Birth Knot: A letter to my daughter

Birth Knot Cord Mama

Happy Birth Day, Sophia,
Big Paw and Dearie (Anthony's mom & dad) came with me to the doctor’s on Monday because they wanted to see you for the first time on the ultrasound. The tech did a bunch of measurements and said abruptly after checking the fluid levels “How would you like to have a baby today?” My heart stopped when she said that, and I saw Dearie’s eyes go wide. The amniotic fluid levels were low, and they wanted you to come into the world before my placenta decided to stop working. I instantly had a check in my spirit, and knew that you shouldn’t come that day. You were doing great on all other accounts, and it felt wrong to force you to come when you might still have growing to do. When the tech left, Dearie and I prayed about it while I was hooked up to the fetal monitor. We decided to ask for another day and scheduled an appointment for 10am the next morning. At that point, I was 1 1/2cm dilated and 90% effaced. The rest of that evening I drank more water than ever in an attempt to raise the fluid level around you. Anthony and I ran around from Walmart to Whole Foods to Vitamin Cottage, doing last minute shopping in preparation for your arrival. Because of all that water, I visited the bathroom of each and every store. The next morning I went to work like normal - Anthony came to pick me up at 10 - he had the whole week off of work, which turned out to be a huge blessing. I assumed that the fluid levels would be fine now, so I left my desk in a hurry, with an email still half-written up on the desktop. But when the tech measured again, the levels were even lower - 2.6. Below level 5, the doctor’s get nervous. We knew then that we would be going to the hospital. We went home to grab our things, have lunch with Big Paw, Dearie, & Jordy, and call friends and family. Now that we knew you were coming soon, we started to get excited - especially Anthony. We arrived at the hospital at 1pm. I started an IV of antibiotics because I had tested positive for Group Beta Strep, and late that night after the antibiotics had time to circulate, they started the Cytotec in an attempt to soften my cervix and start labor. Every four hours they inserted the Cytotec and gave me a fresh dose of antibiotics. Every hour they hooked me up to the fetal monitor to watch your heartbeats and my contractions. I had minor contractions throughout the night, and got up and walked the halls at one point to try to help move the process. Meanwhile, Anthony had eaten half a can of super-hot peanuts, and was in serious pain. Neither one of us slept well. The next morning at 7am, they checked progress and discovered that I was only dilated 3cm --not even 2 cm more than I had been when they started the Cytotec. The midwife came in at that point and gave us the option of either breaking my water or starting Pitocin to augment my contractions. We chose water breaking so that I could still be up and mobile instead of being hooked up to a Pitocin drip and fetal monitoring. We called Dearie and Big Paw, and they arrived shortly after the water was broken. Things moved quickly after that. To cope with contractions and to encourage your head down, Dearie and Sharon had me straddle a yoga ball and bounce. Anthony held both my hands and Dearie massaged my back. Meanwhile, Big Paw was pacing in the waiting room, praying in tongues throughout the whole labor and delivery. I’m sure the rest of the hospital assumed he was a foreigner. Anthony had taken an energy pill to make up for the rough night before, but unbeknownst to him, the pill contained B vitamins which he’s allergic to. The midwife, Sharon, kept asking him if he wanted a chair. He was by my side the whole time, running his fingers through my hair, keeping eye contact, rubbing my back when I threw up, and staying by the side of the tub. Sitting in the water helped slightly relieve the tremendous amount of pressure that I had started feeling from your head sinking lower and lower. It took an incredible amount of effort to keep myself from pushing you out then and there. In between contractions, my body adeptly used the time to rest. I felt like I almost lost consciousness in between as everything shut down in preparation for the next surge. When they moved me from the tub back to the bed, I was shaking uncontrollably-- it was a solid sign of the transition phase of labor, right before pushing. When they checked, I was 8 1/2 cm dilated and %100 effaced. That was terrific news. Even better was the fact that through all the contractions your heart rate remained perfectly steady. I can’t tell you how much that freed me up to take one contraction at a time instead of worrying throughout each one how you were handling it. I had asked God for mainly one thing when I prayed about delivering you into the world, and that was an absence of fear. I thought that pain would not be bad if there was not any fear. God in His goodness really answered that prayer. Things were so intense, but I was never afraid. Dearie and Sharon each took one of my hands, and Anthony sat behind me on the bed, helping me make it to full dilation. I was breathing shallowly and trying to blow away the strong urge to push. The urge got so strong that at 9 1/2 cm, they said ‘go ahead and see what happens.’ They set up a bar on the bed so that I could squat. Pushing felt like the longest part. It felt good to finally be able to work with the contractions, but the pressure was so great that sometimes it didn’t feel like the contraction let up at all. Near the end, there was a rush of staff into the room, and they brought in a mirror so that we could all see the top of your head as it was crowning. It was so surreal when your head finally emerged, you crying only a little; the midwife called for Anthony and he hurried over just in time to catch your body as you shot into his hands. You were immediately placed on my stomach, eyes wide open, calm and looking around. Anthony said later that I had such a look of awe on my face; that it was the expression of someone who was so alive; I just kept looking at you and up at him then back at you. He leaned down to kiss me saying how perfect and beautiful you were. It was true; I was holding you on my stomach and couldn’t believe how perfectly you came out, and your big open eyes just filled us both with an incredible awe. You have filled our lives with such joy already, Miss Sophia Lisa. We are so glad you are finally here.