Monday, July 23, 2012

Mary's Homebirth Story: The Conclusion

If you've just started reading, click here for part one then go here for part two.  Or just start here and be all confused.  That's cool.  I'm confused most of the time and have still managed to survive.

One of the things that always struck Tommy about my hospital birth experiences is that no one ever touched me except to put on or take off equipment.  They didn't feel for baby's position, they didn't jump in and offer any physical help or advice for managing or minimizing the pain.  It was always "you ready for your drugs yet?" and then "okay, we'll be back soon to check on you!".  And I felt like a little island alone in that sea of uncertainty.

Because you do feel uncertain.  Uncertain about whether or not what's happening is normal.  Whether or not you're really capable of this.  Whether or not everything is going the way everything ought to go.  Sometimes all you need is reassurance.  Sometimes you need a gentle hand.  Sometimes you need someone to say "focus.  Do this.  Trust me." And you need all those things without having to ask for those things.  Because holy mackerel, dude, you are in labor.  You are bringing a whole new person into the world.  YOU DON'T NEED TO BE ASKING FOR ANYONE TO PUT SOME DANG PRESSURE ON YOUR LOWER BACK!

Whew.  Sorry.  I have opinions.

And this time I didn't have to ask.  She just knew.  My sweet midwife knew just what to do when I mumbled some incoherent ridiculousness about my back and how I may or may not be about to die because of the flames shooting down my lower spine.  She is so slight that I'm not sure how she managed it, but she put her hands in just the right spots on my back as I leaned forward on the bed and pushed with the perfect amount of firmness and didn't say anything or insist on turning on bright lights or checking me or even talking.  It was incredible.

You know what else was incredible?  My contractions never got closer together than 3-5 minutes.  Never.  Not even at the very end.  So we had these moments where I wondered if this labor was just going to last for the rest of my life because things weren't going the way they were "supposed" to.  Also, do you know what a too-much-thinker like me does when she has five full minutes between her contractions?  She eats bananas, that's what she does.  And asks lots of questions.

Me: I'm starving.  I need something to eat.  Maybe a banana...
Linda: Tommy, can you please go get a banana?
Tommy: Oh, are you hungry?  We have other things...
Linda:  It's for Dwija.  She wants a banana.
Tommy:  Really?  Wow.  That's weird.
Linda:  I know.  Now go get her a banana


"Have the girls taken out the goats yet?  They should take the goats out."


"Did you call work, honey?  Did you tell then you're not coming in?"

Yes.  While sitting on the bed between insane (what I would realize later were transition) contractions, I said these things.  Not during, but definitely between.  Finally:

Me: Has Paul gone potty yet?
Tommy: What?
Me: Paul.  He needs to pee or he's going to get super crabby.
Tommy: He says he doesn't need to.
Me: He's a liar.

And the other thing I would do, and you may not believe this, is sleep.  I would literally doze off because I had been semi-awake for so many hours.  So one minute I'm in a full 90 second contraction that feels like it's about to bifurcate my torso and the next moment, in the complete absence of any discomfort whatsoever, I'm slipping into a small, dreamless sleep in preparation for what's to come.  It was amazing.  A little terrifying but mostly amazing.

Then at some point in there I felt like my body was pushing.  But it couldn't be time for pushing because the contractions weren't one minute apart.  And I was thinking about my boy and his potty habits.  And I said to Linda "If I have you check me and I'm only, like, 6 centimeters, I'll die.  I'll just have to die right here because....I'll just die is why."

She nodded.

"Okay fine.  You can check.  Because I feel pushy but it can't be time so I don't know...."

She nodded.

She checked me.

"Dwija.  You have no cervix.  There's just baby, right there.  Whenever you want, you can have this baby."

Pushing time?  It's pushing time?  Now?  Like we can just do this...whenever?

I knew I couldn't push on my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad memory foam mattress (note: never buy a memory foam mattress unless it has a VERY long memory) what with it's super squishiness and crater-filled horribleness.  So instead I sat on a pillow on the floor with my back against the bed.  Linda was on my right, Tommy was on my left.

And I waited.  Three whole minutes I sat there and waited for the next contraction.  Then it came and I started to push.

Oh that's my very favorite part of the whole laboring fiasco, that first push.  That push which takes all the crazy energy that so far you've just been managing and puts it to use.  The pain becomes progress.  You become empowered.  And I did.  It was fantastic.

Until it wasn't.  She started crowning and I knew it wasn't right.  In addition to the regular burning around the edges that's already excruciating, I could feel the top part trying to stretch.  The part that can't, doesn't, shouldn't stretch.

She was coming out facing sideways and at an angle.  The front of her body and face were pointing toward my right side, her head pointing toward my left leg.  And as she started to come out, ever so very slowly, she was trying to turn....face UP.

Then the contraction stopped.  And I had to just sit there and wait.  Oh thank God for Linda.  She sprayed her special sprays and poured some olive oil and massaged and encouraged, but not in a loud, obnoxious, movie-voice.  No, in her sweet, gentle, hear-her-in-the-back-of-my-mind voice.

This was the only time, in the delivery of 5 children, that I have ever said "Help me.  Please, just do something.  Help me!".  Which of course no one can.  Not at that point.  And I was still waiting.  I closed my eyes and leaned my head back on the bed.  Then it struck me.  It was the first day in the Fortnight for Freedom.  And as much as I had offered up my contractions for the intentions of my friends and loved ones, I had lost touch with prayer during this pushing phase.

"Lord, please help me.  This...I'm doing this for all the babies who were never allowed to be born"


At that very second she shot out, her arm breaking free, tearing me exactly where four other babies had torn.     She hit my left leg as her daddy caught her.  She was beautiful.  She was pink.  She was screaming.

"Oh thank God.  It's over.  Thank God it's over!  I did it.  Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee...." as I held her to my chest for the very first time.

Linda smiled.  "Amen.  Amen...."

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  1. And now I am crying...with joy.

    For the record I always say "I can't do this" and "somebody help me!". Oh, and "I'm dying!!!!"

    Next labor will be drugs for me, I think :-)

  2. I'm crying just as much now as I did when you first told me about doing it for all the babies who were never allowed to be born.

    Also, this:
    "Me: Has Paul gone potty yet?
    Tommy: What?
    Me: Paul. He needs to pee or he's going to get super crabby.
    Tommy: He says he doesn't need to.
    Me: He's a liar."
    Makes me love you even more.

  3. Beautiful!

    What your midwife did for you in terms of pain management, massage, etc. is what my doula did for me during my hospital births. She was fan-freaking-tastic.

    And wow on your mental fortitude to offer up the pain. The consuming thought in my mind as I'm pushing is usually along the lines of, "GETITOUTGETITOUTSWEETJESUSTHISHURTSGETITOUT" but not any more coherent than that. :)

  4. I'm so glad God answered your prayer with a "Whoosh!"

  5. Thanks guys. So glad you're enjoying it :)

  6. wow. just beautiful, and I don't have words to describe what I'm thinking. Well written and God bless you all! :)

  7. Oh my goodness...I was fine until you offered it up for the babies who were never allowed to be born. Wow!

  8. Ok, now I feel so lame for having the "Chipotle" state of mind about my upcoming know: Wheel me in, drug me up, hand me baby that's wrapped like a burrito. So lame compared to that. You're my hero. Just throwing that out there....:)

  9. My most intense/emotional labor was my fouth when I offered it up for the soul in purgatory furthest from heaven...there are no words to describe how fast and yet how very painful that delivery was! I jokingly said, I am NOT making that same intention again!!"

  10. Such a beautiful birth story! Thank you for sharing this.

  11. Go Dweej! I knew you'd do it. Your midwife sounds great. And lots of women fall asleep in between contractions. I did with Adelaide.

    Congratulations, and thank you for telling the story. Women need to know this stuff.

  12. Beautiful! But also ouch. I have torn the same place with my two girls. No fun. Do we get to hear about the recovery now? How's the diastasis recti? I had it, too. Went from about 4 fingers to 1.5/2.

  13. Oh, crying too! I was fine and nodding along with how amazing midwives and doulas are at just knowing and being there and letting you know that you are also knowing and doing it and all that stuff that I never got from even my very best hospital nurse (and I had lots in my two day labor with my first and all, save one, were pretty awesome) and then you while sitting with a baby crowning had the insight, fullness of mind and huge heart to offer it up for all the babies never born...LET THE TEARS FLOW! Amazing. Simply amazing. And the prayer, and her name and boohooo...

  14. Laughing and laughing. And then crying! Oh Dwija, I love you. I love who you are and I love that you share tidbits of beauty and adventure from your life with us. Thank you for this! I've been eagerly checking everyday for the latest in your birth story series. Thank you!

  15. Oh my I am bawling too!!! Lol. Beautiful! I love it for all the babies not born!!

  16. This is so wonderful!
    Your story, your husband, your midwife, and those baby cheeeeeks!

  17. Hey, I'm crying too. And I'm pregnant with Baby Three and I remember non-medicated labor with Baby Two and before I read this I was afraid and now...I'm not afraid anymore. That you Dweej. I can do this! For all the babies who will never get to born. Love it. LOVE it. +hug+

    1. I meant THANK you! Silly pregnant sausage fingers. :)

  18. More tears from me here, too :) Beautiful, beautiful... I"m sososo glad you got to have this homebirth. Every. Single. Time. I read a birth story like this it gives me hope that we will be able to change the future of birth for our daughters' daughters. You and women like you everywhere are the inspiration that makes a difference. I know that sounds cheesy, but I mean it sincerely. It takes guts and conviction and you're a pioneer :)

    "For all the babies who will never get to be born." Love it. Mine was for all the childless Mothers-- those who lost and those who've never had.

  19. Oh no. I almost want to have a home birth after reading this.

  20. I just love that picture of her, gorgeous girl.

    With boy #2, I went from contractions of 5 minutes apart to giving birth in 2 pushes in under an hour, I don't even know how to explain it. It was nowhere as beautiful a birth as yours, it was just primal. :)

  21. She is gorgeous. I haven't had a chance to read the birth story yet but will do so soon. Congratulations. AND home birth? You ARE the woman.

  22. Holding my breath until she came out. How amazing!

  23. Congratulations, honey. I, of course, am crying like everyone else. I wish I could do it at home! Blasted Maryland law!

  24. Love this, love you :)

    Sounds like both Mary's and Luke's labors were pretty similar! I so love your intention at the end...and that you had the clarity at that moment to even do that?? Amazing. You are beautiful!

    (And please pray for me as I have a new doula client due in the next couple of weeks!! Hope to help her the way your midwife helped you!)

  25. Thank you for sharing. It's so nice to read an honest and silly and heartfelt and beautiful birth story. I love that you were asking for bananas and about potty times. You are an incredible lady!

  26. Beautiful. You are such a strong mama and so inspiring. Just beautiful.

  27. So Beautiful!

    And I've had a midwife and home births for all of my 4, and my midwife sounds exactly like your midwife! Is there some crazy charism for being outrageously calm, yet assertive; comforting, yet totally knowledgable that makes a midwife?? Thank God for them is all I can say!

  28. Beautiful - I've been thinking of maybe a homebirth next. Thanks for sharing your story!

  29. Beautiful.

    I did that "it can't be pushing time" with my 4th. When broken naturally, my water always breaks during transition. And yet, no broken water. Not even a trickle. Yet this pressure/burning sensation. I just could not wrap my mind around 10 - water = push. It just didn't compute. The nurse actually thought I was going to pass out. I wasn't feeling faint; my brain was just about to explode from sheer contradiction of reality. basically Teresa was just so low she was blocking all the water, but it really threw me for a loop, especially after only 3 hours of real labor. Glad she checked you! :)

  30. Wow, wow, wow. Welcome baby girl Mary! You are so so brave friend!

  31. Moat excellent. I LOVE birth stories...and I don't know how you have held off saying those things before. Transition contractions for me usually mean, even after all these babies, me panting "I can't, i can't icant..." though for the last couple I never even got the ring of fire! Whooo Hooooo! Or what I call the "yucky contractions"...they were the easy kind always ending in pushing before I think it's time.

  32. LOVE IT!!! I feel like you had a very similar birth as mine with Leo. The time in between contractions was equal parts glorious and equal parts endless! He came out sunny-side up and it hurt like a beast. I went primal. But having a midwife there changes everything. I'm so glad she turned at the last minute for your! And what kind of alien are you - this was the ONLY time you said "help me"????? Oh boy...that's my labor mantra. But mostly "Okay your turn" or "I'm going home now and maybe I'll come back in a few days to have the baby. I'm done now."

  33. So so beautiful Dweej. Thank you so much for sharing w. us your life and this amazing story. Tho- now I'm remembering my son's birth and, well, kinda scared. But- that's okay, I think I should be a Little scared. At least I'm not one of those crazy high jump swimmer people or anything. I'm just having a baby. You know. I'll be doing the hospital thing- as far as we know- and am just totally not ready for baby to come yet. I mean, my body is certainly like; "can we move this along" and all, but mentally and spacially, just not ready.
    I love LOVE that you prayed in that moment and God was totally there for you. He is just so amazing. I also love the part about humming the hymn.
    You've also inspired me to do more research at the very least -refresher course- on the birth process, that May help...
    So glad I finally got to read this. Gonna head to bed with a smile and small tear of joy. Buenas noches amiga.

  34. Oh, Dweej, you have such a way of telling your stories. So beautiful, and funny, and touching all at the same time.
    You are just one awesome woman :)

  35. Oh man I am weeping!! I can't believe I have been absent from your blog for so long, but I am about 12 weeks pregnant and have been useless for the last 8 so I'm only NOW reading about Mary and her arrival. WEEPING! Congratulations :) She is beautiful; I'm so happy for you all!

  36. brought on some serious tears with this beautiful story! makes me want to have a homebirth--but then maybe i could check into the hospital for my 2-day stay where somebody comes and changes my sheets/towels/cooks for me :)

  37. So beautiful... I cried too...

    Did the same thing x 2. All natural birth no epidural or drugs.. Offering the pain for all those kids without parents to love them. Makes the pain bearable uniting our pain with our Lord. And yes I'll do it again.

  38. What a beautiful, beautiful series. Thank you for sharing it with us. I so, so, so wanted to have a homebirth with my last (#5 for me too!). I am so sick of being bossed around by hospital staff and policies designed to make me more miserable and annoyed. I'm so happy you and Mary (what a cutie chubblekins!) had such a good birth!

  39. This is beautiful, Dwija. Just beautiful.

  40. I know this was years ago, but I'm crying at the breakfast table, "for all the babies who were never allowed to be born."


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