I have struggled with processing the days leading up to Maeby’s birth and the actual day of her birth. Life has been exceptionally busy and a bit stressful since her arrival. We have all had our share of struggles and figuring out how to balance and manage our time. Having a second child is markedly different than having your first. I trust that with time, things will level out a bit. Regardless of the chaos, I have felt a strong desire to put into words my experience with Maeby’s birth. Overall, it was a great experience. Unremarkable, as the doctors call it. In other words, nothing out of the ordinary.
I met you when I was 30. It was a cold day in December. The skies looked as though they were crying to rain. Your dad and I were anticipating your arrival for what felt like weeks. Perhaps it was weeks, time has been a concept where I have lost touch. Whenever I planned for the big day, I imagined that I would wake up, hop in the shower, eat a light breakfast of banana and peanut butter (my favorite food during my pregnancy with you and quite honestly the only thing I could routinely keep down), give Noah big hugs and kisses, and walk out to the car hunched over in contractions… because little deer, I was going to deliver the second I reached the L&D floor. Easy peasy, sweetie.
Our first “this is it” moment came on Wednesday the 3rd. I woke up convinced my water had broken in the middle of the night. I waited for contractions to become more intense and frequent… and waited… eventually, I called my midwife to see if I should come in or wait it out a bit. We ended up going to the hospital, checked into triage and they hooked me up to a monitor to watch your heart rate. In order to see if my water had broken they placed some fluid on a glass slide and looked for the image of a fern under the microscope. This stood out to me because early in my pregnancy, I wanted to name your Fern, from Charlotte’s Web. We will most assuredly watch that movie dozens of times when you’re older. They did not find a fern, which saddened me and at the same time left me feeling relieved, mainly because your older brother Noah was with us at this point. As much as I love having Noah with me every waking moment, it had already proved to be quite a challenge in our tiny triage room and his tendency to turn his iPad volume on full blast with yo gabba gabba songs or inappropriate music videos from youtube when nurses and doctors were “checking” me. Aunt Mae, who was flying up to help while you were born was not scheduled to arrive until noon that day on her flight from Kansas. She came up to help us during your arrival, to watch Noah, to cuddle you, and to entertain us with her great sense of humor.
The midwife decided that my water had not broken and that I essentially went to the ER because I wet my pants in the middle of the night. It was humorous and a bit humiliating at the same time, but she assured me it happens all the time. Aunt Mae had arrived by this time, so we went for lunch and came back home to rest. Over the course of the next 48hrs, my body stopped and started labor nearly a dozen times. It was physically draining, but more so, emotionally exhausting. I was as ready as ever to meet you, to hold you, and kiss your sweet chubby cheeks.
You were teasing me.
Thursday night I went to bed anxious and frustrated. I cried in between my hip rocking exercises the midwife had suggested I try to get you to flip to the best position for L&D. (Just so you know, I spent 7 weeks doing these moves, you never once turned) Early Friday morning around 1, I woke up with severe contractions every 10 minutes. Your dad and I counted them and at the point I could not longer stand up or talk, we decided it was time to head to the hospital. I waited until what I thought was the last minute because I feared being sent home again. I was nearly positive this was it! I did not hop in the shower or eat a nice breakfast banana. I did my best to keep your brother asleep, and kissed him as gently as possible as we left the bedroom. Aunt Mae crawled in bed by Noah and we were off. After checking into the ER, I was wheeled upstairs to triage where I was checked and found to be 7cm dilated and completely effaced. This was it! I was going to meet you within a few hours…. or so I thought.
I was hooked up to a monitor again so they could watch your heart rate, it was not moving around like they wanted and informed me that I would have to be monitored throughout the entire process. I immediately felt defeated. I had my birth plan all ready, I was going to use the birthing tub, the birthing ball, walk around, and do this thing for real. Instead, I was stuck laying in a bed and turned from one side to the other to make sure you were still happy in there. Thankfully, you were as content as could be, and still sunny side up… not how we wanted you positioned. At this point, 9 hours has passed, I was convinced I would have met you hours ago, and I was slowly losing my endurance. The past 56 hours felt like an entire week, I had not slept, felt nauseated, and crampy, and needed relief.
My midwife, Erin (who also delivered your brother) arrived and suggested some new positions to get you to move down and put pressure in the right spots. We tried the ball as I bawled through each contraction, sometimes sobbing on the side of the bed. I got on all fours on the bed and that did absolutely nothing except humiliate me, but I was desperate. At one point, I broke down in what I believed was defeat, I felt like I had nothing left to give. She thought I needed to be started on Pitocin to keep things moving. Do not get me wrong, dear, my body was still writhing in pain, but I almost felt like I could take 7 minute cat naps in between…. That is not what Erin wanted to see. After she left the room to place the orders for the medicine and epidural, I whined and cried to your dad about not wanting Pitocin. I wanted to do this, I wanted MY body to make this process happen, not a medicine. Just then, my water actually broke. I felt the pop, the big gush and the insanely strong pressure that followed. You started down the birth canal on your own, no pushing necessary. As the nurse ran to get Erin, I knew it was time. My body went through more pain than I have ever experienced. When Erin walked back in the room, I remember yelling “DO SOMETHING” quite fiercely. My mind searched for a way to escape this pain. I was desperate. If I could have found a way around this, I believe I would have taken it. She told me to start pushing as the next contraction came, now every 90 seconds apart.
After 3 big, giant pushes and contractions… pushes that I thought would exhaust my very life, pushes that required total surrender to the process of life-giving…
You took your first breath, my child.
You were placed on my chest, you chirped so loudly and looked for my breast. You already knew what to do, your little wrists proved that to us by the damage you had done by sucking them in the womb. You were fierce. A fighter. You were doing this your way. I can not even put into words what it felt like to experience your fresh little body, warm, wet, slippery as it was placed quickly and forcefully to my chest. I looked you in the eyes and wept. My daughter.
Afterwards, Erin told us that you actually started down the canal sunny side up and as you reached the point of entry to the world, you flipped to face down (what we wanted and what I worked on for 2 months, dear one). Your timing. You really were doing this your way.
Thankfully, you left very little damage to me! I appreciate that, really, I do.
You spent the next few hours with your warm body pressed against my chest.
You are my daughter. A child of the King. You are loved.