Pregnancy/Labor story 8-27-2016
This totally might be TMI for a lot of people. If you don’t want to hear about the amazing stuff my body is capable of, don’t read it!
A week ago, I didn’t know I had less than 2 hours of labor to go before my baby would enter the world. My labor started early Friday morning August 19th, I woke up to contractions. The contractions were somewhat irregular and didn’t prevent me from doing a few errands, although I felt more tired than I was used to. David, Jewel, and I went to my parent’s house for dinner. My uncle, grandpa, aunt and uncle, and other aunt were all in town. I went swimming and that was nice. Throughout supper I had to keep taking breaks for contractions. We ended up not staying to play cards, because I felt like I needed to be home and was tired. We didn’t get much sleep that night. David was helping me all evening and night to time the contractions so we would know when it was time to call in reinforcements. When they got down to 5 minutes apart, I really couldn’t catch any sleep in between them. We called the midwife Nancy several times, and finally decided that she should come by 4am. We also called my mom to come over as she was planning on assisting with the labor. David and I had both been up since 4am Friday morning, so we were already pretty tired on no sleep. David and my mom started getting the house a little more prepared. My vision of having like done all the dishes and cleaned everything before labor clearly had not happened.
Labor felt to me like a really bad flu with terrible cramps and feverish feelings. Several times throughout I alternated from hot to cold. At first Nancy thought we would get to meet Cu Chulainn by 9am. But my bag of waters was doing the dilating, and couldn’t get my cervix all the way dilated. Eventually we had Nancy break my water. Unfortunately, that set my cervix back a bit. I had to re-dilate. Also one edge of my cervix kept getting in the way. Let me tell you, having someone try to push on your cervix to get it out of the way while you are having a contraction reallly hurts. So does having someone try to turn the baby to a more optimal position for exiting your body. I can’t imagine doing any of that with someone I didn’t trust. Luckily Nancy is someone I do trust, an anomaly in the medical ish world.
We ended up not doing a birthing tub, because our livestock water trough was full of empty bags of manure and bugs. David and my mom tried to see if it was worth cleaning out, but decided it was too yucky. We just hadn’t gotten to the point of preparing that before I went into labor. But even without the tub I felt like I had a ton of options. I labored in most every room in the house, moving around as much as I wanted to. As things got more serious Nancy would encourage me to hold a certain position for three sets of contractions before switching. Sometimes that sucked a lot, but I was willing to listen and do it since I wanted to meet my baby. At one point I rejected her suggested position and then like halfway stood up, and Nancy asked my what my plan was, like how I was going to be for the next contractions, and then the contractions hit me and I wasn’t at all in a good stable position, and I just said “Oh I don’t know!!!”. It was pretty silly, she got me, I didn’t have a plan and got caught out.
I feel a little guilty for sharing how wonderful my experience was. I know so many people who have had less than optimal experiences, usually through circumstances entirely out of their control. I was so fortunate to have a low risk pregnancy, a cooperative baby, a supportive partner, and a supportive family. And lucky as hell to find a midwife who really helped me give birth in the least painful, least invasive, most empowering way I can imagine it going.
People get all weird about the idea of pooping while in labor. For me, there wasn’t a damn thing embarrassing about it. What would be embarrassing is anyone who thought it was embarrassing. Like seriously, important work is being done over here and you are worried about that!! Get over it dingdong head. Plus when it comes to the pushing part of labor, for my body at least, the way to push properly to propel the baby out of my vagina, was to push as if I had to poop. That was how I could tell my body to do what I needed it to.
I ended up ultimately pushing Chulainn out on a birthing stool in our living room, with David supporting me from behind. My mom was across the room watching. He came out so fast, and it was like 36 hours of labor that seemed endless, like it would never possibly really end in a baby, somehow magically did. Birth is totally magic. Chulainn came out and Nancy put him on my chest, and I quickly birthed the placenta. I was bleeding a good bit, and Nancy gave me a shot of ptocin so quickly I didn’t even register the needle until it was over. I got to lay down on the couch with Chulainn on my chest. We kept the umbilical cord and placenta attached for a while, and David got to cut the cord when the time game. Chulainn got to snuffle around on my chest and begin learning how to nurse. Those first moments were amazing. His head had a funny bullet shape to it, from his path out, but he was perfect.
Also, David said the baby coming out sounded like jello coming out of a mold, and so I think David is now turned off of jello for life, hahaha.
Nancy stayed for a while after, weighing and measuring Chulainn. She checked me to see if I needed stitches, which I could have had a few but passed on since they weren’t necessary. It was apparently really minimal tearing. Nancy also made sure I started to get the hang of nursing. I was so exhausted, and so happy to lay down with Chulainn.
Unfortunately, several hours after Nancy left, I realized I was bleeding through Chux pads a bit too quickly. I called her, and she said to monitor it. I called her back when I bled through like 3 in thirty minutes. I felt so bad, because Nancy was as tired as we were. She told us not to go to the hospital, which I was gearing up to have to do, but to wait for her. She came back and gave me more ptocin, and another drug orally, and another in my cheeks. I wasn’t finished with the fun of someone’s hands in my hoohaw either, she had to reach up in their and remove a bunch of blood clots that were the source of the heavy bleeding. Afterwards, my whole body was shaking uncontrollably and I felt freezing cold. I even had them put a heating pad on me. I am pretty sure that was shock resulting from exhaustion and blood loss. But, I didn’t have to leave my baby, we both got to stay home for the entire birth. Amazing.
I am so proud to know I can give birth in such a natural way. The whole experience was so positive I fear any future pregnancy and birth could never live up to it. But the midwife says that usually the first birth is the hardest, so who knows. I know we have to figure out a better financial situation before having more kiddos, cause financially we aren’t really in the best place to have the ones we have now.
Being of the punk/anarchist/dumpster diving/ diy culture makes me feel like there is more potential for us to do just fine on a tight budget with the kids. Just the support we have from friends and family is huge. We rock the hand me downs, and when those fail, the thrift stores. I am excited to teach my kids about the real important things in life, which have little or nothing to do with money.
So far I’m not dealing with too terrible of a post partum either. My body has been worn out, and a little sore, but honestly its a lot easier to take care of this sweet baby outside of me than inside of me. I feel so much lighter, and the swelling went down within 24 hours. It is cliché as fuck, but having a baby completely changed everything. My world is smaller, and Chulainn is the most important thing in it. I love their baby smell, I love their baby cry, I love their baby pig snuffles when he is hungry. I watch him sleep, and I worry so much about Chulainn and the world they have been born into. I can’t imagine what I would do if something bad happened to Chulainn, and I know I would hurt the fuck out of anyone who hurt him.
New Baby Haiku
First trip out without
the baby, of course its a
Its not like I sit
and look at my baby and
just cry constantly
the baby sleeps lulled
by the sounds of his daddy
mowing the tall grass