Sunday, December 18, 2011

Neven's 3rd Birthday

December 18 -- Neven's Birthday. The anniversary of my first BIRTH day. 

So many thoughts in my head I'd love to reflect on, but I don't have the focus to completely do so. Why not? Well... life gets in the way again. ;) We had a fabulous birthday party for Neven today, complete with friends, family, a dragon cupcake cake, balloons, ladybug fruity snacks, yummy soup and food! 

At the front of my mind I'm remembering and feeling grateful for my amazing midwives (I almost feel guilty calling them "amazing" because in my mind, they are SO much more than that!):  
    Bobbie, her reassuring and comfortable presence
    Marva, beside me every step of the way, chatting, comforting (both physically and emotionally!)
    Nicole, encouraging, patting my forehead with a cool washcloth between contractions
    Kiersten, sitting quietly on a stool toward the sidelines, knitting, making me feel like no one in the world was waiting for me
    Dorothy, sitting in the corner with her clipboard to keep track of my/Mango's stats during labor
    Joan's reassuring face appearing in the last few minutes of pushing before Neven's birth

NEVEN'S BIRTH STORY, December 18, 2008
10:00 pm (Dec 17) – We went to bed at our normal time. I couldn't fall asleep, and around 11:00 I started having contractions about 12 minutes apart. These contractions were different than the BH contractions I had been having – these were much more uncomfortable. I couldn't sleep through them, and lying down was pretty uncomfortable. Around 12:00, I woke Matt up and he started a fire so we could hang out in the living room. We dozed on the couch throughout the night. Whenever I'd have a contraction, I'd mumble to Matt "Another one..." and he'd half wake up and mark down the time. 
Me, in early labor.
6:00 am – We called the midwife on call, and let her know that my contractions were five minutes apart. We finished getting our things together (no doubt in my mind, getting ready and being so mobile at this point in labor helped things progress significantly!) and drove the 15-minute drive to the birth center. On the way, I remember being stopped at a red light. As if that wasn't bad enough, we had some guy trying to sell us a paper or something, very forcefully. In hindsight... ha! 
7:00 am – Arrived at the birth center. Bobbie and Marva were there. They checked me, and I was 7 cm dilated! I later heard that Bobbie had expected to send us home, as she wasn't convinced I was far enough along because of my calmness through contractions when we arrived. I spent some time in the bathtub, chatting casually with Marva, making it through the contractions by closing my eyes and turning inward, and breathing through them with a low hum when they hurt. 
Marva rubbing my back during a contraction. 
At Marva's suggestion, we took a short walk outside. Snow was falling, and the coldness felt amazing! I remember these contractions being the first that I didn't feel in control of. After some time (no clue how much time passed), I wanted to go back inside. I remember walking through the room of midwives and apprentices, wishing I was invisible. I wanted to retreat into a private space. Back inside and on the birthing ball, I began having involuntary contractions of my stomach. During these few contractions I had the "I don't know if I can do this!" thought, as I couldn't find any way to relax through the contractions like I had been able to so far. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure this was transition for me. 
9:30 am – 9 cm dilated! Bobbie told me that I could start pushing whenever I was ready. I had this grand idea that the birthing stool would work wonders for me, so that's where I started. No luck. On to squatting, with Matt supporting me from behind (in between squats, I'd stand up and roll my pelvis, which kept the contractions coming on and helped baby move down). By this point, we could see the tip-top of Mango's head and his dark hair, but he still wasn't moving down. Then came pushing on the bed, both on my side then on my hands and knees. (Pushing for me lasted 2.5 hours, during which I became thoroughly exhausted but lost ALL sense of time!) At one point after a long pushing contraction, I remember the words "I can't!" slipping out of my mouth. They were greeted with a chorus of "Yes you can, you're doing great!" and loving support from the room of loving midwives, a moment that I will never forget! After 2.5 hours of pushing, Mango's heart rate was just beginning to drop ever so slightly, and there became an urgency to get him out. After a few long, hard pushes, the midwives had be lunge on the side of the bed. I think it was two pushes later that Mango's entire body slid out and into the world. 
12:06 pm – Mango was born! 9 pounds, 21.5 inches. 
Minutes after birth!
What a proud dad!!
Dressed and ready to go home, just 6 hours after birth. 
...and I've been falling in love ever since!