Thursday, March 31, 2011

40 weeks

As of five hours ago, I am forty weeks pregnant. I think my water may have broken at 3:00, but no contractions yet. Unfortunately, I can't seem to go back to sleep. Ryan fell back asleep as soon as I told him to. Men have it easy.

I would find it very satisfying if this child is born on his due date.

3:00 water trickle, call midwife and mom. try to sleep. fail.

Get up and play around online. Read funny blog. Have a few intermittent contractions.

7:00 puke.

Nineteen days later, I'm back to edit the post I began the day before I gave birth. Sorry. Newborn=timewarp. It's all for the best. I already have amnesia setting in, which should spare you some gore.

So, as you can see from the above post, begun but never finished, I went into labor on my due date, March 31. Kind of. It was slow, disorganized labor, with lots of several-hours-long breaks and easily managed contractions. I enjoyed this early labor stage until 1:00 pm the next day, April 1, when my midwife invited me to her office to talk about options, since my water may or may not have broken (in retrospect, I think it was a break in the forebag, for those who like details about other peoples' amniotic sacs). She did the obligatory exam and reported that I have a "favorable" cervix (3 cm dilated, 80% effaced, "nice and soft and stretchy") and that I might benefit from her "labor blend", an herbal tincture featuring the wondrous cohoshes, black and blue. She explained that the labor blend would act like a push-start to a car: if my body wasn't ready for active labor, nothing would happen, but if we were on the brink of something real, it might help things get into gear.

I threw it back like a shot of tequila with nary an afterthought and delivered a baby four hours later.

When I think of myself swilling it down now, it is as though I see myself smilingly compliant as I am strapped to the front of a train. Sure, I'll take that cohosh! I didn't want to breathe for the next four hours anyway!

I began having more intense contractions shortly after taking the dreaded labor blend and by the time I got home I was in active labor. Ryan called the midwife.

Ryan: "Uhm, I think this is getting kind of serious"

Midwife: "Well have her get in the shower. Sometimes that can space the contractions out a little bit."

Ryan: "Ok"

Me [on all fours on the bed with my face buried in the mattress]: "AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!"

It was evident to Ryan that I wasn't going to make it to the shower. He called the midwife back a few contractions later and we headed back to have a baby.

Thankfully, my little brother drives a Crown Victoria, aka living room on wheels, aka Birth Chariot. I did not deliver the baby in the car; that is not where this is going. I did, however, ride the six miles to the birth center on my hands and knees in the back seat, wailing my pretty little head off. Little brother said he felt like he was in a movie. I did not feel like I was in a movie. I felt like I was in another place, a place where snowballs don't fare well.

We arrived at around 3:30 and I somehow pitched and roared myself inside. It was nothing graceful, I assure you. As soon as the midwife saw me, she exclaimed "Oh! Now this is a woman who is working!" and started the water in the giant tub.

Ryan began explaining the situation.

Ryan: "The contractions started getting bad when we got back home..."

Midwife: "You mean they started getting good when you got home!"


I got in the tub as soon as it was ready for me, planted myself on my shins and hands, a la The Little Mermaid (who, incidentally, Ryan identified the other day as Muriel, to my unending amusement and delight), and didn't move for two hours. I labored, loudly. I knew from reading a bazillion birth books that low noises are more helpful in labor than high-pitched shrieks, so I compromised by making the loudest low noises known to man. I was so loud I couldn't hear what people were saying to me. It was sort of shocking how loud I could be.

And sort of satisfying.

They say some women like labor and some women like pushing. I only liked when it was over.

I will say only this about the sensation of labor pains. If you had hit me on the hand with a hammer as hard as you could, I would have considered it a minor distraction.

Forrest Michael Lee was born at 5:30. He was very small when compared to other human beings, and very large when compared to the size of the body parts from which he recently emerged: 8 lb 10 oz.

Ryan, my friend Jami, my mother, and my midwife attended the birth. Other than the fact that it was mind-meltingly, horrifically, painful, it was perfect. There are not words to describe what it meant to have each of them there, so I won't try. It's not blog material anyway. Blogs are for writing that your husband thought the Little Mermaid's name was Muriel, at least that's what this blog is for.

After my whirlwind delivery I felt like exhasuted, broken, garbagey garbage. To say I was spent doesn't begin to capture it. I was still in pain. And I soon discovered that the price of a quick, efficient labor is that a person better learn to nurse lying on her side because she isn't going to be sitting for awhile. I'll leave it at that.

I still can't sit.

The baby was, of course, the foil for all the misery. He was a peaceful little beauty and neither Ryan nor I slept all night because we couldn't stop staring at his little face. I congratulated myself on a job well done, as I had created a close to perfect baby (he has a tongue tie, but we like him anyway, even if he is a little chompy about the nursing) out of pizza and Berry Berry Kix. Not bad.

The first ten days after the birth were idyllic, minus the not sitting and getting chomped. My mom stayed with us while Ryan and I got our sea legs and she fell for the boy, hard. We're going to have to figure out a fiscally responsible way to get her to move to Utah because if we don't I think she might not make it. We all just stayed in the house staring at the new little face. It still hasn't gotten old.

When I was in the throes of pregnant misery, working 40-50 hours a week as I gained seventy pounds (in spite of frequent vomiting, making the accomplishment all the more impressive) I told myself that when the baby was born all I would do was lay in bed for the first two months and nurse him. At the time I thought I was kidding, or at least exaggerating, but here I am, nineteen days out, and that's all I've done so far. I barely check my email. I haven't called Medicaid to tell them the baby was born. I have only left the house three times, for appointments with doctors. I have been exclusively wearing a black track suit. And I'm not fixin' to change my schedule any time soon.

So that's the story. There aren't too many details because it was pretty cut and dry. And fast. It was really fast.

With a happy ending.


Autumn and Barrett said...

He is wonderful, Pamy. And I am wonderfully impressed with you for your fast track birthing. Glad you're taking advantage of every moment to stare at that face. It seems unlikely that under such scrutiny it can change at all, but before you know it it'll be 6 1/2. The whole baby will! So proud of you. Love you, love him, congrats to you all.

Here's to your happy beginning!

M said...

Pamy, I have been so curious to get your take (and know your experience) about birthing.

Have you thought about how this experience might affect you in the future? I'm particularly thinking about when you assisted midwives in the past. How do you think this will affect the way that you interact with (or help) a woman who is in labor? Would you encourage them to make some satisfyingly loud sounds? :)

Congratulations again on the baby. I can relate to your hermit-like tendencies. I was the same way. (And congrats for surviving the labor. Phew!)


betsey said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Pamy! I love a great birth story, and this one was good. Enjoy sitting on the couch and nursing. It is one of my happiest memories of having Nora.

And Forrest is beauitful. What a doll!

Liz Johnson said...

Did you feel like a cave woman when making those low-pitched noises? I surely did. I was sure that animals were going to start flocking into the birthing suite because I was making all sorts of mammalian noises that were probably easily confused with mating calls.

Girlfriend, he is SO adorable. I am so sorry that he had to bomb your lady parts on his way out.

May your bosoms be better. My uncle (who is a PA) actually recommended that his tongue stay tied when I called for recommendations for the tongue-tying thing. I suspect that Ian is minorly tongue-tied as well (at least my pediatrician seemed to think he was), and we never did anything about it. Based on this, may nursing become pain-free before it did for me (which was around 3 months).

I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET HIM... and hear alllllllll of the gory details.

(does this mean you delivered in the tub?)

Liz Johnson said...

Also, I'm pretty sure Ariel was really into Abba. I can see how Ryan would mix those two up.

Kate said...


May the godesses of womanly parts smile upon you in the coming days.

Kate said...

Also... looks like you'll need a new blog title. ;)

phin said...

YAYYYYY!!!! Baby baby baby! Amy this is so very exciting. I am so happy for you, also he is adorable. Well done Berry Berry Kix, may you rest from your labors.

Jen said...

I place upon you a badge of matronly honor. I love the name Forrest. We would have considered that name if it hadn't been for my sister marrying one. Henry is named after Alex's uncle, Forrest Henry Kleinman.

Glad I'm not the only noisy birther. When I told my story at class, Scott was being all fussy and screamy, and I said, "Sorry, I have screamy babies." My midwife said, "He learned from the best."

ego non said...

Perfsticle! So glad for you.

amy said...

@Autumn, I remember when your 6 1/2 year old was a perfect little nursling...Wild. He is still beautiful and perfect, but I will admit, astonishingly huge.

@M I think that the major impact on me will be the greater sense of empathy and know-how that comes from experiential knowing. One of my favorite birth books is Birthing From Within, which emphasizes each woman's intuitive sense of what she needs to do to have a birth experience that will work for her. For me, I needed to be outside of a hospital in order to moo at a sufficient decibel level unencumbered. I think my experience just solidifies my belief that in a context where the mother feels safe and supported she will do exactly the right thing for her.

@Betsey, thanks! I am definitely trying to enjoy every moment--it is clear they fly by.

@Liz, the experience definitely confirmed my status as a mammal, yes. Very much an animal instinct experience. And, yes, Forrest emerged into the tub. There was no way in H E double hockey sticks I was getting out of that tub for nothin' or nobody. I could barely shift around enough to let my midwife listen to the kid's heart tones. Moving was not on the list of options.

@Kate, any suggestions for a new name? I have been contemplating this conundrum since last July with no ideas yet.

@Phin, Amen. Good riddance to berry Berry Kix. I missed salad.

@Jen, I thought of you as I made myself deaf. My throat hurt for a couple days from all the noise-making. Thanks for the positive feedback on the name, too. I feel like I'm getting mixed reviews, but whatever. Can't please everybody.

@ego non, thanks lady. Next baby is named Amazin' ;)

Jasmine said...

i've been waiting for this! what a wonderful birth story-love it! keep laying low and let me know if you need anything! can't wait to meet the little man.

ixoj said...

Huzzah and congrats!

CK said...

Oh, Amy! What a perfect birth story!
Please tell me you said, "Oh mama, oh mama," between screames ;P

Jennifer said...

Congratulations! I am new to your blog, but apparently you need to change the name of it now!

Anna said...

HURRAH! i hope that there was rooting at least somewhat akin to what you demonstrated years ago in brick haus living room!

Rach said...

Birth Chariot = boisterous guffaw through my nose

cathmom said...

I love your story. And Muriel, I needed that good laugh out loud. Forrest is a beautiful baby. I'm sure he is bringing you peace. Stay in touch with me, Amy.

sterlingandbrandi said...

A very belated congrats Amy! He's so cute! And I'm glad you survived the birth :) I ended the "natural hypnobirthing" sequence of my labor wanting to stab anyone who mentioned orgasmic birthing in the face. And will not ever be doing a pregnancy or birth again. But I really love my babies!