Birth Knot: Modern Day Moxie

Darling Girl,

It was a crazy hot summer day, but the nights were cool and in the night’s dark sky, the stars shone clear and bright. We were leaving dinner at my parent’s house, driving home with the windows rolled down and holding hands. Mom, Dad, and even the boys had all touched my tummy as we said goodbye. “This could be the last time!” they said. It was your due date: August 14th.

As we were driving, I told your Dad I couldn’t keep playing these guessing games of when you would come to be with us or I would go crazy. So, we sent his parents a message to let them know there were no signs of baby and we’d talk to them later in the week.

We climbed into bed. Your dad rubbed my back and kissed my cheek gently. He said you’d come whenever you were ready. After-all, you are your mother’s daughter, he said. There would be no rushing you.

I woke up a couple hours later and ran to the bathroom. Before I could make it to the toilette, I felt it again, a trickle. I couldn’t decide if I should go back and turn on the light or run for the toilette. As soon as I sat down, a gush of water came out and I couldn’t tell if I had just had my first “prego pee your pants” moment, or if my water had broken.

I took a quick look at the clock, 10:55pm, and crawled back into bed. My heart pounding and my head racing. “Rory?” I whispered. “I think my water may have just broken.” There was a moment of silence and he smiled “Hm. I think you will know…” and I agreed. Recalling from our class that we should sleep we tried to rest. But five minutes later I was feeling a tightening, a firming. “I think I’m having a contraction.”  Your dad looked excited and baffled and we both laughed the nervous kind of laugh of someone who thinks they may have just won the lottery. Adrenaline surged through me and I was so drunk on the thought that you might be coming, but I couldn’t believe it was true. Could this be happening? We laid quiet in bed and when the next one came, your dad put his hand on my tummy and his eyes grew wide. “OKAY! Let’s get ready!”

He pulled out his contraction timer and we tried to remember anything we had learned in the 6 weeks of birthing classes we had taken, but couldn’t. Was it 5 contractions in an hour, 20 minutes apart or 20 contractions in an hour, 5 minutes apart?! I went into your room and started folding up your first outfit. “What should she wear?” I asked your dad, a flowered onesie in my right hand a small dress in the other. If I had only known then how big those tiny outfits would have been. We agreed on the flowered one and sat in your room, excited as kids the morning of Christmas or packing for a much awaited vacation.

I called the hospital around 1am to let them know I thought my water may have broke, but wasn’t quite sure. Maybe it was just Braxton-Hicks.  She said to come in, as they would need to test me to see.

Your dad drove us to the hospital and on the way my contractions had managed to subside almost entirely. I felt so embarrassed. We had already told everyone to be ready to come, I was afraid I’d seem so foolish not to know my own body or if I was having a baby! Your dad assured me that if nothing else, this was good practice. We left the bags in the car, as I was sure we’d be going home and walked into the emergency room – as it was so late the other entrance was closed.

The nurse asked lots of questions and got me all checked in.  “This will take about 15 minutes to read” the nurse said as she laid the test on the countertop. “Oh! nope! Wait! Your water is broken.”she said.I felt so relieved and so excited and a bit nervous. Tears filled my eyes and fogged my view. Your dad smiled and squeezed my hand. 10 months of growing and changing and sharing and preparing and celebrating and praying and now you were on your way! You.

The nurse suggested Rory take a nap and I try to relax. A surge of energy ran through me, I could laugh and cry, or dance and sing, I could do every single pose demonstrated on this birthing position sheet, or recite every single meditation mantra in this birthing book, but relax I could not!  I was only a cm dilated and it was sure to be a long night. So I sat in the bath and listened to some guided meditation, as we had practiced and your Dad heeded to his instructions and slept.

Around 2:30am my midwife came in for the first time. She was the only one I had not met in all my prenatal care. It didn’t really matter to me, every thing and every one was new in that moment anyway.

She said I should be prepared for some intervention. She could only allow 12 hours post water breaking for your arrival. This gave us until 10:30am she said, and then she’d like to start Petocin. The hospital nurse helped me back to the bed. “Don’t be discouraged,” she said. “Anything can happen.” She checked me again, 1.5cm dilated and it was already 4am. It had been over 4 hours since my water broke. At this rate, I wouldn’t be much further by then.

I laid in bed. I had so wanted to try for an unmedicated birth, but above all, I wanted you to be healthy and happy. Pregnancy had been such a spiritual journey for me. I experienced so much and changed so much. I wanted your birth to be the physical sensation and the ultimate manifestation of everything I had learned in the past 10 months: about my body, about my heart, about you and about God.

I sent my mom a quick text. “Please pray. Dr says they may need Pitocin. I want whatever is best. But I’d really like to try.”

I set the phone down and in that instant I  curled into a ball as the tightening sensation brought my knees to my head and a moaning from deep within that woke your Dad. “Was that the worst one?” he asked. “Questions aren’t helping!” I  accidentally shouted and laid down again. He must have known then that it was go time. He ran over and grabbed my hand and from that moment on the contractions came less than 2 minutes apart, very strong and very powerful. My body felt like a force of nature, like a thunder storm or an earth quake or a sand storm that transforms the earth into a magical mysterious place, where every breath is in the wind and every heart beat in the thunder.

Your dad ran some warm bath water and helped me in. He leaned over the edge rubbing my head and and kissing my hand. I remember thinking every time,  I can make it through just this one. I didn’t think about the next one, because I couldn’t. I tried to relax between and actually fell asleep until the next one awoke me. I could feel it coming on, peaking and then dissipating. The naps between contractions felt simultaneously non-existent and hours long. They were at most a minute or two. I have no idea how much time passed in the bathtub – it could have been minutes or hours or days!

Those moment with your father were so special to me. It was only him watching us and taking care of us two. He was so present, so attentive, so loving. I remember at one point I began to cry, “no, no, no”. I felt fear and dread and I wanted to be done. Then, I looked up at your Dad and saw him fighting back a tear. “Don’t cry,” I said. “If you cry, I won’t make it.” I remembered then the power of voice, the power of our tongues and the power of our minds. I remembered that you were doing your part inside of me to be a part of this miracle, trying to come see me and your Daddy, and that your Dad was doing his part, by my side, every second, holding my hand and whispering encouragement. So then, I started saying “Yes. Yes. Yes.” as a reminder to my body and my mind and to you that we would. Your Dad smiled, “Yes. You’re doing it baby, you’re already doing it” he said.

I moved onto my knees and rested my head on the side of the tub. I could feel you moving down. I glanced at the red string hanging and recalled the nurse saying “Don’t pull this or a million nurses will run in” and questioning if I should pull it or if your Dad and I could handle it ourselves. I told Rory you were coming. He asked if I could get out of the bathtub, and helped me to the bed. He called the nurse. She came in and offered to check me again. I couldn’t speak, but I remember thinking that absolutely no way could she get anywhere near down there, or I might explode. A contraction came again and I remember her telling your dad that actually, she would have to check me again, because now she was getting a bit worried I was ready – and they weren’t.

“You’re full! You’re 10cm. You’re having a baby!”

I think at the time I thought, duh. But, I also remember a huge feeling of gratitude and pride, not the bad kind of pride, the God-given kind. The kind that simultaneously humbles you and encourages you. The kind where the whole world smiles at you and says, “congratulations”. I thought your Dad would fall to the ground as those words took over his body. He had done it all with me, right along side me.

The nurse prepared a few things and called in the midwife. It was just after 9am. My family had already arrived around 8am – all waiting outside. My dad was pacing near the door and the nurse had to ask him to sit down. He was so concerned and excited for us.

The pushing was the hardest part for me. When I was in the bathtub, I knew you were coming and I felt the urge to push. But now, laying in the bed, I didn’t feel that urge. It took some time and I remember at one point your dad gently asking me if I was okay. “I feel silly,” I told him. “I’m not sure how to do this.” He squeezed my hand, “Its okay baby, you’ve never done this part before. But I know you can do it. You’re doing great.” He’s so sweet. My midwife made me feel a bit uncomfortable. She had a very long night, with several emergency situations, so I know she was very tired. But it was making me feel like I wasn’t doing something right, like I was stupid for not being able to just push this baby out. The hospital nurse though was incredibly sweet and helpful, she helped me move around and encouraged me to try different positions to leverage the power of each contraction. I was sweating, exhausted and still falling into a deep relaxation between contractions, but I didn’t have any more energy. I was weakening. I gave it one more try and then let out a final breath of surrender,  “Okay” I said.

I can’t do it anymore, I was about to say. But before I could, the nurses eyes lit up. “OK! OK!” they said and gave a joyous laugh. Just one more, just one more and she’s here! At that moment the room transformed completely. Cabinets turned into tables and baby beds came out of drawers and I felt like I was in a movie where everything is moving very quickly, but the main character is in slow-motion and sounds are all blurred together. Several other nurses poured into the room, preparing your bed and the baby scale.

One more push. I felt you leave my body and a huge rush of emotion came over me. Not in the way I had anticipated. It was joy. It was clarity. It was relief. It was like the best cleanse I could ever imagine. It was energy. I didn’t cry, and neither did you. They laid you on my chest. You made some small sounds, just to let us know you were okay.

I had though that in that moment, I would lose it completely. I would burst into uncontrollable tears and feel like collapsing to the floor. But it wasn’t that way. In fact, it was the most natural thing in the world.  You had always been and always would be. In that moment I felt time froze and the world had paused in its tilt. If I could find a way to stay in that exact second, I would live forever. There, I touched eternity. I had always known you, and you me.

They weighed you and Dad stood in complete aw watching you and then holding you in his arms. We took our time together, and then my family came in to meet you. My Dad teared up and The Boys all looked on you with smiles and loving eyes. Our closest friends arrived at the hospital just hours later and the day was filled with so much love and rejoicing. You were so celebrated, My Darling Girl. It was the most love-filled day of my life so far.

Welcome to our world, our darling Story.

Loved what you read here? Be sure to check out Meagan at her blog