I’m going to try really hard to do this all in order. I was totally in my own little world for so much of this whole event that I know I’m missing huge chunks of the night and I’m sure that lots happened that I don’t even realise, but this is just my story. The birth as I saw it.
At 12:30am on Friday morning, the twee little Tornado called for me from her room. I went in to lay down with her, but she was making me crazy. She wouldn’t settle down, she kept rubbing all my skin (as she always does…and it always makes me nuts) and just generally being fussy. We both finally fell asleep, where I proceeded to have terrible nightmares. Brutal. I don’t even want to talk about them because they freaked me out so badly. At about 2:30am I woke up, very quickly, and had to lay in the dark for a few moments, shaking it off and telling myself that they were just dreams.
I was feeling quite uncomfortable, so I quickly left The Tornado and crawled back into my own bed. And immediately started having contractions. OUCH! I had forgotten how painful they were! I had been reading a lot of really beautiful birth stories, so I had visions of a long, rolling labour where I rode contractions like waves for hours, walking and laughing with Husbandio in between.
Not bloody likely.
I had a few contractions, and decided to go grab my phone because I had no sense of time and couldn’t tell how far apart they were or how long they were lasting. I needed a timer. It turns out that they were about four minutes apart, lasting for a minute. Hmmm…sounds suspiciously like labour, I thought. But I decided to give it a few more rounds, just in case things settled down.
Again, not bloody likely.
At 3:30am, I gave Husbandio the nudge and told him it was time to page the midwives. He did that while I texted the photographer, and we wrestled with whether or not it was time to wake up my mom. After the next contraction, I assured him that it was, indeed, that time. So we called her to come over so that she’d be ready to spring into action when The Tornado woke up. In the meantime, the midwives had called back, heard one of my contractions, and were rushing over. Things were picking up.
The midwives arrived at about 4:15am. They checked my progress (about 6-7 centimeters dilated) and immediately started the IV because I was GBS positive and needed a round of antibiotics. Once that was done, everyone was madly rushing around, trying to get the bed made up and the tub filled because Hello! It’s go time!
At one point, my midwife needed another fitted sheet so I handed her one, and she was like, “No…this is a regular sheet…I need a fitted one.” Well, wasn’t she shocked when it was, indeed, a fitted sheet? I’m not kidding, you guys, I am, like, the Rain Man of sheet folding. It’s my “special skill.”
So to catch you up – the house is in chaos. I’m in the living room, screaming through contractions, Husbandio is getting everything in order, with a super loud air compressor filling up the tub, and people are everywhere. And The Tornado sleeps on. How is this possible?
With The Tornado, I had my epidural very early. I had no idea what labour felt like. You guys, it fucking hurts. I’ve never, in my life, screamed due to pain before. And here I was, SCREAMING. The midwives were wonderful, telling me to blow through the pain (it really did help) and to keep my screams low-pitched, because mine were getting quite high and hysterical sounding which apparently makes things worse. Ok. So I tried that, too. My poor mother tried to breathe with me at one point and I screamed at her to go away. After all the thought I put into a birth playlist, Husbandio asked me if I wanted the radio on and I roared, “NO!!!” Who knew? They kept asking me if I was feeling any pressure or if I thought I needed to push, and no, no, no…it just hurts.
Until all of a sudden, there was the pressure.
Shit. The tub still wasn’t filled. I thought I was dying. And somehow in all of this they wanted me to move myself from the living room to the bedroom? Are they kidding?
So off we went midwives and Husbandio all around me, getting me to the bedroom. I collapsed, face-down, ass-up onto the bed and stayed in that exact position. There was no moving. Just screaming and fear. Screaming and fear. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared. It hurt SO SO much. I must have had my eyes closed the whole time, because when I opened them, more people were there. Two other midwives had arrived so I quickly said hello and re-closed my eyes. I had no concept of what was going on. Sometime around now, The Tornado woke up and I remember roaring at them to close my door as they rushed her past it so that she wouldn’t see me and think that I was in trouble. And then my water broke. POP! Just like that. OMG this is REAL. This is going to happen. Soon. OMGNONONOI’MNOTREADY! Then I heard the words that changed everything.
The tub is ready.
I wanted to cry. There was no way I’d be able to get into the tub. How? It hurt too much. I was too scared. NO NO NO. Enter the magical midwives to save the day. All hands on deck yet again, and somehow they managed to get me into the tub.
The water was like a barrier that stopped all pain and fear. As more of me disappeared into the water, I could feel the terror lifting. Any part of me that was in the water knew that I could do this. We had this. Husbandio and the midwives (or maybe just Husbandio? I dunno…my eyes were still closed) were pouring water down my back and it was magical. The window was opened so I could get a bit of a breeze, and I could feel it. Everything was changing. I felt superhuman. And thank god because it was time. I took a deep breath and screamed again, but this time it wasn’t terror, it was determination. And when I reached down, there was the head. The head was out! OMG, the head was out! So now it was time for another deep breath. As I inhaled, I must have risen a little bit because I immediately felt what seemed like 50 hands on my backside, pushing me down. The baby had to stay under the surface of the water. So I parted my legs and feet further, sank deeper into the water, and pushed again. I reached down as I pushed and there he was. My baby. I caught my baby! My baby, my baby, my baby…I pulled him out of the water, held him to my chest and just like that, it was over.
And everything they say is true. None of the pain mattered anymore. None of the terror. None of it. Because I was a superhero. I did this. Nothing I have ever done has ever affected me so deeply. Nothing could have prepared me for how I would feel when I caught my baby, in my bedroom, surrounded by my husband and some amazing women. This was the real deal.
We sat back and enjoyed the moment for a bit until the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, then Husbandio cut the cord and took the baby to go meet his sister and his Babcia while I got out of the tub (Oh god, don’t make me get out of the tub! Can we buy the tub? PLEASE???) to deliver the placenta and get a couple of quick stitches.
While my amazing mother in law made me bacon and eggs, I sat in bed, nursing my baby, while all the midwives surrounded me, making sure I was doing okay and going over all the details of what a perfect birth it was. I wish I had a picture of that moment, because it was magical. It totally appealed to my love of my tribe and my inner hippie may have been doing some crazy dancing inside my head at this point. I thought my face would break in half from all the smiling.
Total labour: four hours. Total time pushing: two minutes. Yup. I’ll take it. It was magic. I roared out my baby in a bath tub, caught him, and still looked fabulous. THAT, kittens, is success.
I’ll spare you the details of the following week, which we spent in the hospital (DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT) because everyone is FINE and it’s all just a horrible memory. We’re home now. We came home on Friday and spent the day celebrating.
As Husbandio said right after Bob Marley made his appearance, “and then there were four.” Our family feels complete now. Our house just got happier. Our lives just got better. Just like that.
Click the rad mustache picture (taken during her birth) to go to her blog!