Thursday, April 29, 2010
Vickie's Voo-Doo + Megan's Magic= Singer's birth
Hello, blog-world. I'm back from a short hiatus...giving birth to my son took some time and energy away from writing :) Singer Nash Noel was born (happy and healthy) on April 26, 2010 at 11:11 pm. He weighed 7.9 and was 21 inches long. I love these stats...I say them over and over in my mind. He's perfect!
Singer's birth story is especially unique, and I want to share it with you.
On the morning of April 26th, I had a midwives' appt. scheduled for 10 AM. I thought I was seeing Randi, but when I got there, I found out I was seeing Vicki. We hadn't seen Vicki since our first couple appointments, and John and I laughed that this would be our last appointment because Vicki represents our Alpha and Omega. I was 39 weeks and four days, and I still hadn't had an internal exam, so we really had no idea what was going on "in there". Vicki gave me no choice, which was good. Every time the midwives give me a choice for anything, I always decline (especially after the Quad Screen episode). So, when Vicki said "you're getting an internal...no choice" I was excited to finally find out if I was dilated and effaced.
While she was examining me, saying I was about 80% effaced and about four centimeters dilated, Vicki looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Do you want me to help you?" I knew what she meant. She could move things along, and I trusted her. I said YES. She stripped my membranes (which hurt like hell!!) and that was that. By the time I got home from the appointment, I was in labor.
At first, I wasn't sure. I was definitely feeling a different kind of "crampy" sensation than the feelings I had been having for the past couple weeks. The contractions started in my lower back, and wrapped up around my belly. They felt warm, but they didn't hurt. And they were coming about every nine minutes. Then seven minutes. Then FIVE minutes. I called my husband. John hopped on the subway and was on his way home. I still wasn't sure if this was the real thing, so I called Mom and Shannon. I told both of them that I wasn't really in any pain, but things were in pretty regular patterns. Mom said that her contractions weren't really painful until after her water broke, and Shannon thought that maybe I wasn't in labor because she said contractions HURT! Fortunately, I didn't have to keep guessing because by the time John got home, I was feeling those contractions in the most intense way.
We called the midwife who was on "duty" at the hospital, and she said we could come in whenever. I labored at home for as long as I could (from about 1:30PM to 5:30PM), and then I told John that it was time to go. He loaded me, the birthing ball, our suitcase, and the Quilt of Love (a VERY important blanket) up in the Corolla, and off we went to Center City to deliver our baby...smack dab in the middle of rush hour. Now, every one told me that the worst part about labor was riding in the car...but, I was so deep in meditation and my breathing routine that I really didn't notice. We didn't hit too much traffic along the way, and by the time we got to the hospital it was 6:00 PM.
Estella (midwife on duty) met us in the assessment unit to determine whether or not I was really in labor (ha ha). She said I was dilated to a five, and we could stay. HURRAY! I'm really in labor! This was when things started getting weird. I started bleeding...really bad. My blood pressure sky-rocketed and there was enough blood to worry every single person who came into the room. Estella told me that I would have to be hooked up to EFM so that they could monitor my baby's heart rate. If the blood was actually from the placenta, the baby's heart rate would signal distress. Estella and the nurses didn't know where the blood was coming from, but they weren't too worried because the baby's heart rate was fine. The only problem, for me anyways, was that I was now hooked up to a monitor. Up until this point I had been pacing through my contractions. But, now I had to remain in one spot so that I didn't disturb the EFM. So, John scooped me up for every contraction, and I leaned into his chest while standing and swaying. We literally did this for about five hours. John held me up for each contraction, and I truly believe that the vertical laboring helped move things along.
By the time we were admitted to the Birthing Suite, there was a midwives' shift change, and we found out that Megan would deliver us!! This is hugely awesome for several reasons: A) Megan is AMAZING, and I had prayed that she would be the one to deliver us. B) Megan was the one who recommended the book "Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin. I read a lot different birthing books during pregnancy, but this book was the most important one for me. Ina May suggested singing through contractions to keep the sphinters ( I hate that word) open and lose. I took this advice and basically pushed song-like noise out through each contraction. Megan was amazing. Her approach was very hands-off. She kept a watchful eye on the baby and on my blood pressure, and she simply chilled. This is exactly what I wanted. I knew that I could trust my body to get this baby out, and Megan was confident that I could do it. She sat on my birthing ball and watched until it was time for me to start pushing.
Pushing was super weird. My body took over and did the work for me. I didn't have to think about it. Shannon told me it would be like an out of body experience, and sure enough, it was. My water broke when I started pushing, and that felt so cool because I could now tell where the baby was dropping to. I was screaming and grunting, and Megan had me try different positions as I moved the little guy down. We tried squatting, sitting on the birthing stool, and finally (success!) laying on my side. John braced my leg, and I pushed Singer out!
Ahhhhh! The greatest relief I have ever felt was when that baby's head came through. I couldn't believe it. I had done it. With the help of my midwife and my husband, I had naturally birthed my child. And the great news: the bleeding that everyone had been so worried about immediately stopped after Singer was born, my blood pressure resumed to normal, and Singer was PERFECT!!!! We did skin-to-skin, and Singer immediately latched onto my breast. John got to cut the cord after it had finished pulsing. Singer and I had our first feeding while looking into each others' alert eyes, and I realized what my life has been leading up to thus far. He is the love of my life, and together with John, we make up a trinity of blessed love. We are a family.
My choice to do things naturally has made me really confident. I can trust my body, and I can trust myself to make the best decisions for my child. I know that I still have a lot to learn, but when I think about Singer's birth, I know I can handle anything that comes our way. This little blessing brought renewal to my spirit in the form of a soft, chubby baby boy. I am so thankful.
John is going to fill in some holes. Apparently, I don't remember everything. So, be on the lookout for his perspective. In the meantime, meet Singer Nash.
I'm in love,