Saturday, September 19, 2009
Josiah's birth story
It has taken me nearly a year to write your birth story, which is funny, because unlike your brothers’, yours wasn’t traumatic. It was long, and it was hard, and it was simple. It went just the way it is supposed to.
Labor started very early in the morning, September 28th. I stayed in bed and slept or drowsed through a few hours of it. Once everyone woke up and the day got going, Daddy and I decided that the best thing for me would be for him to take Jonathan and Thomas to Grandma’s house for the day. I was pretty sure that I had a long slow early labor ahead of me, and I wanted peace and quiet. I think your Daddy felt a little odd leaving me here by myself, but that is really what I wanted.
I remember that time as leisurely yet purposeful. I had long 10-12 minute stretches between contractions, and I relaxed and enjoyed the rest. Each contraction was hard work and required concentration, but in between I lay on the couch and watched movies. Sometimes I worried that it wasn’t “real labor” because the contractions were so spaced out, but I tried hard to stay in the moment without worrying about what would happen next.
In the afternoon labor began to get more intense. I turned on the French version of the musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame, very loud, and danced through contractions. I was glad that I didn’t have an audience – it was very freeing to be able to move, sway, bend, and dance without worrying about what others would think. The volume helped, too – somehow it made it easier for me to lose myself in the music and the labor.
Around 4pm I suddenly wished very intensely that I had not sent your Daddy away. I cried through a few contractions, tired emotionally as well as physically, wishing for comfort and support. Thankfully at that point he was on his way home, so I didn’t have too long to wait for him to arrive.
Daddy shifted into gear once he got home, setting up the birth pool in between giving me hugs, and somehow also getting Jonathan and Thomas fed and ready for bed. The boys were very excited about the pool! They didn’t seem to mind or really pay much attention to my labor, although I do remember Jonathan trying to talk to me through one contraction, and patting my arm.
Everything was going well. We considered calling Christina to come pick up the boys, but it seemed silly to send them away right at bedtime. So we put them to bed and hoped that they’d sleep through what was to come. We had asked Jonathan if he wanted to be there for the birth, but he said “no, I don’t want to hear you roar like a lion!” I was a little worried about making too much noise and waking them up, but I was also fairly deep into labor land at that point and wasn’t thinking about it too much.
We called Sue Wolcott as the evening progressed, and she arrived a little after 9pm. I was only about 3cm dilated at that point, which was deeply disappointing. After all that time I’d really been hoping for more than that! I did my best to ignore the disappointment and keep focused on moving forward.
I spent most of the time standing and swaying with your daddy, hanging on to his shoulders when the contractions came. He helped remind me to keep my vocalizations low, “singing” along with me. I was tired, and wanted to sleep between contractions, but it was too awful to wake up once one had already started. So I stood, and walked, and rocked and swayed with your wonderful daddy.
Sue Gill had been out of town for a week. She had told me that I wouldn’t have the baby until she got back, and she was right, but only barely! Her plane landed at 10pm and she flew to our house, arriving just before 11pm. I was getting close to transition by the time she got there.
I remember getting really cranky around midnight. I was tired, in a rotten mood; it was past my bedtime and I just wanted it all to be over! In retrospect, that was probably when I was in transition.
After all the work of getting the pool set up, I didn’t want to be in it! Your daddy kept asking, thinking it might help, but for some reason it just didn’t sound good to me. Eventually I did agree to try it – I was in the throws of really hard labor at that point and willing to try just about anything to make it easier to handle.
Not long after getting in the pool I was ready to start pushing. Pushing was so disappointing this time! When Thomas was born, pushing was such a relief. Suddenly I knew exactly what to do and how to do it, and it hurt but almost felt good at the same time. So I was expecting the same thing this time. Instead, I was frustrated to discover that I had somehow forgotten how to push! I couldn’t seem to find a position that felt right; it seemed that my body and my mind were working at cross purposes. That was awful. Sue suggested a few different positions and eventually we found one that seemed to work. Even so, it never felt right the way it did with Thomas' birth.
And yet you came. After about two hours of pushing, there you were. I could reach down and touch your head and your oh-so-soft and slippery hair. It hurt amazingly but then there you were. Once your head was out there was a tiny pause and the rest of you slipped out and I held you on my chest and gasped and laughed and cried with shock and amazement and delight.
Birth is beyond words, little one. You are beyond words.