Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Business of Being Born


Awesome, amazing documentary by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. I loved it. Watch this video!!! And then go buy it so you can watch it again!
Some nudity and language (they're births, after all).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Samuel's Birth - February 2008

The days leading up to Samuel's birth were stressful and somewhat discouraging to me. I kept having stronger braxton hicks contractions and was on alert, watching and waiting for that right moment when I would know it was "time". I thought I had hours left to go last time... how would I know when we should leave the house for the 35 minute drive to the hospital?

At 39 weeks exactly, I woke in the middle of the night with what I thought could be very early labor contractions. They felt like the ones I had in the beginning of labor with Garrett. On all other occasions, I went to bed with braxton hicks and they went away during the night. This night I went to bed with none and they developed while I slept. I checked my cervix and it had dilated slightly (from maybe 1cm to about 3cm... my best guess anyway). We figured there was a pretty good chance this was it. We didn't want to wait too long at home, after being surprised last time (I didn't want a car birth!). The weather was nasty and it was dark, so we decided to head out.

I felt goofy being there at the hospital but I wasn't sure what else to do. The nurse agreed that it was probably early labor and decided to admit me. Maybe it would have turned into real labor. Sometimes I wonder. They were good, easy, light contractions until the nurse put in the heplock. She had to do it twice and for whatever reason, it really made me queasy. I felt sick and lightheaded. I don't have a needle phobia. That's when I had to start reminding myself why I was there at the hospital, instead of at home, where I wanted to be. That's exactly when contractions stopped dead.

And so I left, feeling foolish and discouraged, with no faith left in my ability to know when I'm really in labor. One time I think I've got hours and hours to go and the baby just drops out, another time I think it's real labor and it's not.... so what was I going to do next time I felt stronger contractions? How long should I wait? I was frustrated not so much with all the "strong braxton hicks" but my own discernment between them and labor. The normal pattern had even been broken.

I had few contractions through Friday and Saturday. There was a small amount of bloody show. I knew we were getting closer at least. When I woke again with mild contractions, I didn't know what to think of it. There was a lower pain as well this time. I tried to ignore it, as usual, but eventually realized I wouldn't be able to sleep. I just sat there until Derek came in to bed. It was about 1am Sunday morning. We talked about how nice it would be if my water just broke and then we'd know!

We sat there just a little bit longer. Then.... THUD. Did you hear that?? Yes, he did. It had come from inside me. We knew the baby wouldn't have made such a noise! I read that some women can actually hear the pop when their water breaks... but I didn't feel any wetness. I figured I'd get up, just in case. I wanted to check the status of my cervix anyway. As soon as I stood up, I felt the warmth of the fluid. Alright, here we go! It really did break beforehand! How awesome! And not even onto the bed. From that moment on, everything switched from slow frustration to anxious hurrying. Suddenly it hurt. Ooohhhh. That water breaking thing isn't fun.

We called Derek's mom and she started getting ready. His dad came over for Garrett. Derek threw our bags back into the van and we got Eliana ready. And we left. Mom and our sister-in-law Letisha were just a few minutes behind us. It was about 1:40am.

Four contractions before we reached the interstate (about 15 minutes). Ohhh, they hurt. Lord, please let us make it. And give me strength if this should take a long time and get alot worse.
More contractions on the highway. Now I could feel the stretching pressure in my cervix. Not time to push but getting there quickly. Lord, PLEASE let us get there. Keep Your hand on his head until we are there!

I was telling every part of my body to relax and be open, except my uterus. Don't let go yet. I couldn't. The baby would have come. I didn't know it consciously... but I still knew it. I didn't think maybe we had to hurry.... I knew it. It was so close.

It was 2:15 when we pulled up to the hospital. They lock the main entrance at night, so we went through the ER. Two or three more contractions just walking in. We had parked close to the entrance.

Not yet. Not yet.

Did I want to walk down the hallway to the elevators up to the 4th floor or sit in a wheelchair? I hesitated... then sat. I was so thankful I did. It was bliss. Almost there.

When we got upstairs, the nurse brought us into a room to see if my water had indeed broken. We went into the bathroom and she did her little swab thing. Yes, it had broken. Well, good, now we both know. She told me to follow her out but I HAD to sit on the toilet. Anyone paying attention would have seen that the baby was quickly working his way out. It was otherwise irrational... no, I have to go to the bathroom NOW. I sat down for just a few moments and realized, no, I didn't have to go to the bathroom, I needed to have a baby. I got up and started heading over to the bed. My mind was barely with me anymore. My baby was coming and I couldn't let it out yet. She said to follow her to a different room. Derek grabbed our stuff. I didn't even know where we went. I just followed quickly. My water was leaking. There's the room. There's the bed. Strip my clothes and throw on a gown for a tiny amount of modesty. I climbed on the bed... and let go.

I relaxed. Everything was okay now. He can come. And we can do it. Let him out. So I did. I kneeled on the bed and began to moan the great sounds of a birthing woman. The nurse wasn't sure what was going on but once she realized the situation and had been assured that we had it all under control, she was fine. There was that wild sensation of a body moving through mine. The ring of fire. And he slurped out onto the bed. I remember his whole body flopping onto the bed. Derek and I quickly scooped up our wet little boy. It was 2:28am. We'd done it.

Awareness returned to me. I looked up and saw Mom and Letisha there. Eliana was to my right, watching from the couch with awe.

No pictures, no videos, no doctor. Just another beautiful birth. Another beautiful baby:) I was in love once again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

And yes...

Samuel was born February 24th:) One of these days I'll write a birth story.... but it went great. He was born 2 hours after I woke up with lighter, maybe-this-could-be-labor contractions. And 10 minutes after we pulled up to the doors of the hospital. It was fun:)
He is a sweet, sleepy little guy who loves to smile and snuggle. He's perfectly snuggly and delightful!

Natural Childbirth of Twins and Triplets!

Friday, February 8, 2008