Sunday, April 17, 2011

 I feel like this is really important.  I know the trend is somewhat going back to natural birth.  I know when I was first introduced to the idea, I was terrified.  I did some research.  I read some stories.  I was even more terrified.  Then, I read Ina May's Guide to Natural Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, and it changed my whole outlook. 

I feel it's important as women to share out experiences.  This is mine. Here's the bottom line:  No.  It's not easy, BUT it's not as bad as Western pop culture has brainwashed us into believing.  Want to know my full experience?  Read. on.


April 23rd, 2010, my entire life changed. In the 13 hours between 2:30 am on April 22nd, to 3:41 pm on April 23rd, I learned more about God's love for me, my man, myself, and my heart than I have learned cumulatively, throughout my entire life.

I felt birth. I felt pain. I felt what sacrifice really meant. I felt prayer. I felt love.

It all started at about 2:30 am. I woke up with what I believed to be contractions. I had spent a mere 8 months pregnant. I still had a dining room table full of diapers, baby clothes, toys, and blankets still neatly tucked in bags. I had a crib that had yet to be painted and put together. My child's nursery still looked like a spare bedroom ... without a bed.

I was not prepared. I had not finished my online birthing class. Heck, to be honest, I'd barely started it.

I remember laying in bed and thinking, "Oh, no. This can't be it." I prayed. Hard. I looked at my cell phone. Every 6 minutes, I was having a contraction.

I think I laid there for about two hours hoping and praying that my body would settle down and stop the labor. At around 4:30, I was bored, nervous, and scared. Not even knowing what I was doing, I started rubbing T's head. I remember him waking up and just asking me if it was time.

I didn't know how to answer him. I knew that something was off, but I didn't want to make a big deal about anything. What if this was false labor? I was only 8 months along. Surely not.

The contractions didn't stop. They didn't even fade. They weren't awful. They were do-able. We layed there for a while.

At 5:30, I had to go to the bathroom. T was on the phone with Momma Jules. I came back into the dark bedroom, and I told him this was time. I called my mom, and my midwife. My midwife seemed slightly annoyed, as she knew I was a first-time mom, and I had just seen her the day before. She told me to call her when they were every 5 minutes.

It wasn't soon before long, these little contractions were every 5 minutes. We called again. She said walk around, then take a shower. If it wasn't real labor, a shower would make them stop.

About the time I got in the shower, the contractions had gotten more intense. I was leaning over, and T was praying. The shower felt SO good, but I distinctly remember that I wanted to get OUT.

Timing the contractions, they were about every 2.5 minutes. Scary.

I remember T being so incredibly tired, and talking to his brother on the phone. The sun wasn't even up yet. He wanted some coffee. I remember standing on my little back porch almost shaking with energy. I even remember T telling me to settle down. I was so jittery. I think it was the nerves. I didn't know what to expect. I still felt unprepared.

By about 10:00, my midwife told me to make my way to the hospital. We waited for my Mom to come to the house. I was walking laps around our unfinished porch. T was picking four-leafed clovers out of the "lucky" patch in the backyard. I think at some point, a hospital bag was packed.

The car ride to the hospital was long, slow, and torturous. T had Lauryn Hill Unplugged playing softly with clovers in hand. At one red light, he put frankensence oil on my belly in the shape of a cross and was singing and smiling ear to ear. How beautiful that moment was.

I was checked by my midwife when we got there. 2-3 cm. That was all. Momma Jules and Dad showed up. Everyone was so sweet to me. I was put in an observation triage room in Labor and Delivery.

That's where it starts getting blurry. I think T and Momma Jules went to get something to eat. I remember wanting him with me the whole time. Dad, T, and M all took turns walking me up and down the halls to help me progress. I know that a couple of times, I got really faint and pale and they made me sit down.

I cannot stress enough how powerful T's presence was during labor. He would talk to me through contractions, pray, kiss my forehead, hold my hands. He was so strong. He had tears of love and joy in his eyes. Even in all my pain, I never got angry at him like a lot of people laughingly told me I would. I just wanted him whispering in my ear. He could've been telling me anything, I just wanted him close.

I know that my Mom and Dad were both so upset to see me in that much pain. I know now, having a son, that my heart would break a million times if I knew Baby S was in that much pain. I would want to take it away. I would want HIM to do something to make it less painful. But my parents knew that having a natural birth was exactly what I wanted. I'm thankful they (begrudgingly) respected my wishes.

Around 3:00 pm, my midwife checked me again. Only 3 cms. I cannot explain the dispair I felt. I had been laboring for 12 hours. I felt close to death. I thought I was at least 6 to 7 cms.

She left me with a very hard situation. She said that I was tired, hungry, and thirsty. I needed rest and sugar badly. She said that with the way I was looking, if I didn't do something to get some rest, I would NOT be having a natural birth. She offered a number of medicinal options. She said I should go home and sleep for about 3 hours or so, and I'd have the baby by 7 pm.

T asked her and the nurse to leave the room while we talked over our options. This had upset me to no end. Once they left, I left and went to "birthland." I was literally in the most overwhelming pain I had ever even begun to imagine. I remember T getting REALLY frustrated with me because I kept saying I didn't want drugs, but I couldn't come up with any other solution. I told him to decide. I didn't care. I wanted this to be over so badly.

The doctors came back about 30 minutes later. T had chosen the most well-known option, and told them that I would not be leaving the hospital. Again, I'm off somewhere in my head. I have no recollection of this time.

The nurse came in and made me roll onto my side. She had a shot. Literally, the SECOND she punctured my skin, I had the most enormous contraction in the history of the world. I distinctly remember that one being the worst.

She didn't even get the door closed, before I told T to go get the midwife. Something was wrong. I had to go to the bathroom. Throw up. SOMETHING was not right!!

He ran out of the room, and my midwife walks back in all lackidasically. I was freaking out. She checked me and said, "OKAY! No time for a water birth. No time for anything. M, you're having a baby RIGHT NOW!"

They didn't even have time to get me into a wheelchair to roll over to the delivery room. They unhooked/unplugged everything as fast as they could and rolled me down the hall. Nurses were running everywhere. My mom was outside the room we were in, and I remember giving her the most horrified look. Poor Momma. She ran off to the rest of the family members waiting. They didn't know what was going on. Momma Jules came down to the L&D desk (from what I was told) and started going off on doctors and nurses about how they were about to send me home 15 minutes ago, and now I'm having the baby??? Like, what the heck?!!? Hahaha.

While in the delivery room, with all the rushing around, I remember grabbing T's hand and saying, "T, CALM ME DOWN!!! We're about to have a baby!" and crying.

I did not like pushing. I'll leave it at that.

5 minutes later, I had the teeny-tiniest child pulled up onto my belly. I will cherish that memory forever. I literally watched him be pulled out with his little eyes wide open. He was so quiet, even when he cried. He was beautiful. Precious. And all ours.

T told me he was a boy! Ha! I didn't even care. He tore off out of the room to tell the family, "IT'S A BOY!" just like a movie.

I'm so in love with this child and my man and my family and my Lord.

I'll cut it off here. It's long enough as it is.

1 comment:

mamma jules said...

OMG!!!! What a beautiful story. Babies are such a blessing. God is certainly a loving father to give us such gifts.