Jul 21, 2010

Birth Story

 Here's my story.  Its a long story about a short event that will change my life forever. 

My newest baby boy came into this world in a powerful way.  The day before his birthday I was SO PREGNANT.   That's really the best way I could describe myself.  My doula sent me a text in the evening to check in on me. I could hardly keep my the despair out of my texts.  "I don't think I can take another month of this" I said to her.  "hang in there, it wont be long now" she responded.

At exactly 38 weeks pregnant  I woke up at 4:45 the morning of the summer solstice, June 21, feeling intense contractions.  These surges were so fast, so hard, that I didn't even recognize them for what they were.  Honestly I thought for a few minutes (hour?) that I was sick. (If you don't know this about me I always think its not real labor.  Every time now.  Its a very obnoxious way that I handle giving birth) After a several trips to the bathroom I called my sister at 5am.  I was trying to get across to her just how fast and furious the waves were hitting me. ("if they even are contractions")  I told my sister that I was having my third contraction since I called her, (if its even real) and she let me know that we'd only been talking for five minutes.  You might think that was the moment I knew, but instead I just kept thinking.. "this can't be real.  this can't be happening SO fast".

We talked about what I was feeling, and whether this was indeed labor day, or a day I would forever remember as the time I woke up my birth team because I ate bad Indian food.  After a few more minutes of pacing, sitting, standing, everything hurt.  Nothing I was trying was changing the pattern.  Some part of me recognized that this was indeed labor, and not a gastrointestinal event.  I was anxious to have my doula and midwife with me, and I was clear enough to know that I don't normally want company when I am having "bathroom issues".   I asked my sister to call my doula, and I called my midwife.  My call to Mary (the midwife) was awkward.  Maybe, maybe not I was telling her.  Could just be Indian food...  In my head a small part is screaming "GET OVER HERE" but my mouth just wouldn't cooperate.  Thankfully she's a good midwife.  As soon as we got off the phone she remembered a conversation we had when we first met where I let her know that for some reason I go into denial when in labor.  She called me right back to say she was on her way, that I should wake Matt up (yep, I hadn't done that) and try to eat something.

I woke Matt up at 5:30 and asked him to make me some toast.  Oh, and ya, I might be in labor.  I could just be sick.  He was making the toast all wrong.  Seriously.  The way he was cutting the bread was actually pissing me off.  (isn't labor sweet?)  I asked him to just leave me alone and please set up the birthing pool.  I happened to still be on the phone with my sister who claims that she thought she could tell I was in transition then.  I was actually gagging at the thought of eating my toast.  I set that aside and got into my filling pool.  Ava was up by now and took over as my birth partner.  She held the hose on my back while I labored. 

I was trying to find my inner peace, but my body had a different idea.  This was not a labor to "go inside" as I was planning.  This was a "get out of the way mentally because the baby's coming now" sort of labor.  I started to feel 'pushy' just as my midwife arrived.  In the next twenty minutes I....
~threw up
~got out of the pool to eliminate in the toilet
~got back in
~my water broke
~announced "thank god I am not faking"
~had a moment where I yelled "I just shit all over myself, get me out of here"
~got back on the toilet
~was told by my midwife that if I was going to push the baby out I might want to get off the toilet and onto a birthing stool
~moved two steps to the stool
~yelled "I don't like this" (honestly this was not the pretty breath the baby out I had planned)
~pushed once and asked "can you see anything?"
~pushed another one, maybe two times, and brought my baby into the world
~Said "oh thank you baby"  (I was so grateful it was over) 
~At 6:34 I declared "Its a boy!"
One hour and forty nine minutes.
In less than two hours I had my baby.  It was a Wild Powerful Ride.  Matt and I were left to be alone with our new son while my mother and sister in law took care of my other children.
 We talked about what we had named him, and I mentioned that our solstice boy aught to be named Sol.  Matt loved the idea and left to tell everyone that he was no longer called Elijah.  After the cord stopped pulsing, Matt and Mary took his measurements 8.5lbs and 21".
My doula got to my house while I was pushing and was absolutely great at taking care of me afterward.  I pretty much went into a mental shock as my endorphins, and adrenaline all raced to catch up with my body.
 An hour after he was born Mary was talking to me about something (don't remember now) while Dawn was physically feeding me eggs (I was pretty weak) when my sweet nursing newborn turned purple.  Mary took him and with a calm demeanor went through the necessary steps to get my boy breathing again. I was never afraid.  She was moving with confidence, and I believed in her.  I believed in him.  She sucked out a bunch of fluid and vernix from his throat, gave him some oxygen, and got him pinked up again in no time.  (my mother thought the whole thing was terrifying)

As I lay there watching I was just so grateful that I was at home.  Had this been a hospital birth my baby would have been swept away for observation.  This would have been treated like an emergency.  It really was okay.  My baby was strong, and my midwife experienced.  I don't even think of that part of the morning when I look back on the day.
I am so grateful for Mary.  She was just what I needed during my pregnancy, labor, and postpartum.  She always knows just what to say to keep me relaxed, and confident.  That is not an easy thing to do.  She has many gifts.
I am so grateful for Dawn.  Knowing I had her on my side helped me to mentally prepare for my labor.  She was so loving while she literally spoon fed me eggs.  She took care of me with a loving heart.  She is also responsible for all my birth photos!!!
I am so grateful for my sister in law Rachael.  She cleaned my kitchen, washed and folded laundry, and ran out for food when postpartum pizza was needed.  But she also took special care of Cyrus that morning.  She was the best friend he needed to get through a tough transition of no longer being the baby.  Matt and I can not thank her enough for that.
I am so grateful for my mother.  She stayed the night (she would have anyway) with the special job of being the baby's nurse if he stopped breathing again.  I was able to stay peaceful knowing that her skills where there if we needed them.
I am so grateful for my little sister to walk me through yet another game of "Maybe I'm in labor, but maybe I am not"?  Thank you Betsy!
I am so grateful for this baby who knew just how to be born.
I am so grateful for my body who knew just how to birth him.


Transit Antenna Home said...

Thanks for sharing- I recently started Doula training. I love hearing birth stories.

Mary said...

It was such an honor to serve you and your family Amanda. Thanks for sharing our story so beautifully. Mary

Betsy said...

Beautifully told!! And beautiful baby! I am more than happy to do my part

Cheryl said...

Beautiful story and lovely family welcome for the littlest member. And a solstice baby!

I love that even Ava had a part to play. I hope she treasures the memory.

Kelly said...

Oh Amanda, I have been thinking of you and your family with your new little babe. Thank you for sharing your birth story. It was so touching to read - so fast and powerful. I am just like you and deny to myself I am in labour until I really can't deny it any longer!! Birth is such an incredible process and that moment of meeting new babe - truly amazing. Welcome to your baby Sol. He is absolutely beautiful and indeed has such a perfect name, born on a beautiful day. Our second son's name is Leo Elijah! Blessings to you all in those precious early weeks.
Best wishes

Leanne said...

What a wonderful story Amanda...I'm so glad you shared it. So interesting to read how you *deny* the labor...I can understand the initial questioning...is it isn't it?? Welcome little Summer babe...Sol is the perfect name...I love how it *came* to you!

April said...

Holy Cow! So fast! What a beautiful story. I love how Matt couldn't make toast right. So typical. Why can't men just do things exactly as we need them done - especially when we're in labor. I love the photo of Sol sleeping on your breast. I have several just like it after Tyler was born. So beautiful. Congratulations on a quick, yet fantastic birth. Isn't it amazing that we have so much faith in our midwives when they attend to our babies needs. Though, we would freak out in a hospital if that happened. There's something so wonderful about being at home, at peace. Again, wow, so beautiful. Can't wait to meet him. Now I feel better about having to push my tub of lard out in November. I love a good birth story! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Amanda you know how emotional I am when it comes to family....well this experience with your family was one of the most beautiful moments in my life! You have an amazing family and I am proud to be Auntie Rachael!

About Me

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East Bay, California, United States
I am a thirty something mother of three. Hoping to raise my little ones to love the the slower things in life.