In honor of a year with you, your birth story, my sweet boy.
++Warning! Graphic Vagina Birthing Details!!++
95% of what I remember from Wes’s birth is just sounds and voices. I think I had my eyes closed for a day and a half.
The day after my due date, when my water broke in bed that night, as I woke him up howling “TOWELS!!”, I remember Shane, “Here we go, Mama.”
My midwife, Katherine, with her hippie hair and constant calm- always the strong, stable, trusting, powerful feminine energy that I needed, never left my side. Into the 25th, 26th, 27th hours of labor, she napped on the wood floor in the nursery, me in the birthing tub, her half asleep- yet still present with me- as I moaned through every contraction, reassuring me over and over, “Yes, yes, yes!”
Katherine’s student, who coached me during those naps- “you’re so strong, Mama”
Shane “You need to eat, drink this, what do you need, I love you”
Katherine ‘Yes, yes, YES”
Towards the end. I’m tired. It’s been so long. We’re close but it seems like it will never end. I said to Katherine, “Is HE ever coming out?” Later she told me, then she knew he was a baby boy.
As I was pushing, pushing, pushing and making no progress. So frustrated. Getting tired but also knowing that this was ALMOST over. In those early morning hours, as I dreaded the sun coming up without a baby in my arms, Katherine informed me, “In some cultures, women consider themselves virgins until they’ve given birth” “HA!” I replied. “Well, today is my lucky day”
So very few words spoken through these hours. My private nature was truly respected, supported, and honored during these 30 long hours of labor.
One of my favorite memories is from of Maren, the 2nd Midwife that came about two thirds into my labor. I had met her a few weeks prior at our home visit. At 37 weeks pregnant, as she palpated my belly, she said, “Feels like you have at least 8lbs in there already!” Never an ounce of concern that there was too much baby to squeeze out; she is a true believer in the natural process of baby growing and birthing.
By the time I remember Maren at my birth, I had been pushing for hours. By then, I think everyone was considering if and when this big baby was going to make it out.
There is something about this kind of pain that makes you back up. It’s SO INTENSE. It’s like putting your hand into a fire, and your immediate instinct is to back away. So I’d push, push, WHOA, back up. Push again- OWWW. Slow down. Maren, finally just gave it to me. “Get to the other side of that pain” I felt stronger “Push PAST that pain” I had MORE to give. And finally- “PUSH LIKE YOU’RE ON A PORTA POTTY” Fuck it. FUCK IT. Boom. Giant baby head OUT.
This still cracks me up. Toilet references as motivation. Whatever works!
Soon after, I’m on my hands and knees and there’s a baby body on the floor under me. I’m delirious, open my eyes for the first time in what seems like days and all I see are baby body parts- not sure WHAT IS GOING ON. Legs. Arms. So much RELIEF that the pain has stopped. Like, instant and total relief. I look down and see a baby penis and am like, HUH? (Ask anyone- I was 100% sure I had a girl in there) “Shane- it has a penis!?” I say. Katherine says, “Pick up your baby!”
I grab his little smooshy body off the floor and climb into bed. In an instant my senses come back- I see him (so chubby! so much hair!), I smell him (newborns smell like bloody vagina!) I hear him (ohhh, beautiful cries of LIFE!) this is the madness of childbirth. Total madness. I’m still recovering.
Happy birthday to my strong boy, born to challenge and grow me. Wouldn’t have it any other way.