Thursday, June 16, 2011
So, do I win worst momma award or what? Noah's birthday was May 26... and today is--- well, let's skip that part!
My little first-born is growing up. 3 years old! Every day, I catch myself shaking my head in amazement at how tall he is, how wise he looks as he analyzes something. I laugh at his little goofy antics. I fall in love with his dimpled smile over and over again.
I found myself thinking back to that time 3 years ago that changed our family forever. I remember that I was almost 39 weeks pregnant and it was a Friday. My sister was flying in the following Wednesday. My aunt was taking the bus up to assist with the birth. And, I wondered if I might be feeling the first parts of labor?
The weeks leading up to Noah's birth had been a little concerning for me.
One concern was that we still didn't have an air conditioner. Living in an area where the temperature could hold around 110 during the day and 80 at night for weeks with a humity of 85%-- no air meant we were living in an inferno. We also lived in the middle of a row of connected cement houses, so there was really no air flow through the windows. I would take several cold showers during the day and the night. We put our matress on the floor in the living room to try to get some kind of a air current. Adding to that the heightened body temps and size of pregnancy--I was not a happy camper. The idea of being in labor in those conditions was overwhelming.
About a month before Noah was born, we were able to get an air conditioner from Rey's boss. Ahhh... we were so happy!
Also, we still had no midwife. I kept saying I just wanted a really skilled midwife. One that knew about the scientific process of birth--not that would wave a branch over me and crack an egg. Really no young person in Mexico does home births nowadays. They always go to the clinic and almost always get a c-section. It seemed finding a knowledgeable midwife was a tall order. We found a few women in their late 80's that were midwives. I was unsure that I'd be able to focus on the birth for fear they'd topple over during delivery. We found some medically trained midwives who wouldn't "take me" because I hadn't been consulting with them the whole pregnancy.
Getting a midwife was a big prayer request.
Then, at 38 weeks, I was chatting with a lady in her 30s at church on Sunday. Rene was so excited that I was going to have Noah at home. Her reaction was refreshingly shocking. She told me how she'd assisted in her sister's 5 births and had volunteered in a hospital for an extended time. She said that there was nothing she loved better than helping out at a birth. Half-joking, I told her she could come to mine. She was excited. I told her that if she really wanted to--she could be our answer to prayer. She said to call her if we needed her.
Back to that Friday. As I went to bed, I couldn't even really explain what I was feeling and I didn't say anything to Rey. The next morning, I told him I would really like to go to a gynacologist just to see if "something" was going on... just to know. So, we went.
The gynacologist took her time in chatting with us about various things--but her face froze when she examined me. "What are you doing here? You are at 3 centimeters! You should be at the hospital! What do you want--for this baby to be born in the street or what?" She instructed me to get to wherever I was going to have the baby and to only consume liquids.
I calmly left the office. Should I admit feeling a slight smugness? That the fact that I was not freaking out and she was made me think that just maybe I had this birth thing well in hand? Nope, better not. 'Cuz then all you birth veterans will do laugh smugly, and that just hurts. ;)
Rey and I rented some movies and went home. We called my aunt so that she would know to start the 9 hour journey to our house. We all expressed concern that she might miss the birth.
At this point, contractions were irregular and not intense at all. I catagorize contractions into the talk-through kind and the no-talk-through kind. I was having the talk-through kind about 10 minutes apart, sometimes an hour apart. My aunt made it to our city, but decided to sleep at a friend's house since we only had one bed and I didn't appear to be in "active labor".
Despite the gynacologist's definitive declarations that we'd be parents by nightfall, we climbed into bed as a dissapointed family of 2.
The next day was Sunday. I wasn't feeling too much different in regards to contractions, but I opted out of going to church. Rey went, and I tried to distract myself at home-- and "rest".
Rey arrived home with a sheepish expression. He had bumped into some of his family members downtown and they excitedly told him that they were throwing me a surprise baby shower. Right then. This afternoon.
I'd been waiting to tell him that the contractions were getting more painful--but that news went out the window. "What??" I muttered, or possibly shrieked, "Today? Did you tell them that I am in labor?"
Rey said yes, but that they were rather insistent, since they'd already invited a bunch of friends to the party.
Rey's mom and sisters came by about an hour later to check on me. Knowing that Rey's mom had 9 babies and that she had been extremely protective of me during Noah's pregnancy, I was sure I would get her sympathy.
Instead, she told me to take some kind of tea that would let me know whether I was in labor or not and that they'd see us in a couple of hours.
I stomped around the house, now irritable from a non-progressing labor, from trying not to eat too many solids, and for a badly-timed party. "Why couldn't they have done it before? Or after?" I sobbed. "I love parties. Just not today." Wahh, wahh.
We drove out to Rey's family's house-- I feeling bad for whining, and I sure Rey was just feeling bad. We sat out in the dirt patio and played baby shower games and I smiled through contractions, although it may have been more of a grimace. No one seemed to notice anyways. I lumbered slowly to the outhouse on the other end of the property several times.
I counted the minutes, the seconds--asking myself how long was long enough? I exclaimed over the thoughtful gifts that family and people I didn't even know had brought. I made no eye contact with poor Rey.
We got home around 8 pm, I think, and called my aunt. I was definately feeling some pain by this point.
Auntie got to our place around 11 and her and Rey passed out asleep. I wasn't in horrible pain, but didn't think I'd be able to sleep with as regular as the contractions were--although they were still pretty far apart... maybe around 10 minutes. So, I pretty much watched the Andy Griffith show. Yup. All night long. I am wild like that.
Monday morning, Rey woke up... consulted with me and then walked out the door to work at 6:30am.
Active labor started at 8 am. That morning is forever etched in my mind. Auntie keeping herself busy with dishes and reading. Us chatting; her wondering why I didn't answer and then seeing I was panting through a contraction. Walking around barefoot on the tile floor, in a big white T-shirt of Rey's. Fashion goes out the door when labor comes in. We decided this was the real thing and called Rey. Come home at noon, and bring Rena and pizza.
I had the book "What to Expect when You're Expecting", and it has a chapter on childbirth in the back. To pass the time, my aunt was reading through it, calling out excerpts she thought helpful.
I remember that we both cackled at the encouragement to picture yourself opening like a flower with each contraction. I muttered something about maybe it was a cactus flower opening.
Rey and Rena's arrival was a relief to me, and Rey jumped into the role of supporter/helper. He helped me continue to walk around in circles in our small house as the contractions got stronger. I remember using the handle of the freezer door many times as a support.
I remember coming to a definate point where all smugness flew out the door. Where I wondered when this torture would end and I could rejoin the ranks of the happy people watching me. Different positions were suggested and none seemed to help. I was experiencing horrible back labor and it was almost more than I could bear. With each contraction, I would shake uncontrollably.
Rena continued to check my progress and recommended that I continue to walk as much as possible so that Noah would move down. He was still high, she said. I remember thinking, "If he is still high, I will die before he comes out..."
At one point--as I processed these thoughts and continued to strive for a peaceful bearing of the pain--I heard one of them say that I looked so serene. I fleatingly wondered if screaming would get me more sympathy.
I finally was to a point where I was shaking to bad to continue walking, so I got into a semi-reclined position as the contractions progressed. I just wanted to get it over with--and this is when those "pre-labor plans" help so much. I'd heard so much about women who started pushing to soon and tired out too soon and experienced a lot more injury. I had decided to not push until I was told to. So, I reminded myself of that as Rena continued telling me I was not ready to push. My mind screamed all kinds of mean things in reply, but I just kept on breathing.
I never felt "the pressure" they talk about, but I think it may have been because my lower back had been in such excrutiating pain for several hours that any other "pressure" was unnoticeable. Rena told me that I was finally ready and that when I wanted to, I could start pushing. I think that was around 4 pm.
Pushing is just a blur of pain and exhaustion, mind over matter. Although--one memory that shines through is Rena. She was just what I needed at that part. She continued a calm and low-voiced stream of encouragement coming my way with each push. She quoted entire chapters of the Bible to me from memory, she reminded me that God is for me. She told me that He had made me for this. I focused on her words and continued on.
A rather dissapointing "fruit of my labor" was delivering my water sack.. intact! What? That wasn't the baby? Bummer. There is no excitement like the excitement of people's voices the first time the baby's head is visible. "He has a lot of hair. Dark hair," they told me. That's when I decided that I really could do this.
I delivered Noah's head. Then there was another dissapointment because he didn't just "slip out" once his body was out. It took a few more pushes and a helping re-adjustment before he came sliding out into the world. Is there any way to describe that feeling? That moment? 5:45 pm. Monday.
Noah was perfectly healthy and did not cry. He just stared up at me like, "Oh. There you are. Cool." It wasn't until he was presented with the harsh reality of getting scrubbed up and in non-liquid clothing that he started wailing. The next day, we picked the name Noah for him. Man of peace.
So, there it is. Noah's birth story.
Today, 3 years later, it seems that Noah is "growing into" his name. He is learning peaceful resolution to problems. He is becoming a very friendly, social fellow. He usually will send out an excited, "Hellooooo!" when he sees people. I know he is going to be the best big brother ever. He loves to help us and is into music like nobody's business. He likes things with lots of little pieces, so he can organize them into lines or circles. He is one-of-a-kind and we like him that way.