Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How it all went down

She's here! It took us a bit to decide on the right name to fit our new baby, but we finally felt she was a Charlotte. She's very easy-going so far--Austin and I are hoping we've lucked into the mythical "easy baby." They tend to wake up after a few days though, so we'll just wait to make a final pronouncement on that.

I wrote all about the birth in my journal yesterday, and rambled on and on for was exhausting. I really want to blog in detail but my choices right now are nap or blog, so this will probably be shorter than I was planning.

I thought labor was great. No middle-of-the-night or hospital craziness. I woke up at 6 after a night of little contractions (just like for the past two weeks) and used the bathroom only to discover impending signs of labor and feel a real contraction. (The real ones go all the way around to your back.) I was worried this labor would be super fast, so I wasn't sure whether to wake everyone up and get my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and two kids out of the house ASAP or just wait it out a little longer. I decided after a couple contractions that they weren't that bad, so I puttered around and finally woke Austin up and told him that I was having a baby today. Austin (mumbling): Yeah right... Me: NO, really!

So the morning passed, Austin's mom made us a big breakfast before she left, my contractions got steadily stronger and Austin and I enjoyed a quiet morning at home, where I watched HGTV to my heart's content. I really liked getting up and doing a little belly dance/hip swivel during contractions, and just knowing that everything was progressing smoothly and regularly like a textbook labor. Okay, maybe a little faster.

We went out to lunch around 11 and I reeeally didn't like sitting down in the car or at Zupas. We kind of skedaddled out of there, especially as I was feeling the contractions more. I was still happy and talkative between them though, so I figured I still had a ways to go. I didn't want my midwives or Mom just sitting around bored to death for hours, so I was waiting to tell them to come up...but then we got home and I had to lean against something during my contraction-hip swivel-belly dance and Austin got nervous. He mentioned afterwards knowing the different looks on my face I get as I get further along with labor. He jumped into action topping off the birth tub, and around 12:30 I texted my midwives and stopped timing contractions on my phone.

The tub was so nice. We put too much hot water in--Me: I don't want to cook my baby! Austin (worried that the baby is going to pop out any minute): Just get in! You'll get used to it!--So Austin had to frantically scoop it out to get it cold enough while I'm humming and rubbing my belly and trying to find my swim top to wear. Also the pool had a slow leak in it, so we were dealing with mild deflation issues as well. I finally got in right before my midwife, Melissa showed up, and it was quite blissful. Who wouldn't want to get in a warm pool during labor? I leaned on the edge and rubbed circles on my belly during contractions then went back to chatting. My mom showed up too so we all were talking and having a nice time. Melissa listened to the baby's heartbeat and everything was looking good.

Now with my last two labors, I got really grouchy at the end and threw up right before transition, so I was watching for those signs. I was still pretty happy and chatty in between contractions, so I figured I might be hanging out in the tub for a while. But then things started to happen.... A little while after my other midwife, Heidi, showed up around 1:15, I decided I wanted to get out and use the bathroom. Well, I sat down and had one contraction, during which I realized that I didn't need to use the bathroom, I needed to have a baby. That must have been transition there, because I automatically started to vocalize and high-tailed it back to the tub. Austin sat on the edge of our bed and I sat on my heels in the tub, grabbed both his hands, closed my eyes to concentrate, gave some roars, and to the best of my recollection, three pushes later, at 1:37 p.m., our baby was born. !!!

Now backtracking a little bit. Thank goodness for Austin. I hung on for dear life to him. (Based on previous experience, he had me take off my ring early in labor to spare his hands.) I remember Melissa telling me to reach a hand down to feel the baby's head. Me: NO. Then she started telling Austin how to catch the baby... Me: DON'T LET GO OF ME! Then next thing I know, someone is handing me a squirmo armful, and I slowly opened my eyes to find a purple-y baby clutched in my arms. After all this time waiting for her, and it was still somewhat of a surprise. Then she gave her first cry and I swung into mothering mode as my midwives coaxed me to slowly ease back down into relaxation mode in the tub. I've read in my books about this hormone cocktail that kicks in after birth, which I thought sounded kind of made up, but really, I just felt this wave of euphoria and love and bliss as I lay there in my slowly deflating tub holding my brand new baby. I felt like a goddess.

So what about the pain of labor? Well the actual contractions were quite manageable. Pushing there at the end was quick, but painful. I can't explain, but as I clung to Austin, I was not thinking at the same time as all these thoughts were zipping through my head. Scream in low tones, Ina May say it's more productive, That's the head coming down, Just like hiking Mt. Timp, Not too fast, Can't stop now, etc. Zing, zing, zing. Looking back, it differed from my last unprepared natural labor in that I never felt terror or thought I can't do this or I want to die. This time it was more like a runner or hiker pulling through a hard spot when they have no other choice but to keep going.

Anyway, I soaked in the bliss, fed baby, delivered placenta, then finally got out before the pool totally went on me. I showered, got stitched up, tucked in my own bed, and then it was good just to be home. In the hospital, right after the woman gives birth everyone leaves her and clusters around the new baby as it is weighed and've just done one of the hardest and transformative things of your life, and suddenly everyone has abandoned you to see what's going on with the baby. So I just loved being in the middle of things as Baby was examined and having my baby and husband lounging on the bed next to me during the stitching and clean-up and such. I felt like the queen of my castle.

I don't think I could have ordered up a better home water birth experience. It makes me want to share it with every woman so they can know it's a great option. But I guess for now, I'll just share it on my blog.


Sara said...

I'm glad you shared. I have been anxiously (pathetically?) awaiting this post. My sister just had a baby, and I've been thinking a lot about pregnancy/labor/babies/children. I don't have any impending marriage plans, but I like thinking ahead. It's great to hear your home water birth went well. Thanks for being open about all of it.

I love the name you chose--Charlotte. I was talking to my mom a week or so ago and mentioned that I like the name Charlotte. What a coincidence, since I don't mention baby names very often.

And, of course, Congratulations!

K La said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful birth story!

I love what you said: "I thought labor was great."

I think it's great, too. I think it's fun! I mean, not ice-cream-party-at-a-water-park fun, but, to use your metaphor, hiking or running fun.

I love home birth because I think it turns labor from something to dread to something to look forward to and enjoy. I'm SO GLAD you had happy home birth!

Kelly McCoy-Sobczak said...

You are indeed the Queen of your Castle! Charlotte is BBBBeautiful! thanks for sharing and for sharing your family with me for a few weeks.

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