calum’s birth story

dearest teeny, tiny, baby boy,

how did you come into this world? can you believe that it was at home in our guest bedroom with your papa beside you and your big brother sleeping in the other room? in the middle of the night with a storm raging outside? onto the floor with a big push and a tiny plop? welcome, welcome, my darling bit of baby fresh magic.

wednesday, march 24th, gus and i went to our play to learn group at the BTU school. we took the train because it was a beautiful day and i remember my back hurting all morning and especially as we walked back. my feet were tired in my slip on shoes and i thought, well, when we get home i am going to rest because i am clearly tired of standing around with this big old belly. it was warm for march and just beautiful out. i don’t remember what we did for the rest of the day, but that night as your papa and i were watching tv after gus was in bed, i noticed that even though i was relaxing my back still hurt. i laid down on the couch with papa and snuggled into a more comfortable position and it started to finally feel better. a little bit later i noticed that my back was aching again and i got a little frustrated — we’re trying to take a rest here, back! — but i decided that this time i would just try to breathe through it and accept the ache like i would eventually have to do contractions, since soon enough (i figured) i would have to be doing that for labor anyway. i noticed that the backache soon went away and i was proud of myself for relaxing through it.

as the night wore on, however, i noticed that my back would ache again for a little bit and then go away. i thought this was a little bit suspicious, and even started timing things (20 min or so apart), but as i got up to pee i thought to myself, yes but i haven’t even had any bloody show this time, so who can guess if this is early labor or just some uncomfortable braxton hicks type pain.. and then OH! i called out to your papa, “well. so. just so you know i might be in labor soon. um.” there it was. bloody show.

your papa was rather surprised. we had been telling everyone that you were coming in april. partly so we wouldn’t get too fixed on your due date and partly so we wouldn’t get bothered with “is the baby here yet?” phone calls and emails, etc. your papa had started to believe it and honestly i had forgotten when you were due anyway (march 27, i just looked it up). we both tried not to get excited, but well, knowing your little one might be coming within the next few days makes it hard to sleep, i have to tell you.

still, your papa managed to get to sleep eventually. i rested in our bed next to gus in the single and tried to get some sleep as well. i kept waking up with the contractions. they weren’t particularly painful, but they were enough to wake me up each time. i spent a lot of time looking at the clock, keeping track. there were still about 15-20 minutes apart by the morning.

when we woke up i told gus that the baby (you!) might be coming soon and he said, “oh! are you having constractions? is it APRIL now, mama??!!” he was very, very excited. i explained that it was not april but that yes, i was indeed having “constractions”, and that his doula, lia, would be coming in a little bit to help him make a birth day cake for you.

we called the doula and the midwife around 8 to say that labor had probably started and that we’d keep in touch. we had plans to play with lucas and eamon that morning and their mama dora said she’d be happy to come play with the kids anyway, so we arranged to have them come over. your papa had a big meeting that thursday morning at 10 and i told him to go ahead and go to work (by the the contractions were around 10 minutes apart). and we told the doula not to bother to come before noon, since gus would otherwise be occupied. our friends arrived around 9:30 or so, and gus and the kids played in the backyard for awhile and then had a snack on the porch. after snack dora and the kids went to the playground down the street. i stayed upstairs in the bedroom and tried to rest. that worked for awhile, but the contractions were starting to get uncomfortable. i decided i didn’t want to be alone, even though i could handle the contractions and i called your papa. he decided not to go to his meeting. everyone at work said, yes, goodness, get the hell out of here, jeez!

papa came home and we tried a few acupressure points. the contractions were all over the place and we really couldn’t get a bead on how labor was progressing. it was another beautiful day, so i suggested that we go meet our friends at the playground and walk around a bit. we arrived to lucas and gus peeing on a tree and then using sticks to attempt to beat each other. gus was very happy to see us and would check in with me from time to time, asking if the constractions hurt and if i was okay and would occasionally explain to lucas (who already has a baby and to whom this was very old news thank you very much) what was happening.

papa and i walked around and around the playground in the beautiful sunshine, and that seemed to help things even out a bit. we eventually came home for lunch (and our friends went home) and we called our doula and told her to come and called our midwife (she said, “well, call me later when things pick up a bit) and gus and papa and i ate.

lia arrived in a few hours and by then i was mostly on the couch in the living room while gus played with papa. lia took gus and they played for a little bit. the contractions were definitely tougher now, although still all over the place, and i liked to vocalize a little and at least lie down sometimes during them. still in my back a bit, which worried me about your positioning.

gus and lia decided to bake the cake and i decided to take a bath. jeremy filled up the tub and i put some lavender oil in and slid in. it was too hot! or at least, it was too hot for pregnant me. i tried to get comfortable in the water, tried to let the water take the weight off my back, but it just wasn’t working for me. just as i was getting out, lia and gus came him, because gus had to use the potty. it’s fine to come in, i said, but why not use the potty downstairs? lia hesitated, and then she said, well, there is water coming through the ceiling..! your papa freaked out! i guess when we filled up the tub it allowed the water to drain out through the part that opens and closes the drain because the contractors hadn’t properly sealed it or something and the water was pouring out through the light in the bathroom below! i thought it was really funny but papa did not. he ran downstairs to clean it up while i let the water out the proper way and dried off. i reassured papa that the house was still under warranty and that they would have to fix it for free. it took awhile for him to get back on track 🙂

around 4 or so we called the midwife again. she said, well i was wondering if you were ever going to call! i was back on the couch again and not feeling like doing much doing the contractions, although i was still participating quite a bit when i was not. she said she would come and do a check around 6 or so — we thought, why not avoid rush hour traffic if we can — and in the mean time papa and gus got dinner together and then we ate and when it was time for gus’ movie our doula said, why not come upstairs and lie down and relax? and i thought, that is a very nice idea.

we went upstairs and finished putting the room together. i had originally put a shower curtain under the sheet on our bed, but decided during labor that i would rather have it on our futon on the floor of the guest room. lia helped me get the futon mattress together and then i gathered a bunch of pillows and made myself a little bed and laid down. as soon as i a laid down i realized how tired i was. lia offered to alternate pressure on my back and i felt bad, as she was hired to take care of gus, not me, but after awhile i let her. i continued to chat with her for a bit until she finally said, you dont’ have to talk if you dont’ want to. and i thought, ah, yes, that would be so much better. and so i didn’t. soon papa came in and said gus was asleep. lia and papa took turns rubbing my back and then around 8 our midwife came.

she came in quietly and said hello and then just hung out for a bit. finally she said she would like to check on your heartbeat and would i like an internal exam? i said that both would be great. your heartbeat was wonderful and steady and strong, and i was about 3 1/2 cm or so and almost all the way effaced. i was pretty disheartened. i had been in labor FOR AGES by now and i was already tired of the whole thing and i thought surely i would be more dilated by now. deb patted me and smiled and said softly that i was doing all the right things and working hard and not to be discouraged! that we could probably expect the baby in the morning and to prepare myself for some hard work over night and to try to get as much rest as possible in the meantime. then she went downstairs to get some rest herself and to chat with lia a little bit.

papa stayed with me and around 10 or so we told lia she could go home and nurse her little one if she liked, as we expected you not to show up for awhile. papa was amazing as usual, rubbing my back, moving pillows if i needed, getting frozen peas for me, putting the peas on and off my back and belly, getting me a drink of water, helping me crawl to the bathroom, helping me put knee socks all the way up over my knees, helping me TAKE THEM OFF TAKE THEM OFF THIS WAS AN AWFUL IDEA exactly two seconds after they were in place, helping me put the rub on and off, helping on and off the toilet, laughing at me (asshole!) when i made funny words or sounds during contractions, holding me hands when i needed him to the most.

at some point i said to papa, if we were in the hospital, i would have an epidural right now. i am bored of being in labor. he laughed and told me i was doing a great job. later i said, go downstairs and tell deborah that i am going to die. papa shook his head. he didn’t want to go. you’re not going to die (crazy person), he said. he didn’t say “crazy person” out loud, but i heard it just the same! GO DOWNSTAIRS AND TELL DEBORAH! i insisted. papa sighed. he went downstairs. and then too the bathroom. and then to the kitchen. and then lingered a bit there. and then finally i heard him walk into the living room to deliver my important message. i heard them talking and then papa came back upstairs. deborah says you are not going to die too, he said. i know that, i said. i just needed everyone to know that i might.

after that i said a couple of times to deb and to papa that i couldn’t do this. it was too hard. i must have been near transition then. i was so tired of being in labor. it was so hard. i couldn’t relax during the contractions AT ALL anymore and i just felt like giving up. couldn’t they just make it stop? they tried to be reassuring, telling me that i WAS going it and that i COULD do, but i just thought they sounded like assholes.

a little before midnight deb asked if i wanted to be checked again, and said she would like to listen to your heartbeat. yes, ok, i said. i wanted to know how far along i was but i was also nervous again. i needed it to be past 5 cm, the point at which i had stalled for a bit with gus and then had an epidural. and i wanted it to be closer to 10, because frankly i was miserable and exhausted.

deb checked me and i was about 6 cm and fully effaced. fucking. babies. i was very, very happy to be past 5 cm! that felt like a triumph! at the same time.. 6 CM?! COME. ON.

we chatted a bit about whether or not we should call deb’s partner midwife, emily. we thought you wouldn’t come until the morning, but even so. it would take emily at least an hour and a half to get there. deb thought she’d at least call and give emily a heads up. she went downstairs.

shortly after deb left i said to papa, it feels like the baby is trying to come out. papa thought this was funny and said, i hope so. that’s the point of this whole thing after all. your papa is so fucking hilarious. i said, no, i mean.. i feel like the baby is MOVING DOWN. i feel like it is going to be time to push soon. papa was surprised, oh i’ll go tell deb! he said.

deb said to papa, tell her not yet! papa came to tell me. fuck that, i told him. when it’s time, it’s time.

very soon after that i started to feel strong sensations, deeper than the previous contractions. really like you were moving down and my body was saying, up, up! woman GET. UP. i had been lying on my side (except for when i crawled out of the room to pee, which was often) for hours. oh hell no, i told me body. but you and she were insistent.

i finally told papa to help me up and to help me fix a chair to hold onto. he kept setting it up wrong and i was so angry! NOT THAT WAY! i was yelling and he kept moving it. i couldn’t use enough words to explain. poor papa. eventually he got it right.

i pulled myself into a squat. barely. and suddenly the urge to push ripped a scream out of me as i put all the strength i had left into bearing down. papa realized that you were coming soon (and deb too, she came running upstairs) and wanted to wake up gus (he really, really wanted to touch your head when it was crowning). i wanted gus to wake up too, but i really needed papa to stay there. i wouldn’t let him go. when the pushing was over, i sagged down, but when it was time to push again, i pulled myself and another yelled screamed out of me. it was madness. i never felt that way before. and also, gus never woke up, which i could not believe. i was LOUD.

after a few more pushes, i could feel you crowning. papa and i touched your head with wonder once again. get up get up! the midwife insisted. she was worried i was too close to the floor. but i was so. tired. i struggled to hold myself up higher. and then another push or two and you were out, face down on the tucks pad on the floor (it was 1:26 in the morning, friday, march 26). i looked at your tiny little brown haired (!!??) little body on the floor and thought, thank goodness THAT is out of me. that mama, so romantic all the time.

i melted down onto the floor and went to reach for you. i didn’t notice, but the midwife had flipped you over in the mean time. i scooped you up and sagged back down tiny guy! it’s a boy! i said. the midwife laughed at papa, you will have to have another one! papa sighed.

i held you while papa when to wake your very sleepy brother and while you snuggled and tried to nurse, deb went downstairs and let her partner midwife in. it’s POURING out there, she said. driving was miserable. both of my babies, born in the middle of storms.

gus thought you were beautiful, was annoyed he missed the birthing part, and asked to please go back to bed. we took a few pictures of our new family, and then papa tucked him in again.

we waited for about an hour for my placenta to come out, but it never did. i tried to push it out, but my uterus and i were too beat. eventually deb and emily had me sit on the toilet and it slip right out. the put it into a bowl for lia in the morning and papa took you and i took a shower.

i was full of endorphins and very happy and chatty. it took me a long time to get ready to sleep, even though i was so tired. in the mean time the midwives typed your blood (A+ like gus) and we nursed some more.

when they were finished, the midwives came back in and weighed you and checked you out. i slept. don’t you want to see this? they asked. zzz.. snort.. leave me alone.

finally we slept.

the next morning i couldn’t stop looking at you. i couldn’t believe you were here! so tiny! so lovely! so.. where did these brown eyes and brown hair come from? different. i had expected a mini-gus all over again, i guess.

you were sweet and yummy and laid back right from the start. falling in love with you was different than with gus. slower but just as deep. not as scary.

all in all, i was in labor with you for about 27 1/2 hours. the next day i was thinking about how awful it was — natural birth is TRULY awful — and wondering how i could ever look a student in the eye and tell her that natural birth was a beautiful thing while i was lying next to you trying to take a nap when all of a sudden the awfulness of it all just slipped away. WHILE I WAS THINKING ABOUT IT. and suddenly i could logically remember that it was hard and painful, but emotionally i couldn’t remember that bit at all. natural birth is a creepy mind cult! i thought. well. there you go. that’s why natural birth advocates sound so crazy and brainwashed. because THEY ARE. BY THEIR OWN BRAINS.

i drifted off to sleep thinking about how awesome natural birth is and how much i want to do it again. madness.

i would do it all over again to get you, though. yes i most certainly would.

your ever loving,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s