I started this post two days ago but am just getting to filling in the birth story part of it (I didn’t get past the title earlier). It’s 2:45 in the morning and I’m waiting for my daughter to wake up and ease the my-milk-has-come-in-completely ache.
Yes, my daughter has arrived and she is amazing. Our planned home birth went well — here are the stats for those who just want bare bones. For those who enjoy a good birth story, click through the “Read More” for the details.
Vivian Noelle was born 10:05pm December 6th — my mom’s birthday. She weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce and in no way appeared “early” even though she was 11 days earlier than her due date according to the wheel and 4 days earlier than her ultra-sound due date. 20 inches long and plump, plump, plump. Cheeks, thighs and wrist bracelets already!
I woke up that morning with signs of impending labor and light contractions 5-8 minutes apart. My first thought was, “Oh no! I am SO not ready for her to be born right now.” Totally true. I hadn’t even finished sorting the newborn clothes that were given to us so I could pull out a few outfits for her bassinet in the bedroom. I remember telling Sidney hormonally, “She CAN’T be born right now! She doesn’t have anything to wear!”
I’m sure my mental scattered emotions are what kept early labor longer. Active labor never really kicked in until later in the afternoon. With my light, easy and non-active contractions I went to the chiropractor for a final adjustment, welcomed my mom, sister and youngest brother who all came for the birth (Well — Kyle came to be a distraction and playmate for my kiddos), did a zillion loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, sent Sidney shopping for everything I SHOULD have purchased last week, and made last minute arrangements/assignments at my various jobs and blogging commitments.
Once my mind was in a better place, and my to-do list over I laid down to take a nap and escape the bustling in the main rooms. My contractions picked up, waking me up later that afternoon, and active labor had begun. Gail, my amazing midwife and part of the Community Midwifery Services group in Norman, Oklahoma, encouraged me to eat, stay hydrated and stay focused. She and my mother and my sister who’s an RN came into the bedroom with me. I had my second check and was a 5!
My uterus is what’s called a tilted or retroverted uterus so the cervix is always much further back. Supposedly it can cause longer labors but that hasn’t been my experience — the key is to be able to find a position that your body can work with. I spent the first part of active labor on hands and knees over a pillow on my bed where someone could rub my hip that was giving me pain. During this time all of the force of my contractions were centered in the front, as my body worked to align my cervix with the babies head.
After an hour or two I moved to the tub. The water helped my lower back and I could move around more comfortably. During this time the kids came in and out to check on me, bring me water and get hugs and kisses. Once transition hit I sent them out with my mother-in-law and little brother so I could concentrate more. Another check revealed 7-8 with a small lip. Gail helped keep things in place during the next two contractions and soon I was feeling the beginnings of an urge to push as my body moved quickly to the next phase of labor.
I always seem to move through transition quickly. I love the sensation of feeling my body move from passive surrender, to active, working power. I roar. I become strong. Powerful in a way I rarely feel, except perhaps in the most intense moments of intimacy. There’s a letting go and a trust-in-yourself that takes place and energy you didn’t know you were capable of.
My body wanted out of the tub. Wanted closer to Sidney. Wanted more freedom. So I asked to get out of the tub. During my pushing contractions I would pull myself upright on Sidney’s shoulders and roar my baby out. Vivian was extremely active during the last tiny bit of transition and all through the pushing phase. Kicking…wiggling and working her own way out. I felt like we were working together — both of us strong.
And then — the ring of fire. Oh! It surprises me every time. Do I forget? In my mind I say no, of course not. But I think my body does forget. But soon it’s over. I hear Gail telling me she’s coming, to breathe and push slowly. Too late! My body is a powerhouse and my baby wants out! And then she’s here and I’m tired and trying to catch my breath.
I feel them lift her to my back as I lean my head on Sidney’s lap. I remember saying, “Is it a girl? Is she here?” “A girl!” they say — and even though we already knew that it’s a welcome blessing. Her cord was long and loose — around her neck, around her waist and through her legs by her foot. No wonder she was wiggling so much!
They pass her to me and I am holding her. I’ve done it! I’m ready to move to the bed and lay down and strong arms lift me to my feet. Vivian nurses, and the placenta comes 15 minutes later.
Everyone comes to greet her. We update our statuses to let waiting friends know she’s here. We take pictures. Siblings are introduced and we melt and marvel at baby rolls, tiny fingers and gorgeously soft, dark hair.
Finally we release her and Gail and Nikki complete the weighing and measuring and reflex testing and footprinting and all the stuff that we do with our newborns that first day. I love that there’s no rush. I love that our midwives give us that time as a new family.
Now, a few days later, I look back and compare this birth to my others. Only 6 hours of active labor I felt in control for most of the labor. I was a bit more tired at the end of this one — probably because of the longer early phase during the morning – than with the last two births. But I remember thinking during the pushing phase of this labor that I felt STRONG. And that’s a great feeling.
Now, I’m still tired. But it’s a good tired. It’s a new-baby-snuggles and breastfeeding-bliss and that amazing baby-snuggly-warm-smell that just gripes my heart with mommy-bliss. We’re still learning each other. She has old soul eyes. And adoring fans. And I hear her stirring in my husband’s arms in the other room so she’ll be needing me now.
I hope you all have your own birth journeys to share soon enough. May they be as love-filled as mine!