Archive for September, 2010

birth story 2.0

forgive my lack of posts around here lately…i’ve been a bit preoccupied. family has descended upon the nest and i’ve been ever-focused on learning the ways of a newborn once again. it’s been equal parts old hat and holyshitiforgotallofthis. anyway, zig is now 6 days old, and currently being held by someone downstairs. probably jude. [because no one else is allowed to hold him when she’s around. she adores her baby brother so. the rest of us are chumps in comparison.] since my arms are actually empty, i’m going to attempt to put ziggy’s birth story down in actual words. because i want to remember. and it’s a story i want you all to know.

but first, the reason you’ve stopped by the blog at all:

could he BE any cuter?

and now, to the story:

on monday, 20 september, jude and h and i took our usual morning walk around the neighborhood. i remarked that i was surprised to feel no contractions whatsoever. undaunted, we decided to spend the rest of the morning out of the house. we sojourned to the liquor store for the aforementioned bushmills black bush irish whiskey, and then wandered around the grocery store awhile. finally, we took jude to the park, and i swung on the monkey bars.

somewhere in the middle of this bustling activity, i realized that i was having contractions. they were slowish — about 8 mins apart when sitting, but they were much more intense and laborlike than any i’d experienced before. i took note, but didn’t focus too much on them, and just got on with my day, which, you may remember, went like this. i drank some raspberry leaf tea, and when the contractions were still present and accounted for at 8pm, i called my midwife. she told me that this was likely it, to eat some good protein, to have a glass of wine or beer and take a benadryl, and then to get my ass to bed. she didn’t want me to be exhausted for the big event. and so i had a porkchop, drank some oktoberfest, and caught up with some mad men with my love before going to sleep.

monday night’s sleep was restless to say the least. the benadryl kept me asleep till about 2 am, but after that, i was awoken with every strong, burning contraction in my back. when i began to feel all heartburny, a sleepy h made me a middle of the night glass of chocolate milk, which helped. of course, she went back to sleep after that, but i was awake; uncomfortable but not in pain.

i labored with jude throughout a day, and in the constant company of people. i’ve never labored alone, at night. and so i took that opportunity to center myself with the absolute awareness that i was on a sacred threshold. i lay still, hands on belly, and watched the moon from my window. as the contractions grew stronger, i steadied my gaze on it, unblinking. in those moments, i was unafraid.

at 7 am the next morning, i rallied the troops. midwife michele advised she’d arrive in the 9 o’clock hour, and sent apprentice midwives meg and genevieve ahead. uncle g’s mom (jude’s gabby) was summoned to come pick up jude. [we decided that jude should be elsewhere during the birth, mostly because she absolutely lost her shit the second anyone even touched my belly, and i found it very hard to focus on staying on top of contractions when i was so concerned about her. bonus? she had a whole night with her gabby and got to go shopping, as well as experience her first oreo. “you’d think she’d discovered america,” gabby said of that moment.] and uncle g himself arrived pretty quickly. soon, the house was bustling with excitement. h made breakfast tacos, as i ambled around the house, waiting for contractions, which naturally all but halted with the arrival of the midwives. to keep things going, h and j and i took our daily walk around the neighborhood, and j found a lucky green marble, to which she held tightly with great pride:

walking in labor.

of note: i was so full of energy and excitement after our walk that i vacuumed the living room and scrubbed the downstairs toilet, much to the amusement of all, especially the midwives, who had taken to their waiting stations, and were reading and knitting and snuggling our pets.

after michele arrived–with her sister, lisa, who is just becoming a midwife herself at age 50!–she did an internal exam, and told me that i was 3 1/2 cm dilated, about 70% effaced. i was on the cusp of active labor, but the contractions could easily peter out. and so off we went on another walk: michele, h, uncle g, and me. i had to stop and squat every three minutes. cars slowed and people stared as my entourage stood over my hunched over self. i was entertained.

and yet, by 1pm, i was still dilated to 3 1/2. contractions felt intense to me, and they were still coming 3 minutes apart, but michele said she thought i was a watched pot, and was stalling as a result. so. they left. all of them. the full house was suddenly empty, save for h and me. “call me when you’ve entered active labor,” michele said as she left. “how will i know?” i asked while gripping my contracting belly. “you’ll know,” she said and kissed my head.

i laid down with h and tried to nap awhile, but lying on either side was severely uncomfortable. i think i slept fitfully between contractions, but mostly, i felt like i was entering that hazy, time-free laborland.

at 3pm, i got up to pee, and was nearly struck down by a contraction. i sat on the toilet and called michele. “please come back,” i whimpered when she answered. “on my way,” she said, and i hung up. i sat down on the birthing ball and began to weep. i was not even halfway dilated, and i was already so tired. i was in so.much.pain. i was afraid. i could no longer do this. h held me and let me exhale everything i was afraid of.

michele et al arrived at around 3:30, and the next internal exam found me to be 4 cm dilated. “welcome to active labor!” michele said. and then she invited me to take a bath, which i did not want. just like my labor with jude, i wanted to be on the birth ball, leaning on my bed, with h’s thumbs placed firmly in the small of my back.
concentrating on getting through a contraction.

finally, michele convinced me to get in the bath, and once i did, she covered my whole body with a towel while i lay on my back. for the next 20 minutes or so, h poured water over me as i breathed through the mounting contractions. it was a lot more comforting than i thought it would be. once i got out, however, michele gave me the news that ziggy was attempting to get out of a prime, anterior birthing position and into a really not good transverse position. to keep him where he was supposed to be, she made me get on hands and knees for what felt like forEVER. and when i wasn’t in that position, i had to walk around, which was equally unpleasant. oh, and yeah, i was definitely naked by this point.

all of the midwives skirted around the issue of breaking my bag of waters for hours, and had i not been focusing on so many contractions, i would have found it humorous. but at the time, i did not want any unnecessary internal exams, i wanted my waters to go on their own; basically, i wanted to labor on my own without even midwifey sorts of interventions. and so it went for another hour: me on the ball, h at my back, midwives gathered on my bedroom floor, chatting about how much they loved my labor playlist and basically just keeping vigil with me. it was really peaceful.

oh but then 7 pm rolled around. michele did another exam, and found me about 5.5cm dilated with my bag of waters low. ziggy was still floating high, however. he was not engaged at all. she gently broached the water-breaking subject as a “well, you know, if you want to…it’s up to you” sort of proposition, just as meg pulled out the hook and readied it. it felt like peer pressure to me, and i panicked a bit. michele sent meg, genevieve, and lisa out of the room, and she listened to concerns and fears. i KNEW i would immediately enter transition, which is indescribably fiery and big as an ocean, and i didn’t know if i could normalize it. michele gave me the line about it not happening immediately, and i called bullshit. it happened before. i remembered it well. and i was suddenly feeling all my fear from the last time. it was a paralyzing fear, and i wanted to climb up the walls and escape. i asked michele to leave h and me alone while we talked about it.

i waddled over to the toilet and sat down. oh god, the toilet was my other favorite place to be throughout the whole labor. gravity was a godsend, and sitting upright off my suzy kept my posture straight and thus my back contractions bearable. anyway, h held eye contact with me a long while, and her gaze was my safety net. cheesy but true. she held my whole self with her eyes, and i felt contained and safe and one with her. she reminded me that transition would happen regardless of when my waters broke, that michele was only hoping to shorten my labor, which ultimately meant we’d be meeting our son in two hours instead of seven. she also reminded me that at the end of all of this, i’d have a shot of whiskey waiting for me. i told h that once i went into transition, the coherent me that was talking to her would be going underground, and it was likely that i wouldn’t have many or any words until all of this was over. she was okay with this. i finally nodded consent, and michele came back into the room.

before she broke my bag of waters, michele said she wanted me to try to walk after it was done. i said no. walking was too intense, i’d be wasting too much energy on fighting the panic, instead of drawing into myself to ride out the constant big waves. and she listened to me. whenever it was safe to do so, my midwife allowed me to lead the rest of my labor. and that freedom, that semblance of control in the big ocean truly empowered me to continue on.

7:15pm: michele popped the bag. there was no big gush, as there was with jude, only a satisfying warm pouring sensation, like peeing after holding it for hours. or 9 months. oh but i was right. here came transition. michele positioned me on my left side and covered me up with my super warm and fuzzy bath towel, where i felt myself go underground, just as i knew i would. i lay still for a very long time, learning to moan and relax and exhale each contraction. michele and h gave me a foot massage, and then struggled to put socks on my usually very warm feet. after who knows how long, one of the midwives checked zig’s heart tones and found them accelerating to a rate they were uncomfortable with. “he’s not happy with this position, annie,” michele said, concerned that zig’s umbilical cord was being compressed. “how about the birth ball? i know you like the birth ball.” and so i somehow became upright again, and sat on the ball, leaking fluid and constantly contracting.

with every transitional contraction, i found myself sitting upright with my best posture, hands folded together just below my belly button. i could feel ziggy enter my birth canal. it actually felt like relief, and not pain. i mumbled from underground at one point, “my clit actually feels kind of good,” which received giggles all around. i moved back and forth from ball to toilet, and did not really want anyone to touch me or talk to me, including h. at one point, however, i felt overcome by the power of a rather big wave, and genevieve took me to her chest like a mother and held me. i’ll never forget that gesture. it was pure compassion and love from someone i barely know. i fell into her and wept till it passed. she reminded me to tell someone if i needed to push. i remembered that the last few contractions did indeed feel kind of pushy. i also remembered that pushy contractions ended with a bit of a grunt, so i made sure to add a grunt here and there so i wouldn’t have to use words to tell the midwives it was nearing the time to push. oh, the mind of a woman in laborland.

i took one last trip to the toilet, and said out loud, without thinking, “i need to push now.” i was immediately ushered onto the bed for an internal check. and just like with jude, michele said “you’re complete, annie, with just a lip of a cervix. why don’t you give me a little push with the next contraction to get it out of the way?” so i did, and the urge to push was so overwhelming that my body shook. it was 9:18 pm. michele said, “h, i’d tell you to go wash your hands, but there’s no time! get ready to catch your baby!” all i thought in this moment was OH THANK GOD I DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS FOR A LONG TIME. seconds later, uncle g was in the room with a camera aimed at my suzy. in my labor with jude, i spent 34 minutes pushing double time to get her out quick as her heart rate decelerated due to her hand stuck to her head. with ziggy, i did the opposite: i spent every pushing contraction trying not to push, so i wouldn’t tear. copious amounts of olive oil were poured over me, and i was very aware of hands protecting my clit and perineum. and then suddenly, the ring of fire! and directions to feel my baby’s squishy head! and thoughts of this ring of fire thing isn’t as bad as i feared it would be (i was numbed last time) and then pop! a head! i looked down and watched and felt my son exit my body and slide into the world! and then a great big cry! and then he was on my chest, as sigur ros’ song, glósóli played. it was 9:30 pm. he was out of me in 12 minutes and 4 pushes. hot damn, i didn’t tear.

whew. i’m at 2500 words now, two days after starting to write this post. mr zig is waking from a nap, so i’m going to end this story with bullets:

  • his umbilical cord was magnificent: 35 inches long and thick thick thick.
  • i birthed his placenta at 9:35 pm.
  • his apgar score was 9.
  • he suckled with a perfect, hungry latch immediately.
  • i can’t believe that he is smaller than his sister.
  • i didn’t lose much blood this time, and was completely present and coherent for the rest of the night. there was nothing traumatic about his arrival.
  • omg he’s so cute and i’m in love.
  • for all my preliminary fears, i had the perfect birth experience. i gave my son a sacred entry, full of laughter upon his arrival. after all, isaac means laughter. it’s only fitting.

if you’d like to see more laborday photos, go here.

oh, and glósóli can be heard and viewed here. embedding has been disabled, but it’s a gorgeous video, so do watch if you’re so inclined.

whew. off to nurse my big mister, who gained 10 oz in 3 days.

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hoping for a chance to write a bit tomorrow. for now i’ll just say that holy shit i did it it’s done and i did it! and i’ll also say that my son is beautiful and perfect and has a huge schnoz. and that he smells like honey. and he smiles and sighs in his sleep. i am in love.

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Welcome ziggy!

A quick note to say mister Isaac Silas was born at home last night! More info to come, but here are quick stats:

Arrived 9:30 pm after 4 pushes. Seriously. And no tearing!

8lb 4oz
20 3/4″ long
14 1/4″ head

I’m exhausted but happy. It was a looooong day of labor. Mr zig nursed all night. Yawn.

Here is a snapshot 🙂

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big day?

intense contractions kept me awake a large part of the night last night. they were spaced pretty far apart, so i followed my midwife’s advice and just tried to sleep between them. they’ve continued on into this morning, and so the troops have been rallied. the midwives should be here within the hour. i’m ordered to take it easy until they arrive. my contractions are still about 6-8 minutes apart, but they are the familiar fire i suddenly remember so well.

here we go?

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up down up. -edited

contractions have definitely gone up a notch today…when they’re actually present, that is. my midwife gave me the option to do bootcamp if i choose, or to simply let my body do its thing on its own and see what happens. we chose option two. we spent the morning walking: around the neighborhood, at the grocery store (and liquor store –i preemptively bought myself a bottle of blackbush for inspiration and post-birth celebration), and at the playground, where i also hung from monkey bars. the contractions burned and ached all over and came about 4 mins apart when standing and 8 mins apart while sitting. but then they went away. and i napped for a couple hours.

oh, but here’s one. standby…

annnnd back (about a minute later.) meanwhile, h and j are on a playdate, leaving me to my own devices, which were going to look a lot like long overdue photo editing, operating system updates, etc. instead, i got emotionally derailed by a phonecall about my maternity leave. i won’t bother you with the sordid details, but here is the basic story: i started leave on 8/2, due to prelabor contractions that necessitated bedrest. my short term disability pay was meant to kick in 8/9. i’m still waiting on a check. i’ve been given the runaround by the absence mgmt company my employer uses to pay out disability. the reason they give for pending the claim is that this pregnancy complication should have moved me from midwife to dr care–an arbitrary policy not stated anywhere, and not really even an actual policy. so, my midwife had to fax over my records to the perinatalogist who has monitored zig’s kidneys, asking for a signature that would push through the claim approval. my midwife told me it was done. the drs office told me it was not done, b/c the dr had nothing to do with the bedrest decision.

so, everything remains in limbo. and i’m too overwrought to be the fucking mediator at the moment to get something accomplished. the dr has no idea what this is about. my midwife is pissed that the absence mgmt company is pushing back and “refuses to negotiate with them” (whatever the fuck that means). meanwhile, the absence mgmt company is holding over a month’s worth of my pay, with no sign of releasing it any time soon. i hate that i’m the only one who can fix this clusterfuck.

here’s hoping my purely emotional reaction to this mess means that i’m about to give birth VERY soon. because i’m over this nauseating up, down, up of my hormonal/emotional state. i very consciously feel myself swing from peaceful euphoria (hello oxytocin?) to utter despair and fear on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. the good has been oh, so very good. indelible memories of bonding with my family, joyful nesting, delicious food, etc. but the bad? total angstville. crying jags, rage, panic.

it’s safe to say i’ve officially arrived at the “i’m done” portion of this pregnancy. i’m over the holding pattern, the endless “is he here yet?” questions, the inability to find a comfortable position to sleep. done done done.

and now, i’m going to go stare at my beautiful bottle of blackbush for a little while.

ETA: angsty “he can’t stay in there forever” belly shot. please tell me he looks like he’s dropped. please?

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just a super quick post to let you all know that we’re still hanging out in pregnantland. zig’s definitely lower (yay), and when contractions get going, they’re way more intense than before…so much so, that at least once a day, i think this is it! and then they fizzle out and i say harumph. and then i scrub something. like the kitchen. or the walls of our entryway, where dogs like to lie with their dirty selves. basically, i’ve spent the weekend scrubbing all the places i feel likely to squat during labor, so i won’t notice dirt or funk in a critical moment. instead, i’ll smell lavender and baking soda.

and i’ve walked a lot. eaten some spicy food. thought about having the sexy time, but have fallen asleep instead. and i’ve snuggled my little girl a lot.

having a contraction now, actually.

going to check in with the midwife a little later this morning to see if a tincture/pumping sort of bootcamp is on the books today. god i hope so. i want to do something that at least gives me the illusion of pushing things along, you know?

over and out.

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zig’s estimated to weigh 8.5ish lbs. i’m still dilated 2-3, my cervix is marshmallowy, and he’s riding super high. my hips and pubic bone throb. there’s no sign of an imminent arrival. but that could change. of course. because he’s not going to stay in there forever. right?

god i’m tired.

the end.

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In wait.

Quick mobile update: contractions began yesterday afternoon and came 3 mins apart, lasting a minute each, for over 3 hrs. Apprentice midwives came out to check me, at which point the contractions stopped altogether.

I’m dilated 2-3, and am 50-60% effaced. He’s still pretty high.

This morning I’m crampy, cranky, and nauseated. I’m ridiculously weepy too. H took mio to the vet this morning, and it was reeeeeally hard for me to let her go. So far, Jude is mellow and happy to just hang out with me on the couch. I’m grateful for that, because I don’t want to cry in front of her again. When she refused to wash her sticky hands after breakfast, I started to cry. Srsly. It worked, sadly. It’s ok mommy, she said as she cleaned herself up. And then she asked for a cuddle.

And now I’m smacking my own cheeks, telling myself to snap out of this hormonal fog. Wake up, chicken. Wake up. And ziggy: time to get out.

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this morning, i am still pregnant with a rather dormant fetus. contractions are mild to non-existent at the moment. i began the day with the regimen of blackstrap molasses chelated iron, vitamin c, christopher’s blend and epo:

h has been outside all morning in the ridiculous humidity, catching up on a month of lawnmowing. (remember her effed up back? yeah, that has meant a thicket for a yard recently.) thus, jude and i have had a solo morning, which is rare indeed these days.

we savored it by watching our snuggle flick, the many adventures of winnie the pooh, and snuggling awhile. exhibits a & b:

at snack time, we experienced an amazing grass superfood fail, as the chocolate milk fakeness turned green. jude was immediately on to the presence of vegetables, and emphatically spat the stuff out–twice–all over her naked torso. and legs. and feet. and armpits somehow. there was no vanquishing of stickiness with mere papertowels, so, together, we took a luxurious bath, which was followed by a pillow fight in the nude.

jude is asleep now, and clean, and i’m sipping iced coffee, listening to julie miller and patty griffin sing together about coming home. the kitten is finally asleep, after climbing all over the keyboard as i tried to type this post.

wait. kitten? what kitten, you ask? oh, this one:

here is the abbreviated story of how we came to procure a kitten this week:

our neighbor at the corner of the street has an 18 year old daughter. the daughter adopted a kitten from a friend who was moving, without asking her mother. daughter is never home to care for said kitten. mother is not an animal lover, and happens to be recovering from a heart attack. so she put the kitten outside with food and water. kitten is ridiculously friendly, and loves kids. kitten is an un-neutered male who came with the name mia. kitten began to follow us on walks, and not look both ways when crossing the street. kitten bonded with jude in a way that a toddler could only dream: he chases her, climbs all over her, lets her drag him around, looks at her with the squinty yellow eyes of love. he also followed us home the other day.

so we have taken him in. our neighbor was about to drop him off at a shelter, as her daughter has abandoned project kitty altogether. mia is now mio. dios mio most of the time. we’re taking him to be neutered and de-wormed tomorrow. he is fearless in the face of our animals. he owns the joint. already, he is a contributing member of the family: he turned on the roomba the other day, and supervised its work, and yesterday, he (seriously) figured out how to turn off the kitchen light switch.

have i mentioned that he and jude LOVE each other? they roll balls back and forth and play with her hotwheels together. i’ve never met a more people-oriented kitten.

holy hell, though. we’ve brought a kinda-sorta litter trained kitten into our home days before having a baby. we’re the batshit variety of crazy. but jude has her first kitty. so it’s worth it.

and how’s your sunday?

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