I’ve been planning to write a more edited version of Becky’s birth story for.. oh.. two years now, but it never seems to happen. Here is the straight out of my brain version I sent to a few friends a couple days after she was born, and which I am so glad I have now since I have forgotten so much.
22.5 inches long
I started having wimpy contractions in the morning, and asked Thomas to stay home again. He had taken the previous 2 days off to help me rest (I had bronchitis, and had been contracting for a week), and I hesitated to ask him to stay home again, but he knew if I was asking, it was for a reason. We spent the day walking around retail stores (new camcorder!), getting new books at the library, and going out to lunch. We put the girls down for a nap when we got home, and I slept in between contractions for a while. When i woke up they were 4 minutes apart and strong, so we called the midwife, Cathy, (around 3) and let her know that today was probably the day.
When the girls were awake my contractions slowed down, so we called my mother-in-law and asked if she could come get the girls after work. She got here at 6, and Cathy came by a little after. Chelsea got here at 7 to take some photos, with the understanding that I may ask her to leave if it was slowing things down. She was thrilled, and ended up staying through the end.
I labored for a few hours, laughing and talking, filling up the tub, and telling everyone after each contraction “That was probably the last one.” I probably would have sent everyone home if it wasn’t for Thomas. I spent some time just walking from room to room, leaning up against walls and door frames, finding the best ledges to lean over when a contraction hit (fireplace was the best). Cathy and Chelsea stayed in the living room, talking quietly and reading, while Tom supported me and kept me laughing.
I started vocalizing through contractions around 9:30, and decided to get in the pool at 10 or so. It was set up in our bedroom, so Tom laid on the bed and talked to me between contractions, and we were talking and snoozing between contractions until 10:30 or so.
I asked him to get in with me then, and started bawling as soon as he did. Rationally I told myself “Oh hey, transition!” but all i could do was wimper.
Contractions started doubling up around then, and I needed a lot more pressure on my back. Thomas was amazing, and Cathy and Chelsea came in to hold my hands and remind me to breathe between contractions.
I roar my babies out, so the last half hour or so was pretty noisy. I started feeling a lot of pressure at 10:45, and when I checked myself I broke my water. I had a small break, and then felt things get crazy intense. I had my minute of panic, but my midwife and husband talked me down, and reminded me that we were so close, and I could do it. I still resisted pushing for a couple contractions, which was frustrating for all of us, but made sense later.
I roared through these contractions instead of using the energy to push her out, and it was kind of amazing, because I was hearing melody in my roars. It was probably just the way my voice/chest was vibrating the pool walls, but it felt like it was the voices of all the women laboring with me at the same time. There are something like 325,000 babies born each day, and each of those babies are born to a mother who was going through something similar, and wow, that was one of those transcendent moments I hope I never forget.
Finally I wrapped my head around pushing out a baby, and got down to business. I only pushed for about 10 minutes, but it felt like a lot longer. Alice had just slipped out after my water broke, so having to really push was kind of a shock to me.
Once I pushed her head out, suddenly everything slowed down, and we realized something was holding her up. I was still in the pool, in the “proposal” stance (down on one knee, squatting with the other leg) and Cathy couldn’t get a good look/feel of what was going on for a couple scary seconds. She reached down and realized that Rebecca had a arm half out, and that she had her cord wrapped around not only her neck, but around her hand/arm as well, making it too tight to slip over her neck and let her descend the rest of the way. Cathy unwrapped the cord from around her hand and pulled it the rest of the way out, which gave us enough slack to get her out. This all took less than a minute, but felt a lot longer, and as soon as I pushed her the rest of the way out we started working on getting her to take a deep breath since she had been half in/half out in the water. She was breathing, but was a little shocked herself, and it took her a minute to really cry. Her face was also blueish, which scared me until i realized it was because she was bruised, not because she wasn’t breathing. She had really been through a lot to get here. Official birth time was 11:11, our lucky April Fools Day baby.
After a few minutes of awwing, I felt like I needed to push out the placenta, so we started working on that, but soon realized that we had another complication. The cord had been tight enough that the placenta had been pulled out of the uterus as Rebecca descended, and had also ripped away from the cord. Even though it was just sitting in my vagina, we didn’t have anyway to grab it, and based on the amount of bleeding I was having, we needed to get it out, make sure it was complete, and start working on getting my uterus contracting down soon. We moved from the birth tub to the bathtub, and we worked on it for another 10 minutes or so (?) before we finally got it out and the bleeding slowed down.
Finally, FINALLY, I was able to take a herb bath with baby, nurse her calmly, and relax. I ate in the bathtub, and let everyone else run around and clean the house. By the time we got out the pool was gone, the bed was set up for sleep, and I was ready to sleep.
Overall, her birth was really a celebration. There was some intense moments, but there was also a lot of laughter and calm. I feel very blessed to have the support, both emotional and professional, that I did, since the same situations could have been a lot scarier had I been anywhere else.
The last few days have been a crash course in mothering a newborn (again). She was pretty fussy for the first day or so, but my milk came in after 36 hours or so, and she is a lot more relaxed now. The bruising on her face has cleared up quickly, though she does still have a good mark from where her hand was. Thomas is home, and my mother-in-law and friends has taken the girls to do special big sister things as much as they can. The girls love their baby sister, and call her “Becky Bunny”.