Lauren - posted on 07/07/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )
I can’t tell you if the last 9 months went fast or slow all I know is they weren’t very easy. The Tuesday after Labor Day I found myself holding a stick with two lines, not surprised because I already knew. I knew my son was going to be before he was even conceived. We had picked out the name Elwood Graymont when I was pregnant with our daughter. Graymont being heaven on earth in Colorado where we got engaged and a year later married. So when the dates were set to take our first trip back since the birth of our daughter (for our 3 year anniversary) it coincided perfectly with my cycle as if fate were telling me it was time. It made to much sense that Elwood Graymont would be conceived in Graymont! As we drove home I knew in my heart that he was in me and two weeks later the test confirmed my intuition.
Upon arriving home I got a letter in the mail from my OB/GYN informing me that she was leaving her obstetrics practice. I made an appointment to see a new doctor in the same practice. The beginning of my pregnancy was filled with mild morning sickness and wicked mood swings that took the form of rage! I had not yet been for my first visit with the new doctor but I called to ask if there was anything I could do to stifle the rage. I was immediately told that they could put me on anti depressants! Now I’m no doctor but giving a pregnant woman drugs as the first option just didn’t seem right! This made my anger worse and I started looking at other options without more ado.
I had wanted a home birth with my first but decided against it in the spirit of keeping my husbands stress level at a minimum. Her birth was filled with the doctor telling me I couldn’t do it and that I needed every intervention short of a c-section! After being awake for 30 hours I didn’t have the strength to argue. I left the hospital feeling like they had taken something from me. A rite of passage that I believe every woman should have the chance and the choice to experience. So this “medical opinion” that just seemed wrong was the straw to break me. I got in contact with a midwife and set up a meeting with her so my husband could hear from her what home birth was all about. When we left we both felt this was the way for me to go.
The months seemed to pass quickly until suddenly the snow was melting as winter started to turn to spring. We had an ultrasound on Christmas Eve that confirmed my intuition that the child inside me was our son. A trip to Mexico in the beginning of January gave me enough sun to make it through the Wisconsin winter and suddenly it was mid-March and I was 7 months pregnant. Then time began to drag! The last 2 months seemed to take forever. I could no longer keep up with my now 2 year old making me feel like a horrible parent. She was just starting to test her boundaries and it was very difficult to guide her when I couldn’t catch her! So for the last two months I was counting the days until my due date of May 15th.
One week before the due date I had an evening filled with sharp “contractions” but they didn’t last the night! So the days of the next week passed by slowly. May 15th came and went with no sign of our son. The next nine days felt like each one would go on forever. One week after my due date I was awoken in the wee hours of the morning with contractions. I was able to go back to sleep but the contractions kept coming. They were mild but 5-7 minutes apart. Alex stayed home from work and my mother came out to the house to help with Rose. The day went by and contractions continued to get closer. They remained mild unless I started walking around. Around dinner time my mom took Rose back to her house for the night. Alex and I decided to take a walk around the campground by our house and enjoy the beautiful evening that started the Memorial Day weekend. Upon returning to the house I decided to take a shower during which I was overcome with a unbelievable stitch in my left side. We called our midwife who decided to come out and got to the house at around 9:30. I was only dilated about 2 cm and she suggested that we all try and get some sleep in case we had to get up in the middle of the night. I did not sleep well at all being woken every couple hours. Somewhere between getting up to use the bathroom at 2 am and 4 am the contractions stopped!!
We all awoke to disappointment but were confident that this was the beginning of the end of my pregnancy. The midwife left us with instructions to take it easy and was on her way. With no Rose to chase after I spent the rest of the morning and into the afternoon laying around watching movies. She returned late afternoon, sans nap, for dinner and some good cuddle time. As she lay her head on her pillow that night our little girl had no idea that when she awoke she would no longer be the baby of our household.
Moments after kissing Rose goodnight I felt like I had to pee horribly but nothing happened when I sat down to ease the pain. The urge to go kept getting worse and worse to the point that it became painful. I was sitting on the toilet backwards trying to shift the baby so I could go. The pain got worse but didn’t feel like contractions and after the previous night didn’t want to call the midwife with the fear that this once again was not labor. Thinking about how much false pain I had already been through the prospect of more pain without baby brought me to tears. Alex took control and called her for me. She was at a local festival and upon calling us back realized she needed to find a quiet spot to talk to us. Between the phone calls I began to get super sharp pains in my lower back. This was it! My son was on his way out!
While we waited for the midwife and my mother to arrive Alex filled the tub that had been set up in our bedroom the day before and I remained backwards on the toilet because it seemed to be the only comfortable place in the house. Everyone arrived and I moved between bed, ball, and bathroom while waiting for the tub. (It took a few tanks of hot water to fill!) As the tub finished filling the mood in the house went from the initial frantic excitement and chaos of getting everything ready for the birth to a calm anticipation. When I finally got in the water it eased my back. I sat in the tub slipping in and out of the conversation as contractions permitted. After around an hour in the tub, as Sunday approached, I felt I needed to conserve what energy I could and returned to my bed propped up with all the pillows we could find. I was dilated to around 7 cm and my contractions were close and strong. I was resting my eyes in the moments between. In no time I was dilated to 9. Excited to push I then got stuck at 9 and we decided to break my water.
Somewhere in the next hour my mother disappeared to the couch, knowing that she would be the one waking with Rose in the morning. With my water broken the contractions began at an intensity that required me to concentrate with all I had. Alex was holding my hand beside me, my midwife was laying on the foot of my bed and her assisting midwife was in the chair. It was now the wee hours of the morning and all were tired I had to make noise every time a contraction was approaching to stir them. I remember thinking unkind thoughts about how everyone else was practically sleeping while I was in a world of pain. After what seemed like forever but in reality was only an hour at most I had to push!
I first tried to push standing next to my bed. The pain of his head pushing through cervix was a heavy pain. Aided by gravity the weight of the pain caused me to let out a primordial scream that almost deafened my husband as he leaned on the bed at my side. After a few pushes I could no longer take the weight and returned to my bed where I continued pushing. If time had not already become immeasurable it was now. I decided after a while that I wanted to get in the water again. The pain so was intense. I had to suffer through a few more contractions before I had an opportunity to move. I needed everyone to help get me the 3 feet from the bed into the tub. Once in the tub on my knees I reached down and felt my babies head. That was all the motivation I needed. I began to push with everything I had left and in no time at all his head was crowning. I had to get off my knees to allow my baby to come out without nailing his head on the bottom of the pool. The water made me buoyant and I began rocking back and forth across the pool as I pushed. Head emerged and with Indian burn like pain times a thousand between my legs I awaited the next contraction with desire instead of anxiety. With one last push my little Elwood entered the world to the warmth of the water and was handed to me.
I lifted him to my chest and he took his first breath in my hands. I turned to show Alex his son to find my husband peeking over the side of the tub, after having sat down as the baby was born due to his squeamishness towards blood. At Rose’s birth he was in the corner. But there was little blood this time and at 4:53 a.m., as the birds outside the window began to sing a song to welcome the morning, Alex and I sat staring at our new little man in admiration. Elwood cried briefly but was easily calmed. His few welcome cries were enough to rouse his Nana and when I turned my attention from my two favorite men my mother was standing at the door.
Alex left to call his parents and I cut the cord that had been connecting me to my son for nine months. The midwives dried him, wrapped him in blankets and a hot pad, then handed him to Nana. They helped me into my bed and my son was given back to nurse. Elwood was measured, weighed, and dressed while I got dressed then again returned to my arms. Sometime in the next two hours while, I relished in my son as the ultimate trophy won after concurring the greatest physical challenge of my life, the tub was emptied and taken down, and the room was cleaned. One would never know a baby had just been born were it not for the woman in the bed, who despite the broken blood vessels covering her face and the fact that every last once of energy she possessed had been painfully drained in the previous 10 hours, could not feel more beautiful or alive.
With the baby already sleeping and myself about to join him after our tiring team effort I heard the familiar rattle of my Rosie’s bunny. I spent the last of my energy introducing Rose to her brother. Then I curled up in my very own bed with my dogs at my feet and fell asleep, eager to finally get to know who Elwood Graymont Kerwin really is.