Exuding Rainbows and Light

by arianne

My dear sweet middle child, Jamie, turns 4 years old today.  He is my sensitive, intuitive, clone of his mom beautiful child.  Exuding rainbows and light, he sees the world in a way I wish I could maintain every day of my existence.

He is, perfect.

I first started blogging in 2004, just a week or so before Jamie was born.  I felt like I was a watched pot, waiting to boil, and so blogging instantly helped by giving me an outlet.

I wrote Jamie’s birth story the day after he was born, still on the high that new babies bring.  As I read this, I laughed a lot, because my writing was so matter of fact on that day.  It’s long, very detailed, and obviously my own record of the event.  I didn’t want to forget a thing.

Below is his story.

Beauty, Untouched

It was eight days past the due date, I was feeling huge and beyond uncomfortable. The birth pool had been set up in my bedroom for almost two weeks and it was beginning to feel like a permanent fixture. I’d been having contractions every night the last few days that got regular, but went away when I went to bed. That Saturday night seemed no different. The contractions started, they didn’t hurt, just were a bit annoying. I asked Jacob to rub some herbal labor oil on my legs. While he did that I tried breathing deeply to get the full aromatic benefit of the oil. I told my mom and Jacob about the contractions, but made no big deal out of it since it was becoming a nightly ritual. We went to bed at midnight, but I couldn’t sleep. The contractions kept me awake, as did the wonder of “is this it?”.

By 2am, the contractions had been consistently 10 minutes apart, lasting about 30-45 sec and getting more intense to where I had to really concentrate on relaxing through them. I decided that, if this was IT, I needed to get Jacob and my mom up and have them start filling the pool. It supposedly took an hour to fill, and I was dying to be in that darn pool because the contractions had turned into the dreaded back labor I had with my first baby. Mom and Jacob both got up and began to peacefully prepare everything. My mom gathered the towels and got out the midwife’s supplies while Jacob got the hose and started filling the pool. The contractions were getting more and more intense and I needed to have my eyes closed, lay down on all fours in a fetal position and “hum” through them. More like a monk saying “huummmmmmmmm”. I felt that it was going to be a long time still because I could handle the contractions on my own. Looking back I realize that I only felt this way because my mom and Jacob kept the atmosphere totally relaxed and soothing.

Around 3am I happily got into the birth pool. It was the best feeling ever to be able to float around, relaxing through the contractions. With each one I would hold onto the side of the pool, close my eyes and sway my hips from side to side rhythmically making the Monk noises. For some reason this little routine was very relaxing because it kept me from freaking out about the fact that I was having very intense back labor. {For those of you who don’t know, with my first labor I had 43 hours of horrifically intense back labor. It traumatized me and I was afraid to go back into my bedroom, the place I had labored, not to mention afraid to have another baby.} I was getting a bit worried, because in addition to the intense back labor, the contractions were irregular. They were 4-6 minutes apart and anywhere from 30sec to 2.5min long. This was not looking good because this irregular laboring is exactly what happened before, and what made the labor take so long. I desperately did not want the same thing to happen, but more importantly I did not want to get anxious and fearful worrying about the what-if’s.

At 4am I got out of the pool to have some “down time” and see what happened with the labor when I wasn’t in the nice warm water. At this point we called my midwife, MaryLou and told her things were irregular, intense and not going away. She simply said to call whenever I wanted her to come, even if it was now. I really did not want her to come yet because I thought I had a really long road ahead of me. Sometime after this I took the secret weapon of labor remedies. It was a shot of Jagermeister and a homeopathic remedy for fear. While I labored on the bed I needed Jacob to do the “hip squeeze” because when he didn’t it felt like my hips were splitting apart.

Around 5am I got back into the pool and once again felt amazing relief. The pool made all the “regular” labor pain (the pain in front) go away so I only felt the back labor. This made things really manageable, and I quickly returned to the swaying Monk routine. It was so great being at home in our room, having the pool right there just 2 feet from our big king size bed. Why in the world do people want to labor strapped to a bed in a freezing cold hospital room? We quickly realized that the secret remedies were working because the contractions were suddenly getting closer, longer and stronger.

By 6am the contractions were 2 min apart and lasting 1-1.5 min. We realized it was getting close and that we should call the midwife (duh! She lived 45 min away! Why did we wait so long?). We also called my birth coach who was our birth class instructor for my first baby. We had become friends and she agreed to come to this labor and delivery and help me out. While Jacob was on the phone with these people I had to be holding on to my mom constantly. The contractions were SO strong now, and I couldn’t bear them by myself. I needed someone to hold on to. I commented to Jacob that it felt like I’d be pushing soon. I’m sure if I had my eyes open Jacob’s face would’ve shown a TINY bit of worry since no one was there yet that knew how to catch a baby! I remember thinking, Jacob was a catcher on his baseball team in high school, we’d be fine. Yes, I actually thought that and I was serious. It’s so funny the weird stuff we think is totally normal while we are in labor!

I was on my knees in the pool, doing the swaying Monk routine (the Monk part getting much louder and lower in sound) when people started arriving. I could feel the baby moving down and getting very low. It seemed like it wouldn’t be much longer, but I was not getting my hopes up because it had only been 2 hours since the labor got active. It was 7am. I was feeling like I would need to push soon and I started to get a little panicky because no “professional” was there yet. Just at that moment my friend the Coach arrived. I barely opened my eyes and told her I needed her. She took over the spot my mom was holding and started talking in my ear. She was so encouraging and said some really great things to help me visualize what my body was doing…all of which I totally can’t remember right now.

A short while later (maybe 5-10 min?) my midwife arrived. I was in such incredible pain and OH THE PRESSURE DOWN THERE! that I wanted her to check me immediately. I just HAD to know what my progress was! She said I was 7cm. Everyone in the room felt this was good (its the beginning of transition) but I felt like it wasn’t far enough along. After all, I felt like pushing!

Soon after, I felt my body doing some incredible things. I could feel the baby getting low, OH SO VERY LOW!, a feeling I didn’t have with my first since I had the epidural. I could feel everything inside me stretching out. The feeling is more than pain, its INTENSE. It’s such an amazing feeling, and you have absolutely no control over it. You are just an observer of your own self. I also felt my body start to push on its own at the end of each contraction. At this point the midwife came over to check me again to see if I was completely dilated already. I was, and it had only been about 20 min. From 7-10cm in 20 min! No wonder it felt like my body was ripping apart inside. All this time no one was really saying too much, I only heard my Monk noises and some whisperings in the background. I had my eyes closed for most of this, but would occasionally peek out and see them preparing this and that. I got way too distracted if I opened my eyes, so I kept them closed, squeezed the Coach’s hands as hard as possible and Monked through the contractions. I forgot to mention that, by this point, Jacob had gotten in the pool with me and was sitting behind me. I can’t remember what he was doing, but I know at some point he was touching me and I said, “don’t lean on me!” really loudly.

The next parts went very fast. Soon, I wasn’t just pushing at the end of the contractions, but through the entire thing. I wasn’t really pushing on my own, my body was doing the pushing. Its almost scary how much power is in that uterus! At some point I asked, “can I push?” and they laughed and said, “of course!”. I started pushing harder with each one, and began to lose my concentration. The pain and pressure were too much and I didn’t think I could do it. My Coach kept talking to me, asking if the pain was in front or in back. She said that if it was in front I needed to isolate that pain and push through it. I told her I didn’t know where it was (ha! I couldn’t do any higher thinking at that point like knowing where I was hurting.). My midwife came to check me and had me feel the baby’s head. It was so nice not having to get out of the pool at all to do all these head and heartbeat checks. They just did it all under the water. I felt his head “right there” and it was bumpy and hairy. I couldn’t believe it was “right there”, and it scared me a bit. The “ring of fire” kicked in at this point. I thought of saying, “the burning! oh the burning!, but then I though that would be cliché so I didn’t say it. The analyzing–even during labor!

The midwife said that the baby may be stuck on my pubic bone and if I’d lean back he could go under it (I had been on my knees leaning forward on the side of the pool the whole time). I really didn’t want to lean back because it hurt so badly, but I wanted it all to be over even more.

I leaned back into Jacob’s arms and felt the baby’s head come out (oh the burning!). The midwife reached into the water and took the cord off his neck. The next thing I knew his whole body slipped out of me and I picked him up and brought him up and out of the water and laid him on my belly. I remember thinking “wait…what the??…holy cow I just caught my own baby!” I had only pushed for 20 min, only about 2-3 pushes where I really tried. It was 8:19am.

It felt so good at that point because I was still in the warm pool and it really soothed all those aches and pains. Jamie Reed just laid peacefully on my chest as I laid back in Jacob’s arms. It was so beautiful! I felt like a superhero, like I could do anything! Jamie laid on me and cried softly, but quickly snuggled into my breast with his eyes closed tightly. The water was pretty mucked up by this point and everyone (including me!) wanted me to get out of the pool. I stood up and there were a bunch of people surrounding me. Jacob in the pool, me holding the baby with his cord still attached, the Coach, the midwife and her assistant, my mom, my pregnant sister in law, my younger sister, and I don’t know who else! They were worried about me standing up and moving to the bed on my own, but I felt great! I wasn’t even hurting (yet!). I lifted my leg to get out of the pool and heard/felt a huge splash. I hilariously stated the obvious, but something no one noticed but me, “was that my placenta?”, and everyone stopped in their tracks. The whole gang immediately had me sit back down into the water because the baby was still attached to the placenta that was now at the bottom of the pool. So, next Jacob cut the cord, and then I finally moved over to my bed. MY OWN BED, PEOPLE. Seriously, the best feeling on Earth. Hospitals don’t have king size pillow-tops, you know.

At this point they checked the baby out quickly and gave him back to me. I was thinking it was all too good. Active (i.e. NOT irregular) labor kicked in around 6am and he was born a little over 2 hours later! Jamie was doing great, I was totally with it and living in the moment (unlike the first birth when I was totally out of it mentally). I was sitting in my own bed, watching people, instead of so drugged up I couldn’t stand up. They were emptying the pool and cleaning everything up. The Coach and the midwife were sitting on the floor in my room chatting and eating bagels. Jacob was making coffee. It was just too good to be true!

My two year old, Charlie, came in at this point and wanted to know who, or better, WHAT I was holding. We introduced the two brothers and enjoyed watching Charlie kiss him and touch him. The midwife examined me and I only needed two stitches. That whole process was over quickly and before I knew it everyone was leaving and it was just Jacob, Jamie and me. There I sat, in my own home, in my own bed, soaking in the beauty of my newborn son.

Birth, the way it should be. The way I wish every woman could experience it. Untouched, undisturbed by any outsider. Just God, my husband, my baby, and me. It was so empowering and so humbling all at once. I will never forget it.

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