do the first time around! I literally felt nauseated every time I thought about it. I had to do THAT again?!!? Am I crazy?!

The day after I was due, I went to my acupuncturist and had her hit all the points you want to hit when you want to go into labor NOW. She seemed highly confident that I would not be seeing her again the next day and I hoped she was right. The next morning revealed nothing. I went to see my midwife to strip the membranes. I was only 4 cm still but she too seemed highly confident that this would surely get things going. I went home only slightly hopeful.

It was eleven AM or so by the time I got home from my midwife appointment and by 2PM I was starting to feel heavier contractions. This was IT! My husband ran around the house – filling up the birth tub, preparing the bed, getting all the supplies in order, doing the dishes. He gets real antsy and useful when he’s nervous.

The midwife and her two assistants showed up around 3PM when I was just slipping into the tub. Ahhhhh…the magic of a warm birthing tub. I could talk again! I could smile and joke around! But then…I was talking and smiling and joking too much. The contractions started slowing down again! Oh geez, you have GOT to be kidding me. This kid would just NOT get the hint. So we decided to break my water – it would happen eventually and my midwife knew I was beyond ready, so here we go. Water breaks, HARD contractions start almost immediately and wham bam thank you Ma’am, I am at 10 cm. Ok, let me rephrase that. That sounded too easy. That transition was BRUTAL. B.R.U.T.A.L. Within 45 minutes I went from 4 cm to 10cm – go measure that. No, really. Go measure that and try really hard to fathom making your body change that much that fast. It was unreal. Twenty minutes into it, I really thought that I might pass out. All I wanted to do was curl up in a little ball and make the pain stop. Everyone please just leave and pretend this never happened. Just make it go away. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs and run for the hills. The assistants were awesome at coaxing me into a methodic humming/groan when my contractions came on (which seemed endless) which really did help a million. But still, stop talking. Stop touching me. I need water. No, I need a straw. How long has it been? I’m tired. I’m thirsty again. No, really, stop talking.

This was way more intense than my first birth. I remember trying to cry as we stepped out of the tub and onto the bed, but I was so exhausted I couldn’t even muster up some measly tears. Then I felt the urge to push. Yesssssss. I knew this would be over soon. My first birth I pushed for 90 minutes so I knew it had to be somewhere under that. Suddenly, everything became clear. My strength came back tenfold and I got a little break from the contractions. This break was HEAVENLY. It was probably 15 seconds but it seemed like minutes upon minutes of luxurious pain-free relaxation. And then the push. I felt so totally in control of the pushing this time around. I felt as though I was directing it, not the other way around. I felt so POWERFUL. So, yeah: one, two, three pushes and whooooooosh. DONE.

He howled a mighty cry and he was all mine. HE. He? I had expected a girl so it took me a few seconds to register (funnily enough, I had expected a boy the first time and had a girl) but he was HERE. In my arms. Sucking away and happy as could be.

That moment when your messy and gooey baby is pressed up against your chest, clawing its way to some familiarity…it is truly like nothing else on this earth. You have just worked your body the hardest it will ever be worked (let’s hope) and there is this intense surge of love that is so overwhelming it comes off as shock. And I suppose it IS shock – you made it, you did it and here is this perfect little creature that has been living inside you for 10 months. Then they take the baby to make sure all is well and you lie there in utter awe. It’s relief, it’s love, it’s pride…it’s pure bliss. You look around and you think, wow, I am the most amazing creature in the world. Then your baby is back on your boob, sucking away and the overwhelming love encompasses you again. And your life is never the same.

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