Posted in Mother


Our daughter was born 5/22, 2 days after her due date. Ironically, the eve before my due date I was feeling a little low as I wondered if I might be pregnant all summer, but the very next day the back pain began, and the writing was on the wall. I ended up having a rather challenging back labor, which, about 30 hours later, resulted in a beautiful baby girl.

The two nights before she was born I didn’t sleep (the first for back pain, and the second for progressing labor)…. Just a few days before all this began the cervix was completely closed, thus leading to my feeling of eternal pregnancy. But that was not the case. I ended up having contractions as soon as the sun went down, and that night had strong contractions every 3-4 minutes… I phoned the midwife who thought I sounded rather chipper on the phone, and wasn’t believing I was as far as I was. She came to our home (what service!) around 4am to check me and I was 4cm…. off we went to the birth center. My husband had one hand on the steering wheel and the other on my back (which would continue for the whole labor). My doula had dropped off a TENS unit the eve before which I had cranked up to the highest setting for a lot of the labor. I arrived at the birth center around 5am, to a pleasant scene with candles and a tub at the ready. The back pain however overshadowed the relaxed atmosphere. I found my rhythm though and could not have done it without Penny’s class and the 3 R’s. Labor went on and on, in an out-of-body sort of way.

I got into the tub and sort of had some mini-melt-down moments which needed some redirecting – – my husband, the doula, my midwife, and my mom helped take charge, which really helped as I felt like someone had a hot glue gun in my sacroiliac joints every few minutes. Interestingly, my doula later told me that she saw my tummy contort in an odd fashion, which prompted her to ask the midwife to check position – – and we learned (or they learned as I was sort of out of executive function at this point) that her head was transverse and asynclitic. So out of the tub I emerged — and ended up in a chair with the doula on the floor with her feet pressing into my legs to open up my pelvis. The pain was really bad – all in the back.

I am glad that I had a natural delivery, but I began thinking between contractions about the whole arena of obstetric anesthesia and what a good idea that must be, which is humorous now but at the time was a bit much to bear. They then got me on the bed, doing gymnastics essentially, leaning over the birth ball with one leg up, trying to rotate her head into alignment. I sort of lost it at that point as I realized that this was probably not a normal labor. My midwife came up to me and asked if she could pray to Jesus to move the baby, and I said, “You can pray to whomever!!” She did pray, and my mom prayed. And I really think those prayers moved the baby as soon thereafter I had the sensation of pushing, which I hadn’t had before. I had been 10 cm dilated for a very long time, I venture to say a few hours, but I couldn’t feel any pushing urges due to the head position. But then finally, a huge amount of pressure that needed to be pushed, and I was the most grateful woman alive. They got me on the birth stool, and I pushed for about 30 minutes, and delivered my baby with my hands reaching down to grab her. I had watched her head descend in the mirror, which was the most captivating and unbelievable experience ever. She slithered out between gutteral screams and was pink, healthy, and almost immediately started sucking on her hands, quite hungry it seemed.

I remember before giving birth that I was very intent on not tearing, and thought that if I tore I would be rather upset about it. But at the time I could have cared less about any tears – I wanted her out so desperately. A 2nd degree tear seemed rather merciful given the prolonged labor and everything else that had gone on. I was so exhausted at the end. I literally hadn’t sleep in 2.5 days and felt like someone had unplugged almost all of my neurons. I heard people talking around me but felt off on my own planet. I had a lot of oral fluids during labor but still felt so dry. They got me into the bathroom attempting to get me into the shower but I felt so weak. The midwife asked me if I could get into the shower or if I needed to lay on the floor. “Floor, floor” was all I could muster. I asked for an IV, which may or may not have been needed but my medical background (I work as a doc) guided me so and perhaps it was a comfort measure, or some sort of piece of mind. My husband ended up placing an IV in my hand, a gesture of love if I ever knew one. (He’s a doc). I got some fluids which eased my mind mostly and then took a nice shower. I was still so exhausted and feeling unplugged in a weird way. It felt odd to get in the car so soon thereafter. My doula had made a nice run to Trader Joe’s for watermelon and yogurt, two things I was craving at the end of delivery. We got home with our little E and she kindly slept with us for a nice 4 hour stretch before the diaper routine began in earnest.

She is sleeping better now, and quite a mellow and tolerant soul. (She likes the bath, which I attribute to my swim team days. 🙂

She was 8 lbs 13.5 ounces, allegedly 19 inches but at one week at the peds office was 21.25 which is probably more like it. She has my husband’s Asian features, which I love so much. It is so easy to fall in love with these little creatures. Life seems totally different. The placenta is in the freezer as we haven’t had a moment to do a print with the doula yet. My family thought that was very odd. I remember hearing that my friend planted her placenta in the garden a few years back, and at the time that seemed too “new age” for me. But now it feels quite normal. There is a closeness with the placenta that I felt — a sort of gratitude perhaps for all that it did for the both of us. My midwife had me feel the pulsations before it became pulseless. That was a cool moment. I even got a little sentimental when she woke up a few mornings ago without her cord stump. I searched the bed for it and it took me more than a day to throw it out, which my husband thought was very strange. 🙂 Little milestones.

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