Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Winston's birth story

To start Winston’s birth story, I really need to go back to Birdie’s. Her delivery only took 4 hours from the start of labor to her birth; it was natural and in a hospital, and we have nothing but wonderful memories about it. Afterwards, however, sucked. The stay in the hospital was terrible from start to finish, and I wanted to avoid all of it again, if I could. So, I started researching other options. I started my care with a great OB, but I knew I wasn’t going to need a C-section, so it seemed silly to me to see a surgeon; I needed an expert in low-risk delivery. I took a tour of a birth center, but it also seemed silly to me to have all the luxuries of home but not be at home. That’s how I found our amazing midwife, Nanci, and planned our home birth. Throughout my pregnancy, we had Saturday appointments, so Birdie and David were both able to come and hear the baby’s heartbeat—Birdie loved that. We were never rushed and never had to wait. We didn’t tell very many people that we were doing it until the very end, because I wasn’t in the mood to hear any negative comments about it, which is what we ended up hearing from everyone besides my wonderful mom’s group friends. David and I were both eagerly awaiting our home birth, and I wasn’t nervous at all. In fact, the only real anxiety I had was what I would do with Birdie once I went into labor. Fortunately, I had a long list of friends and neighbors who were “on call” to come get her if I was at home by myself.

So, it was a Sunday afternoon and 3 days past my due date. I was starting to get nervous that I was going to go way overdue like I did with Birdie and would end up being induced in the hospital. But, as I was in the middle of painting the kitchen, I started to have very minor and sporadic contractions, only 3-5 seconds long. I thought this might be the very beginning, so I went for a brisk walk to try to encourage real contractions to start. Nothing. I was pretty bummed. I went back to painting, but I just didn’t feel good overall. Birdie cooperated, and we all took a long nap. When I woke up, I was still having very short contractions, so I looked up my symptoms online, and it seemed like it was “false” labor. I gave Nanci a call at 6:10 to ask her if “false” labor ever turns into the real thing. She said, unfortunately, it was 50/50. It would either go away or it would turn into the real thing. I was getting a little frustrated, because I wanted to get things going. Birdie and I relaxed on the couch together and read books. David was cleaning up from dinner and doing chores around the house.

The contractions weren’t getting stronger or longer, but they were finally consistent, coming every 5 minutes around 8:00. I went to the bedroom to be by myself for a while. David and Birdie came back to check on me several times, but he kept making me laugh, so I kicked them both out and told him I was going to call Nanci to come. He was surprised that I would call her so soon, because he didn’t think I was in active labor--probably because he kept making me laugh. At 8:30, things really picked up. I labored by myself in our master bathroom for a long time. I would lean against the towel rack and rock back and forth and hum through each contraction and then pace around the room like a momma cat in between. I listened to the “labor” playlist David had made for me, but once labor got intense, the only song I specifically remember hearing, and I’m not kidding, is “I’m Coming Out,” by Diana Ross when I was pushing, and I remember giggling to myself. Seriously. How cheesy can we get? The other funny moment that happened was when I was right in the middle of it, and I could hear David quietly trying to suppress a laugh. I asked him, “What are you laughing at?” which I remember thinking that it probably came off as sounding like I was the stereotypical, ticked off woman in lator mad at her husband, but I was actually really curious and wanted to know what was funny. He started to tell me and then a contraction hit, and I yelled, “Nevermind! Nevermind. Tell me later.”

David finally came back to join me at 10, after he had finally gotten Birdie down for the night. (Yes, if she takes a nap, she stays up that late.) My water finally broke at 10:10, and my contractions started to get very painful. (I’d say 8.5 out of 10; it was 8 for Birdie.) Nanci and Diana (the back-up midwife) got there at 10:15 and started getting things set up. They filled up the tub and suggested I get in to ease the pain. I hadn’t planned on spending any time in the tub, but I thought it was worth a try. The water temperature was perfect and felt good, but it didn’t ease the pain at all. By 10:25, I was pretty anxious to get that baby out. I was having severe lower back pain with no break in between contractions. But, because I was at home, I felt completely comfortable to be as loud as I wanted to be, which helped. I was in transition and totally ready to be done. David said, “the baby’s going to be here before midnight!” I opened my eyes, looked at the clock and said, “Bull crap. He’s going to be here in 10 minutes!” I’m telling you, I wanted that baby out. And that's what I really said. I didn't even swear, although I considered it.

Around 10:45, I felt like I was ready to push. That’s the beauty of having a midwife—she never checked me, which had been painful with Birdie. I told her when I was ready to push, and then I did. I was pretty determined, so I got his head out in 2 or 3 pushes, which ended up bruising his little nose and forehead because it was so fast. I never did get out of the tub, so we ended up having a water birth, and he was born at 10:55 pm, on a Sunday night, just like his sister. We put him on my chest; he was completely quiet and had his eyes closed. David was worried, because he was so still. Nanci gave him some oxygen and was rubbing him vigorously to get him to wake up and move and cry. I was completely calm and relaxed, because I could feel him, and I knew he was just fine. I was just so happy—happy to have him and hold him in my arms. I was stroking his head and talking to him and just staring at him in amazement. It took probably a good 2 or 3 minutes for him to cry and start moving. It never even occurred to me to check to see if he was a girl or boy. Nanci finally said, “Well, what is it?” So I finally checked and saw he was a boy and looked at David and said, “We have a son.”

So, the best part is that after the baby and I were cleaned up and checked out and the midwives left, David, W, and I snuggled in bed together and went to sleep. David and I whispered to each other about everything that had just happened and how excited we were about showing him to Birdie in the morning.

So, that's it. We are now a family of 4 and feel so completely blessed and lucky. Although labor was really intense (but thankfully, pretty short), I wish I could relive that moment of holding that warm, wet baby in my arms again. I could never describe how amazing that miracle was. I have the best partner in the world, and I could never thank Nanci enough for helping me deliver Winston. It was such a great experience. And when we finally leave this house, I know that Winston’s birth will be the first thing I think about and will be sad about leaving.

Here are a few pics to go along with our birth story. This is the master bathroom that I painted about a month before the birth. I knew I'd be spending a lot of time in there, so I wanted it to be nice.

Another view of the bathroom, including the toilet closet and the towel bar that I now can't look at without thinking of being in labor.

How sweet is this? This is Diana weighing Winston at 11:45. Can you see the little foot hanging out of the bag?

Here is the giant baby I still can't believe I birthed. He's huge! This is about 3 days after he was born.

Nanci gave us this sweet shirt. Not many babies can say that!