While I was laboring with my ‘pillars of woman hood’ I kept having thoughts about my husband. I have a philosophy that I think women should help women in labor and that their presence and experience was going to help me have the story I wanted. They were amazing! But where was my husband? He had been my Doula until just this afternoon, but lately I had hardly seen him.
Most of the time he was watching me or working on feeding my team. I asked for him while I was laboring on the toilet so my doulas picked up on my need for my man. They helped hubby be the one I leaned on and told him how to hold me so that I was secure. I think they liked the opportunity to get me into yet another position and used my need for my man as an excuse to get me to try something different.
I often felt that being re positioned was annoying. I was so in my head that people telling me what to do felt like when I was a teenager and had just woken up to hear my parents telling me to get ready for school. Necessary but annoying 😀 (I wouldn’t have asked for anything else!)
I obeyed because I knew they were trying to get this little guy to move. He was fidgeting inside my pelvis and inside a nice gushy sac of amniotic fluid that was still comfortably (to him) in tact. As I danced with hubby I felt calm and re energized. I was then going to try some other positions and get this baby going!
I rolled my hips on the birthing ball, and hung off of a sling that was secured to the ceiling, laid on my left side, I laid on my right side. Finally I carefully slid off the bed into an extremely intense goddess pose. GUSH! MY WATER BROKE! Well sort of. It felt like a gush to me but it only looked like a trickle to those who’d seen birth before. But it was movement. It was a step in the right direction. It was exciting and comforting. Some of my water broke.
Hours had passed but I was so inside my head and so focused through each contraction that I didn’t notice the time going by. I started to hear my party talking about what day Micah would be born and I wanted to birth him quickly. I prayed and breathed a low loud “ohh” through the next few contractions. People continued to talk about birthday. At that point I rallied some consciousness and asked, “Where is Val?!”
She answered me from the end of the bed very close by, “I’m right here Gina, what do you need?”
“What are we waiting for?” I asked a bit impatiently.
She replied, “Do you feel like you want to push?”
“I think I’ve wanted to push for the last hour!” I replied almost crying with emotion, excitement and prospect. This is what I’d been waiting to do!
Val checked my dilation and I was pretty much at 10cm, close enough that pushing was safe. So on my back with Hubby supporting my shoulders, Alexis on my Left side and Jodi on my Right, mom watching behind Alexis and Val, Dad waiting in the guest sitting area, I pushed! I pushed with all of my might. I pushed for an hour, switching between pushing on my back and laying on my side. I didn’t want to be off the bed and switching between positions was because my little babe was coming into the world looking up! Because the lower part of the membrane was still in tact Val used a tool to loosen it but my next push caused it to make a very wet burst. I was unaware of how messy it was, and I’m glad. I was so aware of my thoughts and feelings and my baby yet pretty much un aware of what was happening in the world around me. I felt protected and nurtured. When I was resting between pushes I heard news that my secondary midwife had arrived but with my permission she was going to attend a birth in another room in the center. Someone else was in distress. My heart suddenly went out to that woman and her child and I prayed a silent prayer for her. Of course I sent the second midwife to her! I have 5 other people attending my birth, pretty sure we were fine.
Moving though contractions used the most mental stamina I think I’ve ever used at once. Pushing took that much mental stamina plus an equal amount of physical stamina. I had more stamina than I actually thought possible. I walked and did yoga during my pregnancy but I was in no way fit to this level of work. It is amazing because my body and mind just did it. The encouragement, prayers and support of my team kept me going but there was also a very wild sense that God has made me for this, prepared me for this and I’m doing this! From about noon that day until a few days after Micah was born I had this blood rush sensation of numbness all through my face and parts of my head and neck. It was in one word, sensational. I felt good. I felt intense, but then I felt ready and more ready and come on baby!
Then Micah was born! In a flood of miconium he was hoisted onto my chest. I breathed and panted until I found myself again. The attendants were wiping the miconium from anywhere that he could ingest it and wiping him off a bit but I just wrapped my shaking arms around him. I kissed his head and beamed with joy. The last 28 hours of labor were a far off memory now. I felt so proud of myself and so thankful to God. It was about 1am August 6th.
So many women desire this kind of story and for one reason or another aren’t able to see it happen. So I don’t take for granted this amazing experience. I don’t resent it in even one-single-way. Though parts of my story might sound snarky I was in a way more alive then I’d ever been and I felt like a bit of a mama bear.
After being so anamalistic for so many hours I started to remember what I had learned in prenatal class and prenatal breastfeeding. Get this baby to nurse! Well he bobbed around on my chest for some time and I helped him find what he was looking for but without much luck. More on that in a future post.
I kept Micah 100% on me for the first hours despite being asked about having him weighted etc. within the first 10 minutes. I simply smiled at the uninformed attendant and said no. No need to get hyper about it. Simple.
While cuddling and trying to nurse Micah in the first hours my Midwife gave me some laughing gas and a small shot of pitocine. I then easily birthed the placenta and she went to stitching me up. I gladly took the laughing gas though in retrospect I don’t think I needed it and wouldn’t have done that if I could turn back time. I was so tired I just wanted to get things done, get cleaned up and hold my baby some more.
After I was content that I’d held him as long as I NEEDED to, hubby took him and held him for the first time. He was such a perfect and proud daddy. Hubby stood by and helped with Micah’s apgar. I took a light rinse off type of shower (there was meconium EVERYWHERE) and put on some warm comfortable clothes. We settled into the bed and Alexis dressed Micah and handed him to his grandparents for the first time. Hubby sent his parents in Korea pictures of their first grandbaby. It was a quiet and special moment. We cuddled in bed and took pictures. I ate some weird quinoa dish and shared with whoever wanted some. I preferred the cheese and crackers mom brought me. (FYI Normally I love Quinoa)
Alexis and Jodi went home to get some sleep and we left the center at about 4am with Val and my parents. I remember us putting Micah into his huge car seat with so much care. I sat in the back seat beside him because I couldn’t bear the thought of being so far from him as the front seat! 😉
My parents slept in the living room that night and Micah slept on my chest where I could hear him breath and feel him move. He was home!