Sunday, July 25, 2010

a birth story ... my last.

confession time.  i judge books by their covers.
i walk into bookstores ... actually i prefer the used variety ... books that have a history ... books with folded corners and coffee spills ...

i wander aisles ... glancing for colors that jump out at me. 
magentas and purples.  turquoises and yellows.  black and white photograph-ish pictures tend to all capture my eye first.  i gently pull them off the shelf and sneak a look at their first sentence. 

it may be the cover that catches my eye.  but the first sentence is what urges me to read on.

for me ... that's what my writing is about too. 
it's all in that first sentence.

and that first sentence isn't coming easily to me this time.

i want to tell my little guy about how he came into this world.  and i can't entirely capture every ounce of emotion in a first sentence.  nothing sounds right.  i've typed.  and retyped ... so. many. sentences. over the course of the last 6 months.  and i just keep erasing them.  letting them slide into the oblivion of the recycling bin ... so i guess ithe best thing to do ... is to just start.  and let it be what it is. 

i thought i was ready for you ... for weeks.
i packed my bag.  i made sure you had a coming home outfit.  i tried to plan details for your big sisters.
i worked.  attempting to finish up last minute reports and evaluations.


see?  that's wrong.  i wasn't.  i wasn't ready for you.  at all.  i had no idea.


contractions ... came in waves.  for days at a time.  never getting stronger.  never (really) getting faster.  just there.  i dilated.  to a three.  and walked around for 2 weeks.  working.  and waiting.

my midwife promised me a baby by march.

i visited the midwife on january 25th.  at 4:00 in the afternoon.  i wanted to know if i was any closer to having you ... i knew that it wouldn't make a difference in the grand scheme of things.  but i just needed to know if my body was working with me.  or if i was destined to be pregnant into february.  i was a good 4 1/2 ... she said.  i mentioned that daddy's baby-waiting-vacation was over on the 31st.  she urged things along while down there ... figuring that if my body was ready ... it might do something.  but then again ... it might not. 

i was so uncomfortable that whole night.  i had to eat dinner standing up.  the contractions were pulsing through me.  though not yet strong enough for labor.  i made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.  and didn't ... couldn't ... eat any (weird.). 

i kissed my girly-girls goodnight.  and went to bed.  ready to work again tomorrow.  and keep up the waiting.

at 4:45 am i awoke.  to more contractions.  stronger.  quicker.  different.  i tiptoed into the living room and sat on my yoga ball.  watching infomercials about making money and losing weight.  rocking through contractions.  figuring that this insomnia would fade and i could make it back to bed for a little more sleep before the alarm's obnoxious clatter.

20 minutes old.

at one point ... stella woke up ... sauntered out to the living room ... and asked why i was awake.  i quietly took her back to her bed.  kissed her forehead and helped her climb back in. 

i went to bed too.  and couldn't sleep.  i asked daddy to pick up the shampoo bottles on the shower floor for me.  i needed a shower and i didn't want to trip.  i wanted to feel the warm water on my back.  so he did as he was asked.  with a questioning look in his eyes.  he asked if he should call your boppa and have him come over.  i said no.  this will probably just fade and i'll be at work in a few hours.  i showered.  the contractions stayed the same. 
i came out.  and i moaned through the intensified contractions.  daddy told me that i couldn't go into work.  he said those noises just aren't conducive to a work atmosphere.  (he apparently hasn't been into our special education office during the school day ... i'm pretty sure no-one would have noticed.)
i emailed everyone at work around 6:15 am.  telling them i probably wasn't going to be in right away.  but that i'd probably be in later that afternoon.

a picture daddy took while i was being stitched up. 
i think the finger is totally appropriate.

daddy called boppa.  asked him if he could come and watch the girls.  i called kathrine.  my midwife.  told her i felt like coming in.  she asked how long.  i said 20 minutes or so. 

daddy started the car to warm it up.  the intensity kept increasing within my body.  you were coming.  sooner rather than later.  i called boppa.  he said he was on his way. 
and then ... boppa called back.  he blew a tire.  and was parked a few miles away.  (if you know my dad ... this doesn't surprise you.) seriously.  daddy was going to run and pick him up.  daddy shut the door behind him.  it immediately reopened.  and he said i'm not sure i should leave you here.  let's get the girls. 

daddy shook stella awake.  and after a few complaints and questions about what was happening ... she jumped into her pants and ran to the door.  i heard her say, "oh yay!  baby finn is coming!"  cora was bundled in her footie jammers and snuggled her blankies ... and her nuk-nuk. 

my baby.  for now.
she asked why mama was making that noise. 

we quickly picked up boppa and drove to the emergency room door of the hospital.  luckily ... thankfully ... just a few miles from the house.  daddy claims he wasn't driving fast.  he was.  (and because i'm writing the story ... i'd like to state for the record ... he hit every pothole too.)

two slightly stunned.  and more likely ... EXTREMELY tired new sisters.

and then ... i saw kathrine.  my midwife. i heart her.  she asked if i wanted to be admitted.  it was around 7:30.  i was at a five.  (which caused me oodles of panic.  seriously?  i've only moved from a 4 1/2 to a 5?  in a whole day?  i didn't think i could do this forever ...)

i said yes.  because i didn't to go home and worry your sisters. 

she walked me to a delivery room.  i asked the nurse what pain medication options i had.
kathrine came back in ... and i asked her to tell me why i didn't want any of those options.
i spent the next hour and a half thinking about which option i wanted to consider.

i was in so. much. pain.
i felt uncontrolled.  i felt scared. 
my brain was having arguments with itself about if i should ask for an epidural or not.  back and forth.  back and forth.
i tumbled through contractions.  squeezing daddy's shoulder.  watching the sun's rays burst through the blinds of the windows.  i stood in the bathroom because the sun was too bright.
at one point i heard kathrine say, "she sounds different."
she knew me better than i knew myself.  from across the room.

she urged me to the birthing chair.
i was still weighing the option of an epidural.
i thought she was crazy
thinking that she was putting me on there ... way. too. early ... you weren't coming right away.
but you were. 

i screamed "get out of here!" and scared the nurse.  (i was talking to you.)
i screamed at daddy to leave the camera alone.  (for the record ... i wasn't against letting daddy touch the camera.  i just needed him next to me.)
and sometimes ... i just screamed.

not in the screaming ... fearful.  out of control.  way.
but in a wild.  primal.  natural way. 
i had to muster up energy and strength and courage to enter you into this world. 
i had spent so long worrying about adding your little spark of blue into my life and my family ... without realizing that you were meant to be here all along.

i pushed at 9:04 am.
and you tumbled out into my hands.  and you were a boy.  and you were ok.  and you weren't scary or different and i loved you.  already.  i did.  i just didn't know that i could stretch my heart this much.

kathrine found me a sandwich.  because any mama knows that food and birthing go hand in hand. 

your sisters only had enough time to eat a quick breakfast before they were quickly ushered back to the hospital to meet you. 

you did. not. like. the cold.  you were only happy when bundled up and snuggling.

thank you for being fast. 

i remember little things about our first moments together. 
... your sisters singing twinkle twinkle to you while i cried in the shower.
... your daddy excitedly calling them to tell them of your arrival.
... pulling your bassinet as close to my bed as i could so that i could drape my hand into it to touch you while i attempted sleep. 
... your eyes staring at me with complete trust.
... how everything felt just right.
... grandmas and grandpas and aunties rushing into the room with outstretched arms.
... how you couldn't latch on.  and that i had to trust that i knew what i needed to do.
... and how i also had to realize that you would not necessarily be the same as your sisters.
... the constant "can i hold finn now?" and watching you be passed back and forth between big sister
... and probably a gajillion other things that i will think of after hitting publish.

you.  my son ... that arrived as the sun rose in the sky. 
never in a million years did i think that i would have you.
and now i can't imagine my life any differently.
you.  are.  so.  loved.


Jenni said...


Marinka said...

love this!


Anonymous said...

ahhhh Jenn - this is great!! You are just the best! Miss you!!


Erin said...

I know you agonized over the first sentence, but it was the last four lines that took my breath away. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing as I have lived vicariously through your awesome experience.

~The South Dakota Cowgirl~ said...

This. Post. Brought. Tears. To. My. Eyes. Thank you for sharing.

Cellobella said...

You took me back to my own birth stories by sharing yours.
Thank you.