Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I’d had a few nights where I really thought she was coming with gentle contractions forming distinct patterns and continuing for hours at a time. The previous Saturday when I saw my midwife, Sara, she thought I really looked like I was in early labor and expected to get called back that night. So when I was still pregnant the following Saturday we talked over my previous birth and how I’d never really gone into labor myself. She offered me the option of taking some cotton root bark the next time I had contractions to help things move along into a more active pattern. Something that if my body was as ready as she believed it was would help my body commit. After having such a confusing week I thought it sounded pretty good.
That evening I began having contractions again, stronger than before so I went ahead with the cotton root. It was also the night of the full moon, called the Wolf Moon by Native Americans and it was bright as a street light shining in our windows.
Around 9 I took the first dose and at 11 we knew it was working (or I was working). At midnight we called Sara and told her to come over. At this point I looked at John and said, “Maybe this home thing isn’t such a good idea for me.” I was only half joking. The intensity was up and I was remembering how long I was in labor with my son. He said something along the lines of, “You can do this.” and I started vocalizing through the contractions.
Sara said she got to the house at about 1am and was startled to see how fast things seemed to have moved. I told her that I needed a progress report. I was starting to get afraid of the intensity and really wanted to feel like this was real and I was making progress. Sara said okay, but she was busy setting up for the birth she could see was imminent and never got a chance to do an internal check.
On the next contraction I spontaneously yelled, “I need to push something!” As I was saying it I couldn’t believe that I could truly be that far or even understand why I was saying it. After all, it had just gotten overwhelming. Sara said, “Try pushing on the next one and see how it feels. You’ll know if it is time.”
I was on hands and knees on the bed at this point but I suddenly realized that was too intense low in my belly and my feet were asleep. I got the suggestion of laying on my side and John eased me down. He had been pressing on my back and talking me through each contraction the whole time and I was starting to worry his arms wouldn’t hold out but I needed him desperately to keep at it. I’d yell at him he wasn’t in the right place and he would try to find a better way and then I’d yell that that didn’t help either and to do what he had been doing. I was trying to be as funny or silly as I could be during all of this, but I am not sure my humor came through. At some point John said, “It’s okay, it’s going well.” to which I responded, “I think you are wrong, it isn’t okay.” He said, “But you are doing great!” and I said, “ I think you are incorrect about that too!!”
Anyway, once I was on my side I really wanted to push, still not believing I could be ready, but unable to do anything else. John had his foot in my back and was holding my leg in a move that must have come straight from wrestling rings. Sara was there tucking towels around me and I would push through part of each contraction before breathing down for the rest. Suddenly I felt that I was really pushing something and my water broke in a large, splashing wave that surprised and soaked everyone. Sara told me that the next contractions would be more intense. Internally I laughed, I couldn’t really imagine that. A contraction or two later I could feel her head coming down. I felt the pressure and then it receded a little and asked if that was really what I was feeling. Sara said yes, it was the head and it was normal to come down and go back up a little. I just wanted to be sure. As soon as I knew we were close to the actual birth I was determined to get her out as fast as I could. I knew that once she was out I would be done with the real pain. Sara tells me that it was only ten minutes between the water breaking and the birth. I felt like it lasted longer than that. I was surprised that after her head was born I had to push so hard to get the rest of her out, but suddenly she was on my belly and everything was calming down. Her cord was a little short so I couldn’t see her face right away. I kept thinking (or saying?) she’s here, it’s okay, she’s here, it’s okay. I thought enough to ask if anyone had actually checked that she was in fact a girl and was amazed to see for myself it was true. Everything was busy around me but peaceful. We had only a small lamp and some candles on the whole time and Sara got out her flashlight to check that everything was okay.
I couldn’t believe it happened so fast. I heard someone say it was just after 2am. Only 5 hours of labor really. I had 18 with Emerson!
The whole labor (and before, through every contraction I had in the end of pregnancy) my mantra to myself was just the word “open” over and over. When I was overwhelmed and panicking at the beginning of a contraction I could regain control with this word repeated over and over. It was magical.
So, then she was here, my little wolf baby, born on the full moon, in peace and love in my own bed. Anjali Eirwen (On-jhah-lee Air-wen for those who have been asking :), weighing in at 7lbs, 7oz and 18.5 inches long.
We are all doing wonderfully, I am amazed at how great I feel. E is completely in love with her. As are we all.