There is nothing more rewarding than taking the time out to remember the birth of your child. It is especially poignant when that child has just turned one. My son crawls, pulls up, cries for mommy and loves the ducks. He has more books in his library than I do, and he gives the best kisses and hugs. It’s sometimes hard to remember before he was here. That time when my belly was at capacity and my due date came and went (if only by a day).
From the beginning I planned to have a natural birth. I worked hard to convince myself that my body was, in fact, perfectly capable of handling labor and delivery. I wasn’t looking forward to birthing in a hospital, but after many birth classes there with an amazing nurse, my fears were mostly put aside.
My water broke the morning of April 17th 2011. It was 11am. My boyfriend (and baby daddy Adam) was about to leave for work. I sat up in bed and heard a pop. I had no idea what it was, but felt no pain. Unconcerned, I got up to say goodbye. That’s when the giant gush of water ran down my legs into a giant puddle on the floor. Shocked, to say the least, I waddled over to tell Adam what had happened. His response was “are you sure?” Then, another gush of water hit the floor. Yes, I was sure.
Since I had prepared myself for a natural birth I followed the number 1 rule: stay out of the hospital as long as you can. So, our first step was to get out of the house for a walk in the park. It was gorgeous out, only slightly chilly, and a little damp from the rain the day before, but clear, and sunny. After a nice long walk, it was time to head home for lunch (rule number 2? eat eat eat!). That, naturally, stalled my labor, so we went out again, this time to a mall for a smoothie. It was not nearly as peaceful and we left really quickly. More walking. More nature, more pain. Time for dinner. That is when it all REALLY started. My contractions were getting close enough together (5 minutes) and painful enough we thought it was time to leave for the hospital. It was 6pm.
Of course, since my water broke, I was admitted immediately. When they checked my cervix (for the first time ever) I was a “tight” 2cm 30% and at -2. I was completely disappointed and regretted going in as early as I did. C’est la vie, I was there to stay. The contractions began to progress. It was so interesting (now!) the way I naturally showed this progression by the coping mechanisms I used. First starting by just breathing through each contraction, then to moaning through, finally to screaming through each one. I walked, swayed and got in the tub. By the time I got in the tub I started saying “I can’t do this” in between guttural screams. Adam and my nurses were amazing! They kept saying really encouraging things which really helped me focus. My nurse heard me screaming (they stayed away unless I needed them) and came to check me. I was 7cm “paper thin” and at a +1. (I stopped looking at the clock a long time ago) I finally got out of the tub and started really freaking out. (It was at this time I really wished I had taken a bradley method or hypnobirthing class instead of deciding to wing it.) The nurses kept telling me to listen to my body and do what I had to do (which became pushing) they checked again and said I might be swelling and needed to stop letting myself push, I screamed at them I couldn’t and they left the room. I am not sure if they left me because I yelled or to get the doctor but I didn’t care in the slightest. When they came back I was really bearing down and when they checked one last time, I was complete and officially delivering.
What I find funny, is that I closed my eyes the entire delivery. I didn’t even know the doctors were there. I only heard my one nurse (who really wasn’t even my nurse and acted more like a doula) and Adam. I held my own legs (I felt more comfortable on my back which shocked me) but I held them up crossed pretzel style (I have never taken yoga but imagine sitting saying “Ohm” keeping your legs crossed on top of each other but on your back) This apparently opened me up really well. (Thank you instincts) I have no clue how long delivery took (I don’t know how any woman knows this unless someone else tells you. I was completely focused on the act of having a child!) It didn’t feel like very long (Sorry, but I have to admit… the ring of fire? it’s real)
My “little” man was born at 3:55am on April 18th 2011. He was 9lbs 9oz and 21 inches long. He also had a 14.5cm head. (ring of fire…. explained.) I had one area that needed stitches and a couple other tears but nothing serious.After the birth, I refused pitocin. 4 doctors and 2 nurses tried to get me to take some but I told them “we will wait and see” and they said (typical) “By then it could be a real issue” Isn’t that one of the “pros” to having a hospital birth (“they” say)? Doesn’t matter, it wasn’t. I bled minimally and went back to shape more quickly than they all imagined. He was placed in my arms immediately, and as requested, our new family was left undisturbed for over 2 hours. He was weighed and handed back to me. When he received his Vitamin K shot (this saddens me now) and PKU test he was snuggled against me. In fact, he was not put in a diaper for over 12 hours because we wanted him to be held all the time. Surprisingly, (this was unplanned and I am sure against hospital “rules”) we co-slept from the very start. Neither Adam or I could bear the thought of him being alone in any way (this was complicated by his elevated biliruben levels and phototherapy).
A few issues aside (breastfeeding struggles, jaundice and weight loss–his AND mine) those first few days, weeks and months were so rewarding and wonderful. Now, my son is a year old. He still likes to cuddle in my arms like he did seconds after birth. I still protect his health by parenting in the most natural ways I possibly can. He is very happy, healthy and rambunctious. Similar, I think, to those nights he kept me up while tossing about in the womb. Thank you for allowing me to reminisce about a day and night, that changed my life forever.