Beema's house. The kids go straight to their beds there. I go straight to the couch while Milly gets her room ready. They aren't that hard, the contractions, but I do vomit, a lot, until I'm completely empty, and yet I still feel nauseous. I'm still not convinced that there's very much progress yet. I'm pacing myself for the long haul if necessary. I wish I could get some rest.
Finally I opt for getting in the bathtub. Milly's bathtub is gigantic, deep and big enough for two people, which works out well in the end. If I'm not very far along, the contractions will probably slow, in which case I'll get some sleep. Or they'll speed up and we'll get this done. I want the solace of water now, the support of it against my body.
Walking to the bedroom the contractions subside again. I can brush my teeth, talk and laugh, look at how silly I look in the mirror with my hair pinned out of the way. I wonder again if this is really active labor, or just a precursor. The Boy you see had me vomiting and miserable while technically not even in labor yet, and it was mistaking that for labor that ended me in the hospital with a C-section, instead of at home in the bath or with a nap.
But I get in the bath in the end. Milly has set candles everywhere. It's lovely. I smell lavender she sprinkled somewhere, I want some more.
The water does it's magic. I can take these contractions with now back pressure or help at all, yet they are stronger and closer together now. After a while they get stronger still and I want Aaron in the bath to support me while I rest. Still they get stronger, and I am surprised this time by how intense, how fast, how long. I want another pause, a chance to rest. But there is no pause, no rest. After a really hard contraction I finally make the adjustment I need. This baby is coming. There will be no rest now until the end. I get to work instead.
The intensity still is surprising me. It wasn't this way last time. I'm holding on as the waves come and move this baby lower. I feel my water break.
The next contraction is so intense that I have to move. NOW! Somehow in the middle of it I pull myself up onto my knees, leaning forward against Aaron, butt high in the air. The sounds coming out of me have, I'm sure, never come out of me before. I am growling with the effort of moving this baby down. I start pushing, little short bursts at the end of contractions.
In the background I hear my FIL. He's worried because he can hear how far along I am, and there is no midwife yet. I think someone must have called her.
I wonder if she'll get here before the baby does. I know it's going to be soon.
Now I'm squatting on my knees and pushing, bracing my hands on the side of the tub. I feel like the pushing will never end. I want to blow my nose, but there is no time.
I hear Michelle beside me. She tells me to reach down on the next contraction and see if I can feel the head. I can feel it moving down so strongly on the next one that I expect to feel crowning already, but he's slid back.
We wait for another contraction and when it comes his head clears my pelvis and I can feel the stretching burning as he crowns. Michelle's voice comes again, "Blow through the burning, support your perineum with your hand."
Now the pause I've been longing for comes. Only I don't want it anymore. The stretching feels so uncomfortable, and I remember how the Girl stayed that way so long I needed an episiotomy to get her head clear. I blow, and wait for another contraction. I can hear people talking quietly nearby as we all wait. Soon, so soon.
It takes two more contractions and his head is born with a little pop and such a feeling of relief. I feel his face under the water as we all wait for just one more contraction and then his body slides out of me and I lift him up and out of the water into the air for the first time.
So tired, so relieved, so glad.
We wait for the cord to stop pulsing while we look at him and he gurgles and breathes, and even yells once or twice.
But it's not over yet. This is where it all went sideways last time. Will the placenta come out on it's own?
My uterus is still contracting, it's uncomfortable. The cord stops pulsing and Michelle clamps it. Aaron cuts it and we hand the baby to his Beema so I can stand up. There's the business of getting cord blood for blood typing and then I push and out it comes, right on cue, amid a few shouts of relief from bystanders.
Now we're done and it's shower, with Aaron holding me up because I am shaking, and bed and baby and rest.
I remember again how good it is to have Michelle there as she weighs and examines him, and then me, and tidies up before going home to get what rest she can before a 10 hour clinic day, or another woman goes into labor.
Then it's sleep and quiet until our other children quietly peek in in the morning to look at him laying fast asleep between me and Aaron, all of us tired from the previous nights work.
That day Aaron's brother and girlfriend come. They help bake the birthday cake. Another friend arrives bearing gifts.
We have a birthday party in the afternoon.
|He is not impressed.|
"But I've not been to the hospital." I explain again, "He was born at home."
In another second the OB is on the phone. "You need to be examined!" she exclaims. "Wow, you got your home birth VBAC after all."
When I go in, I tell them, truthfully, that I didn't think I was that far along. I omit the part about not planning to come anyway. They are all amazed. I think it's funny, that they are so surprised that I could give birth on my own. But it's sad really, a birth like this could be normal for a lot more women than it is, used to be normal, is normal in many parts of the world still.
I'm glad that I got to give birth this way. I know to do so has healed and strengthened me, as a woman, in ways that I'm not sure anything else could.