Thursday, December 15, 2005

I Did It and It Wasn’t Even Horrible

I Did It and It Wasn’t Even Horrible
Michele Zorn

I had been having really annoying "pre-labor" con-tractions all week, so when they started up on Monday evening I didn’t think much of it. My husband and I had a mellow evening, took a walk and watched a movie. At around 9:30pm Scott and I had some sex and about a half hour later the contractions seemed a little different than the ones I had been having. After a few that made it pretty clear that I was really in labor this time, I called my midwife Beth. She and two assistants arrived at about 12:45am.

Beth checked me and I was 2-3 cm with contractions 5-8 minutes apart. The midwives went to sleep in various parts of the house and Scott and I went in our room to try to sleep. I managed to doze a little. Contractions were getting stronger but they seemed really short. Scott said they were over a minute long, but they were only painful to me for about 20 seconds.

Beth checked me again around 3:00am and I was 3 cm. She told Scott to go ahead and fill the pool. I got in and Beth went back out to rest. Scott lay back down to rest for a while too. The water was so wonderful. It was all nice and warm and the room was candle lit.

I got out of the pool after about a half hour and walked around the house a bit, stepping over sleepy midwives. The contractions started to come one on top of the other and I was starting to make some noise. Though they were intense, they still felt really manageable.

A change in my vocalization woke up all three midwives. They quickly started setting up their supplies. I wondered why they were scurrying around. I thought I had lots of time. When Beth came in I told her I didn’t want to be checked. Since I was only 3 cm two hours before I thought I was probably 5 cm and I didn’t want to be disappointed if I wasn’t that far along.

Little did I know I was in transition! I had expected to freak out during transition, or at least feel that "I cant go on" feeling. But I felt fine except for the contractions being really close together. After one particularly long one Beth asked, “Are you pushing?”

I said, “I don’t think so.” I still thought I had just hit active labor. I got back in the pool and sure enough with the next contraction my body was pushing. I told Beth I thought it was too early to push and she told me to feel where the baby was. I was shocked to feel her head and a bag of water. I asked Beth if that meant I had already done transition and didn’t notice. I was so thankful when she said yes. Apparently I have a higher threshold for pain than I thought. I was really proud, and amazed. I thought I was a total wuss during my 37 hour labor with my now three-year-old son, Ari.

The pushing contractions didn’t feel painful, I just felt an urge to bear down. Between pushes I was laughing and saying how weird it was that I felt so good. I pushed through about four contractions and I felt the baby’s body slide down. That was intense! I think I was hollering pretty loud at that point. I gave one really big push and when her head was out, I screamed, "Get her out!”

Beth said, "Slow down. She doesn’t have to be born with this contraction." I thought she was crazy for suggesting that I wait with half a baby hanging out. So I pushed and screamed and out she flew. I was on my knees and Beth passed her up between my legs. She floated to the surface. I was in shock. The first thing I said was, "I did it and it wasn’t even horrible. It was fun!"

The birth was exactly how I wanted it. It was such a great experience. Elliot Nova is 7lbs 3oz and 20 inches. Her face is really bruised and she has broken blood vessels in her eye from being born so quickly. Her hobbies include nursing and wanting to nurse.

Ari slept through the birth and woke up about 10 minutes after Elliot was born. He was a little apprehensive at first. I think he was nervous about the bloody pool. Eventually he warmed up and climbed on the bed with us. The next morning he came into our room and said, "I’m a big brother now.” He asked Scott to lay her on his belly as he pretended to have a contraction and push her out. He exclaimed, “Ooooh, it’s a newborn.” (He had been doing this routine with his toys during my pregnancy.) He adores her and instructs us in proper baby care. He's constantly telling us, "Oh she doesn’t like that blanket, your baby needs milk, she's tired,” and so on. When she cries, he jumps up and says, “Oh I'll get her.”

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