…Then a light bulb went off. I remember reading in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth about a mother making a horse lips sound as she pushed. I pushed making a silly horse lips sound, breathing air out of my mouth and it helped me relax everything and open up. “That’s it!” Gloria said. Keep doing that. Somehow it also made me connect deeper down to relax my sphincter muscle, another thing I’d read about in Ina May’s book. To be honest, if felt like pushing out poop. HaHa! If someone would have told me to push like I was pooping, it probably would have helped! Anyway, just a few more pushes like that and Poof!… my water broke. The nurse would check your heart rate through all of this and it was perfect.
I was lying on my back at this time so Gloria could continue to hold back the stubborn lip of my cervix. She had to take her hand out to rest for a bit because it started to cramp. Thank God she was there with me all of this time and knew what to do for my cervix. I wonder if this is one of the reasons why the midwives have such low C-section rates. A doctor usually comes in to “catch” the baby. Gloria was with me for long periods of time and was very proactive, yet respectful of my desires and plan. If she wasn’t there to discover and hold back my cervical lip, but at the same time allow my body to take the time to do what it needed to do, I could have very well needed a C-section. Not to mention that fact that I was allowed to do all of the movements and gymnastics I needed to help you move from posterior to an anterior position.
At this point, your Daddy was holding one leg and Kathy held the other back while I pushed. Kathy had them roll in a mirror so I could see. Whoa!! I was not expecting that. It was a giant mirror with a wood frame like an old rolling chalkboard. It took too much effort for me to focus on what I saw, but I’m glad I got to see a little bit. All those thoughts about not wanting your Daddy to look “down there” and how that might change his perception of my bits was long gone by this point. (You’ll understand when you’re older.)
My back was really starting to hurt again. I think the muscles were just cramped and tired from the back labor. Thoughts kept creeping into my head of not knowing how much longer I could handle this workout or how I would get through this. It wasn’t the pain, but the exhaustion. It really was like running a marathon and I just had to keep going until I was at the finish line.
It felt like my body was a train and it just kept getting faster and faster, like this force was taking over my body and I couldn’t stop it, but yet I felt so powerful and alive.
Kathy was rubbing on my back with such strength and your daddy was by my side the entire time encouraging me and telling me how much he loved me. You are so lucky to have him as a daddy. He is amazing. He was so strong and supportive, helping me relax and stay peaceful. The hypnobabies “push your baby out” CD was playing in the room. The messages and suggestions were so positive, telling me that each time I had a birthing wave (contraction) you were hugging me and I was so close to meeting you. All of these things together are what kept me going and kept the doubtful and fearful thoughts away, just pushing those aside with thoughts of focus and confidence. I knew I could do it. I didn’t give myself the option of giving up now. We had come this far and you were so close!
The nurse took over one leg and Kathy grabbed a hand towel. She gave me the other end and we did a tug of war to help me push. I pulled on that towel so hard that my arms and hands were so sore the next day. “Come on Clara!” I would say to you. “You can do this, you’re almost here. I love you Clara. I can’t wait to see you!” Your daddy kept telling me right in my ear “I love you so much, you are so amazing, Clara is almost here, you can do it, etc.” The love I felt coming from him was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. He was so present and in sync with me, with us. I needed his encouragement at this point. It gave me the momentum and confidence I needed. It was like he was holding me up and we were doing this together, all 3 of us. We were all working together as a family.
With the next push, you were crowning. Although it was too much effort for me to look in the mirror, your daddy was so excited when he saw the top of your head. Kathy told me to rest and not to push for now, to let you do the pushing now. Your heart rate continued to be perfect. I’m sure it was because there were no drugs in your body to affect it and because of my calm and peaceful birthing time. You crowned for 30 minutes! Gloria told me, “you have a vagina of steel”, which provided some great comic relief. The pushing didn’t hurt at all and actually was a relief. It felt better when I did push.
Next, I remember a team of people coming in to set up the baby station for you. Kathy said this was a sign that you were almost here. I needed to hear that. I seriously thought I was close when I arrived at the hospital 8 hours earlier! Nobody told me I’d was going to have a baby within the hour I had arrived, but I thought surely I was; especially when they told me in triage I was already 8-9 centimeters.
Soon, something absolutely amazing happened. All about the same time, Kathy, the nurse, your daddy, and I all noticed a sweet smell. Kathy said in amazement “do you smell that? It smells like birthday cake!” It certainly smelled sweet, like someone had lit a cookie candle or was baking cookies. The nurse said, “I smell that too!” I remember wondering if that was a perk of the hospital, that there was something they brought in to smell like cake for encouragement or something. Perhaps it was the power of suggestion, I don’t know. But, when talking about it to Kathy a few days after your birth, she said she had never experienced that before in the 700+ births she’s been to. Perhaps it was an angel. Whatever it was, we all smelled the sweetness.
You were almost here. With the next push, I felt your head come out and a burning sensation. “Ooops, I think I tore”, I said. Apparently it was funny how I dainty I said that. I guess I was a little too zealous with that push, but honestly I didn’t care that I tore. I was just glad for your head to be out after it stayed crowned for 30 minutes. It turns out your little hand was up by your ear, so it wasn’t just the size of your head that came out, but your arm at the same time. No wonder I tore! Your daddy said “she’s here, her head is out, keep going, you can do it!” He was like a kid in a candy store, he was so excited.
One more push and you were out! You climbed your way up to my chest. You were all slimy from the vernix and latched right on for your first feeding. It was 12:32 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010. Gloria asked your daddy if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord after it stopped pulsating. Before the birth, the thought of cutting the cord weirded him out, but then he changed his mind. I was so glad when he decided to cut the cord.
I remember seeing Gloria go towards my vagina with a gigantic needle of lidocaine to stitch me up. I was losing a lot of blood, so they had to put me on pitosin to stop the bleeding. Apparently my placenta was huge. Of course your daddy took a picture of it. HaHa! I was very foggy and cloudy at this point, so relieved that you were here, but I had this fear that I was dying. Everyone assured me I was going to be OK, but I was afraid because I felt so out of it. I had turned off any feelings of fear through my hypnobabies training, but then they rushed in after you came out. It was like I gave up after no sleep and pure focus for 2 full days. The nurse didn’t help because she was alarmist about everything. On a positive note, she told me she had been at this hospital for 30 years and had never seen anything like my birth. She was so amazed at the control I had and how peaceful it was. She was doubtful when I came in, but we made a believer out of her!
I don’t think of my birth as painful. It was an adventure, an exhausting one, but worth every moment. I’m so thankful I could experience that amazing ride.
After everything was cleaned up and I had gone to the bathroom, mom (your Nahnnie), Joyce (your Grammy), and Auntie Amy came in to see us. Amy surprised us by driving down from Oklahoma. I was overwhelmed with emotions when I saw them. Later, when it was just you, me, and your daddy, he said “It’s like looking at me!” The 3 of us were together with each other all through the night. You didn’t sleep in your bassinet at all. You would have none of it! You wanted to be close to us. Daddy brought his guitar and played, while I sang to you. You were so alert and observant. Later, Daddy put you in the moby wrap and you slept on his chest a few hours that first night so I could get some rest. What an amazing beginning to our lives together.