One year ago today, sweet Rebekah, you were born.
Your dad and I paced the house, walked the block, and walked the mall waiting for your arrival. 10 days you made us wait. I guess due dates are more of suggestions anyways . . . 😉
During those days we nested, rested, and dreamed of meeting you. We had to go in for a 7-days-over-due ultrasound to make sure you were okay. And you were great–but we barely glimpsed your face because you were so cramped in there. But a two-second glimpse revealed your expression and filled my dreams from that day forward. And yes, you often still wear that expression.
On April 15, 2015 our midwife, Alicia, came to check on us. She said I looked on the brink of labor. She straightened out my cervix a bit, and sure enough by late that night we were in business. Your dad and I attempted to sleep while possible. At 1 AM on April 16th we called Alicia, uncertain if we needed her right away. But with contractions only a few minutes apart, it felt right.
Before long we had the birth pool set up and I settled in for many hours of contractions and labor. Despite taking a long time, labor was not bad. I felt focused and centered. During each contraction I put all my focus and energy into embracing it and relaxing into it. In between contractions I would lay back against the inflatable pool and rest, sometimes sleep. After awhile the contractions grew more intense and I had to moan through them and “breathe you down”–don’t judge, it worked. We did go for a walk around the block to help keep things moving about half way through labor. I’m sure our neighbors thought we were crazy! I am surprised no one called the cops.
Your dad thought it was entertaining how I would go from moaning through a contraction to instantly falling asleep and snoring against the side of the birth pool.
I do think I was lucky when it came to pain. My water didn’t break until Alicia broke it at 9cm. That can make it a bit easier to deal with labor pain. Or so they say.
All things considered, labor wasn’t bad. Though I still call them contractions, reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (affiliate link) about childbirth changed my perspective for the better. Still, I never did call them “rushes,” her endearing term for them. While in labor, perspective and visualization are huge. I simply took it contraction by contraction, knowing that each one was bringing you closer to my arms. I dubbed it “productive pain”.
Now, I totally understand and support women who choose to use pain killers. But the way I focused and relaxed best was by reminding myself that it was a productive pain. Pain demands to be felt. And when it is embraced, it can yield unfathomable joy.
I did get stuck at 9 cm for a long time. This frustrated me. A lot. I even had to get up and do high steps around the house at 9 cm! But they worked. (Though I didn’t know it at the time.) Alicia told your dad and I to rest together on the bed. While attempting to relax, I grew upset. I could not make my body relax into the contractions and was tired of being at 9 cm. I started to worry that something might be wrong.
This may be way too much information, but I went to the bathroom frustrated and thinking I needed to poop. I should have remembered that meant an urge to push, but it didn’t occur until Jetta (student midwife) came in and said “Alicia, I think she is ready to push–this baby is close!”
After that huge relief, we moved to the bed and I began the pushing process. It only took around 20 minutes. This part intimidated me the most for sure. But it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. However, it does take work and focus.
I still remember the comments about your head and all your hair. They had me reach down and feel your squishing head crowning. I was so excited that you had hair! It didn’t hurt like I thought it would, even with a small tear that required a few stitches. Your dad caught you and helped rest you on my belly. You were so confused. To be fair, so was I. Sadly, I think my “profound” first words were “It’s a real baby!”
But all that really mattered was that you were safe in our arms.
You kept sucking your fingers and hand. And I could barely hold you due to your short umbilical cord. But once the cord stopped pulsing, you were in my arms and we were skin to skin, attempting to nurse for the first time.
You were such a trooper. Every time the midwives monitored you during labor, your heartbeat was perfect. They kept saying how chill you were. Which I find amusing because you are so determined. I love your goofy grins, sputtering of water, blowing bubbles, crazy blue eyes, and so much more than I can sum up here–I need a whole book! Oh, wait I have one!
You are loved–forever and always our sweet and spunky girl.