Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bean's birth

You ready for more? We just celebrated her 5th birthday with a blowout party...{the very reason we don't do it every year} so let's start at her beginning. getting this in print...if you enjoy it, all the better.

Cruising right along, we were thoroughly in love with and enjoying our baby boy Bug. What a sweet baby he was...he was easy on my parental naivete. He was a good nurser, had an intoxicating giggle, a perfectly round head and the beginnings of red curls. I felt {and still feel} immensely privileged to accept this new position of mom and be able to stay home with him all day, every day. I continued my tutoring, but had a student coming directly to my house while Bug was napping. Worked perfectly...most days. 

Just after he became a year old,  his nursing was less frequent. I was sad, but I suppose I wanted my body and schedule back a little. We traveled on a retreat with our church's youth group and once we arrived home, he was pretty much finished. That was April and he was 14 months old.

You know what happened next...within a month I suspected I was pregnant. It was a weekday morning when I got up and took the test and I snuggled back into bed with a listening ear tuned in to the early morning murmurings of my little man. I think I even fell back asleep. Sweet Man was getting ready for work and he brought the test back in to me with a smile. Bean was on the way. 

So different than last time. It seemed my body was primed and ready for this pregnancy. I made sure to visit my chiropractor and began taking my progesterone supplement again.

Her pregnancy was fairly uneventful, except that I was so tired and couldn't sneak off and nap while I had my one year old on the loose. I remember coming up with a plan to let him play in our spare bedroom/playroom and sleep in front of the door to prevent escape. Well, his escape would at least wake me up. I was big faster than before and probably uncomfortable earlier. This time I didn't develop carpal tunnel, but she was sitting on my sciatic nerve....youch!

I saw the midwife who delivered Bug only once to have an ultrasound. I told her then that I was slightly disappointed in my hospital birth experience and surprised that she used medical intervention so readily {this is me, not so good at confrontation.} I left stating I would be having this baby at home. Back to Kathy I went. So exciting. 

Visits with her at her home were relaxed with Bug toddling around, playing with toys.  There were no internal exams...very little intervention. Just checking heart rates of me and baby, measuring of my belly, protein screening, and stepping on the scale. My protein was always low...{this is me, a carboholic.} Like our first, we did not know the gender of the baby.

The birth: Contractions began on a Friday. Very bearable and irregular. I cleaned and nested...clothes were tucked away in the dresser, cloth diapers organized, co-sleeper next to the bed. We had collected everything for our birth kit...towels, heating pad, plastic sheets, chux, etc. I splurged and bought raspberry candles for the birthing room. {And new toilet brushes for all 3 bathrooms. Very important.} The re-rented birthing tub was set up and ready to be filled.

Things continued that way through Saturday. Kathy and I had a couple of conversations. I didn't eat much, thinking that anytime my labor would really kick in. By the time Saturday Night Live was on, I was starving. Sweet Man made a huge bowl of kettle corn. I ate it. All. Fantastic idea. I slept off and on that night. 

By Sunday morning, things were happening. My midwife arrived before Bug was up. She asked me questions and was concerned that the little I had eaten the day before would not sustain me though the rest of the labor. She made me eat eggs and a couple cups of yogurt...again with the protein. We arranged for Mimi {my mom} to come and get Bug and deliver him to Opa {my dad.} Somehow, once he was safe and sound somewhere else, my body knew I could concentrate on the task at hand. 

Kathy and I took a walk in the frigid January air...I remember feeling silly waving to my neighbors as I was doubled over in a contraction. Back inside, my sweet friend and doula, Bekah arrived and my spirit immediately calmed. I rolled around the living room on my birthing ball as she filled me with labor tea. Kevin was upstairs filling the tub. Kathy gave me nasty-tasting herbal tinctures under my tongue to keep up my labor momentum.

I remarked how normal I felt...having a lovely conversation with friends, laughing...except this intense cramping would interrupt us. That and the fact I was in my underwear. Bekah encouraged me to go low with my vocal groans, from my belly...amazing how much that helped get me through the intensity.  I wouldn't even call it pain. Labor was so different this time.  Kathy examined me and declared me ready to get in the water.

Soon my mom returned, followed by my pregnant cousin, Carrie, and another dear friend, Molly. I was already upstairs in the tub. My contractions were strong and within 5 minutes of each other. Candles were lit in the dark room, Sarah Mclachlan was playing in the background, towels and receiving blankets were warmed, Bekah was reading scripture and taking pictures. Kathy's calm voice was reassuring and directing me. Sweet Man's strong arms helped me change positions and his touch made me feel safe.

I can't explain the difference I felt in my spirit with Bean's labor in contrast with Bug's. There was an assurance that I was made for this very experience. I never felt like I could not endure another contraction or had a fear that labor would go on for hours. Very different from Bug's birth where the pain was so intense I didn't want to face the impending agony of the next. With Bean, I was concentrating on one wave at a time and {kind of} enjoying the ride.

In a contraction, I would kneel against the side of the tub and when it was over, I would sit back against the heated wall. Changing positions in the water was so much easier than on dry land. Someone called down to the waiting ladies and they gathered in the room just behind me. It was time to start pushing. Everything started happening very fast.

{Here's where it gets a bit graphic...sorry. Or I could just post pictures...if you want. Ha!} I pushed through 2 contractions and Bean's head was out. As I waited for the next contraction I wanted to lean back again, but was afraid to sit down. My mom, Carrie, and Molly held their arms out and supported me as I leaned back  and bore the next contraction. Precious moment. 

And then baby girl was out...into her Daddy's waiting hands. He scooped her out of the water and lifted her to Kathy, who handed Bean to me. So perfect and peaceful.

A girl, born at 1:15pm on 1/15/06! We were immediately smitten. Sweet Man nuzzled into us and whispered his agreement to name her the name I had chosen. {He wanted another until he saw her.}

God had given us a birth experience more magical than I ever imagined. And a beautiful daughter through it all.


Debby said...

Love both Bean and Bug's birth stories. You made it sound so easy.

Jenni said...

Amy, I subscribed just in time! It's wonderful to relive your birth stories - you are inspiring me to write down my own also.
Love your blog, love hearing your beautiful voice in these words. I miss you.

Bekah said...

Wow, this was breathtaking reading this. And I was there and knew the ending! (well, everyone who knows Jo Jo knows the ending, ha ha) I remember like it was yesterday. So beautiful and so perfect and so awesome. You did awesome!

Gypsy Momma said...

@ Jenni - surely, write them down...if only for you and your family...miss you, too
@ Bekah - darling, you have a gift...if i only i had need of your services again...kidding {sort of}