Aveah. The day you came to us the skies were blue and the sun was shining. The avocados ripened in the trees outside our bedroom window where you were born.
I woke around 2:00am on Saturday, June 27, 2009 with cramps, not too severe, but definitely present. I wondered, could this be her coming? I got excited. I was thinking about meeting you, and I was amazed with my body just knowing how and when to start working. But it being 2:00am made me keep quiet. For about 2 hours I stayed awake in bed, next to your daddy, but not waking him. I didn’t want to wake him, knowing this might have been his last night of undisturbed sleep for several years(!). I watched the clock for a while, timing the contractions to make sure they weren’t getting faster too quickly. The surges were anywhere from 9-20 minutes apart, and so soon, I felt comfortable enough to go to sleep between the contractions. I did this because I knew I might have a big day ahead of me – and I wanted to be as well rested for your arrival as possible. I was able to sleep in between contractions from 4am until about 7am.
Around 7:30am, I saw your daddy stirring, so I grabbed my cell phone and called the midwife. I told her what I was feeling – contractions spaced 9-20 minutes apart and I was able to sleep between them. She said that I should rest a little more and get up to eat when I felt like it. She said she’d stop by later in the afternoon to check on me as things progressed. Her advice sounded good so I tried to go back to sleep. About 30 minutes later (after several more cramps), I got out of bed to go to the bathroom and felt a contraction ‘pop’ something inside me. My water broke. I was happy to see that it was clear since that meant you were healthy; but I was also a little worried because I knew that I had to get you out sooner than later to make sure you were delivered safely.
The next two hours of labor were the least pleasurable as you dropped down further in my body. My bowels emptied themselves quite dramatically and frequently as you pushed through my body to enter this world. It was like having menstrual cramps combined with painful diarrhea. Despite the discomfort, it was so nice to be home and be able to use my own bathroom and then crawl back into bed between cramps. At one point, I took a shower; the warm water was so nice and made me feel better despite all the other things going on! Around 9:30am, I had Michael call Edana, the midwife, again. I realized, while your daddy was talking to her, that my contractions had sped up and were about 3 minutes apart! Wow! Things were moving quickly now! Edana said she would be on her way, but she was about 45 minutes away, and her assistants/apprentice midwives might make it sooner. That was fine with me because I didn’t think you’d be coming that soon! Little did I know that you would be born at 12:02pm – just 90 minutes after the midwives arrived!
I asked daddy to fill the birthing tub, and I lay on the couch in our room trying to get comfortable. By this time, I wasn’t having to go to the bathroom, but my contractions were much more intense and they started making me want to “push”. I didn’t want to push, because I read places that the body will naturally work the baby out, but at the same time I couldn’t help but push – it was my body making me. (It felt like the sensation of your stomach retching intensely before you vomit – except instead of nausea and upward expulsion, it was a just a strong downwards pressing. It is amazing how strong the body is!) When the first midwife apprentice arrived, she wanted to do an exam down there. She said she was having a hard time finding my cervix – this made me a little nervous, but I was also too involved with my body to care much about what she said. Now, I laugh because it was hard to find my cervix since it was completely open and dilated ready for you to come to this world! When Edana arrived she did her own exam and said exactly that – I was fully dilated and you were in stage 2 of the 5 stages descending down the birth canal! She said that I should get in the water/birthing tub soon.
After I got in the tub I felt another surge come on. Edana had left the room to prepare something, and I remember shouting, “help!” - that contraction must have been the point of labor that all women get to thinking “I can’t do this.” I felt very strong, but honestly was scared that you might have already come! Your daddy called Edana back in the room and I felt better, ready to proceed. In between surges I was able to really enjoy the warm water of the birthing tub. Having not been able to use a spa for 9 months while you were in utero, the experience of warm water surrounding my body felt so divine! I remember saying “Oh… I love spas” in between a surge. Everyone was running around, preparing things for your arrival, but now they stayed in the room. Several times I would ask for something, like a pillow or a glass of water. After I would ask for these things, I would nod towards Michael, and demand “not you” – I didn’t want him to leave my side. At the same time, I didn’t want him or anyone touching me. I was just focusing on remaining calm and reacting to my body’s surges that I couldn’t believe were bringing you closer to us. Daddy did fan me during the final stages of your birthing, and that felt really nice.
Finally, about 20 or 30 minutes after I got in the tub, you began to crown. You showed your little head (including an ear) during a push, but the rest of your head wasn’t ready to make it out during that push. So we waited until the next contraction when your head popped out. Edana and your daddy could see your little face and your eyes were closed (I think that’s cute – you were so calm during your birth – asleep even!) Edana said that when your head came out you also decided to stick out one of your arms. That made my perineum area tear, but I think that’s cute that you were raising your little arm – saying, “Here I am, world!” Once your head was out, we had to wait for another surge (the final one) to have the remaining part of your body come out. This final expulsion was the strangest feeling I’ve ever felt as your shoulders passed the perineum and the rest of your body quickly slithered out. It felt like you were ten feet long coming out of me, but it didn’t take long at all maybe 2 seconds for you to fully emerge. Immediately, Edana grabbed you and put you on my chest while we were both in the water. You were grayish/purple and smelled sort of funny. Sorry, but this was my first impression. It wasn’t love at first sight, more like bewilderment at first sight. It was so surreal, you coming from inside of me, and now within several short minutes being a part of this world. You cried a few short cries and then rested on my chest. The umbilical chord was short, and it was hard keeping your mouth out of the water, so I regretfully took you and me out of the warm water and we sat on the couch. There you first breast-fed. The midwives had warm blankets from the dryer, and they wrapped you and me together in their warmth. I was still in a state of amazement and honestly quite exhausted from the birthing experience, and I tried to take you in, but I was so dumbfounded by what just happened. I kept you on my chest and didn’t want you to leave me, though I didn’t know exactly what to do with you! I just knew I wanted you near me. You laid on my chest during the stitching of my perineum, and I didn’t let you go until your grandparents got here and wanted a share of your amazing self.
The midwives said that you were such an easy baby to deliver that I should become a surrogate mother – I appreciate their praise, but I don’t think I could ever give up someone that I had such an intimate experience with. Within tens of minutes of birth you got a nice pink color to you. You slept most of the first day, and woke to feed several times in the evening. Your grandparents Paul, Peggy, Julia, and Jim came to see you and so did your great-grandma Louise. They were all so excited to meet you. They all thought you were perfect and so good-looking! I stayed in bed and rested and shared you with all those who wanted to see you. By the next day, I was totally in love with you. You had won me over with your adorable facial expressions, need to hold me with your little hands, soft-as-air hair and skin, and your irresistible baby smell. I don’t know how we got so blessed to have such a beautiful birth experience and baby. I couldn’t have hoped for anything more!