WARNING…. This is a long, long post about birthing the boy. But don’t worry, there’s only one picture.
All day yesterday all I could think about was what I was doing and when. Thankfully my fabulous doula, Shannon wrote awesome birth notes that I can refer to if my mind ever gets boggled on what happened and when. As Thad and I were hanging out yesterday I kept thinking that all day this time last year I was dealing with labor. And even when we got our first rain yesterday, it made me smile — because it rained on the day I was laboring too.
Having a baby is probably one of the most terrifying (the imminent pain, that is), difficult, rewarding and cathartic things a couple can do. Having your baby at home takes all of that to the next level.
After days, and days of waiting for my contractions to start, when they finally did I was beside myself. I was in the glow and excitement that comes along with early labor. Ask any one on my birth team though… it lastest what seemed like an ETERNITY. Once Active Labor really got going (you know, the part that really hurts) at 3am on Monday, October 10th, I just knew Thad would be joining us on his due date. But, not so much…
Although I primarily labored in the basement, I spent the morning in the main part of the house, and then moved downstairs when I thought things were getting going. Boy was I wrong. I kept moving as much as I could. Mark and I paced the driveway and I had some good contractions in the garage. He then made me pace the stairs leading into the house. I was not happy.
And then I ate. And I ate. And I ate some more. At one point Shannon, our doula, came into the basement with a piece of cold cheese pizza from the night before. I looked at Mark and said, I want that. He then proceeded to bring me a variety of pizza, all heated up like the amazing husband he is. I then told him, no, I want cold pizza. Cold, cheese pizza. He looked at me like I was crazy but did it anyway.
When my midwife, Sunshine showed up in the late afternoon (3:30pm), she finally checked my cervix and I was only at 4cm (what?!?!) and 70% effaced. I was so bummed. I was certain that I was farther along and I was dying to get that baby out of there. We also learned through the pelvic exam that the baby was slightly transverse which meant that we needed to move him a bit so he could come out at the right angle. I took some homeopathic meds, was told I could only be in a few positions, and Shannon took out her rebozo — a huge Mexican scarf thing that helps to lift the baby out of the pelvis just enough so it can settle back in in the right position.
By 7pm the contractions really got going (or so I was hoping they were) and I spent some time in the shower, willing the baby to come and hoping I could get into the birthing tub. At around 9:30pm Sunshine checked me again and I was only 5cm. I was beyond upset. This baby would not be coming before midnight at this pace. I was exhausted (we all were) and all I could think about was how I was going to make it any longer. How was I going to have the energy to actually push this thing out?
Sunshine knew how tired I was and suggested a glass of wine and some sleep. I knew that the only way I’d be able to relax enough was to get some booze in me, so I agreed. It was never harder for me to drink a small glass of wine. It tasted so awful, but at least it wasn’t coconut water (I already had my fill of that). At 10:15pm I crawled into bed after a little walk outside. It was cool, dark and drizzling. It was a beautiful night.
After slipping in and out of sleep and warding off my contractions with the TENS unit that Shannon brought, I woke up to a gush of fluid and screamed, “Oh, shit!”. Shannon came running from the couch before Mark, who was laying right next to me on the bed, could turn over. Shannon knew that my water broke and helped me to the bathroom. I got in the shower and basically spent the next hour going through transition.
I had read a lot of birth stories before doing this and OMG, they are not kidding about transition. It was totally cathartic and spiritual. I was so tired that I was slipping in and out of consciousness and just focusing on the baby and letting him come down.
After that party, I climbed out of the shower and discovered I was 9cm! Sunshine said she’d be okay if I got in the tub and pushed. If I could have jumped into that birthing tub, I would have. I had been dying for days to get in that tub and push.
However, little did I know that I’d be pushing for 3 hours…. I thought everything else had hurt. Boy, was I wrong. I took my time pushing because I was so tired and because my biggest fear was tearing. I ate cold cheese pizza, bananas and shock blocks all through pushing and the team was wondering when I was going to stop eating because they had never seen someone eat all the way through. But I needed to! I was starving from burning so many calories.
Mark had filled the tub from the bottom of the water heater early Monday morning, and while it was still nice and warm, it was filled with calcium deposits because our water in SJ is so hard. Because of this, we couldn’t see anything in the water. Which meant that I had to feel the progression (because I wouldn’t let anyone else touch me) and report back to the team. Let’s just say we started with walnut and ended with a potato. By the time my legs started to cramp up almost three hours into pushing, I decided that I needed to get out of the tub. My midwives asked me where I wanted to go, and if I wanted to go to the bed. I said heck no, and pointed to the area right in front of the tub. As they prepared the area and helped me out, they all laughed and said, wow, that’s one big potato. Thad came out the three more pushes and I couldn’t have been happier. Thaddeus James McKinney was born at 4:23am, October 11, 2011.
Since we didn’t know what we were having, Mark ecstatically announced to me, “Honey, meet Thaddeus.”
Sitting there on the floor with Thad, Mark and my birthing team and staring at Thad was the weirdest most carnal experience I’ve ever had. I was tired of 30+ hours of active labor and was meeting my baby for the first time, but I didn’t recognize him. He just spent 40 weeks inside me, and now we were going to be bonding in a different way for the rest of our lives. It was surreal, amazing and wonderful all at once.
I had a freaking baby.
After nursing Thad while the team cleaned up and Shannon made us breakfast. Then I got cleaned up and crawled into bed with my little man. Here’s the picture that Mark took of Thad and I when he was only an hour old.
I love this kid.
So, that’s the story of how Thad came into this world.
I remember it like it was yesterday.