Saturday, February 9, 2013

The One About Birthing. Part III.

The time had come. All of the uncertainty, pain, sadness, joy, mystery, beauty and love of the past year and a half since we had lost Lord Voldemort (for more on Lord Volde, click here) had come to this. 

The birth of our little girl.

Going into this pregnancy, I knew that I wanted to have a natural birth. There had never been any doubt that I wanted to forgo the stress of an epidural as my unnatural fear of needles hindered my mind of even thinking about getting one. 

In order to prepare for a natural birth I read all of the books, the Bradley Method, Hypnobirthing:The Mongan Method, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, What to Expect When You're Expecting...I watched videos on Youtube of women -  strong, beautiful woman, bringing babies into the world without the aid of pain medication or hospitals for that matter (most of the videos were of waterbirthing at home). I wanted to know what I was in for, what the pain would be like. I was hoping that these texts and testimonials of births would give me some indication of the adventure I was about to embark on. I will tell you that no amount of reading, listening or watching could prepare me for what would come after the initial onset of labor.

As you read before, everything up to this point had gone pretty well. (Click for Part I or Part II) The pain was becoming unbearable. The midwife, Debbie, had finally shown up and it felt like a bowling ball was about to be pushed out of my bum.

What started everything was not my desire to push (though the desire was there) but rather that Gwen's heart rate dropped significantly low, low enough that the midwife came into the room to check me and instruct me to start pushing.

Out of the whole labor process, this was the time I most felt out of control. I wasn't prepared for what I was supposed to do. Yes, I know, push the baby out. But how? 

Debbie, the nurses and my mom where "yelling" at me to PUSH PUSH PUSH. And boy, did I push. I thought if I kept my eyes open that they would pop out of my skull, so I learned to keep my eyes shut during the pushing. I ended up busting a blood vessel in my right eye and vessels in my right eye lid because of how hard I was pushing. My mom held back one leg and Joseph held back the other. Honestly, how do women use the stirrups? I thought I was pretty flexible and there was no way my long legs were fitting in those stirrups.

Someone kept telling me to use my legs as leverage to push, but I was working against myself, pulling my legs up and in and stead of up and out. After several attempts at grasping my legs, I guess I got it right and I got into a better rhythm of pushing.

Here is where things went wrong: I thought with every contraction that I was supposed to be pushing Gwen out, instead of slowly working her down. I quickly got discouraged, wondering why I wasn't succeeding in getting her out into the world. I should have voiced my concern, annoyance and confusion but I didn't. The feeling of being out of control was overwhelming. I remember thinking that I couldn't do it anymore but what choice do you have when your little one depends on you?

At one point, the midwife told me to stop pushing which you would think would be a relief but not when every fiber of your being wants - no needs - to push. Oxygen was placed over my nose. I can still remember the strong, manufactured smell of the plastic face mask. I don't remember very well, but my mom said I had to quit pushing for 12 minutes as Gwen's heart rate dropped significantly again.

Then a doctor came in.

 I had never seen said doctor in my life. It is never comforting to hear a doctor ask "is there a heartbeat" when you are in the middle of attempting to push said heartbeat out of your body. I'm sure the midwife said something reassuring that I don't remember (who am I kidding...I don't remember a lot of this. I had to ask my mom a TON of questions about what happened because as I said before, I felt completely out of control and out of it.)

Eventually I was able to push again. And push. And push. And push. I pushed for what seemed like forever, falling over to my right side like a tree after every 10-second pushing session. I was almost waiting for Joseph to say "Tiiiiiimber" as I kept falling over.

After 43 minutes of pushing, Gwendolyn's head popped out. People had told me about the "ring of fire" that you feel as the baby's head crowns but it was one sensation I didn't have. In a way, I was disappointed. I had a morbid wish that I would silently sing Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" as the head emerged. 

Side note: While Gwen was being born, my dear 21 year old sister was by my head. When all of the blood and fluids came out she passed out. Between that and my making mooing noises earlier in the labor, I am pretty sure I scarred her for life. End side note.

As her head emerged, Debbie told me to once again, stop pushing. At 8:13 pm, after 16  hours of labor (3 hours of active labor) I had the greatest feeling of relief. In an instant, the pain went away and all 7 pounds 5 ounces and 20 inches of Gwendolyn Raye left the confines of my womb and entered the world. They laid her on my stomach and Joseph cut the cord (which he said felt like cutting through a big slab of bacon. Mmmm bacon.)

Nurses then whisked her away to the other side of the room to check her out since her heart rate had been so low and  meconium was present in the fluids.

I asked Debbie if I had tore and I was taken by surprise when she said I had second degree tears due to Gwen's shoulders (she will probably be a swimmer with those broad shoulders!). Debbie then began the process of stitching me up which was not that painful considering what I had just been through. 

Not much later, they brought Gwen to me and I got to hold her and feed her for the first time. 

I don't know how some women actually look gorgeous after giving birth. I look like death.

Up next: After the delivery. Feelings and thoughts on giving birth naturally.


  1. You looked absolutely gorgeous!!! Even your hair looks done!! OMG. You should have seen me just after MJ's birth. I did not look as good as you did!! True story!

  2. awww gorgeous! so glad you got the birth you wanted! are inspiring! you go mommy! beautiful Gwen! ps. i did not look good either...

  3. wow....just wow. I love how you can write about it with humor. :-)