In honor of Mark’s first birthday, I’m sharing his birth story with you. It’s very long so my feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t read the whole thing! It’s so long, in fact, that I’ve broken it up into four parts. Here’s part one and part two.
(I’ve written this as a letter to Mark.)
Between 1:00 and 4:00, Baba and I walked and walked and walked. There is a synagogue across the street from the birth center and it has a big parking lot with a field next to it. So we walked many, many laps around that place. Thankfully, it was an abnormally warm January day because I hadn’t even brought a warm coat (not figuring I’d need to be walking around outside). Around 2:30, my water finally broke (just a little bit) and we were so glad to finally see some progress. During this time, I also did a lot of bouncing on the exercise ball, trying to get you to move into the right position for birth. I bounced so much, my muscles got sore! At 4:00, the midwife checked me and I was finally 5 centimeters dilated. This meant that I was also finally allowed to get into the birthing tub, which I had been wanting to do for hours. I was in there for some time (maybe an hour) but the water was too hot and I overheated. So I had to get out to cool down. Sadly, I never did get to get back in. My contractions were slowing down when I was in the water and Lucille was worried that they might slow down too much. So I started doing much of my laboring sitting on the toilet, facing the back of the toilet. Your poor Baba – I was crushing his hand a lot through that time!
We also did a lot of laps through the hallway and kitchen at the birth center, trying to walk you out. I would stop to breath through a contraction while leaning on Baba and then keep walking. I was really tired of that hallway by the time this was done! At some point during this time, I developed a sharp pain in my lower back, which didn’t go away. So it wasn’t contraction pain. This was probably the worst pain of the labor! The contractions were totally manageable but I just wanted you to be born so that other pain would go away! (Later, my chiropractor told me she thought that pain was probably because your head wasn’t optimally positioned and so was pushing where it shouldn’t have been.)
By 8:30, I was finally 8 centimeters dilated – but all that work and only 8! So I kept on breathing (a special breathing pattern that Lucille gave me to use), crushing Baba’s hand through the contractions, walking, eating chocolate almond granola bars (it’s a good thing we brought a lot), drinking water and grape juice, and sitting on the toilet. For awhile, I rested on the bed and kept asking (begging!) if I could get back in the tub. Lucille kept telling me, “Just a couple more contractions and then we’ll see!” But the truth is, they were worried that my body was too tired at this point to deal with contractions slowing down so I don’t think they ever intended to let me get back in.
At 10:00 pm, after so much hard work, Baba and I looked at each other and decided that you probably just didn’t want to have a cool birthday like “one three one three” and that you probably weren’t going to come out until the next day or maybe not ever. We held onto each other, looked into each other’s eyes and tried to prepare ourselves for what we thought was a really long road ahead of us. (In the meantime, I was still having lots of really strong contractions so we should have known better!)
to be continued…(part four)