I want to write about this in a way that capture the feeling of these two days, but the emotion is still too raw to share. I can merely recount what happened, from my perspective, over these days.
Sharp pressure woke me up. Contractions were nothing new, but this was intense. I was nauseous and tired.
I drank castor oil the night before. My water had broken. I walked more than 5 hours. I had thrown up anything I ate or drank in the last 12 hours and finally I was 1 stinking centimeter dilated after all that.
Exhausted, I grabbed a pillow, repositioning myself in the child’s pose, hoping to cope and distract myself, I put something on the IPad to watch. I have no recollection of what.
An hour later, the pain and pressure were getting intense. I woke Sam up, I don’t know if it was from moaning or because I woke him up.
Trying a few different positions to cope with pain was nothing new. I had passed multiple kidney stones (sans medication) in the last month and been sicker than I had been in the history of my disease for the last ten.
In the bathtub, listening to Sam talk about being in an ocean (or a ball pit 😂😂😂 ) I remember little but the sound and feel of the water. Sam says I was making noise, lots of noise. At this point Sam called the midwife to let her know that we thought we were in labor. She asked Sam to time the contractions and call her back, she was getting ready and on her way. She had left just 5 hours early to make the 2 hour drive back to her home. I had only been 1 cm only a few hours earlier, after having contractions for days and other labor signs.
I feel a need to push. It is more primal than anything I have felt before in my life. There was no way I could have done anything in that moment other than push. I felt suddenly like I needed to get out of my bathtub. Sam moved me to the couch, worried the baby would hit her head on the floor 😂😂😂😂.
At this point I should say that I have the most incredible, supportive, rock of a man in the world. He was out of his mind with fear and still calm as a cucumber and ready to deliver our daughter on his own.
He called the midwife back and she was on her way, about an hour out. I remember specifically Sam telling me that she was an hour away. This is one detail that rings clear for me. At this point, I willed my body to slow down for the first time the entire pregnancy. I breathed, I pushed, I tried not to.
The midwife arrived.
There had been a few different plans, including delivering at a local hospital, throughout the course of the pregnancy. I would be lying if I said I didn’t WANT a home birth. Sam and I are deeply private people (says the woman with a blog) and have always done things as quietly and simply together as possible. I had fears of interventions among other things. I should have known not to let my fears ever drive a situation or decision. It seemed my body was giving me the labor I wanted when it had so surely denied me the healthy pregnancy experience I craved.
The midwife, Sam and a nurse move me into the birth tub. I remember thinking there is no way I can lift my leg up to my hip to crawl in there. Somehow I did.
Down on all fours, head on Sam’s chest, he sat on the piano stool in front me. The cardinals were pecking at the feeder in the window though we couldn’t see them through the tapestry hung up, diffusing the morning light.
I feel true pain for the first time as Arden crowns. The midwife applies counter pressure and I feel a small tear happen.
A moment later, I am flipping over, taking my screaming daughter out of the midwife’s hands. A warm wet towel is placed on top of both of us. She is beautiful. She is bluish pink, pooping, peeing, squalling, perfect baby girl. Sam was in the moment enough to snap 3 or 4 of the most incredible pictures.
It was truly the happiest moment of my life. The most distinct memory is that of her crying and Sam laughing and how incredibly similar and joyful the two sounded.
The joy, adrenaline, and rush of labor were truly euphoric. Calm and warm, holding my child, I delivered the placenta easily and it seemed fully intact. The cord blood drawl began. (Because I have Lyme and co infections I had been on 2400mg of omnicef and 500mg of Zithromax a day for the duration of the pregnancy. The goal was not to pass it through the placenta to Arden. It had felt like an impossible task most days. When I couldn’t keep the meds down, a shot was what awaited me.) after the samples were collected and packaged, the midwife cut the cord, wrapped Arden up, assessed her, weighed her and gave her to Sam to hold while I was examined, showered, and crawled in bed.
Arden on my chest, Sam beside me. The midwife and nurse cleaned up the house, started laundry, checked in on us, took vitals, packaged the blood and placenta samples for Arden’s Lyme test and left about 4 hours after delivery. This time was a blur and really feels like about 60 min. We had called family and told them to come to the house though we didn’t tell them the baby had come. I remember texting my brother, who is a musician in Houston and my best friend to let them know the baby was here.
As we laid together, a family of three. We were high on the joy of birth. It had been an intense but beautiful and powerful experience. It had seemed all to perfect, too quick. We looked at each other and said “why would anyone do this any other way or place?” It was in that moment that God decided to answer us and hemorrhage number one began.
To be continued. (Read Part 2 Here)