Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Birth Story...Part 1

I was five days past my due date and sooooo ready. My mom and dad were in town, anxiously waiting for ladybaby to come. The birth pool had been ready to go for weeks. We’d deep cleaned the house and stocked the freezer with meals and treats. We’d even managed to turn ladybaby from breech to vertex. And now we were waiting. I wasn’t having any signs of impending labor, and was getting frustrated and impatient.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 8 am with a contraction. A contraction! At least I thought so. I laid in bed for a few minutes, looking at my wedding ring and Tim sleeping next to me, and thought…it will never be just the two of us again. And I kept having more contractions!

I got out of bed and went into the living room. I turned on contraction master and found out that my contractions were coming 5 minutes apart, and were 45 seconds long. I was surprised; I had been expecting contractions much slower than that. I sat on the couch for about an hour, doing a jigsaw puzzle online and listening to NPR podcasts. Being alone and just doing my own thing felt exactly right.

Around 9, I went back in to the bedroom and woke Tim up. “I’m having contractions,” I said, “I think I might be in labor.” Tim sat straight up and yelled, “Call the midwife!!!” I told him I wanted to wait, in case the contractions fizzled out. We got dressed and went outside to get bagels (our weekend morning ritual). At the bagel shop, I stood in the back and rocked through contractions. The bagel ladies, who have been a regular fixture in our lives for years, were so excited when we told them that I was in labor.

Tim and I left the bagel shop and called my parents to tell them I was in labor. We asked them to come to the apartment and do some last minute cleaning while we were out. Tim and I walked to the park, where we sat on a bench and had breakfast. The morning was cold, clear, and sunny. It was beautiful, and it felt so good to be outside. The contractions were getting stronger; I had to stand up and rock through them. Tim and I took this picture, the last picture of just the two of us.

We stopped at the health food store and the video place to pick up some last minute things. At this point, we called our doula, Kate. She told us that we should labor alone for a while, so that we could learn how to work together and get into our labor groove as a couple. She would join us when labor got harder. We got home and saw my parents, who were just finishing up with the dishes and vacuuming. I teased that they were our menahune—Hawaiian elves who do the family’s chores while they sleep at night. My parents hugged me and left.

I had a lot of nervous energy and wanted to get everything ready and perfect for labor. I took down the bedroom curtains...It just felt right to make the room as sunny and bright as possible for ladybaby's birth. I took a shower, washed and dried my hair, and put on makeup. I was imagining gorgeous birth photos, and me looking radiant with perfect hair and make up. I thought I was so smart for putting on waterproof mascara—I figured I’d be cute even if I cried with joy when the baby was born. Little did I know I would spend most of the rest of labor in the water, and would give birth looking like a wet dog, and by that point my makeup would be the last thing on my mind.

Once I was looking fly, I was ready for labor to pick up. Tim made me a Red Raspberry Leaf tea infusion, and accidentally burned himself pretty badly. I drank the tea while bouncing on the birth ball and reading Dr. Sears’ Birth Book. Of course I had read it a million times already, but I wanted to fit in a last minute cramming session. My mom and little brother teased me later about that, they said it was “so Kathy” to be studying while I was in labor! Tim started getting the birth pool ready, and accidentally jabbed my stomach with something sharp while I was having a contraction. It drew blood and made me cry. I think I was just so overwhelmed with the idea of being in labor, anything would have made me cry.

Around 4 pm, Tim and I put on the movie (Baby Mama!) but didn’t get very far—every time I had a contraction, I had to pause the movie. I needed silence! Contractions were getting stronger. I had to stand up during them and rock back and forth. I put a pillow on top of the tv, which was the perfect height to lean over during the contractions. My back was hurting, so Tim applied counterpressure for me whenever I needed him to. I was feeling nauseous, and threw up a few times. I actually felt nauseous for all of labor…I spent most of labor with a blue bucket in front of me in case I threw up more. I had planned to make a rainbow birthday cake for ladybaby while I was in labor, but realized that I wouldn’t be able to do anything except focus on labor from then on. Tim called my mom, and asked her to come over to get the cake ingredients. I locked myself in the bathroom, where I took a hot shower while bouncing on the birth ball. I heard my mom come to pick the cake stuff up. It was nice to hear her voice as she talked to Tim, but I didn’t want to see her. I just wanted to be by myself. My parents ended up spending my labor in their sublet apartment a few blocks away from ours, making the rainbow cake and watching reruns of West Wing.

After I got out of the shower, I tried to lay down in bed and rest. The contractions were hurting pretty badly, and my back felt awful. Tim made me a nest of pillows and got the heating pad for my back.

The photographer who was supposed to shoot our birth called. The other couple she was booked for was in labor too, so she was going to miss our birth. (The other couple happened to be our friends from birth class, who ended up giving birth the same day we did, so our babies are birthday twins!) She wanted to come over to take a few pictures of labor before she went to the other couple's birth, but I said no. I still wanted it to be just me and Tim.

I'll write Part 2 when Lucy gives me a chance!

1 comment:

  1. :D

    I really like that picture of you and Tim.

    And it seriously does crack me up that you were studying, hehe.