Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Birth Story

My Darling Rowan,

This is the story of your birth, from my perspective. So you know, I’m writing it up as I listen/watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog.

Your story starts almost five years ago. Your Da’ and I were living in Mecklenburg, and I was on the phone with my Mom, your Grandma. It was a sweet conversation really. She was worried about us, our finances, my happiness, and told me she only wanted the best for us. I told her that despite the problems your Da’ and I were having, I was truly happy. She asked me if I would ever have a baby, and I told her that while I wanted to, I was scared of childbirth. I wasn’t worried about taking care of a baby, but the labor terrified me. She told me not to let that stand in my way, and that I would be a wonderful mother when the time came. Mom passed that August 28, 2004.

I have always been afraid of childbirth due to the pain of labor. I thought if I had a baby naturally I’d need to be drugged and would only be able to go through with it if I had a c-section. It was not something I wanted to do. Your Da’ and I discussed natural birth and adoption, the plusses and minus’ of each. By the time I turned 37 I never thought I’d actually have a baby naturally, and while it made me sad, I was resigned to that future. You should know that I have always wanted to have a family of my own. A house filled with laughter was my goal, but I didn’t think that would happen.

I found out that I was pregnant right about the time of my birthday in 2008, and at that point I was already nearly 5 months pregnant. I was very surprised, nervous, and had so many emotions running through my brain I really can’t accurately describe how I felt. My doctor recommended a midwife, and once I met the midwife she suggested we get a doula. The first person on the page was Sharon Berger, and looking at her picture in the doula book, I knew she was the one for us.

We met Sharon a few months before you were born. She was just what I thought she would be, supportive, warm, and caring. I told her about all my fears about childbirth and labor, and she said she’d help me to have the kind of birth I wanted to have. While I still had a lot of fears about the actual birth process, I started to feel more secure and less worried about things.

In those last few months I did a lot of reading about natural birth, pain free birth, and water births. I listened to my body more and more, and listened to you, and started to trust that I could have you without complications, without medication, and that everything would be as it should be. I began to understand that I could have you without fear.

Your arrival date was March 19, 2009. I went into pre-labor the second week of March. I was getting nervous, but Sharon reassured me that you would be here in your own time. I sang to you more and more during this time, and realized that I trusted my body to do what it was made to do, and that you would come Earthside when you were ready.

Your Papa Joe got into town March 18. Your arrival date came and went, and 5 days past due my Midwife suggested that I go to the hospital to be induced. She thought you might be a large baby, and thought I should have you as quickly as possible. This confused your Da’ and I, so we called Sharon right away. She came over that day, and seemed as disconcerted as we were about what the Midwife said. She recommended several more natural ways to induce labor. I drank more red raspberry leaf tea, took black & blue chohosh every 3 hours, used evening primrose, and even saw Stacy, an acupuncturist. You should know I hate needles, but I wanted you to come as naturally as possible. Thursday March 26 I met Stacy. Your Da’ was working so Papa Joe drove me to the appointment. Stacy was very reassuring and once I stepped into the treatment room I felt an overwhelming sense of calm. I trusted her to help us moving things along. Out of all the needles she used, only 2 of them made me twinge. Half-way through the treatment I could feel you move from up in my belly down into my pelvis. You felt heavy in my body; I knew you would be coming soon.

I was worried that you might be bigger than I thought, so I remembered a story from Ina May’s book about a very small woman who had a very large baby. Ina May didn’t think that the woman would be able to have her baby naturally, but the woman labored and delivered a 10 pound baby. Ina May asked her what she was thinking during the labor, and the woman said, “I kept thinking I was huge. I knew that I’d be able to have the baby, that it would pass through my body because I was so big and open!” This story really stuck with me, especially during my labor with you.

That night I called Sharon around 10p. My contractions had started coming faster and stronger. I had talked to Sharon about laboring as much as possible at Darrowby house as possible since I thought we’d be more comfortable here than in the hospital. She told me to call her any time I needed to. I tried watching a movie, and your Da’ would call Sharon to keep her updated. The whole time I was also timing my contractions and talking with my friend Lauren via IM. Finally, about 2am I called Sharon and asked her to come over.

Sharon arrived around 3am. I couldn’t get comfortable in the bedroom, so your Da’ helped me set up my laptop in the bathroom so I could continue to time the contractions. I alternated sitting on the toilet and leaning against the sink. I was breathing, and both your Da’ and Papa Joe spoke comforting things to me, put cool cloths on my neck, and supported me as best they could. Time got a little funny for me here, because I was focusing on breathing and got a little dizzy. Your Papa Joe rubbed my legs, Sharon held my head, and your Da’ got me something to eat and drink.

I got a little sick, but I knew I was going to do that. We had packed everything earlier except the snacks for the hospital, and we had a 40 minute drive to CMC, so we made our way to the car. I was getting nervous, but I knew I could trust you, that you wouldn’t hurt me and I wouldn’t hurt you, so I just kept breathing. Sharon came in the car with us and sat in the back seat with me. Your Da’ and Papa Joe were in the front and kept telling me that I was doing great. The drive seemed to take forever, but we arrived at the hospital about 5:30a.

Sharon and Papa Joe brought me up to the Obstetrics department while your Da’ parked the car. I don’t remember much about what nurses we met, but my Midwife, Gay, was on-call. She was happy to see me, and I remember Sharon asking the floor nurses to fill the birthing tub for me. I knew I wanted to have a water birth because it would be easier on us both. A nurse put the fetal monitor on my belly to make sure you were doing well, but I knew it wouldn’t work. The first 10 minutes were hard and painful, and I almost gave into the desire for medication, but I knew I couldn’t do that to either of us. I drew on the strength of those in the room, and breathed through it as best as I could. There was some concern regarding an IV. I had tested positive for Group B Strep (or gooey strep as I like to call it), and hating needles, I didn’t want the IV for the antibiotics. My Midwife spoke sternly to me and I looked to Sharon. There was a slight chance that you could get sick if I didn’t have the IV. I put my fear aside, because I needed to make sure you would be OK. The nurse who put the IV in was good, used a needle like a butterfly needle, and that was that.

You, my darling daughter, had very definite opinions in-utero, and you didn’t like anyone touching you/my belly. The last time we had a fetal monitor on you was the week prior and your Da’ saw your wee fist punch the monitor off of you! You would move away from the device, so the only thing that could be monitored was your heartbeat. We had the same problem at the hospital. I knew the nurses wouldn’t be able to get a base line on you. I knew you were OK; strong and healthy, but the nurses and midwives still wouldn’t let me into the tub. I ended up laboring for 2 hours with the fetal monitor on. I trusted you and myself, but I couldn’t express that to the nurses and midwives.

I felt that I couldn’t do this alone, so I asked your Da’, Papa Joe, and Sharon to be near me. They were all so calming and soothing, that they made my job easier. I could feel how much they loved us both, so I knew I could do this. Sharon’s presence, your Da’s touch, and his and Papa Joe’s words made all the difference.

About 8a the changing of the guard happened, so my Midwife went off duty and I met Midwife Molly. Molly was very sweet and caring, and spoke very encouragingly to me. I also started to feel like pushing about 8a. The pushing felt so good! I knew that the contractions were moving you further down into position, but being able to push, to help bring you Earthside, was amazing.

I would breathe, and feel your Da’s or Papa Joe’s hands on me, and say “I’m Huge” and push you further into position. At some point I asked for music; Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog to be specific, and your Da’ put the CD into the player. I remember singing snatches of the different songs. I was pushing hard, so hard that I was finding it hard to catch my breath. We did this for a few hours.

It was a very busy day in obstetrics, and Molly couldn’t stay with us the whole time. A nurse, Sue, started to do more to help. I would push for a long time in one position, and then they would make me move into another position. It was hard, because I was getting tired and my left side was starting to hurt, but I did what they said. Molly came back and could see your head. She said you had blonde hair! She was also nervous that you hadn’t moved down enough, and that I might have to have a c-section if you didn’t come out soon.

I looked to Sharon, and felt scared. Of all the options out there, I did not want to have a c-section. I did not want surgery. I wanted to have you naturally, and I knew I could do that if Molly gave me enough time. You could not be rushed, and I wanted to give you the time you needed to make your appearance.

Molly got a doctor – Dr. Gelber – to check if you could be delivered naturally or not. Dr. G had a nice smile, was very reassuring, and had me push HARD. He saw your head, and all your hair. He thought I could have you naturally, and started to coach me with breathing and pushing. I wasn’t in the best position, and your Da’, Papa Joe, and Sue helped me by holding my legs and pulling them back. I pushed and pushed, and kept saying “I’m Huge! I’m Big! I’m Open!” because I knew if I believed that, it would happen! I would grow and stretch so you could pop out.

The last 10 minutes were hard. I felt burning sensations, and realized I was holding back with pushing. I realized that while my legs were being pulled back, I was pushing against them, instead of pushing into them. It hurt, and I remember screaming. I asked Dr. G to help me and that I didn’t think I could do this without help, but he told me I could. I brought a hand down and could feel the top of your head. I could feel the long hair that everyone was telling me about. I pushed hard, screamed again, and focused on your Da’s and Papa Joe’s voices. Your Da’ started crying, telling me that you were coming and that it was incredible.

I felt a pop, and suddenly your head was out. I screamed again as your shoulders came through. Dr. G said “Once More” and I pushed hard. Your Papa Joe was at my back (I was on my side) and your Da’ was next to Dr. G. I felt a huge release, and you shot out of my body like a rocket. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog had played over and over (about 9 times) during labor. You came out to the theme song! It seemed very appropriate, and quite dramatic!

A lot of nurses and a pediatrician had come in at some point towards the end of my labor. Your Da’ ended up cutting the cord, and you given to the pediatrician. Apparently there was meconium in my amniotic fluid, and you got some of it in your lungs, and were a bit stressed from the 5 hours of heavy pushing and laboring.

I got to hold you, briefly, once the pediatrician cleared out your lungs, but you were having some problems so you were taken to the nursery. You were very pale and needed some oxygen. Your Da’, Papa Joe and I were very concerned, but Dr. Satish, the neonatalist, was amazing. He thought you might have an infection (possibly gooey strep), and made sure you got antibiotics right away.

Sue, the nurse who had helped so much during your birth, helped me get cleaned up, and we all waited to hear back about how you were doing. Sharon got us some food, and continued to make me feel better just with her presence.

I felt so aware after you were born. I felt encased in bliss and love. Your Da’ and I checked on you in the nursery about an hour after you were born. You did have an infection, but your colour had improved vastly. You had some problems regulating your breathing, so your head was under a “fishbowl” so you could get some extra oxygen. You looked like an astronaut!

I couldn’t get past how beautiful you looked! I was in such awe of you (I still am!).

Your Da’ and Papa Joe told me they were very proud of me, but all I did was listen to my body and listen to you.

You arrived Earthside Friday March 27, 2009 at 12:57pm. You were 20 inches long, and while the nurses thought you weighed 8 lb 14oz, you actually weighed 9 lb 4 oz.

You ended up having to stay in the hospital through April 1, to make sure that you had the right antibiotics in your system to take care of the infection. Your Da’ and I took you home that afternoon on April 1, 2009.

I can’t fully describe how much it is that I love you. You have changed my life so much, not just in the time you’ve been with us Earthside, but the near 10 months I carried you. I did something I never thought I could do. I am so blessed you chose me as your Mama. I love you tremendously, my Daikini Baby, my sweet Fae child, my Darling Rowan.




  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  2. Thank you so much for the kind words.




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