The birth of my first child was a well-planned event. Money saved for maternity leave, meaningful, unique names determined at week 8: Kyrie for a girl, Korey for a boy. Doula researched and engaged at 6 months. All the books reviewed. All pre-natal classes attended, with notetaking. Doctor’s appointments documented with each sensation recorded and reported. The only thing I didn’t do by the books was stop gaining weight at 25-30 lbs.
My birthplan was a work of art. Natural childbirth was high on the agenda and given the most real estate on the page. C-Section received only passing mention. “This won’t happen, but if it does…” I purposefully didn’t read the chapters on C-sections. I was fully trained in natural childbirth practices. I had a Doula. I was covered. This kid was coming out sans an episiotomy or complete pain blockers.
The May 28 due date came and went without so much as a twinge. A few days later it started, night labour. Which means you contract all night when you are supposed to be sleeping and as soon as your feet hit the floor, the contractions stop. How tiring. I was prenatally in my 4th trimester fog. Still, I resisted induction, knowing full well that meant a c-section was more likely. Weekly planning scores revealed a very content baby so I waddled along. At the June 8 planning score, our baby passed with flying colours but Mom failed. With a blood pressure of 169/102 I wasn’t going anywhere without a baby in my arms.
My husband called the Doula and our all-nighter began. First they broke my water and with a gush I went from comfortable to icky. Our baby was still content, however. The contractions didn’t strengthen. The pitocin drip was connected and the painful part began. All night I moaned as my husband and Doula saw to my every need. For the first time in my life I was not afraid to say what I needed. At one point early on, a very nice doctor mentioned that I should get an epidural now so my blood pressure would stabilize. I wasn’t listening…wish I had. I battled the blood pressure machine for hours, secretly afraid I was going to stroke out before I held my baby.
I finally requested the epi. What a relief. I still felt the sensations, and kept them “just bearable”. On cue, my blood pressure returned to a stable, woman-in-labour level. At day break I was announced fully dilated and told to rest until my doctor arrived. Her examination, however, didn’t bear the same result. I wasn’t fully dilated, only 9.5 with a lip. She pumped up the inducing sauce and I pumped up the epi. I had 45 minutes to make it happen. I pleaded and coached my baby to make an appearance. Nothing.
When they told me my time was up, I went from tears to elation within 5 minutes. I realized within a half hour I would be holding my baby. My cervix was closed for business and we were going in through the roof. At 10:26 am on June 9, I heard the cry of my first born. The birth plan clearly stated my husband was to announce the sex of the baby. My Doula stood guard, ready to drown out any peepers. “We have a son,” my husband whispered, leaning over and kissing me tenderly on the cheek. It was a brightly romantic moment that hasn’t dimmed.
Korey’s apgars were 9.5 and 10, such a keener. Our main objective was realized, a healthy baby. I remember saying early on that I liked the contractions because each one meant I was closer to holding my baby. I wasn’t trying to be a martyr, I was just earnest and wanted to experience childbirth. I don’t feel particularly ripped-off. I had the labour, the hemmorroids, even still, the incontinence 6 years later, and stitches in a far more comfortable spot.
As I reflect on my two pregnancies and births. I see that each child’s personality mirrors their individual stories. Korey very precise, organized, relaxed and patient, but a bit prone to intensity. Justin on the other hand, is layed back, likes to act goofy and aloof, eats his treats so fast he forgets the taste and then asks Korey to share his. Not usually a problem as Korey can always be counted on to have some safely hoarded away for a dry day, and he’s so kind he doesn’t mind sharing.