Sunday, October 31, 2010

Convoluted Emotional Implications, Part Four:

(oops. forgot to set this one to auto-post!)

I have no idea what time I finally got my head in gear, or what time the midwife called her assistants and we all got down to business. But I will never, ever forget the last part of my labor with James. I've heard women describe the pushing part of their labors as a virtual out-of-body-experience and now I know exactly what they mean. Once I finally "turned off my brain" I felt as though I was standing beside the birthing pool watching myself labor, only I knew and felt exactly everything that was happening to my other self. I was so hyper aware of every sensation, I almost felt like I was narrating the experience, like I was writing the story of what was happening to my body... I know. That sounds superweird. I don't really know how else to describe it.

It was the first time I've been through pushing without having to blow and pant and Not-push, waiting for the last two cm of cervical lip to think out. But this time! None of that! Praise the Lord! And the interesting thing was, I never got to that mind-blowing, irrisistable NEED to push. I didn't even push on every single ctx. I'd push, then not push, then push a little, then push with all my might! I don't really know how long that went on-- I was totally out of it :)

Then I started to be aware that I was actually pushing a Thing, not just bearing down, not just muscles contracting, but something being moved by my effort. I mean, I started to really feel his head and body descending. So different from the other births where, once I could finally push, I just mindlessly pushed with every ounce of strength until they flew out! This time I could feel everything. It was awesome. I reached down to feel his head inside and felt something not-head coming along-side. I asked the midwife to check it out. Blast. That rotten cervical lip-- swollen and holding things up. She easily pushed it up out of the way on the next ctx.

And then crowning! Which was awful. Awful and wonderful at the same time. It lasted forEVER. I bitched and moaned about that quite a bit, but the midwife reminded me that was good-- meant I was less likely to tear. And then his head was out. And then there was this looong, eternally long, contraction-less pause, while Jamie tried to make up his mind which way to turn. He twisted and wiggled and kicked and finally turned and one more push-- he whooshed out into the water. Oh, thank GOD, it's finally over! And reach down into the water-- I could see him in the water, looking up at me and then he was on my chest and he was finally HERE! Thank GOD! It was OVER!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Convoluted Emotional Implications, Part Three:

It's about 5:00 am (I think), I'm at 7 cm. The midwife is here, ready and waiting. J is getting excited again. I am still waiting for the ctx to stop so I can go to sleep and have this baby... maybe Monday, or something. I remember doing a lot of squatting and a lot of sitting on the toilet. I was in and out of the pool, afraid to stay in for very long, since the ctx spaced out dramatically in the water-- even at SEVEN CENTIMETERS. Can you see why I was still thinking I'd be pregnant for another few days at least?

Since I'm titling these posts "Convoluted Emotional Implications", let's talk about my emotions at this point. I had stopped crying, but I was still caught in this web of not wanting to "do this". As I got to the point of beginning to push, I remember crying out "No, no, I can't DO this, make it stop, I don't WANT to" with each ctx. I know. I admit it. I'm such a baby. In between ctx I felt bad about it, if that makes it any better. I remember turning to the midwife and saying "I'm really not usually this high maintenance." (Which is totally not true. Ask anyone in my family.) As the ctx (finally!) got closer together and began to last two or more minutes, and I was pushing with almost every ctx, I started to get more and more frantic. I felt caught, stuck, trapped.

And here's where that quote from the old hymn comes in:

Trust and Obey
For there's no other way

J and the midwife each said something to me that marked the turning point in this whole experience. First, J got up in my face, during one really bad ctx when I was nearly out of my head with resisting and fighting it, and said "Listen to me, you've got to stop this. Stop saying you can't do this. I don't say want you to say that any more. You can do this, you've done it twice before, and you have to do it. There's no other way."


It hit a nerve somehow. I quit saying "I can't". Instead I looked at the midwife and said "I don't know what to DO. I can't figure out how to DO this." And she said "You don't have to DO anything. Stop thinking so hard about it. Turn your brain off and let your body do its job. It's doing fine. I understand why, after all these weeks of your body messing with your mind, you'd have a hard time trusting. But this baby is coming NOW and you've got to trust that your body can do this."


And right then, I swear, that's the first time I actually realized that I was having a baby. Right now. Any second. I turned my brain off (actually, I'm pretty sure that was Divine Intervention). And that's when it started to get Awesome.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Convoluted Emotional Implications, Part Two:

So, it's now 9:00. J is sleeping in the living room on the couch so his snoring (wait, what? J? snoring? did I just say that out loud??) won't keep me from being able to sleep. But then, lo and behold, the ctx start up again!

Let me pause for a minute and say positively that regardless of the fact that it wasn't until this point that I actually began to dilate consistently, these were absolutely the exact same ctx that I'd been having since early Friday morning. Same intensity, same length, same spacing. And up until I was pushing, they never got any closer than five minutes apart or longer than a minute. So, whatever you skeptics want to call "real labor", I say phooey. Labor started early Friday morning, regardless of when dilation kicked in.

So I lay in bed for a few hours, trying to sleep between ctx. I finally gave up and woke J at around 2:00am (I think). We talked and contracted and prayed and wondered when this would all just stop so we could get some rest, since we "obviously" weren't in "real" labor yet. We actually got to the point of talking about the possibility of going to the hospital, since at this point I hadn't slept in 48 hours and was beyond exhausted. I don't know exactly what we were thinking we'd DO at the hospital, but we felt like we'd reached the end of our ability to cope. I started crying again. This time just because I was tired and miserable.

At this low point, God brought to mind somethng from Judah's birth. Sometime during that day of labor, the midwife checked me and mentioned that my cervix was still "rigid." She took about six EPO capsules, popped them and applied the oil to my cervix. It softened up and began to dilate much more quickly-- I think I went from 4cm to 7cm in about an hour, and then from 7cm to pushing him out in another hour.

So that's what we did. By now, J thought I was about 5 cm, which would have been good news, but I refused to believe him. He was greatly encouraged and called the midwife. He asked her to come alone and only call her assistants when she felt birth was imminent. That was such a relief to me, not to have so many people crammed into the room-- especially people I didn't know.

When the midwife arrived, she checked me again (so much for me not wanting to have any cervical checks :P ) and now I was 7cm (gotta love that EPO-- keep it in mind, ladies). But I didn't believe her either! I had by this point completely convinced myself that I was NOT in labor.

And the next part of the story will explain the quote I posted at the beginning of this saga.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Convoluted Emotional Implications, Part One:

When we first moved here (I'm going waaay back to the beginning) our intention was to rent very short-term and try to be in a house by the time Jamie was born. As we began our search, we quickly realized that it would take an act of God to get things moving that fast. We began to resign ourselves to cramming three kids into this tiny apartment. Or at least, J did. Right up till the last minute I was still holding out hope that we'd somehow make it in time.

Most of you know that a few short weeks before we moved, our friends suddenly and unexpectedly lost their baby girl to an unknown virus. Also, my sister had just had a baby and sent her husband back to Iraq for the final months of his deployment. Picking up stakes and moving away when all of them were in such pain and sorrow was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I felt as though I had abandoned some of the people closest to me in a time when they needed me the most. I think it's an "oldest child" issue...

J and I lived in Virginia for over 20 years. It was home. Moving here-- leaving the only home our kids and our marriage had ever known-- was very hard. It wasn't a move we "chose". We left out of financial necessity. We came here specifically because we felt it was where the Lord was leading us and we've continued to feel that it was the right choice to make, but it was/is still a hard one.

So the last months of my pregnancy were fraught with emotions-- above and beyond the normal pregnancy hormone emotions. To say the least. During the day on Friday, as I progressed through the early stages of what turned out to finally be "real labor", it all came crashing down on me. For about two hours, right before the midwife came, I cried with each ctx. And cried. And cried. I think that's what made J decide to call them.

I cried because I couldn't go outside and walk around in my own yard. I cried because Judah and Sofi had no one that they knew to come and care for them (although people from church offered, Judah was still so shy and fearful at that point that we decided to keep them with us). I cried because my mom couldn't be there. I cried, remembering Gwen's tiny little perfect body that looked just like she had the last time I held her, only she wasn't there anymore... I cried thinking about not being able to sit and nurse Jamie while Susi nursed Gracie and we joked about who's baby was fatter. I cried when the midwife came in and set up the stuff because I didn't want to have my baby here, in this strange place, with all these strangers around (one of the assistants I had never even met), in this cramped place where we couldn't even walk from one side of the room to the other without crawling over equipment and furniture.

As I look back on those afternoon hours, I think I really just talked myself out of having that baby right then. I wanted so badly NOT to do it that way, that I simply didn't.

So then, at 8:00, everything just stopped. The midwife checked me-- 2 cm. Everyone packed up and left and J went to lie down to try to get some sleep.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm pretty sure God put me on earth as a cautionary tale for other women.

And then He gave me a blog so I can tell y'all all about it.

Today, in preparation for our evening prayer time (which we JUST started attending) with several families from J's school, I spent the entire Florida still-summer-even-though-it's-October afternoon slaving away in a hot kitchen in order to impress our new community with my hot buttered dinner rolls.

When I went into the kitchen moments ago to remove the luscious dough from the bread machine where it's been rising, I discovered that I had inadvertently pushed the wrong button on the programmer-thingy and my bread machine had COOKED MY DOUGH. And not just like, baked it into a loaf, but rather cooked an entire batch of THREE DOZEN dinner rolls on the QUICK BREAD SETTING.


I've spent the last 20 minutes banging my fist into various surfaces around the apartment and trying to turn time back or figure out a way to get to Publix, buy more yeast and re-construct four hours of work in the next 50 min before we leave. J wisely took over and is headed to Publix to buy some of those tacky dinner-rolls-in-a-can instead. My Southern Soul rises up in rebellion within me.

Let this be a lesson to all of you who attempt to impress new friends with your baking skillz!!

*groans of agony and wounded pride*

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trust and Obey: The birth of James Oliver

Trust and Obey,
For there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to Trust and Obey

The succinct version first, for those of you that aren't into the whole emotional/spiritual side of birth and just want to know the basic facts: On Friday, Sept 24th I "woke up" after a loooong night of ctx to find that they didn't simply fade away as I began to move around the house as they usually did. Throughout the morning the ctx stayed a pretty steady 15 or 20 min apart, lasting about 30 sec. By early afternoon they were 5min and lasting 60-90 sec. As they began to get more intense (by, say 2:00), J got a little anxious and called the midwife to come with the pool. they all came over, set up and settled in. The ctx stayed intense and 3-5/60-90 all afternoon and evening. However, at 8:00, as J began to put the kids to bed, the ctx inexplicably stopped. And I mean completely stopped. They went from every 3-5 minutes to NOTHING just like that *snaps* It was a low point, let me tell you. We did a cervical check-- only two cm. TWO CM!! The whole crew packed up and left. J and I went to bed. Of course, as soon as I tried to lie down and rest, the ctx started up again. In about two hours they were back at 3-5/60-90. We called the midwife back at about 4 or 5 o'clock, at which point I was in transition, and Jamie was born at 6:58 am.

Now. On to the long version. The part where I dissect my mental and spiritual state and discuss all the convoluted emotional implications of the whole experience. Please feel free to move on if you're bored-- I won't be at all offended. Also, a warning. This is not a peaceandlightcandlesburningtriumphanthippymama story. That was Judah's birth, but not Jamie's, poor thing. But it's an affirmation to me of the choice of his name and a reminder of the quote Laura sent me:

Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

And the Peace that the Lord sends (that would be Jamie) is inexplicable, unexpected and totally unrelated to the circumstances in which one finds oneself.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jamie rocks out with Daddy

I'm still workin' on the Birth Story. In the meantime enjoy this video of Jamie during his "settling into bed" time. It takes about an hour of winding down after the older kids go to bed to get him settled, but then he sleeps till 7 with a few "dream-feeds". I am SO not complaining :)

I just love watching him stare into J's face. *blissful sigh*

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


And jealous that the Other Forsheys are home and we are not.