Baby Ada’s Birth Day.
I feel as if I am completely in awe.
Did any of this actually happen? It’s all so unbelievable, the entire pregnancy I’ve felt a since of disbelief. After my miscarriage I was afraid to trust that I could have a real live baby. I didn’t want my heart broken again.
Even after three healthy ultrasounds I still couldn’t wrap my mind around the image of a healthy baby. Once you realize that it can all change in an instant, it’s never the same again.
At 39 weeks I started having mild cramping every night that would eventually just go away. It was the same thing that happened at the end of my pregnancy with Rosie, except this time I was seeing a hands off midwife instead of a hospital midwife who used a lot of interventions. Since there were no interventions as an option, I was forced to trust my body and my baby and wait. I did nothing except wait, and enjoy the smell of clary sage which is said to bring on contractions.
On Tuesday night I went to bed telling myself that I was happy to have no cramping that night, because I didn’t want my baby’s birthday to be 4/20. In fact, instead of the usual nightly cramps I was having something else–a strange sensation in my cervix, as if the baby was poking away at it with an imaginary ice pick. It hurt, and it was annoying, but it wasn’t cramping. I went to bed excited about getting a full night of sleep.
At two in the morning I was jolted awake by something similar to those regular cramps, except with more pressure. It didn’t exactly hurt, it was more like a blood pressure cuff around my lower abdomen squeezing tighter and tighter until it pinched, then slowly letting up.
Even though it wasn’t painful, it made me wide awake. And it kept happening.
I was confused. It didn’t hurt, it couldn’t be considered contractions. When I was in labor with Rosie I was in pain. Serious, screaming pain from contractions. These waves of pressure were nothing remotely similar.
I decided to get up out of bed because I felt too strange to lay there and try to sleep. Instead I sat on the rocking chair on the front porch wrapped in a thick blanket. I watched the sun rise, and then I had to go inside because all of the neighbors were driving by on their way to work. I was still having those waves of pressure regularly, but they weren’t increasing in strength or causing any pain.
When Tyler got up he convinced me to call the midwife to ask her opinion. She sent over her assistant, who happens to live just a few minutes away. Her assistant decided that I was in labor. I was still continuing in my state of disbelief. I wouldn’t let Tyler call in to work for the night.
After a little while my midwife got there and checked my cervix for the first time this pregnancy. I was already 7 centimeters dilated.
I didn’t believe her, and I was certain there was no way I could be 3 centimeters away from pushing out a baby. I wasn’t in any pain! At all!
Rosie wanted to go to my mom’s house, so I let her…even though I didn’t think there was any reason for her to go.
The midwife and her assistant hung out on the porch. Tyler grilled burgers.
I laid in bed, spent some time on the internet for lack of anything better to do, and felt like I was wasting everyone’s time since I was not having any real labor.
Tyler and I went for a walk and laughed about random things. When we got back I killed some more time doing nothing and considered that if I were actually in labor (though of course I wasn’t) that this would make the most boring birth story ever written. I went outside and watered the chickens, sat and watched them peck.
See, boring. Labor is supposed to be intense and exciting! Considering that my entire pregnancy was spent in disbelief, I suppose it’s fitting that I spent the entire labor continuing to not believe it was real.
After a little while I got hot, because it was a warm spring day, so I decided to go soak in the tub and pretend that there weren’t three people at my house waiting on me to give birth. Tyler came in the bathroom with me and we laughed about nothing and everything. I considered that maybe the water would cause the waves of pressure to increase, maybe it would bring on real labor…but nothing happened.
Somewhere around 2 in the afternoon, 15 minutes after I got in the tub, the midwife came in the bathroom to check the baby’s heartbeat with the doppler. The baby sounded great, and I explained that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be having a baby anytime soon since I wasn’t having any contractions. She laughed at me and I didn’t know why, because I was completely serious.
As she stood up to leave the bathroom there was a strange feeling in the lower part of my baby belly. It was almost like the sensation you get when you snap your fingers. Then there was a warm hot gush. It was so strong I could feel it underwater. My water broke…! It was clear and filled with vernix.
Now everyone was laughing at me–see, I really might have a baby.
I asked the midwife to check and see how dilated I was, because I was nervous that maybe I wasn’t in labor. Did I mention that?
She said I was almost 10 centimeters, there was just a lip of cervix left to go.
Disbelief. Disbelief. DISBELIEF!
I wasn’t in any pain up until that point. Just those waves of pressure. How could I possibly be almost complete!?! I kept asking if this was really happening.
Unfortunately this is where the blissful painless part ends. I guess the bag of waters was a great cushion, because once it was gone I felt extreme pressure down low. Not the gentle squeezing pressure, but the OMFG THIS IS UNBEARABLE sort of pressure.
Then I had contractions and they hurt.
This was unexpectedly difficult. I think it was because of the disbelief. I went from thinking I wasn’t in labor one minute to out of my mind and body labor the next minute. I didn’t cope so well. My distress made the baby distressed, and her heart rate kept dropping.
The lip of cervix got out of the way quickly while I suffered in the bathtub for about half an hour. This was the worst half and hour EVER. It felt like eternity filled with pressure and pain and no control. I was so hysterical that I made Tyler cry.
I started pushing.
Like, I started pushing out a baby even though an hour ago I wasn’t really in labor and for the past nine months I wasn’t even sure this baby really existed.
Finally (well, after that half an hour) I decided that I hated the water and I had to get out right that second. I needed gravity!
As soon as I got on the bed I was able to center myself a bit more. I was still in that crazy sudden labor place, but I could focus my pushing. I wanted to let my body push by itself only that wasn’t working out so well. I don’t know why. My body was pushing but I couldn’t just relax. In between the pushing I was still going over the disbelief in my mind. Tyler sat behind me on the bed and that really helped. I needed to feel his strength behind me, and I needed to grab his hands.
Finally I felt the baby’s head moving down. It was a huge bulge. It burned. I screamed…a lot. The burning and pressure were incredible, and not in a good way.
It was only 35 minutes. The entire thing, the pushing…only 35 minutes…
I thought it was much longer but the midwife’s records say 35 minutes. She was born at 3:35 pm.
Everything about that day was completely unreal.
If it wasn’t for this video, which I have watched multiple times already, I still would not be able to grasp what happened.
Being in awe doesn’t even begin to sum it up.
This is how it ended: I was naked, and there were bodily fluids, and it was one of the most amazing moments of my entire life. I feel like I should share it, only because there are no words with which I could possibly describe…
The password is [request it in the comment section].
So, it was real. It was all real. It wasn’t a dream.
Her hand came out by her face, and that caused a small tear…but it’s virtually painless.
I feel tired. That’s it. I’m not miserable like I was after Rosie’s birth. Instead I feel…empowered? Or maybe blessed is a better word.
Baby Ada is nursing at my side while writing this–my milk has already come in just 24 hours after the birth. She’s chubby and content and I’m still having a bit of disbelief that I have two beautiful little girls.
In my wildest dreams I could never have imagined anything this perfect.