Bala’s Birth by Melinda
Thursday, 23 October 2008 10:32
Announcing the birth of Bala
It’s an astronaut!
Poem by Joe
Bala’s birth began with premature rupture of the membranes(PROM), a very slight trickle at first so that I was not very sure about it (I wonder if this was going on for several days). An hour later, I started having small but unmistakable gushes of fluid along with sporadic contractions. I got so excited. I could feel the adrenaline pumping, knowing this was gonna happen soon. (Four post-term pregnancies had me anticipating the worst, like April 10-14). I closed up shop a half hour early and went home to get things in order. My kids became very hyper and I kept trying to impress upon them that the birth was a long ways off. Meanwhile, I sorta want Joe to express some excitement but he seems to act like nothing out of the ordinary is happening.
About Joe, he has never read a book about pregnancy, asks very few questions….. I had 3 babies before having children with Joe and I never required him to be more knowledgeable to meet my needs. In fact, there were just 2 requirements for Joe at this birth. #1 At no time appear to be bored and impatient for *something* to happen. #2 Read the 1 page handout from the midwife on emergency childbirth (I’m not sure he did this). I told Joe that I just wanted to be left alone during labor but he was welcome to participate during the actual birth.
I think that after getting the kids to bed and I am alone in a quiet place labor will kick in. No way. The sporadic contractions I had throughout the day disappear, I can’t even stimulate one with nipple or uterine massage. All through the night and the next morning there is not one sign of labor and I was really feeling discouraged because that arbitrary safety point of 24 after PROM was rapidly approaching. Joe gets up and goes to work which I thought was discouraging too but I suppose it was better for me not to have a group of people just siiting around waiting. I had Joe run down to my store before going to work and bring me a bottle of castor oil.
I was not only discouraged but worried about how my midwife was going to want to deal with the membranes being ruptured past 24 hours. Such a simple thing can really threaten your plans. I HAD to get labor going and castor oil was really the only option left to try. I have tried this stuff in previous pregnancies and now just smelling this stuff can make me gag and feel nauseous so I creatively started pouring castor oil into gel caps (12 per tbls) and took one tablespoon at 11:00 and one at 12:00. At exactly 1:00, intense contractions started 2-3 minutes apart for exactly one hour then totally quit. I was sooo discouraged. I went to lay down in bed thinking this is going to be the birth that never happens and that I was going to end up in the hospital with every major intervention they offer (maybe more just for spite). Determined for one last try I plan to do the maximum dose of castor oil, 2 oz followed 2 hours later by 2 more oz. There is no way I can capsule and swallow about 100 pills in that time frame so I had to risk tasting it. I mixed it with carrot juice and chugged it. It really wasn’t too bad. I think maybe the Home Health brand doesn’t have as strong an odor and taste as drug store castor oil. After my noon experience I am expecting contractions to start in two hours (6:30).
At 6:30 sharp contractions start. I hurry to finish dinner and eat so that I can go for a walk and be free to squat etc. in an effort to move the baby down against the cervix more. Contractions were intense from the very first one and become stronger on my walk. I could definitely feel they were dilating type contractions. I returned to walk about my yard and thought about some culture I heard of where they hang a rope for the laboring women to hang on during labor. I happened to have several trees with branches that looked about right so I tried hanging from them during contractions. By the time I’m walking back towards the house I am conveniently arriving at a flower bed as each contraction comes on and squatting down “to pull weeds”. I really should have acknowledged at this time that the intensity of these contractions already exceeded anything I had ever experienced before except maybe the last 2 cm of my very first birth but I am still afraid it’s just going to stop again.
Joe arrives home at 8:00pm, eats and sits at the computer to play a game. I can just barely sit through a contraction without doing some breathing and he still doesn’t show any excitement that I’m in labor and I wonder if I have made that clear to him. I figure there is time for that once I’m sure that labor is well established. He goes off to bed at 8:30. I decide then that I had better call the midwife before I settled down to relax (I had just checked and I was about 3cm, not too stretchy and still quite a bit posterior). No answer. I leave her a message that she ought to plan on being here by midnight. I really want Joe to realize what’s going on so I took him the phone and told him to call Freida’s paging service. Meanwhile I tried to tuck the kids in bed but had to make a mad dash for the bathroom. By the time I’m back downstairs and everyone’s now in bed Freida calls. It’s 9:00pm. I explain to Freida that contractions are 2-3 minutes apart unless I sit real still (and I think to myself that as soon as I get off the phone I am going to sit very still for awhile cause I feel like I’m losing control). Freida decides that she’ll leave for my house within 1/2 hour since contractions seem to be every 2-3 minutes and she says “sometimes women go from 3-10 quickly”. I tell her that’s fine as long as she’ll forgive me if I don’t give birth for 12 more hours.
As soon as I hang up the phone I have to make a mad dash for the bathroom again and end up needing to breath during the contraction and I wonder if this doesn’t feel just like transition. Then I make a mad dash for the bowl in the bedroom cause I feel like throwing up and I have to throw down the bowl to run back to the bathroom. This is when Joe gets up out of bed and for the first time seems to realize the birth will happen this night. I have in the past 30 minutes gotten to the point where I can only breath, curse, and squirm during contractions. I keep thinking that I need to relax and get in control if I’m going to be doing this for hours. At a lucid moment I check and I’m 6-8 cm dilated. The cervical opening was oval shaped and after talking with my midwife about this I’ve decided that I was probably 8-9cm dialated with an anterior lip. At this point I begin to realize that the midwife may not make if if I continue to dialate this fast and I mention this to Joe. I can see that Joe is somewhat concerned about me now as I’m obviously working very hard to stay in control and he has never seen me this close to losing it. A few minutes late,r I say again with more surity that the midwife isn’t going to make it and he gets a faraway look in his eyes and quickly leaves the room. When he returns I have him place some folded sheets and towels on my bed. (Since I missed the last appointment I still don’t have the birth kit that I was gonna purchase from my midwife). In between contractions I proceed to instruct Joe in the preparation of supplies. I had him get warm water for compresses, arrange the bulb syringe, scissors and blankets, fill the oil bottle.
As Joe prepares these thing he is becoming increasingly panicked. He says “Can’t you call the midwife and tell her to hurry. Sure Joe but she won’t be able to get here any sooner. Call your mother then. It’s too late for that. Listen Joe, I want you to hold that wash cloth on my perineum as the babies head is coming out. ”
At this point Joe sits down on the edge of the bed and puts his hand on my foot. He is shaking so badly and I push his hand off of me and tell him if he can’t handle this than just get out and Aleigha can help me. Aleigha immediately offers to take over and Joe realizes that he can’t stop this and pulls himself together.
I am ready to push. Let me say that it was just incredible to have my hands assisting the baby out. First to feel _no Cervix_ when I was completely dilated, how the head had moved so low, and the texture of his scalp all wet and scrunched up. I began to apply oil and massage the floor of my vagina to encourage the muscle to relax and stretch as I waited for the urge to push. With the first push, my fingers on the head, I felt him move lower. The second push I brought him to crowning but he slipped all the way back. (I felt sort of shocked that the baby came so close then completely sucked itself back up inside of me.)
At this point I’m telling Joe again how to hold that washcloth and if poop comes out to cover it up (though I don’t know how there could have been anything left). The next push Bala’s head crowned and was born. It seemed Joe would push him back in so I reached down and redirected the pressure he was applying then I began to support the tissues on the sides and top as his head came through. I couldn’t see much so I caressed Bala’s head with my fingers and when I realized I was touching his neck I remembered to check to see if the cord was around his neck.
I make sure that Joe knows not to stop supporting my perineum and on the next contraction Bala gushed out on the bed (he did not rotate). I scooped him up, he was coughing, and I suctioned him with the bulb syringe, covered him, and put him to the breast. Joe went to call his mother and Aleigha moved in to monitor for the placenta and we basically all hung out until the midwife arrived 1/2 hour later. Aleigha got to cut the cord. We spent the next several hours doing the newborn exam followed by a hot herbal bath for Bala & I. It was really neat to see Bala get all dreamy and relaxed when we put him in the water. (Oh yea, No tears, not even one of those splits in the skin that can sting so bad when you pee)!
Moira had fallen asleep and could not wake up to watch the birth so she didn’t meet Bala until morning. I think I feel a lot worse about her missing it than she does.
Joe thought the joke was on me because I had not wanted him to do anything during the birth. I thought the joke was on him because my fantasy was to give birth unassisted, a plan Joe would NEVER have consented to. He did manage to do everything I needed and I am very thankful for nature’s intervention to fulfil my fantasy and for one more healthy baby.