I hereby, solemnly swear to end this birth stor-ee TODAY. I will not mess with people's heads anymore lest I be permanently banished from blogdom.
There. Happy now? Today is the rest of the stor-ee. The exciting conclusion to a spectacular birth!
So what are we waiting for? Let's get on with it!
I ended the last installment of this 3 Part Mini-Series with me:
1. getting on the laptop while attempting to rest in bed.
2. giving you a brief history of my fear and how God had given me peace for this birth.
3. sharing one hilarious text message.
4. informing you that the whole evening was becoming rather humorous.
And so. After I laughed until I dilated over Cindy's text message I did what every laboring woman should do when needing a distraction. I got on Facebook. Why yes, yes I did. Nothing like nosing around in other peoples lives to make one forget that their uterus is trying to bring forth life.
It was after 7 pm by now and I was really having to breath through the contractions. Funny enough though, I wasn't really paying attention to the fact that I had started HAVING to breath through the contractions because I was so focused on what I was doing on the laptop. I had jumped on and off of facebook, read a few blogs, and perused the Target website for cute baby clothes. And maybe some shoes. For me.
I actually posted on my blog at 8:11 pm, informing y'all that "I was pretty sure I was in labor". Hello? Pretty sure? I don't know what I was thinking. I blame it on my uterus though. Anyway, after I posted on Ye Olde Blog I finally landed on Facebook again. And that was where I would remain for about 45 minutes.
I had a humorous conversation on Keri's Facebook Wall concerning wine and Ding Dongs. This conversation also included Ann's midwife assistant, Abby. Why wine and Ding Dongs? Beats me, I was in labor.
I realized that my birth photographer was on Facebook as well and I decided to send her an IM (that's fanc-ee lingo for Instant Message) letting her know what was going on. She is actually a photography student and she was having to study for her finals that night. She was SWAMPED with Biology homework when I IM'ed her that I was in labor. She asked me how close I was and after I told her she then typed an exclamatory profanity (of which I shall not repeat) when I told her. She then insisted that I go to the birth center. I told her everything was under control and I would contact her when I needed her. Little did I know just how soon that would be.
(Ooooooo, there's that foreshadowing again.)
And to top off the Facebook evening, I was also IMing my midwife, Ann. I found out that there was only ONE momma at the birth center at the moment and the other laboring momma was still at home. Whew! I just needed that second sign so I could get to the birth center and claim my spot!
(Small detour here....I kept talking about needing that second sign so much that finally Monk says to me, "you know, the Greeks sought for knowledge, the Jews looked for a sign, but WE walk by faith". The man is lucky he still has his lips. This was not the wisest thing to say to a laboring woman needing a second sign. His timing was impeccable.)
While on Facebook, Ann was having to bow in and out of the IM conversation and at one point I was becoming discouraged and expressed my frustration over not having any other signs of labor. She encouraged me to not become discouraged, that it would all happen in God's timing. And while I can't remember exactly what she said, she talked about a verse in the Bible where God purposefully did some things little by little as to not overwhelm the people. What a comfort that was for me! A gentle reminder that God was in control.
During all of these conversations I hadn't realized that my contractions had started coming closer together. They were now 2-3 minutes apart and I needed people to be quiet while I was having one. This whole "quiet" concept was apparently something completely foreign to the Madgirl. She was obviously giddy with excitement that I was in labor, but the fact that she could not SHUT UP while I was having a contraction was becoming quite annoying. I gave her a calm, logical explanation as to why I needed her to be quiet. I told her how I just needed to breathe and concentrate and it was very hard to do so when someone was talking. I might as well have been speaking Polish, for as soon as another contraction started so did her mouth.
"Yip, yip, yip, yip" was all I heard and it was driving me up an ever-lovin' tree! Her gift for gab came directly from her maternal side, but if she didn't be quiet I was going to have smack it directly out of her!
It became too painful to sit in the bed during the contractions and I decided I needed another distraction. So I did what any other sane, laboring woman would do.
I got up to make some Rice Krispie treats. Oh yes, my friends, I did.
I got the pot out, melted the butter - contraction! I leaned over the counter, breathing and concentrating, while Maddie's mouth yammered on in the background. I measured the cereal, counted out the marshmallows and added them to the pot - contraction! I couldn't stir for having to concentrate. I dropped the spatula in the pot and said to Maddie,
"Here, do this."
Then she says to me,
"What do I do?"
It was at this point that I realized I had totally and completely failed as a mother with this child and I said the only thing that came to my mind.
"Just stir the STUPID marshmallows!!!"
She laughed and chattered while I gripped the counter, breathing harder than I had all evening. We poured the cereal in the pot, mixing it and I buttered my hands so I could press the mixture into the pan. A contraction hit right as I started to pour the krispies into the pan and I
And again, the child reinforced the fact that I have taught her absolutely NOTHING domestic by saying,
"I don't know how!"
Ay, yi, yi. I'm holding myself up over the counter by my elbows, my buttered hands suspended over my head when I manage to sputter,
"Muu-uuunk, (breath, breath) would you please pour these in the pan (breath breath)?"
He comes over and takes the pan from my domestically challenged child and proceeds to empty it in other pan. I get everything pressed down and get my hands washed when I decided that I had had enough of being up and around and was going to go and lie down!
On my way to the bedroom I finally got that second sign I had been waiting for!! Woo-hoo! And no, it wasn't water breakage(Thank goodness, I was like Niagara Falls the last time!). I actually had some bloody show and I knew that I was SO done laboring at home and was now going to go to the birth center.
My spot was sealed!
I called Monk into the bedroom and told him about my "findings" and that I was going to call Ann so we could head to the birth center. He says, "ok, you sure?". Again with the doubt. Had this man not seen me bracing the counter tops, huffing and puffing? I assured him I was sure and then called Ann and promptly had a contraction as soon as she answered. I let her know we were fixin' to head out the door and she told me she would be waiting.
I quickly texted Keri, who is completely and totally stunned at the expeditious progress of this labor, and tell her she might need to get to the birth center. I also ask if she will call Ioana, my birth photographer, and make her aware of the situation. If she hadn't done this we would not have had TIME for a birth photographer!We gathered our things together, grabbed a beach towel just in case the whole water breakage thing happened en route, and started to head out the door. I had a huge contraction before leaving and had to lean over the arm of the couch and REALLY breath through this one. Things were changing and they were changing fast and I knew that we needed to get to the birth center PRONTO!
(Now see, I could end the story right here with another cliff hanger. I really could because once again it's 1 am as I type this and I am pooped! But no, I won't. I promised and I'm just gonna get one with it. Consider it my Christmas gift to y'all.)
We loaded up in Phil the Suburban and started to the birth center. It was just after 10 pm, ironically the same time we headed to the birth center when I was in labor with Hope. During the trip there, things definitely picked up. I couldn't just breathe through the contractions anymore, I was now having to vocalize in low moans through them. I wasn't timing them, but I knew that my contractions were about 2 minutes apart now. I think Monk may have started to believe me at this point.
We pulled into the birth center where Ann came out and met us. Since Momma #1 was laboring at the front, Ann walked me around the other side to the back. I had to have a contraction at the desk. We walked a few more steps when I needed to use the bathroom. I go to the bathroom and lose my mucous plug. I have another contraction. She walks me around to the birth room where I start to undress and I have another contraction.
These bad boys were really starting to hurt now.
I asked her to check me because I just needed to know where I was in the process. I tried to lay down, but again, another contraction. When she checks me, I am a solid 5 centimeters dilated. Woohoo! I wanted to look at Monk and say, "told ya so!". This is around 10:40 pm. She also gets out the doppler to check the baby's heart rate. We have some difficulty finding it and when she does it around 100 bpm. She thinks baby's head may be pressing against the cord and asks me if I would have a few contractions on the toilet and push just a little to see if we can straighten out the head issue. Even though I have NEVER wanted to labor on the toilet, I agree. I also knew that it was great for dilation and I figured hey, why not.
Even though the contractions were very close and very strong, I was still calm and maintaining a decent sense of humor. Even IF I was laboring on a toilet! After having 4 or 5 contractions in the LOO, Ann tells me to head back to the birth room so she can check the baby's heart rate again.
The contractions seem to be gaining in intensity and are now about 1 minute apart. She checks the heart rate and we are back up to 139 bpm, so the toilet trickery worked. I was relieved for that, but really starting to hurt with the contractions. My chiropractor, Cindy (and the mother of the Christmas pageant's baby jesus, in case you've forgotten!), also came into the room to say hi during this time. She was leaving to go check on the other mama laboring at home, but told me she would be back for the birth. Ha! She did, however, get me through another killer contraction.
Ann was going to check me again at this point, but decides to just get me into the tub for some relief. I get up off of the bed and have another intense contraction. I walk out of the birth room through the kitchen area into the bathroom, where the tub is waiting. It wasn't more than 15 steps and BOOM! another contraction.
I get into the tub, which is sort of a triangular shape with rounded corners, and get on my knees with my arms on the side. BOOM! Another contraction! These contractions were really intense by now and they were seemingly on top of each other. I looked at Ann and said, "you need to talk to me because I'm fixin' to lose it". She said, "no your not, your fixin' to have this baby'.
It was about time somebody believed me! HA!
I'm not sure if I believed her, but it didn't matter because she began to pray for me right then and there. That is always such a balm for me. The prayers flowed with Hope's birth because it was so long and emotional, but this time there hadn't been much time for praying and I needed this. It was also extra special for me because this time Ann was not only my midwife, but was my good friend as well. I can't begin to describe how awesome that was for me. And during her prayer I seemed to get a respite from the never ending contractions which I believe was truly a gift from God.
And a breather for what was to come.
(See, once again a great spot for a cliff hanger!!! )
As soon as she was done praying, another hard contraction hit. During this contraction I started to make a small pushing noise. As soon as it was over, Ann directed me to the other corner of the the tub - just so she could "see" what was going on in the Nether Regions. Ioana, my birth photographer had just arrived and walked into the room with that previous contraction and I was vaguely aware of her presence. I am on my knees with my arms over the tub - so I can't SEE anything! Just then I had another HUGE contraction and felt my body go into pushing mode. For me, I have no control over pushing mode because apparently my uterus wants all the glory and won't let me in on the whole process!
So. My body begins to push and I begin to make a LOUD pushing noise. (This is not a scream, there IS a difference). My water breaks, it is stained with meconium and the water in the tub goes dark. Another contraction hits right on top of the last and again, LOUD pushing noise and my body begins to push. I can feel the baby coming out, but can't say anything because my uterus is now in control and has apparently gagged me. I feel the head come out and then the baby's body in one fell swoop!!!! I know the baby has come out, but NO ONE ELSE DOES!! (Because the water is dark from the meconium stained fluid!)
I reach my right arm down between my legs to try and grab my little one, but my hand can just barely grasp the head (FYI - it does NOT hurt the baby to be under the water for this brief time) because it keeps slipping. It is then that I say the words that will go down in infamy...
"Where's my baby? Where's my baby?"
See, even though it had been literally 3 or 4 seconds, NO ONE had realized that I had, you know, actually GIVEN BIRTH TO A BABY! When they heard me saying, "where's my baby" that was when the excitement began!
Now mind you, I didn't actually see this part because I was turned the other way, but Monk tells me it was highly comical. Since no one saw the actual birth, my "where's my baby" line was the cue that something had, in fact, happened. Monk says that Ann and Abby looked at each other, their eyes got big as saucers and then they both dove their arms into the water fishing for the baby!!!! And sure enough, they pulled out a baby!
The room erupted in laughter! I then ask over my shoulder, "Well, is it a boy or a girl???". Ann says, "It's a girl!!" and the room erupts into laughter once again! My dear, sweet husband then begins to weep at the sight of his brand new baby girl and reaffirms in my heart just why I love him so much! He is SUCH a girl daddy! And such a LOVING daddy! I can't tell you what an awesome experience it was! I also loved the fact that laughter was the first thing my baby girl heard upon arriving in this world! Well, besides the great swooshing sound she heard as she came out the Slip 'n Slide I like to call my birth canal. Good job, uterus!
Charlotte Anne was born at 11:25 pm. Barely an hour after I arrived at the birth center. Talk about cutting it a little close! And I'm not even sure if Ioana got any "before" birth pictures! She barely made it in time. And poor Cindy (my chiro). She missed the whole spectacular event!
After Charlie was "fished" out, I was able to turn around and immediately hold her close to me and talk to her. That is the part I love the most - immediately holding my baby girl, no one whisking her from me. She stayed with me, looking at the crazy lady who shot her out like a cannon, in the tub for about 20 minutes and then she went into Daddy's arms while I was cleaned up and dried off.
Pictures by Ioana Puscas
We nursed and snuggled in the bed until our herbal bath was drawn and then we got back into the water to do some more bonding. Then we watched as she was weighed and measured - never once being taken from our sight. AH! You just gotta love birth this way! It just never ceases to amaze me what a wonderful, wonderful experience it is! Charlie's birth was such a happy birth, filled with laughter and smiles and I can't thank God enough for blessing us that way. He alone receives the glory for such a wonderful, miraculous birth!
After being treated to a meal of IHOP (hey, there's not much else open at 3 am!) in bed, we headed home at about 4:30 am. Just me, Monk and our new little fish of a girl. (Should we have named her Ariel?? Um, no.)
And there you have it, the whole birth STOR-EE! See, I told y'all it was a spectacular birth. Now aren't you just warm and tingly all over?
Hey ya'll....HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!