Saturday, October 8, 2011

Malcolm's Birth

My sweet baby boy was born at home at 8:27 am on September 23, 2011!
I had woken up for 2 or three days feeling very energetic (despite sleeping very poorly)…and I tried very hard not to do anything useful with this energy, hoping it was a sign I would be having the baby soon.  But I was still 2 weeks from my due date, so I assumed that it was a fluke and I would soon go back to feeling exhausted and crabby.  On Thursday night, I went to be early without eating dinner, which was very weird for me, since I had been eating like a starving horse for weeks.  But I just wasn’t hungry.  I lay in bed reading, playing scrabble on my phone, re-reading the last 2 chapters in my Hypnobabies workbook.  I was laying there for hours, not being able to sleep.  I wasn’t having any contractions, other than the strong Braxton-Hicks I had been having for several weeks.  Around 11:30, I started to feel a change in the contractions.  They were coming regularly and starting to feel a little more “real”.  Nothing urgent and nothing painful, just…real.  So I started timing them and was a little surprised to see them coming 5-7 minutes apart.  I tried to get to sleep, but it just wasn’t happening.  I got up to use the bathroom and noticed some spotting.  It wasn’t enough to be called a bloody show, but definitely spotting.  Funny what thrills you when you are nine months pregnant!  I was thrilled to see that little bit of blood!  Maybe this was it!

I got up to walk around and have a few glasses of water to see if that would stop the contractions, but they kept coming.  They were not terribly strong, but definitely regularly.  Around 3:00 am, I sat on the couch in the living room trying to decide if this merited a call to my midwife when I had a really strong, long contraction, as if in answer to my uncertainty.  So I called Mairi to let her know I had been up for a while with fairly regular contractions.  She suggested taking a shower and trying to get back to sleep.  So I took my late-night shower and oh did it feel good, but it didn’t do anything to make the contractions slow their pace.  I tried really hard not to wake up Kevin, figuring this would put me to sleep, but also wanting him to get a good night’s sleep if this actually was it so that at least one of us would be well rested.  I climbed into bed and he said “Are we having a baby?”  So much for not waking him.  I said I didn’t really know, but that we should try to get some sleep.  We both lay in bed for a while, and finally Kevin got up and I rolled over to try to sleep again.  All this time the contractions were staying regularly at around 5-6 minutes and lasting about a minute or so.  At 4:00 am I gave up trying to sleep.  I went downstairs and found Kevin watching TV and he asked if this was it.  I was sort of thinking I was going to have another start-stop-on-and-on-for-days labor like I had with Lucy, but it was feeling pretty progressive at this point, so I said “I think maybe yes…”  At this point, I could still talk through contractions, but I had to stand up and lean over the couch or stairs or something to work through them, so I knew they were getting stronger.  I had stopped timing them, so I didn’t know if they were getting closer together or not.  

So for the next hour and 45 minutes, we set up all the things that we should have had ready before I went into labor.  We dragged the birth pool and supplies up from the storage closet.  We dug out the electric air pump, the pool liner, the thermometer, towels, shower curtains.  We tried to figure out how to turn on the electric air pump without waking up Lucy 2 hours early.  We ended up plugging the pump in out on the deck and attempting to keep the pump outside and the pool inside, hopefully making it quieter, but in actuality, we were just allowing dozens of mosquitoes to pour into the house (this we didn’t discover until later in the day when we all ended up covered in red bumps).  Of course, all efforts to remain quiet were thwarted by the fact that every 4 minutes or so, I had to drop what I was doing without ceremony and get on all fours to work through another contraction.  After literally tossing the air pump across the room as another contraction started, I decided that it was time to call Mairi again.  So at 4:45, I called Mairi and told her I never got back to sleep and the contractions were now strong enough not to talk through.  She called Kat (the student midwife who would also be attending the birth) and they were on their way.  I was starting to think I wasn’t going to have time to even fill the birth pool at this point.  But I was desperate for the warm water, so I went ahead anyway, as Kevin laid out the shower curtain and towels on the couch, lit some candles and got snacks out for the descending hordes.  I started filling the pool, and called my dad to let them know that if they wanted to be at the birth, they should get on their way as soon as possible.  Apparently my mom was not convinced and repeatedly told my dad this was false labor and they should wait for another phone call before heading out in the middle of the night.  I am so glad they didn’t!  Then I noticed that I hadn’t put the liner in the birth pool.  This wasn’t really an issue…but it sure would make clean-up a lot messier without a liner.  There was already 6 inches of water in the pool, so instead of taking the time to drain it, I just put the liner in over the water and started filling again.  And of course, I accidentally moved the faucet while I worked through a contraction and only noticed when the pool was almost full that it was only 80 degrees.  Never try to do anything requiring any measure of precision when you are in labor.  

Kat and Thaddeus (her 4 month old son) arrived around 5:15 and Mairi arrived a few minutes later.  I sat and chatted with Mairi and Kat between contractions.  I hadn’t gotten to practice my Hypnobabies as much as I intended, so while I was not experiencing a perfectly comfortable birth, it certainly wasn’t mind-numbingly painful.  I sat on the couch and breathed through a contraction, and I remember feeling like the earth was opening up and pulling me down.  I literally felt as though I was sinking down further into the earth with every contraction.  Mairi said that was Gaia reaching up and embracing me.  What a lovely image to get me through each increasingly challenging contraction.  We finally got the pool hot enough and I jumped in and stayed there for the next three hours.  I dozed between waves of increasing pressure, trying to remember my relaxation cues.  I read a quote recently that said “birth is involuntary; you just have to allow it to happen”.  It was so much easier – and much more effective - to just let all my tension go and relax into the pressure than to tense up and fight it.  

Lucy woke up sometime before 6:00 am and came down to see what all the commotion was.  She was so incredibly sweet the whole time.  She brought me water and kissed me and patted my head and said “Feel better, Mama” and asked me what was happening.  We had watched a lot of birth videos in preparation for her being at the birth, so I told I was just working hard to get our baby out, like the moms in the videos we watched.  She seemed to understand and was perfectly at ease and really happy to be helping Mama to have the baby.  Eventually, though, she wanted to get in the pool and when she wasn’t allowed to do that, she got bored and restless so Kevin took her to get dressed and play downstairs.  I kept looking at the clock, knowing my parents were on the way and wondering when they would get there.  I wanted Kevin with me, and I didn’t know what we were going to do with Lucy if this lasted all day, which I was fully expecting.  I remember noticing that the sun was rising, seeing that it was 7:30 am, and thinking “30 minutes and my parents will be here to help…”

I heard ELMO’S WORLD starting on the DVD player, and then I heard my parents coming in the front door.  30 minutes had passed in what seemed like an instant.  I had been having pushy contractions on and off for a while.  There were super intense, 90 second or more, this-baby-is-coming-now contractions interspersed with gentler (relatively, anyway), calmer pressure waves.  I was grateful for this unexpected pattern, since it gave me a chance to rest and gather my strength, even though there was never a full break between contractions.  My dad and mom were talking loudly as a particularly long, strong wave hit me, and I remember having my one, less-than-zen moment of labor when I shouted at the top of my lungs “PLEASE STOP TALKING!”  Actually, I might have shouted “PLEASE SHUT UP!”…you’d have to ask my parents.  And I am sure I had more than one less-than-zen moment, I just don’t recall themJ  At one point, after breathing my way through another pushy contraction, I opened my eyes to see that Kat had put Thaddeus in the bumbo right next to the birth pool.  He was smiling and cooing like he was cheering me on.  It was such a delightful, unexpected surprise to see his sweet little face smiling at me – it reminded me what all this was for!  

A few minutes after my parents came, my water broke (according to my labor summary report, this was at 8:09 am).  Clear water, lots of vernix, all is well!  I don’t know how many times I pushed, or how many contractions I had after my water broke.  I don’t remember having a conscious urge to push.  Each pushing contraction did all the work for me.  I tried just to let my body go limp and allow my uterus to do the work for me.  I honestly don’t know how anyone could do anything BUT allow the process to unfold – it was so completely out of my control.  I couldn’t control what sounds were coming out of my mouth, I couldn’t control how my body was moving, and I certainly couldn’t control what was happening in my womb.  The impression I have from the last few contractions was of me, hanging over the side of the pool, body getting jerked downwards and arms flailing about as if I were being mauled by a shark or rolled by a crocodile or something.  Kevin assures me this isn’t what happened, but that is the picture I have in my mind.  These contractions felt like there was a very strong someone pulling downward on a rope tied around my solar plexus on the inside.  On Kat and Mairi’s suggestion, I checked myself and found the baby’s head was less than an inch away from crowning!  Soon, soon, soon!

I had torn pretty badly with Lucy, and really didn’t want to do that again, so as I felt the baby crowning, I covered his head with my hand and applied a lot of pressure where I felt the most stinging and pulling.  Then suddenly, his head was out!  Kat urged me to push again, without a contraction, to get the rest of him out; I guess there is only so long you want a baby’s head underwater before there is a possibility of him trying to take his first breath underwater – which isn’t a great idea.  I gave some pretty hard pushes, but he was not moving anywhere.  I still had my hand on his head, and I could feel him wriggling and turning, helping himself to be born.  This was absolutely the most amazing thing I have ever experienced.  My sweet baby and I had been working together this whole time so I could finally hold him in my arms.  Mairi thought his shoulder was a little sticky (not quite stuck, per say, but not in a hurry to come out), so Kat gently helped the shoulder out while I waited for the next contraction.  Ouch.  One more wave, one more push, and Malcolm swam out into my hands.  I pulled him to my chest and sat back, giddy and laughing and crying all at the same time.

At Malcolm’s huge first cry, I saw someone ushering Lucy up to meet her new baby brother (I have no idea who it was, who was actually there when he was born, or what might have been happening outside the little circle of me, the baby and Kat).  She stopped at Thaddeus and patted him on the head  – she might have thought he was the new baby - and came over to me and the baby.  She put her little hand on his tiny head.  It was so wonderfully, deliciously sweet to have my husband and my baby girl a breath away as we all met our baby boy together.  

SEPTEMBER 23, 2011
21” LONG

I am glad he didn't stay in for another 2 weeks - he would have been a ten-pounder, easy!  

Later, Kevin told me that Lucy had been downstairs saying “Mama’s making lots of noise.  Like a heffalump!”   

We moved to the couch where Malcolm took to nursing like a pro – I didn’t even need to help him latch on!  When Lucy saw Malcolm nursing, she immediately wanted to nurse as well (had to stake her claim on Mama, I suppose!).  We had our first tandem nursing session ten minutes after Malcolm was born. I credit Lucy with helping to birth the placenta a few minutes later, and for the amazingly small amount of blood I lost. 
Welcome to the world, little boy!

1 comment:

  1. wow, thats beautiful jenny and so honest, thank you :)