June 25, 2008
I really was not expecting to have her when I did. I really thought she’d be born the next week but that wasn’t her plan. I woke up at 3 in the morning with cramps and having to pee, and then I realized my mucus plug had come out. I got really excited, but then read the pregnancy book and thought, I’m just in false labor, I should call Christy in the morning to maybe get an appointment that day. So I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t so I put on my kimono and went to the attic to tell Mike what was going on. He was just going to bed at that point so I tried to let him sleep while I walked around the house and felt like I had to pee a lot. I thought about what it would be like to be in labor and sang little songs to her. Then I tried to sleep. I woke up at 6:45 with a powerful urge to pee! I got out of bed and suddenly my water broke all over the floor. I said oh I just pee’d on myself and then realized things were bloody and got so excited and thought I still had to pee! Mike woke up Martina then and we called Christy. What I remember her saying was “Well, take your temperature every 4 hours and call me in a little while”. And I thought You’re not coming for more than 4 hours, I’m not just going to have the baby now? I called Rene then too and left a message, hoping the baby wouldn’t come before she could get here from New York. After that memory things start to get hazy. The contractions were very intense, Martina held my hand and I just needed to focus on her. She would say “open, open” with me to help me get my cervix to open, Mike was filling up the tub and all the things I thought I had wanted for my birth just went away and it was only Martina holding me and talking me through the contractions. She and Mike had been timing them and called Christy when it seemed things were getting more intense for me. I leaned on the edge of the bed for a long time with Martina behind me rocking and saying “open, open, open, down, down, down”. I tried not to screech. I cursed, and after the midwives got there I felt like I shouldn’t curse but I did anyway and it really helped! Christy kept making me drink and eat and I really didn’t want to! I only wanted emergen-C but wasn’t supposed to have too much of that. Before she got there I had thrown up which felt so good but I didn’t want to do it again. I got into the tub thinking all the pain would melt away but it didn’t! I was having trouble getting situated in it, it was too big and it felt like too much to have someone else in there with me so I finally got out and maybe got on the birth ball or maybe the bed. I remember when I was on the ball Pepper (our dog) looking out at me from under the bed so concerned. I remember Rene coming in and I wanted to get up and hug her, I was so glad she was there but I was on the bed and so far into labor, I could just moan and yell and try not to screech. Mike and Martina were on the bed with me and Christy would check the baby’s heartbeat. She checked to see how dilated I was and it hurt so much but she was so nice about it and I remember trying tell her it was ok, I knew it was important. The midwives were really unobtrusive. They were there and helping but really who I remember most was Martina being there for me always and holding my hand and me. When Christy checked me the 2nd time and said I could go ahead and push whenever I wanted I couldn’t believe it! I felt so excited and then thought oh no, she has to be a water birth! I remember saying but I want to get in the tub, can’t I get in the tub? And Karen saying in such a lovely way “you can be wherever you want sweetheart”. I actually didn’t want to get in the tub, it seemed so hard, but I really wanted her to be born in the water! Rene said later that I seemed so much more comfortable in the tub than I had been on the bed. Everyone was around me, it seemed like there were so many people and it was such hard work to push her out, for me it really was so painful the whole thing, and the hardest work I’ve ever done. It felt so good not to have a contraction but also I just wanted her to be out in the world and for it all to be over with. At the end of it, before her head was out but when Christy and Mike said they could see it during one of the relaxing times I remember saying “well, I guess I’m not going to have an orgasm!” I had been reading a lot of Ina May Gatskin. Christy said “I’m writing that down on your birth chart!” And then she was here. Her head came out and I remember looking down and thinking ‘that looks so freaky, I’m not supposed to think that!’ And then her shoulders were out and Christy and Mike handed her to me, all covered in vernix with a full head of hair. And I said “I just love her so much”. Soon everyone helped me out of the tub and onto the bed. Mike and I just looked at her and it all felt so crazy and good. A little while after she was born while she was nursing, she stopped moving and started turning blue. That was so scary, Christy and Karen immediately went into action, rubbing her feet and back and waving oxygen under her nose. Christy told me that I should talk to her and I just didn’t have any idea what to say. I was so scared, it hadn’t even occurred to me that she could just die, she was so little and just on the border of life in this world; but then she was fine. She pinked up and started nursing again and it was like it had never happened. We ended up taking shifts to watch her the first night. Now that night seems so special, waking up to nurse her and talking to my best friends who were holding her through the night while I tried to sleep.
I can’t say enough wonderful things about Christy & Karen. They made my birth experience and post-partum feel really safe. They’re both so knowledgeable, caring, compassionate and fun! I feel so lucky and blessed that they were my midwives.