my mom always says men go off to war and when they come home they share their war stories. and women have babies. i didn't really understand it until i had my story to share. and i want to share with anyone who is willing to listen... always. my ears still perk up when birth conversations come up at baby showers, birthday parties... really anywhere women with little ones congregate. with baited breath i wait for my turn. ask me, ask me... i love my war story stories.
moo was due april 16, 2010. it was easter sunday, april 4th and MY birthday, when my water broke. for my very particular husband, i was happy this happened right after i got out of the car... he wouldn't appreciate amniotic fluid in the seats and carpets.
change of plans... no secondary easter dinner, but off to zion hospital. we missed that huge earthquake because we were driving. we checked in. indeed my 'bag of water had ruptured' and off we went to our room. the window had a view of pine trees. i studied those trees throughout the night. and the lights. and often i thought of all the other people in the world doing things while i was doing this.
i didn't take out my three page birth plan. somehow it felt like bad luck to review it with the nurse. instead i told her my simple wish. a natural birth. that is all. she was game. she had had three babies naturally. i felt comforted by this information.
the week before we were beach camping. i spoke in great length to family friends about this idea. i memorized everything they advised me of. four counts in, four counts out, relaxing muscles, walking, water. anything and everything they said resonated with me.
ryan was my coach. we had attended lamaze. we felt ready. he counted. in four out four... for hours. the nurse had us walk the halls. she had me get into the shower. i didn't initially want to get wet and frizzy and messy... silly, silly me. the water worked it's magic. i didn't want to leave. i focused on the little yellow bottle of johnson and johnson's baby shampoo. the pain was intense. i lost confidence in myself during transition. i wanted to be done. i wanted to trade bodies with any other human being in the world... that wasn't having a baby. i asked for the epidural. i looked ryan straight in the eyes and said that i changed my mind. i can't.
the nurse promptly distracted me and with much encouragement said i could do it. as if i was so silly to turn back now. i did feel like it would be silly to go this far and change my mind, but i hated my circumstance and was ready to throw in the towel. she checked me. she said i was 9 cm. i was overwhelmed with relief, pride, joy, excitement.
transition was over. it was time to push. my original nurse was finished with her shift. she kissed me on the head and wished me good luck and left. i asked the new nurse when to push. she just kind of 'ho hummed' me. and then the most overwhelming sensation came over my body... the urge to push. i grunted and moaned. the nurse said that's what she was waiting for. it felt like an outer body experience.
my body was pushing and i was just along for the ride. i had no say in the matter. it reminded me of projectile vomit... the kind that just does it's thing. you know, like the pie eating contest scene in stand by me. it was a savage instinct that took over. i might as well have been in the wilderness doing this.
she rolled me from side to side which was too painful. i pushed for about an hour. everything went very well... heart rate, monitor wise. when the doctor walked in and tools were uncovered i knew it was going to happen soon.
ryan nearly passed out at this point. he was directed by the doctor to sit down. i had noticed him using my leg... that he was supposed to be supporting... as something for HIM to lean on. i remember thinking my leg was hurting because he was putting his body weight on it... in the middle of natural labor.
i was unaware that missy moo was sunny side up and holding up the process with that stubborn head of hers. the doctor calmly instructed me at the end. she got a little snippy when moo's head came out. she explained to me that indeed she was turned the wrong way. moo had a short cord too. they had ryan cut it before they could hand her to me. when she was placed on my chest she cried and cried. so loud. so strong. she was covered with vernix. lots of it. like i was.
and in that instant our world changed.