*** Let’s start on Friday, December 3rd, shall we?
Kim, my good friend and fantastically talented midwife was flying in from Vegas on Friday. I knew when we moved to Utah that I *could* find a great midwife here, but I didn’t want to. Plain and simple. Kim knows me, she knows my family, she knows my kids. She was available. So, she came.
Derek had to teach ALL day on Saturday and so I wasn’t allowed to go into labor. I knew this and declared that then Saturday NIGHT would be the NIGHT!
It wasn’t. We went to Temple Square with Kim to see the lights and that was a disaster of epic proportions thanks to a little Mister we call Oliver. He screamed, he cried, we went home. So, my plan to walk the baby out of me failed.
I was getting bummed only because Kim was staying 10 days and I really didn’t want to be pregnant for 9.5 of them. Not to mention I (being spoiled) have never made it to my due date and really really REALLY didn’t want to start now.
So, Sunday morning, I was awakened after a bizarre dream, at 6:00am, to the smell of pork. I had put it in the crock pot the night before for Sunday dinner and the smell was suddenly nauseating. I mean like, HORRIBLE. So I got up and turned off, checked on the kids who (miracle!) were all still asleep. I decided that today was the day we’d be having a baby.
I went back to bed and contractions started almost immediately. I had slept great all night, so I was happy to not be too tired. I texted Derek and said, “Totally in labor, just so you know.” Yes, he was laying six inches from me in our bed, but I didn’t want to wake him up!
The kids got up and crawled all over us, and Derek went to make muffins. (For some reason, the muffins were vitally important to me!) Alice was called to tend the kids, and Derek went to set up the birth pool.
Fourth baby, I figured, it’s 7:30am, we’ll have a baby in a couple of hours TOPS. I was worried Alice wouldn’t make it in time.
Alice arrived in plenty of time (being 90 minutes away) and I was STILL laboring. And I was shocked and irritated by that fact. I should have been DONE by then.
Now, to be clear, I realize I was being irrational. I have attended a lot of births, I know you can not predict or plan how they will go.
But when every single account of a fourth baby you EVER hear/see/read is like, “I sneezed and oops! There was baby!” It is VERY difficult to not simply assume that will the case. Which is what I did.
Which was a mistake.
Alice took the kids away (upstairs) and Derek filled the tub. I was completely unable to decide what I needed or wanted at this point, so I was gently prodded by Derek and Kim into the tub, which, of course, was wonderful. I was feeling weird, and kind of pushy at the end of contractions, sometimes and other times like pushing was NOT my thing, and like it was all too much, and why was it taking so long? And why wasn’t I done yet, and the water was too cold, then it was perfect, then too cold (poor Derek literally boiled pots of water for me while we waited for the dumb-butt water heater to reheat). And why? Why was I still pregnant????
Oliver’s birth took two hours from the time I was “in labor” until “had a baby.” The tub never had a chance to get cold.
Are you getting that I was extremely frustrated?
At this point, like always, my legs, hands and face totally lost all feeling. It is a really not fun part of my baby-having experience. I could barely make out words, much less really relay what I was feeling.
Then, the cramping. As if LABOR isn’t enough, my legs (thanks to the walking on Saturday night, most likely) tied themselves up into knots that made it seriously unbearable to be ALIVE much less in LABOR. So, I’m totally freaking out about that, trying to explain to Kim and Derek, (They did get it, and started massaging them!) and trying to convey that I was starting to panic about the baby and labor being too long (four hours at this point).
So, I declared I was done. I made Derek literally lift me out of the tub (*Derek is my super hero, didjaya know?*). I soaked him entirely, while I just stood there and waited for feeling to come back to my limbs. It did, which is good. I went to the bathroom, and finally decided to have Kim check my progress. I really had no intentions of EVER having a check, but at this point, I was done, and if “done” meant 3cm, then “done” meant TRANSFER FOR DRUGS in my mind.
But I wasn’t a 3. I was 10, with some lip. She kindly (and generously) offered to hold the lip out of the way, while I pushed the baby’s head passed it, assuring me it would hurt “like hell,” (her words). I consented. Because, remember, I was done.
Well, it didn’t hurt, at all. I was like, “OH! YAY!” It felt so good to push (like my body had been TRYING to do) and not have a barrier there. TMI? Sorry.
Anyway, I feel I should inform you that at this point, I had wedged myself on our tiny $30 Ikea couch and refused to get off of it. I let both Derek and Kim know I would be pushing the baby out right there. They were surprised to say the least.
Weird! I LOVED both my water births and really disliked having Spencer on dry land. Anyone who talks to me about water birth knows I.LOVE.IT.
Except not this time. The tub had been comfortable and roomy and wonderful, and I wasn’t getting back in it for all the tea in China. No sir.
So, Kim and Derek protected the couch valiantly with chux pads (Kim is also a super hero, don’t forget.) And I pushed and chatted and laughed and pushed. I was a whole new woman.
The Great Labor Freak Out of December 5th was over. I was almost done, I had feeling in all my extremities, I had decided my couch was my boyfriend, and I was GREAT!
Contractions were slow, and unpleasant of course, but I got really nice breaks in between. I asked Kim if SHE had ever encountered a fourth-timer take so fraggin’ long and of course, she said she had not.
SEE? This is why I was so frustrated with the experience. I was a weird anomaly, and this bothered me.
Anyway, so once I finally resolved to just shut up and push, his head was out! RELIEF! Then, oh, then, the shoulders.
How I hated those little shoulders. In fact, I yelled (loud enough for Alice upstairs to clearly hear) “I HATE THE SHOULDERS!” The baby just didn’t rotate fully and they sort of shot up and out at an *unpleasant* angle.
Not my favorite.
But holy hot dog, I had a baby. I grabbed him and pulled him up. SO SO SO relieved to be DONE and to have my baby, I promptly burst into tears… not something I have ever done before. (This birth was weird.) I was SO glad to be done, and SO glad he was here, and SO glad that Derek and Kim had protected the couch.
It was beautiful. He was beautiful. The WORLD WAS BEAUTIFUL!
Very shortly after he was born, Kim discovered a funny little something that seems to be cause of the slow, putzy labor. At some point in utero, Ezra had tied up his cord into a tight knot. Kim said she’s seen three in eight years, and for some reason (blood or oxygen flow maybe?) it causes labors like mine, kind of not “text book.” He was healthy and his heart rate was fine all during labor, but somehow between he and myself, he knew just how he needed to come. I didn’t, of course. But he did.
So, we slowly made our way upstairs, I showered and Derek introduced the boys to the newest member of the family. And we eventually weighed and measured. As I mentioned before, we were SHOCKED at how teeny he is. 7lbs of baby is small to a girl who births toddlers normally. He looks very much like Spencer did but he is all his own person.
Kim, going for round two, he really is that small!
Ezra Lee, my little Ez. He’s just a doll. Days and nights? Huh? What are those? Just nurse me all night long, and we’ll be friends. Hold me all day, and I’m a peach.
I’m so glad that home is where we decided to have him, with Kim, someone who is so wonderful and calm and just so totally who we needed there. It was awesome.
I have been to many births and I have seen what seems like “it all” which is of course ridiculous. Every birth I go to, I see something new, something I hadn’t encountered, something out of the “ordinary.” And yet, in our world, we insist upon trying to control it all, with our own powers of intellect, or technology or drugs, when in reality, it just is what it is. I couldn’t let go of my *own* preconceived notions, regardless of the fact that I know better.
Birth is the beginning, it’s life, it’s real, it’s not pretty, and it just is.
Medicine and interventions have their place, and you will NEVER hear me say otherwise. But for me, I’m glad to have the chance to let it unfold the way I didn’t know it needed to be. That was difficult. It was literally one of the hardest physical and emotional experiences of my life, those short SHORT six hours.
And after 72 hours with this little dude, I can say that I feel like before Sunday, I knew nothing about ANYTHING and I have grown and stretched a little further from the whole experience.
How’s THAT for a birth story?
Editor Note: You can visit the author’s website here.