Friday, July 29, 2005


or birth story #2
It has been so hot and humid. Sooooooo hot and humid although today is better. We’ve had so much water that some places and some people are having trouble. My beloved coalfields for example -- too much water in and on mines is trouble. Zuchinis rot before they can mature. That sort of thing.

But still, it is not as hot as the summer #1 daughter was born. That summer was the hottest. Many days over 90 which is unusual here. More than a whole month as I remember. And we weren’t in the house yet. We managed to get a window air conditioning unit which barely made it livable. Still, in the afternoons I would shower with clothes on and lay under fans, a beached whale.

And when I went into labor I did my usual piddle. And this piddle was the most piddly. This daughter the most reluctant to make her appearance. She was the only one past her due date.
Still, finally, I had contractions. All day. To no effect.

At about 24 hours the other midwife, not my midwife-sister-friend, sent me outside to walk up and down the hill. I was naked except for shoes. It was dark and only in the 80s. A contraction would hit and I would squat and grab husband’s feet and nearly break them, then get up and walk on. After the third trip up and down, I asked for water at the door. Sister-midwife-friend saw me and knew, which is why she would always be my midwife, and said, “Come inside. Walk here.” I did that.

I was in that exquisite place of being intensely aware of everything, an observer missing nothing. But mostly unable to communicate anything at all. When other midwife wanted to take heart tones and so wanted to turn off the air conditioner to hear better, I said I would kill whoever turned off the air conditioner. I would walk like she wanted but that was all. Don’t mess with me, I’m busy.

Then I squatted for a contraction and suddenly, without warning to me, I threw up and my water broke at the same instant. I wondered for a second if anyone had noticed, them having become so accustomed to me wandering, squatting, moaning, and me wanting no attention from them whatsoever. But then I heard sister-midwife-friend say, “Hey, I think something is happening here. Help her to the bedroom.”

I made it to the edge of the futon, onto my hands and knees. She was still reluctant, this baby. She eased out just until her eyes were clear, her nose and mouth still inside me, and she took a look around. She met eyes. People could feel her determining who was who. Then she came on out. But she still wasn’t committed to this incarnation. You could feel it, her hesitation. I asked her to not go away, and she didn’t.

And so our journey with more than one child began. It was a trip. You can’t imagine having two any more than you can imagine having one, but it is just as great. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


madcapmum said...

Is there a birth story #1 in your archives somewhere? How many children do you have?

I wish I'd known about writing birth stories when mine were born. They were both life-and-death emergency c-sections, and I was so drugged etc. that I don't really remember much. Too bad, because they both ask frequently. It would have been good to collaborate with my husband and his memories, so we'd be able to fill in some of the gaps.

the Contrary Goddess said...

There are more stories, four of them all told. One somewhere in the December archives and two in the March archives. I may even have told the tale of my mother's birth in there somewhere (which is a good one!) Don't know much about mine--which is what comes of drugs being used in childbirth, poor drugged children.

justrose said...

you know my story was as different from yours as chalk from cheese, but you described it here, that feeling and the sacredness of bringing life to bear. great post.