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Anne's Pregnancy Journal

Birth Story!

THIS BABY IS COMING!

The thing about it was, I was planning on breathing through the urge to push until the baby was crowning, but I could not. The urge was so strong, it totally took over. In retrospect, that made sense, given the baby's awkward presentation. I don't know how long we were in there, but just before midnight there were just a few pushes where the sensations seemed to change suddenly. I think I hollered something like "Aaaaaaagh!! This baby is coming!" because I could feel that the baby was almost all the way down, so we waddled out of the bathroom and back into the living room.

According to Hedra's notes, it was 12:00 AM when I moved back into the family room to the sofa bed. Someone asked if I wanted to try a side-lying position for birthing. NO. I did NOT want to lie down. That was clear. So, I ended up kneeling at the foot of the sofa bed. At first, I was gripping the sheets to keep my balance, and then somehow Matt was there. I think I was holding onto his forearms or hands or something. I had one knee on the floor, and the other knee up with that foot on the floor. I know I switched knees a couple of times, but it seemed like once I was in that position, it didn't take long for the baby to come.

Hedra had gone upstairs to pump some milk for her twin girls, but she barely got an ounce out before she heard me make a sound that called her right back downstairs. She said she knew I must've been crowning, because I made the same yelp that she-wolves make when they're crowning. Sure enough, she came down the stairs to see a head starting to emerge.

I'd heard about the ring of fire, but had no idea how appropriate that description was! I had no doubt in my mind, or the rest of me, when the baby was crowning. I know they must've been telling me to slow down my pushing but I could neither hear them, nor comply. I think on some level I knew when I tore because I suddenly didn't feel as stretched. (Drat! I'd been hoping to avoid that. Oh well.) Next thing I knew, I felt tremendous relief. All I wanted to do was to hang over the bed and zonk out. That was 12:06 AM.

Right about then, Christy was passing a baby under my left leg and saying, "Anne, hold your baby.' I saw this little person and was TOTALLY disoriented. I didn't have much thought in my head at all, except for something resembling "huh?? What's that? Where did it come from?" It took a few moments for it to register - this was MY baby that I just birthed. OH! My BABY!?

I reached down to take the baby, and apparently started talking to the baby. I have no idea what I was saying, but I'm told it was along the lines of "Hello, baby, I'm your mommy. Hi baby . . . " The only thing I remember asking the baby was, "What did we get?" Finally, we got the blankets moved around enough to see between the legs and . . . girl parts! Wow. We have a girl! Wasn't expecting that. So many folks were so sure she was a boy that it took a second of staring to really let it sink in. I have a daughter. OH, that is so cool! Especially since the only name on our baby name lists that we ever really liked was a girl's name - Grace.

Since I was on my knee, I didn't see her crowning, but the pictures we took show a serene little face rotating to face the camera as she emerged. She needed a little bit of suctioning and some foot rubbing to get some hearty breathing going. Once she was "awake," she made the cutest little squeaky noises! At some point, somehow, I must've been helped up onto the bed, because I know I spent a good chunk of time horizontal on the bed with Grace on my chest, trying to help her find a nipple while waiting for the placenta to come out.

We chose to delay clamping or cutting the cord at least until it stopped pulsing so that she would get the most benefit possible from the placental support as she transitioned to breathing air. I had no idea how long it had been since Grace came out until Christy said that the cord had stopped pulsing and asked if it was ok to cut it. Originally I wanted be the one to cut the cord (my rationale was that if anyone was going to separate me from my child, it should be me), and Matt had never really been interested in cutting it (I think the idea of it unnerved him a bit.) However, with Grace on my chest, there was no way I was going to try to sit up to do that, so I just said to cut it, didn't matter who did it.

I think the only thing that still bothers me a bit is that even though the cord had stopped pulsing, Grace cried out a little when it was clamped and cut. I was really hoping she wouldn't notice * sigh * Oh well, kiddo, I did my best! She didn't seem too fussed by it though - just one little cry, and then she was peaceful again.

Shortly after that, someone told me to push a little to help get the placenta out, which hardly felt like anything at all coming out. Somewhere in there I found out that I had torn. Bummer. I was really hoping not to, but oh well. I asked if I would need stitches, and Karen responded something like "just a little embroidery." Somehow, that was reassuring. I still wanted to make sure I'd have an anesthetic for the stitches, though! At that point, I was not interested in doing any hypnosis. I just wanted to focus on my little girl (which was its own kind of trance, anyway.)

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Throughout all this, Hedra was feeding me a cheese sandwich while I lay there. Apparently I had also asked for some wild rice soup, but that was going to have to wait until I was vertical. After I was checked out and stitched up I got to vertical, with a lot of help, if I recall correctly. At some point, I handed Grace over to be weighed and measured and generally checked out. Folks made their guesses about her weight and length, but I have no idea who was closest in their guess. She weighed in at 6 lb 10 oz (smaller than she'd been in my dream a few weeks ago, but still a respectable size), and 20 1/2 inches long. All in all, a nice, healthy little girl!

I sat over on the edge of the recliner for a while, finally eating my soup, holding Grace, nursing her, and watching Matt and the midwives clean up a bit. I remember Hedra and Beth leaving somewhere between birth and cleanup, but I have no idea when that was - I was too engrossed with my baby to track it. I remember thanking them and saying "I couldn't have done it without you," to which they replied, "Yes, you could have." Ok, well, maybe I could have, but I would not have wanted to. Matt looked at them and said "Maybe SHE could have done it without you, but I couldn't have." That got grins and graceful acceptance of his gratitude.

Finally, it was time to head upstairs. I had asked several times about taking a shower before getting into bed, and I was pretty clear I wouldn't have taken no for an answer in any case. I think Matt carried Grace, but I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure it was Christy and Karen helping me up the stairs, one by one. Karen helped me in and out of the shower, and when I got to the bedroom, it was all set up with a snack station, diaper supplies bin, and my sweet little Grace peacefully sleeping in her Snuggle Nest on the co-sleeper.

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