There's no harder labour than giving birth. My annual retelling of my birth stories, now with more birth (i.e. the story of my second child).
But first up, Bee's story:
*Originally written May 14, 2005*
On Monday May 9, 2005, I was feeling crampy and well, just different. By the middle of the night we knew that these were (mild) contractions, and started keeping track of them to see if labour would progress. In terms of intensity, things were slowly moving, but in terms of frequency, it was all over the map. Although the excitement and anticipation were also mounting, I managed to sleep around the contractions.
On Tuesday morning, we went for a long walk (well, it wasn't that long of a walk, it just took a long time since I had to stop every few minutes to wait for a mild contraction). We gave our midwife a head's up when we got home, and she came over around noon to check on the progress. Low and behold, I had made it to 3 cm. She told us to keep doing what we were doing, and that she would call again in a few hours.
By our next check-in at 5 pm, things were still intensifying but not speeding up. Tracy (our midwife) said that she was sure we would be having this baby that night, but probably not for a little while. She would call back at 9 then go to sleep early and wait for us to page. By 7 pm, things were rockin’ and I called Tracy back at 8. my contractions were 2 minutes apart and I could do little through them but breathe and ‘vocalize’. She said that she was on her way.
Tracy and our student midwife, Jen, arrived at 8:30, and upon checking, we found that I had made it to 6 cm. Through a series of different labouring positions, and a surprising ability on my part to completely give in to whatever my body was wanting to do, I made it to 10 cm by 10:15 pm.
I pushed for just over 2 hours, and I admit that I meshed my most primal instincts to birth this baby with a healthy dose of, ‘Please, please, just take it out!’. I was not quite prepared mentally for the difficult, often discouraging, and EXHAUSTING task of pushing (I was actually falling asleep in between pushes – Chris told me later that at one point I started snoring!). But on the flipside, I was also not prepared for the perfect ability my body had to do the job, and the very clear messages it sent my way, that I had no choice but to respond to. And when one of my pre-natal fears came true, and Tracy said that she wanted to perform an episiotomy due to the baby’s slowing heart rate, I didn’t care. All I cared about was having this baby; for my baby to be out and safe.
At 12:28 am, on May 11 2005, our baby was born on our bed. Straight to my chest she went, and of course, that was indescribable. We didn’t even look to see what the sex was for a few minutes, and were overjoyed when we found out that this beautiful, alert, perfect little creature was our baby girl. After getting a shot of oxytocin and delivering the placenta, Jen got our baby to latch on – she’s a natural – and my new little family was left to wonder at each other for a while. When my midwives came back upstairs, I let go of the baby for the first time while I was stitched and she was weighed and examined.
So now we’re doing great; I’m a little sore but my wonderful sisters (who were at the birth) are totally spoiling all three of us, and we’re having a good time in the cocoon we’ve made of our bed. I’ve been a bit emotional, but I’m sure every new mama is. Even without all of those vacating hormones, how can you not be when you’ve just fallen in love harder and faster than you ever thought you could?
You are my sunshine.
Next: A Dove flies into our lives and hearts.