Am I sleeping when the baby is sleeping? No, I'm blogging and surfing Facebook. When, oh when will my common sense ever kick in?
Our little boy, who's really not so little, arrived Sunday morning at 5:50 am weighing in at 10 pound, 2 ounces, delivered naturally! All I can say is Praise God and yay team!
So let's get down to the gory details, shall we?
As many of you know, I was having contractions as early as Thursday. The fact that they would not get any closer together was the source of much irritation. Saturday we went to bed at 11:30 pm and the contractions started again and I thought, "Great, there goes another night's sleep." Then, as if in response to my snarkiness, I felt something give way. You've never seen a pregnant lady jump up so quick in your life. Now "experts" say that a woman's waters break before labor in only 15% of pregnancies. Having had this happen with W Bear, I figured I was already at 20% and had beaten the odds of trashing my bed. Apparently, I am an exception to the rule. There I was by the side of my bed making a big old mess. Bo Hunkmeister woke up because he heard water running and thought, that can't be good. He said, "You ok, dear?" and I said, "It's showtime." Bo tossed me some towels that were nearby and I waddled to our tub while he called the midwife.
Now for another aside that you might not know. When I was first married, I thought large families that home schooled and had home births were all hippies who couldn't leave the 60's. Guess who's about to get a dashiki and some love beads?
Andrew James was born in our very own bed here at home with his sister looking on (another sister chose not to watch and his brothers slept through the whole thing).
The reason we decided on a home birth after five hospital births basically came down to wanting to have a natural childbirth. I've had two c-sections and three natural births and let me tell you, as painful as labor can be, the recovery from a natural birth is far better than a section. But after much research and discussion with at least four other OB/GYN practices, I found out that no one in the state of Rhode Island would allow me to even try to labor naturally because of the previous two sections. I offered to sign waivers, to labor in the operating room, I presented ACOG bulletins and research that supported my position, and still was told the same thing - medical professionals wouldn't risk the cost of a possible lawsuit were something to go wrong.
This was the cause of much stress for me because I really didn't want to be strapped to a table, awake while someone cut me open. What put me over the edge was when my OB scheduled my section a week earlier than I had expected simply because his schedule was booked for the first day he mentioned. For me, being a slow cooker (most of my babies have been late), an early operation date meant a baby taken out before he was completely ready.
So we found a midwife who would help us deliver a baby at home. In Rhode Island, whoever cuts the cord in a home birth is the person considered to have delivered the baby. Of course, in my warped thinking, this made me want to wake up the two year old so he could cut the cord! Sensibility won out though and Bo "delivered" his son.
So back to squatting in the tub...
While I cleaned up a bit in the tub, Bo Hunkmeister called the midwife, called Gail (our child care person), cleaned my mess and made the bed ready for the birth. Have I ever told you how wonderful he is?
Anyway, within a half an hour, the team was assembled and ready. The midwife set up all the supplies, started warming the receiving blankets and then sat down a pulled out some knitting. I'm not kidding, in between listening to the baby's heart beat, she was making a baby hat! We sat, we chatted, we ate, we drank, I contracted and we did the whole routine over again until the contractions got too intense. At that point, the midwife had me lay on the bed sideways. I had wanted to stay up right because that made the contractions a smidge less painful, but the midwife wanted me to lie down so Gummi wouldn't come out too quickly. Too quickly?!? When I can see the end of the race, I want to sprint for it, not slow things down a bit. But I acquiesced to her 27 years of experience, laid down and silently said lots of not so polite things in my head. Despite what felt like an eternity, I managed to push all 10 pounds, 2 ounces of baby out within 30 minutes. And no tearing! Even with the traditional LGH (Large Grattan Head). And then bliss set it - baby warm on your chest, no more pain and some Irish Soda bread!
At this point, I'm going fundamentalist so if this makes you feel uncomfortable, scroll past this next part.
I want to praise God for:
all of you who prayed so fervently for us and this delivery
letting me delivery Andrew naturally with no tearing!
for a short labor (relatively)
for a midwife and her assistant that had faith in me and Bo (and left my house as clean as it was before they got there)
for Gail who kept an eye on my other kiddies and then told me it was a privilege to watch me yell and make a mess on my bed
and especially for my husband who knelt in the same uncomfortable position for more than an hour, who volunteered his arms for my "contraction death grip", who rubbed my lower back until his fingers were numb all while saying "You're doing great, honey!"
The midwife and her assistant (another midwife herself) stayed with us for two hours after wards making sure that Andrew and I were all set and cleaned up and then they left. It was that simple.
So now I'm a bit sore, a bit tired, but in general, in a waaaay better mood than my previous delivery (one of the two aforementioned sections). As my friend Mary Ellen said, "You sounded happy on my voice mail!" My not-so-little boy is sleeping next to me in my bed, and there aren't any nurses coming in just as we fall asleep to ask for my blood pressure.
I'm not saying home birth is for everyone. Bo and I carefully researched this option and prayerfully considered our particular risks. But let me tell you, sometimes being a bit fringe can be a wonderful thing.
P.S. A little olive oil on a newborn's butt will help in cleaning off that sticky meconium. I wish I had know this with my first!
Monday, March 16, 2009