Roaring to Life: A Birth StoryJune 28, 2010 at 5:00 am | Posted in Bun | 44 Comments
Tags: Babies, Birth, Challenges, Intuition, Motherhood, Newborns, Parenting, Personal, Pregnancy
3:30 in the morning. A sharp pain in my side. Nothing new.
I tried to go back to sleep. Forced my eyes to close. Shifted my feet back and forth along the slick comforter, in and out of the sheet, looking for a cool spot to rest them, looking for relief.
None to be had. I got up. Stood against the counter in the dark bathroom. More sharp pain. Nothing regular, nothing wavelike. You’re not in labor, I told my body. Just go to sleep. Please, please, just sleep.
No sleep. No relief.
At 4 a.m., I went downstairs and rocked back and forth on my birthing ball. The backaches started to come regularly, to ebb and flow, though I didn’t time them, didn’t measure the minutes between. It didn’t matter. I knew what was happening.
You’re in labor, my body told me.
I watched the darkness recede through the leaves of the oak tree in my backyard. I watched the purple sky turn orange. I watched the stars disappear. I rocked and rocked through the backaches.
My house woke up. My dad came downstairs first, asked if I was all right. Then my husband, my daughter. My mom, my son. The morning ritual moved ahead without me: the clatter of plates, the whoosh of poured milk, tiny fingers earnestly gripping drippy waffles and banana slices. I sat and watched and rocked and moaned. Present, but not present.
Somehow, I ate breakfast and showered. Somehow, my husband packed the car. Somehow, I kissed my children and told them their brother was coming. I only remember sitting and rocking and moaning.
We arrived at the hospital and filled out the forms. I answered the questions and got hooked up to the machines. The nurse said she’d call the anesthesiologist. I said no. This was my last labor, my last chance to do it by myself. I had to prove to myself I could. No drugs. Not this time.
I was 7 centimeters. I sat, stood, swayed, rocked, moaned. As my husband pressed on my back during every contraction to counter the pain, I barked at him. “Higher, lower, harder, push, dammit, push.”
At 9 centimeters, I asked the doctor to break my water. He did. The contractions were terrible, terrifying. I begged for an epidural, pleaded for it to stop, wanted to go home. I clutched at my husband’s shirt collar and ignored the nurse’s refrain to unclench my jaw. I roared blindly through each contraction, one on top of another, without end.
I never felt the urge to push. Instead, a singular, dominating, domineering thought began to reverberate through my head. Get the baby out. Get him out.
I roared and pushed. And pushed. And pushed. He crowned.
Then, he got stuck.
Get the baby out. Get him out.
I roared and pushed some more. The nurses pounded on my belly. They ordered me to lie flat on my back. They said I had to push, I had to push hard, I had to push now. I had to get the baby out.
I did. He was born. They hurried him away. My husband started to follow, and they told him to stay with me.
Because it was quiet. The baby was quiet.
I felt my body being stitched up. Still, the baby was quiet.
I heard my voice ask, “Is my baby okay? Is he okay? What’s wrong?” Still, the baby was quiet.
I stared at my fuzzy green socks and thought how cheerfully out of place they looked. Still, the baby was quiet.
Finally, I heard him. All 9 pounds, 13 ounces of his disgruntled, pissed-off, spectacular roar. It bounced off the walls and jump-started my heart.
It took 40 weeks and 2 days to grow him. It took 10 hours to birth him. It took 15 minutes to push him out and 3 more to hear him.
It took no time at all to love him.
What details do you remember from your labor? What can’t you remember? How did your labor go according to plan or off course? Have you posted a birth story on your blog? Be sure to include the link in your comment.
Good Things to Come
I’ve asked my husband to share Bun’s birth story with you as he experienced it. He’s a math and science guy who says writing is as tough as fathering. But he excels at both.
I’ll be publishing his post on Wednesday. I hope you’ll drop by and lend him your eyes.