August 31, 2013
I am thrilled to say that my kid has made her outside-the-womb debut!
Sibyl was born at her Nana’s house, surrounded by people who already loved her. I had my first contraction at 9pm and told Susan she might not want to drive back to McMinnville that night. So she agreed to sleep at my place and I pretty much went straight to bed. Labor started out intense, possibly because her head was very low already, so I was vocalizing with every contraction nearly as soon as I woke up at 2am. This was emotionally difficult for me because, as a midwife and a curious human, I kept checking my cervix. “How can things be so intense but still only at 1 and a half centimeters?!” And I had thought we might get to go on walks or play cards in early labor! I took a little bath and tried to go back to bed for a while, and rested between contractions though I could not sleep. Then I entered a phase of being dizzy and nauseous, which was no fun until I got some miso soup down and started to feel better. I wanted to get in the tub, but it was too cold outside still to try the clawfoot we set up in the back yard, so my lovely support team filled the inflatable birth tub. The contractions had gotten to a point where about half were intense but manageable, and the other half peaked a bit higher than manageable. I wouldn’t say it was back labor, per se, because the pain was not present between contractions, but I did largely feel contractions in my sacrum and I really appreciated counter-pressure at this time. I decided I needed “something else,” and since the morning had warmed up perfectly, and my team filled the clawfoot so I could go outside. It was a gorgeous August Saturday, and I would have loved to have a baby under the apple tree, but the tub ended up being barely too shallow. I was putting myself hands-and-knees for nearly every contraction, and the water wasn’t deep enough to cover over my lower back. Around this time, I started breaking my moms’ hearts by saying things very typical of transition. I was pretty pitiful and there was nothing they could do to make things better. I also still really wanted the counter-pressure, but it felt as if it was just increasing the total pressure, and was too much to handle. So again, “something else.” The team was draining the inflatable tub so they could bring it outside as well, which sounded a perfect solution. In the meanwhile, I opted for the shower, which was exactly the kind of pressure/ not pressure I needed for my lower back. I stayed in there a while, and then hit a point where I knew that if I did not get out of the shower now, I would not be able to get out at all and would have a baby there. This would have been suboptimal as it was rather enclosed, with pebble floor, and the hot water was going to run out someday. So despite the inflatable tub being not-yet-drained, I reversed the orders and had my lovely people fill it back up where it was. Once back in the tub, I missed the spray of the shower but was glad not to be kneeling on wet towels or the pebble floor. Contractions got very intense and gave me no breaks in between, with the exception of when I threw up. And then I could push! And then, nearly immediately, I couldn’t NOT push. I also couldn’t not scream, which was kind of cool. This wasn’t pained victim screaming, but screaming my power down, helping the push. I am definitely one of the folks who prefers pushing to not pushing: once there was something I could DO, the panicking and whining were gone. These loud pushes alternated with whispery silent pushes, and between the two, she came quickly. As she was crowning, I could feel I was going to tear, so I tried to wait and let things stretch but my uterus and my daughter had other ideas. I was leaning back and then her head was out and I could immediately feel her wriggle one shoulder out, then the other, and pull out her hands. She was born to her middle and turned face up. She was looking around under the water and I grabbed her under her armpits and pulled her up. It was 338pm and she wailed right away.
For the past few weeks I’ve been saying that I wasn’t able to imagine what it would be like to love her more than any other baby, or think she’s cuter than any other baby. I’ve seen lots of cute babies, and loved many children who aren’t mine, and though I knew it would happen, I couldn’t picture having such a superlative reaction to her existence. But I did. Sibyl is the greatest thing ever. She is alert and likes to look around at everything, often scowling skeptically. She is a Goldilocks perfectionist when it comes to her latch. She possesses an inner calm and prehensile monkey toes. She is a terrific snuggler. And she is very, very loved.
Perinatal care specialist. Spouse and parent. Vegan; drinks a lot of tea. Birthed our kid and also carried a surrogacy. Board game (and generally) geeky. Goat hugger extraordinaire.
Read more about Jay here.