It would seem that the more children one has, the less the miracle of life and birth would leave a significant mark. But this is not the case. Each time, I am more in awe, more humbled, and more changed than before. This time, it changed me forever.
“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear.” ~ Jane Weideman
Early Saturday morning, around 2am, I awoke to, what I assumed, was another worthless pain. But they kept coming....I didn't keep track, as I was more concerned about actually tuning it out and getting some semblance of sleep. Sleep had evaded me for almost 3 weeks straight, at this point. No position was comfortable. Every day at 4pm was like a virus attacking my body and I was attacked each night for hours and hours leaving me confused, and sore.
It wasn't all worthless, I would soon find out. Turns out those many weeks of utter annoyance did do something. They brought me to 5cms and 90% by the time my appointment came around last Wednesday. The appointment that I literally laughed at first scheduling seeing as how it fell after my due date. Two days after, in fact. I knew I wouldn't make it to that appointment.
God and baby had other plans. And I found myself at that appointment afterall.
My entire outlook on this pregnancy was to do a complete 180. To essentially abandon the method I had come so accustomed to. The method most of us choose: hospital. OB. Epidural. IV. Our pregnancies being treated more like diseases that we need "cured" of rather than just gently supported through.
Birth is natural.
I've had four previous births that weren't treated that way. Two of those births ended up being preemie births. Two more were inductions. One occurred because I was naive, the other was done to me because to them, I was broken when I couldn't get past 5cms after already being admitted.
I wanted to see if a change in care=a change in outcome. I wanted to see if I was "broken" when it came to labor and birth. I wanted to experience birth the way women for multiple millennia have experienced it: raw, peaceful, and without intervention.
I doubted myself after three weeks of prodromal labor. I doubted myself even more with two false alarms and I quickly saw my hope of a natural birth fading. I thought for sure I'd end up with a pitocin drip once again after failing to make it past 5 cms...once again. I still held out hope and prayed with every contraction, that God would allow the birth I'd dreamed of and had tried to achieve since after that very first birth. [The birth I had absolutely everything done to me. The birth I had to be woken up for in order to push. The birth, whose labor I completely missed as I was drugged to sleep through the entire thing. ]
The contractions that woke me at 2am on Saturday, became 10 minutes apart at 7:30. I thought nothing of it except for that these really hurt and I just wished I had slept more. I took a bath. I had a handful that were 7 mins apart afterwards. Didn't think anything of it again. Except after two of those, I had two that were 5 mins. And within just one full hour, by 8:30 they were stronger and every 3-4 mins.
After a few attempts, Mike got ahold of my parents and they came to watch the kids while we headed to the birth center in Statesville. I couldn't barely get out of the back door when I had two contractions a minute apart that left me screaming.
I pretty much screamed the entire 55 minute ride there. Some have always wondered what It would be like to race the clock against birth and barely make it to the hospital with just seconds or minutes to spare. We were that couple and we didn't even know it. (Yes, at this point, I was still doubting that these contractions were doing anything but just putting me in a bad mood again...really didn't think I'd have the baby.) I got there and couldn't even struggle out of the van before another contraction from hell began. After nearly ripping both Mikes and my midwife's shirts off from squeezing so hard, we went inside to be checked, once again. I never expected her to say anything but "you're still at 5", but what she actually said was "you're 8, you can get in the pool."
"I can't do this!", I said to her.
"yes, you can. And you already are. It'll be over soon."
And it was.
Just 10 contractions and five or six pushes later, our baby was born. In the water. Amidst a symphony of screams coming from my throat. My baby was here.
And I wasn't broken after all.
The gender remained a mystery for a few minutes more as I barely could process what had just occurred.
I knew it.
Mike was wrong.
And we named her Emma Bellamy. She was is perfection. And she picked her own birthday. And I don't think anyone could've picked any better.