Monday, July 3, 2006


No, I haven't been knitting much at all, but I do have a work that's a year in progress. I actually wrote this post some time ago.

(skip this if birth isn't your thing)

She's 20 inches long and weighs 7 pounds, 15 ounces, a full pound heavier than my biggest baby so far. She was born at 6:56 July 3, and she nurses like a champ. She has rolls upon rolls and is quite cute.

Last night (July 2nd, oddly enough my actual due date) about 9:30, while lying in bed listening to Eric read from Terry Pratchett's Jingo to me, I sort of idly began timing contractions. Roughly every 11-7 minutes, lasting about a minute and a half. At 11:30, I called the midwife, who told me to take a bath and try to get some sleep. In the bath, I started losing my mucous plug at 11:55 pm. At 12:15, I called her back and said I'd just feel better with her here, given my history of precipitate labor.

She and my sister arrived about 12:45, (my mom was there already) and I labored all night long in the birth tub downstairs (after they drained and refilled it, as I'd done it in the afternoon and it wasn't hot yet -- it was definitely the Keystone Kops moments of the birth!). The contractions felt really productive, but I didn't have to make any noise, just be kind of quiet during them. Thing 1 was the only one up, and she kept announcing the time. When she said, "It's 5:00," I began to wonder if she was helping much : ) She also did a lot of running around and chatting, which could occasionally be difficult to deal with. But generally she did great and was very helpful.

At one point, everyone but she was asleep, and I was falling asleep in between contractions. That's never happened to me before. I woke from a silly dream about someone saying that the new gun ban had to be called the "BerlinGunBan." Apparently I was in Germany, and apparently I think German sounds silly, but I woke into a contraction, which was disorienting. I finally asked Kristen, my midwife, if I was actually making progress, or if I should be doing anything more active. She said that if I felt like I wasn't, we could talk about things to move things along.

Apparently just talking was what I needed to do. Contractions picked up and I stopped having a long break in between. I actually felt my water break, with a distinct “pop.” Kristen said that the intensity might pick up now. I knew, I knew. . . Around 5:00, I growled, "Get your father" to Thing 1. He got the cold washcloth, which is his main labor responsibility. She brought a bowl of cold water for him to use. Right about then, I began to cry, then threw up a few times. One part of me was rationally observing: Hmmmm, crying, vomiting, sounds like transition to me! The other part was, well, crying and vomiting. During the last part of birth, I really hang onto Eric, tugging and pulling on his arms as I try to deal with it. He doesn't seem to mind. I also assume announcing that it hurts is somehow helpful, so I do it frequently.

Midwives Danue and Kristen were especially nice in telling me I was doing well, that the baby was coming soon, and yes, it stunk and hurt a lot.

At about 5:50, Thing 1 got her sister because I was making pushing sounds. At 6:15, she woke Thing 3, and I was in full cry, really roaring through the pushes. I dislike pushing intensely, but I realized this time that I dislike the moments immediately after even worse, when the baby's head pulls back over the ground gained. Apparently Mack the dog was upset by the noises I was making and kept coming over to investigate. I was totally focused on what I was doing, although I did check the kids occasionally to see if they were okay. My sister said that at one point, the children were all in different positions on the couch, covering their ears when I yelled, then popping up to see what was going on when I quieted.

The midwives had asked me if I wanted to catch my baby myself. After this birth, I realized that the answer is clearly, "No." I want reassurance that I'm not tearing, and lots of support, and them to catch the baby. This baby crowned after a few pushes, and the midwives gave me perfect encouragement/coaching on going ahead and having her head. I was only certain that I didn’t want it to pull back for another push. After her head was out, I had to wait for another contraction to get her body out. It hurt too, more than I remembered it doing with anyone except the last one before. There was some complicated cord unwrapping going on behind me, as I was on all fours. It turned out that her cord was pretty tight twice around her neck, so they were unwinding her by spinning her. Kristen later said that she though the slow head descent might have been because of the cord, since she had thought it was slow for a fourth child.

I turned around and sat down against the side of the tub, and there she was, handed to me. Fat cheeks, fat arms, really a lovely little chunk. We had decided that Thing 2 would get to tell the sex of the baby. Thing 1 of course, said, "It's a boy." But we unwrapped her a bit and looked closely -- Thing 2 said, "It's a girl!" She had been the only one to definitely hold to "girl" for the entire pregnancy.

So we got everything we wanted, but not the boy that had been universally predicted. I like to think that for my very last birth, the siblings were there as they'd wanted to be, my perineum is still intact, and I never have to do it again.

So after an entire year of work, it's only this big now:

Happy Birthday, sweetheart.


allisonmariecat said...

Aw, happy birthday to the little one! What a good story.

jen said...

Yowza! That was intense...

Spinning is nothing. NOTHING. It's two hands moving a certain way. Look what you did.

Four. Times.

Plus, y'know, all the maintenance afterwards.

BeanMama said...

How awesome! Were all 4 of your kids homebirths? I only have 1 (so far,) but I loved my homebirth and am looking forward to doing it again. Though, as you mentioned, that "head in, head out" movement is agony! LOL!

Beautiful, beautiful story.

aurora said...

That's such a beautiful photo of a beautiful girl :-) I hope you all had a lovely time celebrating her special day!

Rain said...

Happy Birthday Little One.

She's adorable, such a cutie.

Me? I'm keeping my legs crossed.

bfmomma said...

ohhh.... What a wonderful memory! And she is SO adorable...

Happy happy birthday, Thing 4!

Marie said...

I'm so jealous you had babies at home. I had a terrific midwife but she doesn't do homebirths for legal reasons. You had 4, I had 4....what great stories we could tell!

Happy Birthday Thing 4!

meredith said...

happy birthday! and to think only a few weeks before this event you describe, i was experiencing something similar, though at the hospital. only it was a boy - number 2. and only my husband and i were there. first time around all the grandparents were there too. imagine your mother saying "push harder, dear!"

amy said...

wooo! That was a beautiful story and she is a spectacular little Thing. Great timing to read a good birth story. Giving birth a day after one's due date sounds like a good plan. I'll get to work on that.

K said...

Fabulous. Maybe you can give the story to her as a gift before she has her first baby. Weirdly enough, it almost makes me wish I could have one! PS - My BW2 was lying open on a bench so that I couldn't see the red cover. It was in stealth mode. Just found it yesterday when I was picking up. Maybe yours will turn up soon.

Stefaneener said...

Thanks to everyone. Yes, all of mine were born at home, and I am grateful for it. It's as easy or as hard as anything normal -- going up a big mountain for example. And, yes, it's the years and years after "she/he's here!" that are tough. I love my birth stories (guess which Thing was born in 45 minutes?) and they're a precious legacy to my children.

That said, I'm pleased that they're a finished series of writing ; )`

jacquie said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. Would love to know where I can get some elderflower presse.

You have a beautiful little girl!

Samantha said...

That was a beautiful tale of your daughter's birth. Thank you for sharing it. :) Your daughter is adorable. Happy Birthday to her. :)