Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Birth Story #4

Five years ago I was HUGE. Really huge. So huge we thought I might have twins. Well, actually that was in October when we thought that so we managed to enter the medical system only enough to get an ultrasound to confirm a single fetus.

The ultrasound said he was one, & BIG. Of course, like all prenatal tests, ultrasounds are notoriously unreliable. Still. He palpated big too. My other babies were average. But I wasn't worried. It was the fourth time around and I knew what to do. I didn't want many people there, and I didn't want to be disturbed. No vaginal exams. None. Leave me alone as much as possible.

So I awoke one morning and got up to pee and realized that it was the fourth time I'd been up to pee that night so something must be going on. I went back to bed but paid attention. Nothing too much but something definite. I woke husband up and said, "Hey, you won't be mad if I don't wait until the due date will you?"

"It's time?" he said. "Yep." "Alright!" And we continued laying there both getting our heads together about the things we'd be needing to do in the next few hours and enjoying our last moments as a family of 5. When he gets up he calls Mir the midwife. Mir doesn't even ask to speak to me but says she's on her way. She lives two hours away from us. I asked her about that later -- I knew midwifery enough to know that generally a midwife asks to speak to the woman in order to assess the strength of contractions and how far along she is in labor. Frankly, mine weren't that strong nor my labor very advanced when he called her. She said, "CG, he said, 'Mir, it's time.' And he wanted me, there was no question. So I came. I knew you were ok." Mir and I have this connection, you see. She knows things.

I do think birth is harder on husbands than mothers, at least cosmic mothers. I was so empowered by the whole thing, so centered, so Goddess-like. I did my little Bradley-like meditation. I ate and drank and peed regularly. My children were so kind to me. The kids were 2, 4, and 7 then. Hard to believe. Everyone listened to the baby with the stethoscope now and then. We have photographs of all the little midwives and smiling mama.

When it became serious, I told husband to go on out and do any chores he planned to do so I could have his undivided attention a bit later. I don't remember if we had rabbits to feed or what, but something because I remember sending him out and telling him not to dawdle getting back. I remember looking at the clock and thinking I'd be done by 5. I was. It was about 3 then.

When it got real serious, I went to my hands and knees like I've done with every birth. K got on her hands and knees to support me, let me lay my head and chest across her back. And when I'd have a huge contraction I'd squeeze her. I sort of came to squeezing her so hard one time that I just hoped I hadn't hurt her. Mir got at my backside. Husband was there too. And #1 daughter was there, holding the flashlight, being the little midwife. His head came out and he spit on daughter, anointing her. She will never forget that. She said, "He spit on me!" Because we knew he was big Mir was concerned about shoulder dystocia. I wasn't. I knew he'd come somehow. Husband, however, was about to die. Baby's head, you see, was sort of purple. Husband would say, no it was black. But the light was dim and husband is half blind. I couldn't see this of course but, while I can't explain this, I knew he was ok. Mir checked for the cord and I told her in no uncertain terms to back off until I had another contraction. She was so strong, so skilled a midwife, that she did. Took her hands away. And that irresistible force did occur of its own and he came right on out.

They handed him to me between my legs and I knew who he was. Again, this is not something I can explain (mostly because I don't feel the need to explain) but I knew what his name was. Husband and I had talked names but had not made any decisions. We had taken nearly a week to name daughter #2. But I knew. I looked at him and I knew. Baby quickly became normal colored (and really, he was purplish and quickly became pink) and was so beautiful. We took baths and ate and settled down for a long winter's nap.

In the morning when we woke up husband said to me that he'd seen a vision in the night of a person we were thinking of naming baby after. He had come and stood in the doorway, looking at us. And so that would obviously be his name. It was who I knew he was.

Everything wasn't quite as hunkydory as it could have been. His blood type was such that we knew he'd probably jaundice due to an ABO incompatability. He did which meant photo-therapy which isn't too bad but it also meant multiple trips to town during that first week for multiple heel sticks to check for bilirubin. Trips to town and heel sticks suck. Still, when my mom had a party the day after Christmas, we were all there, all that side of the family together for the very last time which was to welcome him to the world.

I am so glad he is here. My little red guy. Right now with a piece of bark stuck between his teeth like a cigar.

1 comment:

cheeky monkey said...

I know about the knowing, especially knowing who they are before they arrive. That was my first. I KNEW.
Enjoy your brood this holiday.