Saturday, April 5, 2008

Byrdie's Birth

I've been asked on a number of occasions to write Byrdie's birth story. It was hard to talk about the first few days and nowadays a lot has faded but I'll do my best.

Mom had been with me for 2 and a half weeks, leaving disappointed that no baby came for her to love on. I felt so bad and guilty that I couldn't produce my offspring in a timely manner. The next day (Sunday the 9th) I spent walking round and round our field. Jeff got a visit from our neighbor down the road, which was a sign because the last time he came around we got pregnant. Ha! Our own personal fertility god, I guess. Jeff and Luna and I climbed into the old black truck so he could drive me down some bumpy roads. It was that or drive the tractor around the field. We had a good time 4 wheeling some back Tennessee roads and almost got good and stuck a couple of times. I had also been taking some black and blue cohosh and massaging my reflex points on my ankles.

That night about 1:30 am, I woke up with a strong contraction. I wasn't too sure until it happened again, about a minute later. I apparently wasn't made to labor with contractions 30 minutes apart for days. When they came, they came on strong and quick. We called the midwife and she gave the go ahead to come on over to her place. We drove an hour to her house and I was grateful to get there. She showed us to her guest room and went back to bed. Jeff and I stayed up because there was no sleeping for me. Lesley (my friend, reflexologist, homeopath afficianado, doula) showed up about an hour later. The rest and exactly how it went down is a blur. I felt the need to push about 4 am and was apparently screaming too high. Kathy, our midwife (CPM) informed me that I needed to focus lower. So with the next contraction, I found my cougar growl. Over the next 20 some hours I tried every position imaginable to be comfortable in my contractions. I suppose that is an oxymoron. I stood, sqatted, got on all fours, laid on my back, and got in a tub of warm water. My best position for good contractions was on my left side. I did have to take a break for about 2 hours at some point to ice my girl parts and just let the contractions come on without pushing. That was difficult. The problem was that I had just the tiniest lip left on my cervix that was preventing her head from coming out and also that all the pushing I was doing was causing it (my cervix) to swell, unfortunately. My girl was a trooper, though. Kathy checked her heart rate constantly and it was steady as the sun. I was so impressed with her but mostly remember being confused because I could feel her "right there" and I couldn't figure out why she wouldn't come out. About 4 or 4:15 the morning of the 11th (Tuesday), Kathy looked at me and said that she had to come out now and that she was going to have to cut me to make room because I was so swollen. I said ok, let's do it. I lay on my left side until I got another contraction strong enough, they rolled me over on my back, shoved my knees to my ears and told me to push. I did as hard as I could with what strength was left in me while Kathy's daughter, an LPN, pushed Brydie out by her butt hollering "Sweet Jesus, get this baby out NOW!" I felt two sharp slices on my vagina and vulva and then the amazing sensation of a baby swishing out of my body. I heard "oh, she was sunnyside up!" My girl was put immediately on my belly and I just couldn't believe how wonderful it felt to have her in my hands. Again, some of the rest is foggy but I remember her fingernails being so long and lovely and purple. Jeff rubbed her hands and feet to get circulation into them while I was sewn up. There are lots of little details involving uncontrollable shaky legs, cool washcloths, ice water, food, antibiotics for a strep B infection and homeopathy but the how and why and when are gone and I don't feel like going back to that place for all that. I have my girl in the world now and things are as they should be.

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