Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Birth Story part 3: The Boy

I got pregnant with Alex when Susie was a year old. Just like we planned.

After a year of obsessing about my unwanted c-section, poring over email lists like ICAN and reading book after book I had made a decision. This baby would be born at home.

The local midwife group took me as a client, and they were confident in my ability to birth naturally. One of them even commented that my pelvis was "ample" and that "you could drive a truck through there!" (Nice.)

The pregnancy was fine. I'm not really great at being pregnant (the hormones make me very spacey and lethargic), but I can't complain about being sick or having complications. The only "problem" was that the baby was measuring large, consistently. The midwives kept asking if it was possible I got pregnant sooner than I thought I did (no, it wasn't....I had been out of town, without my husband, at the only other time that a pregnancy could have been achieved).

As the pregnancy progressed, I noticed the midwives glancing at each other more and more as they measured my belly.

At 35 1/2 weeks, I started to feel "different." I was suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to nest, and my body felt different. Like something was about to happen. I called one of the midwives on a Sunday afternoon, and she advised me to take it easy and drink at least 64 ounces of water per day for the next few days. She also suggested that a glass of wine or a beer would be a good idea.

The next day I had an appointment with one of the doctors who backed up the midwives, in case anything happened that would require transport to the hospital. The doctor declared me "ripe" and said that I was free to have the baby when I wanted to. She did not do an internal exam because she knew the midwives would be doing one within the week.

On Tuesday morning, almost exactly 36 weeks along, I woke up around 5 a.m., uncomfortable. I got in the tub, which had recently become the only place I could relax. As I lay in the tub, I noticed my abdomen was tightening with some regularity. While not painful, I was more and more aware that it was happening. When Craig awakened, I asked him to time them for me. A minute long, five minutes apart. Maybe something was happening.

I called the midwives around 8:30 a.m. and they told me to come in that afternoon, and to rest as much as I could. Which, to my ears, meant: "Go out to breakfast and take the car through vehicle inspection!"

The contractions kept on coming, still not painful, but enough to notice. And at the midwives' office, an internal exam found me at 2 c.m. dilated, not really effaced at all, and the baby was very high. I left the office in good spirits, with the midwives telling me to call them if anything changed. They expected to see me later that night.

Not so much. That pattern? Kept on for the entire month. Braxton-Hicks contractions? I was beginning to think that I was crazy for wanting natural childbirth if I was so aware of these non-labor contractions. How would I possibly handle active labor? And this baby was getting really, really big.

Finally, the day before my mother's birthday (a full month after the first day of labor), the midwives had "the talk." My abdomen was measuring 48 centimeters, way more than "normal". My due date was still "fuzzy". The baby needed to be born. They sent me home with instructions to drink a bunch of castor oil and a few other tricks in an effort to send me into labor.

What happens next? You'll have to wait until tomorrow........

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Forty-eight centimeters?!?! Holy holy holy!

I'm impressed - I mean, I knew you were big, schockingly big, but that's like the equivalent of 11 mos pregnant!