And together we learn

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The birth story

Here's the long version of the birth story.

I had a goal yesterday that I wasn't going to complain at all or cry. I was going to be positive and upbeat and just DEAL with the whole 9 days overdue thing. Steve and I figured that this whole process would come down to the midwife breaking my water, just like it did with the other three. Since we would have to transfer care, by law, at 42 weeks, it seemed like it was worth any risk of complication if we were going to end up at the hospital anyway. So yesterday was my day to be cheerful and just not stress about things.

Then my midwife called and she pretty much flat out refused to break my water, calling it negligent. So I broke the no tears goal as we talked about options and what to do to have this baby. At this point, I'd tried so many things, and was so tired of trying to stimulate my blasted uterus, and I felt like giving up. I contracted regularly, just no labor. Well, the midwife promised me that if I'd try her method of castor oil, then she'd break my water if it didn't work.

Castor oil! The one thing I was so adamant I WOULDN'T do, more than anything else. Tried it with Hazel, thank you very much, and once was enough. Nasty.

But I felt like I was up against this ticking clock, and didn't have many options left. I planted flowers and weeded my garden and cursed the midwife all the while. Andrea, my sister, came with me to buy the needed supplies. There are few people in the world you can purchase castor oil with--she's one of them.

I sent the kids to my mom's, just in case. Did the doses. Cursed life and wished to die a few times there, but we're just going to gloss over the details of this part for a moment!!!

The contractions had been regular, but really wimpy for hours. I started to have guilt that the kids were at my mom's and had her bring them back so they could go to bed here. Steve started to put together the birth pool while I alternated putting the kids to bed and pooping. Around 9:30, the kids weren't asleep and I was thinking that maybe this just might happen, so my longsuffering mother took them home with her again and put them to bed there. Steve and I went to sleep around 11, after I called my mom and apologized that nothing was possibly going to happen, and I'd be pregnant for ever.

Right before bed I took my second dose of castor oil. I had contractions while we slept, but I mostly slept right through them, same as all of them for the last few weeks. I woke up at 1:15, needing to use the bathroom. That's such a euphemism for what actually happens with the nasty stuff, but we'll stick with it. It sounds much more polite. I started having stronger contractions right when I got up, and after 5 minutes of them I called the midwife and my sisters. Normally I would never have called after such a short time, but I was shaking and teeth chattering through even the milder ones, with let me know that this was serious business!

There's an aside to the story that needs to figure in here. Last Sunday it was very difficult to make myself go to church, especially Relief Society (the women's part). Facing the comments was such a dread--it seemed much smarter to stay home and mope. But I knew that that's not the example I want for my kids, so I made the decision to do the hard thing and I went with a heart determined not to be affected by the comments. And it worked--I was genuinely happy and felt nothing but love and support from people. Here's the key part of this tangent. During Relief Society, I was given a gift. A blessing for obedience, almost. We sang a song that struck me with such force. The lyrics are:
I will not doubt, I will not fear,
God's love and strength are always near.
His promised gift helps me to find an inner strength and peace of mind.
I give the Father willingly, my trust, my prayers, humility.
His Spirit guides; his love assures, that fear departs when faith endures.

Not a hymn I was familiar with, but oh, the power of those words on a woman about to surrender to the power of having a baby!

So that hymn became my mantra. I grabbed the hymnbook and paced through the house, reciting the words over and over during each contraction. Steve and my sisters raced to set up the birth pool, and I just read my hymn.

The midwife and doula arrived within minutes of each other, about 1:45. By this point, I was pretty loud through them and deep in the fogs of labor. Jules the midwife started setting things up and called to me to try a kneeling position by the couch. Clutching my hymnbook, I knelt down with my head in Steve's lap and moaned through two big ones. The doula applied counterpressure on my back through one, and Steve did through the other one. At the peaks I was feeling a little pushy, but thought that there was no possible way I could be even close to there. The next second I was pushing--the primal yelling, overpowering, not caring even a whit that I was massively pooping and my pants were still on and not a thing was ready kind of pushing.

Jules displayed some mad midwifery skills here and sprinted in from the other room, throwing plastic in time to catch all of the goo, got my pants off and caught the baby, all in about 2 minutes. Are you getting a sense of the timing here? Wake up at 1:15, deliver at 2:10. Crazy.

The baby was strong and rosy, with apgar's of 8 and 10. When we got him all weighed and measured, he was 8 lbs 8 oz and 20 1/4 in. long, making him my biggest baby by an ounce. They got me all tucked into bed and left Steve and me to marvel over this newest baby.

I can't for the life of me understand why someone would willingly choose unassisted birth. I was THRILLED to relax in bed while they cleaned up the mess. Having a baby is a messy job.

Since everything was so fast, I did end up tearing, which kind of stinks. It's not stitchable, since it's really shallow, but it is long and in an awkward place, so my midwife has ordered me in bed for a week. I feel fabulous except for that, so I'm really not happy about total bedrest, but I guess it's much better to let this heal without infection.

The baby is gorgeous and perfect and he now finally has a name. Samuel Phillip is our sweet little guy, and we are so happy.


4 comment(s):

Fast and furious isn't my favorite either...I'm glad he's here. I'm sorry about the whole midwife thing.


By Blogger Kelly Family, at 5:10 PM  

Oh my goodness that was fast! I guess the castor oil was worth it not to have to be pregnant one more day.

In my next life I'm going to have my babies at home. It sounds so much nicer than the hospital with all their monitors and IV's.

By Blogger The Lazy Organizer, at 5:49 PM  

Fabulous account, but it doesn't make me want to take any castor oil! (I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to hear about an amazing water birth experience.) I hope our baby doesn't come quite so fast since our midwife lives almost an hour away.

Sorry to hear about the tear--I hope it heals quickly. Take it easy and let your family and friends pamper you while you enjoy little Samuel.

By Blogger Flattail Family, at 10:35 PM  

Oh, a birth story! A wonderful story that ends with a precious baby and a resting mama -- my favorite kind. :-)

Kiss that baby!

By Blogger Dy, at 7:23 AM  

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