“A baby, a baby, she will come to remind us of the sweetness in this world, what ripe, fragile, sturdy beauty exists when you allow yourself the air, the sunshine, the reverence for what nature provides…”
– Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser (in Literary Mama)
Alaina Diana was born at 11:15 a.m. on January 19th, 2011! She only weighed 7lbs, 8oz and was 20 inches. (My other babies were 8lbs4oz and 9lbs, 2oz.) I’ve sent a short-version birth story to a couple of friends over the last couple of days and decided I could work it up into a short blog post as well (of course, a full-length birth story will eventually follow). I actually had a little trouble getting started in writing about her birth—it was pretty uneventful until the end and I felt like the best description would be: walked around the kitchen, sat on the birth ball, walked around a little more, more time on the ball, hummed and ooohhhhhed, seemed as if suddenly things changed and I felt big, big things happening and then baby was born all at once! And, I caught her! Emotionally more than temporally, it felt like a long labor and I felt like I experienced less mind-body integration than with previous labors (the actual moment of birth was much more instinctive and powerful than with the other babies though). In general, lots was unexpected about this labor—-it lasted longer than I expected (about 5 hours that were serious, but some warm-up time before that too) and was somewhat erratic and I had quite a bit of back pain. Right before pushing, contractions were still 4-8 minutes apart and it was hard for me to assess where I was/how “active” of labor it was—I was thinking I could either be at the 3cm point OR the transition point! My water didn’t break until seconds before she was born and I felt like it REALLY needed to break, but wasn’t. My kids weren’t here, because her birth was during the day (also unexpected, and a Wednesday, not a weekend!). It was just Mark, my Mom and me.
After criticizing myself at length for being “too analytical,” “thinking too much,” and not letting “my monkey do it,” I experienced a spontaneous birth reflex and pushed her out in a kneeling position and it only took one contraction—her whole head and body came out all at once, no moment of crowning or head birthed and then body following, just a bloosh of entire baby. I caught her myself. Mom and Mark both missed seeing her come out, because the phone rang at the same time. My mom went to stop it and Mark was moving around to the front of me, and when they looked again, I was holding her (Mark says it was about 12 seconds). So, no birth pix :(
I did tear again, exact same extra-delicate and non-”traditional” place from what I can tell. Feels better than previous births already though–I know how to heal from this (even though I wish I didn’t have to).
My plan for immediate postpartum worked out perfectly and just like we planned. The midwife came about 40 minutes after the birth and checked blood loss. My doula was here about 20 minutes after and fed me a bite of placenta—and, I ate it! No gagging or anything!
I have very different post-birth feelings this time around—though I still had the “I did it!” moment, I felt less euphoric and triumphant and more relief and the feeling that, “we survived!” Blog posts about this will eventually follow…
And, did I mention that I caught her myself?! :)