DISCLAIMER: I think that birth stories are important. I know they have recently become maybe a little cliche. I also know that I am so so blessed to have a natural non-medicated birth. That while some of it was my planning and desire, ultimately (like so much if motherhood) it was by the grace of God that I could have the experience I had.
On Wednesday, April 28 I was pretty sure my water had broke. Every time I stood up it felt like I had wet my pants. So I googled this (hey, it is what I do....) and found that in some cases this probably meant I had sprung a leak. I called my sisters and my mom to let them know that I thought my water was leaking and I had an appointment that afternoon and I was sure we would have the baby today.........Except I didn't. My midwife checked and whatever was leaking wasn't my water, so I went back home and had to call everyone to say false alarm. Did you know there is a condition called hydra-rhea where your pregnant body is retaining so much water your body simply can't take it anymore and it leaks out? Sometimes down your leg while you are standing in a high school library media center causing the librarian media specialist to FREAK OUT? I had an occasional contraction here and there but they would subside.
Friday Christian and I met Jill and Calvin at the Savage pizza. We were trying to find the best pizza in Atlanta, it was good but not the best. After dinner we went back to our house to play wii and hang out. I was having strong enough contractions that I called the midwife. She told me to try to get some sleep. How the heck was I supposed to go to sleep? I should have trusted my ability to sleep through any situation. I did fall asleep as Calvin and Christian continued to play Mario Kart. Occasionally, Christian would check on me. The guys went to sleep at about four in the morning and I woke up at 8 or so.
Jill and Calvin had spent the night expecting that I would want to go to the hospital any minute. Jill and I went for a walk in the hopes that that would really get the contractions going, and they did get stronger as I walked around my neighborhood. We may have broken into the back door of a house for sale around the corner. Then we headed home because I was uncomfortable enough that I thought I should go home. So we walked home. We went in the back door, and there sitting on my tree that shades my deck there was a very large owl.
This owl was not deterred by my sisters very large dog. He looked straight at us, and Jill and I both immediately recognized as something more than an owl. I had been receiving a word from God that I was going to have twins, boy twins. I knew I would come home from the hospital with either 2 boys, or the girl who showed on the ultrasound. The owl reminded me that God was in charge. That He knew what was coming.
After breakfast, Jill and Calvin went to go get some Saturday errands done while we went to the hospital, we would call Jill when it was time. I went into the hospital they put me and Christian in a room and had me fill out my own paperwork. Apparently, I had plenty of time. They didn't check me or anything, but I apparently was showing very early according to my face. So I filled out the paperwork and waited in the room, Christian was counting through the contractions for me at this point. But it still wasn't anything I couldn't handle.
So the nurse came in and she was chatty, and I am chatty, and so we were chatting, till she checked me. She looked at me and asked "Honey, are you sure you are okay?" (She was very southern.) and when I said yeah she responded "Honey, I am so proud of you! You are at 7 centimeters!" I started laughing and made some phone calls. I wanted to let people know I was for sure in labor this time. We also called Jill to tell her to get back to the hospital. At this point I was still trying to chat up the intake nurse (I really, really liked her. And I talk when I am nervous, or excited, or doing something new, or awake.) and she finally had to cut me off, explaining that at seven centimeters I needed to get my midwife and move to an actual delivery room pronto. But not so many rooms were available right this second, and they were hoping for a big one since I was asking a for a tub.
My delivery nurse came in, looked at my face, looked at the contraction charts, didn't believe the first nurse that I was in fact seven centimeters, and asked if she could check me. She was not as encouraging or as optimistic. I knew immediately I didn't like her. I wanted a cheerleader and she was more of a pragmatist. What I really wanted was to keep the first nurse. I found out later that I could have asked for another nurse, that apparently you can trade? Who knew. Now you know.
I had been hooked up to a monitor this whole time. The baby has to get some kind of awake and moving reading for a certain amount of time before they will let you get into the water. I wanted in the water. Margaret, my midwife, walked into the room, looked at the test and tossed me some ice water and twenty minutes later I was ready to roll.
I spent the next hour or so slung over the tub squatting on my knees. I was doing really well moaning through the contractions as long as I kept my tones open and low. The second I started panicking was the second my tone would rise. Christian spent a lot of the contractions chanting at me looooooooow loooooooow looooooooow while pointing his finger down. It helped a lot.
When transition came I completely freaked. I felt helpless and that I COULD NOT do this. The fear took over. My midwife flipped me over when she realized that Christian and Jill were unable to talk me down this time. "What are you afraid of?" she asked me. We went through everything, the pain, no, being a mom, no. Well then if you aren't afraid of anything then you can get rid of the fear. And I did. The other thing that helped me in transition was the other birth stories that had been shared with me. The first time my cousin Kim was giving birth she got up and started re-packing her bag when she hit transition. The feeling of "I have to get out of here!" Was so great that she tried to leave, insisting she was not in fact going to have that baby. That was exactly how I felt. And having an anecdote of how someone else felt and reacted reminded me that the feelings I were having were normal. This is what was supposed to happen.
Pushing took longer than my midwife expected, but about an hour later I felt the shoulders slip out and exclaimed "that's a baby." And it was. My baby, the girl I knew that God wanted to give me first. And every single story that you have ever heard about how that moment is magical, beyond anything you could ever experience presents itself as true.
And then your body gives you this awesome euphoria and you don't sleep for hours because you are too entranced by this perfect thing, that God gave you. You are too busy staring at her.
Maybe I can do this again.....