Bodhi’s Birth: 6.2.2014
You wake up a little earlier than normal. Your baby/big boy still asleep-arms sprawled above his head,mouth slightly open. Your husband stirs and smiles at you when you say, “I’ve had a few mild, but real contractions.”
You sneak out of bed to walk around. Another surge starts in your back and causes you to lose your breath, but it’s not strong or long.
Your husband wants to go to work for a few hours, but you say, “No, I think you should stay.” He cuts his hair and showers/shaves/cleans/starts some laundry instead. Your baby/big boy asks to night-night and you let him, but this causes more intense surges.
Your husband wants to go drop off the rent check. You call your mom and she heads over.
You get in the bath. Your baby/big boy joins you. You play boats and mommy turtle and baby turtle (he makes you be the baby turtle). More surges that take your breath away.
Your mom arrives and your husband flits around the room-starting, but never finishing a task. You tell him to take baby/big boy to drop off rent check. You have a surge that makes you groan. Your back aches. your husband pushes on it, but never hard enough. it’s not even thirty seconds long, so you tell him to go now, but “hurry.”
Your mom flits about the house nervously-finishing the dishes/transfers clothes to the dryer/wipes the counters. She asks if you want to braid your hair. You say, “no, I don’t care.” You have a surge that makes you moan. She turns on the shower and you get in- the hot water provides such relief on your back. Another surge and you have to lean forward-hands on your knees- still not very long, but strong enough to make you forget how to relax through the waves. You sway beneath the rhythmic water and say, “now,” to your mom with the start of each surge and, “ok,” when the pain subsides. Contractions are only lasting 30-45 seconds and still 6-9 minutes apart. You drop to your hands and knees when the next one hits you strong in the back. You moan loudly.
Your husband is back and says, “I turned around, I felt like I needed to be here.” He helps you out of the shower and leads you to the bed. Another screaming surge. Your mom says, “I think you guys should head to the hospital.” You say, “no, they aren’t long enou- Shit!” You agree to go. Your husband flits. Your mom paces. You baby/big boy gets naked like mom.
You get ready to leave- pop– your water breaks and you have to lean/squat against the bed.
“I need to go. now,” you say to your husband. Your baby/big boy doesn’t want you to leave. You hand him pretzels from your purse. He is fine with this. You are ten steps out the front door when another surge hits, but this time you have to bear down. You scream. you moan. you push. Your husband says, “don’t push. Do. Not. Push. 911-my wife is having a baby, like, now.”
Once inside you step out of your skirt, throw off your shirt and bra. You sit on the toilet-convinced you will have a toilet-baby. You close your eyes. You hear men. Nervous-voiced men asking questions. It feels crowded and chaotic. Your mom is on the phone. Your baby/big boy is naked, eating pretzels. Your husband puts his arms around your neck, his forehead to your forehead, and says with calm eyes, “You are awesome. We can do this. Everything is ok.”
You want a shirt. You get a bra. You are wrapped in a towel. You are on your left side on a stretcher & the men keep saying, “don’t push. Breathe. Breathe.” You ignore them and bear down when you get the urge-it’s relief. It almost feels good.
The men make your husband ride in the front of the ambulance. You miss him. You need his encouragement. His powerful words. But you can’t hear him. You hear only nervous-voiced men saying, “2 minutes apart. almost 90 seconds long. Don’t push. Don’t push.”
You are in the hospital. You hear clinical-voiced women. They tell you not to push. You feel a hand inside you. She tells you, ” ok, push.” she says, “no water. Only ice,” when you husband offers you a sip. You feel a pinch in your arm. A stranger holding your leg. A device on your stomach. You almost care, but you are overcome with a need to push.
You hear a clinical-voiced woman say, “cord around the neck. Stop pushing. ok, Push and hold.”
They place your baby on a towel and they wipe, rub, wipe, wipe your baby. You want him against your skin. Your husband says, “he doesn’t need to be wiped down. You hold him. They take him. You hear, “seven pounds 14 ounces.” Your husband says, “can we please have this and that,” and they say, “no to this and that.”
You finally get your baby. She is pulling and poking you ‘down there.’ You ignore her.
Your husband kisses you, looks you in the eye and you know he is proud. He kisses your baby and says, “welcome to the family.”
Your heart swells, more love than you thought possible flowing in- until you experience your big boy kissing/loving/helping/sharing/talking to your baby.
You forget the chaos. You feel calm. You feel at peace.
You feel love.
Aiden’s Birth: 7.6.2011
July 6, 2011.
2:18 in the morning, you are dreaming of eating waffles with your mother, you pop out of bed because you think you may have had an ‘accident’. You run to the bathroom as a wetness runs down your legs- leaving spots and streaks on the carpet.
“I think my water just broke,” you say at your husband. you laugh, he laughs, but both of you are nervous/excited. you laugh together and ask, “what should we do?”
Real contractions start a few minutes later, and when they are real contractions, you know (just like every other mother has said, “when you go into labor, you’ll know.”) your contractions aren’t strong or long, but they are different. you tell your husband to sleep. you try to sleep, but can’t because you keep thinking about how this is it, this is life beginning.
you are scared shitless.
your husband calls your mother and she’s calmer than you expected. he calls his parents and they jump in the car and prepare to make the 3 hour drive. your husband starts sending out mass text messages (because he’s excited/nervous, and he doesn’t know what else to do).
you’ve lost track of actual time. to you, time is based off contraction lengths and frequency. they are overwhelming. they take your breath away. your husband remembers to massage your back most of the time. and when he remembers it helps. A LOT. and when he forgets, it hurts. A LOT.
when your mother arrives, she is calm, you are calm, your husband is pretending to be calm. you get in the bath. the water helps, but the contractions keep taking your breath away. your mother straightens her hair because she is excited/nervous and doesn’t know what else to do. you want to straighten your hair because it will be a distraction. you don’t get around to it.
your sister is in summer school. it is her last day and she has a final. your husband goes to get lunch from Lee’s sandwiches and picks your sister up on the way. she is quiet when she arrives at your house. your husband will teach her how to press on your back when another contraction comes. she doesn’t want to hurt you, but you want her to press harder. much harder.
it is around 1:30 PM. your mother and husband agree that it is time to go. you keep saying, “no, it’s not time. contractions are only 4 minutes apart. they need to be 3 minutes apart.” they make you get in the car. you sit in the back- holding onto the baby’s car seat with you left hand and the door handle with your right. you breathe. you try to relax your belly. you moan/scream.
your husband plays your wedding soundtrack. and you think, what a wonderful life (okay, you don’t think it, you hear it through your car speakers, but you agree).
you arrive at the hospital and are 7 centimeters dilated. they take you to labor room 10. you have decided to do this all natural. no medications. no IV. you are confident/nervous.
you get a nurse that your mother/husband don’t like. you do not notice the nurses ‘attitude’. your second nurse, Apple, is wonderful. she guides you. she allows you to move freely. she gives you ideas. she brings juice. she is gentle and knowledgable.
it is time to push, but the midwife must break your water. your husband does not like this moment. you remember the relief after the gush. the tears in your husband’s eyes as he says, “i do not like when you are in pain.” the midwife needs to change her clothes.
your body tells you when to push. Apple guides your pushing. your body makes you push. your husband’s voice is calm, “you are doing great, sweetheart.” your husband’s voice is next to you, but you cannot see him, in this moment, you do not realize you hear him.
the people in the room- your mother, the nurse, your husband, his mother- are present, but not really. time is moving, but not really. you and your body move and work together. your body tells you to push. you hear voices saying, “sweetheart, you need to rest” and “Macrae, it has been almost two hours, you need to rest-push a little, but rest or you are going to wear yourself out.”
your body tells you to push. you try not to. there is a wave that rolls through your body. you try not to push. your body jumps out of itself. you feel like you are screaming. you will say to your husband, “I can’t do this anymore. i can’t. i can’t.” your husband will have worried eyes, but his voice is calm. his voice is confident.
you are not sure when the midwife enters the room. you hear her say, “Macrae, feel your baby’s head.” you do not want to. but you do. your body tells you to push. the midwife tells you to push hard. to keep at it. there is a pain. the midwife says, “tight shoulders,” and strangers grab your legs. you feel like you are screaming. you push.
relief. your son is resting on your chest. you notice his gorgeous lips. he whimpers, not really a cry. you think this is the most beautiful sound in the world. he pees on you.
you feel pain/love/relief/wetness/exhaustion/warmth/energy.
you feel love.
from this day forward,
p.s. this is a super rough copy (i wrote it without editing it. i will edit it one day)