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.
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."
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.