Archive for Birth

Ira Grant’s Story

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 21, 2009 by Whit.

DSCN1355 On Wednesday morning, February 18th, I went to a regular weekly appointment with my midwife, Shannon.  I was a week past my estimated due date, and definitely not feeling my best.  At my appointment, Shannon.  I had been in a stalled early labor pattern for about a week, which was getting very emotionally tiring.   

I had discussed my labor plan with Shannon throughout my whole pregnancy and she very much supported my wishes for a low intervention/low chemical birth.  In fact, she had birthed her own two children much the same way.  She suggested that I report to the hospital at 8:00 that night and she would break my water to induce labor.  Our only concerns were that a) breaking my water would take away my “cushion” and b) it would put me on a 24 hour countdown to baby whether I liked it or not.  Either way, Shannon would take care of me and support my birth plan as much as it applied.   I went home that afternoon and took care of some housekeeping, and spent some one on one time with my firstborn. 

After a good dinner at Panera with my mom, we arrived at the hospital.  (There was no way I was walking into this thing hungry!) We got settled in labor and delivery, and to my surprise, I was already contracting every 2 minutes, though they weren’t very painful.  Shannon broke my water around 9:00 p.m. and we tried to find something on tv while I sat in bed on the monitors.  My birth plan listed a lot of my wishes, but the main ideas were “I don’t want to be stuck in the bed,” “I’d rather do this thing on my own,” and “I know what my options are- don’t offer, I’ll ask…”   Some family came by to wish us well, but as labor started to pick up, they went home to get some rest and give us some privacy. 

After everyone left, I got up to move around and take a shower.  The rushes were getting stronger, and I couldn’t really talk through them anymore.  Ryan dozed on and off in a chair.  A few hours passed, and a nurse came in to check me around 3… I was only a little past 4 centimeters dilated.  “This is going to take a while,” I thought, and I settled myself in for a long night.  Around 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning, my contractions started to feel like more than I could handle.  I got in the shower again and crouched on the floor.  That was the only position I was comfortable in. I was having a hard time staying focused and relaxed and they were coming very fast.  IMy body was totally surrendered to what was happening.  As Ina May Gaskin says,  I was “letting my monkey do it…”

By 7:20 a.m., I called my nurse.  I wasn’t sure how much more I could take.  I thought, “I can’t be far along enough for this to be so intense.” I thought that if it was this bad now, what would transition feel like? Ms. Kaye (the best labor and delivery nurse in the whole world) came in and as soon as she walked in the room, I had a major contraction.  All I could tell her was “They’re back to back and there’s no rest.”  I had come to rely on the endorphin-laced euphoria of the valleys in labor to get me through the peaks.  She assured me that I wasn’t going to explode, held my hand, and told me to try to relax. 

Around 7:30, she checked my dilation and I had already made it into transition.  “Thank GOD” I thought… I thought I had probably only dilated a few centimeters more.  My midwife ran in a few minutes later  and I was so relieved to see her.  I got on my hands and knees in the bed and started to push.  They hadn’t even readied the room for a baby yet.  I had surprised them all by how fast things were moving.  After about 3 good pushing rushes on all fours, I wanted to change, so I moved around to a sitting position.  There was no telling me when to or not to push- in fact, I think if anyone had tried to tell me, I might have physically injured them.  I am most amazed at how involuntary Ira’s birth was. The human body really is an amazing thing. Another 2 rushes, and he was crowning.  On my next, he was out. 

At 8:03 a.m. on Thursday, February 19th, Ira Grant was placed on my chest for the first time.  He weighed 7 lbs, 10.9 oz after breastfeeding-who knows what his actual birth weight was- and was 20 inches long. He has a dusting of dark brown hair and the “Cleary crook"- a notch in his ear that all male children in his family possess.  So far, I think he looks like his big brother as a newborn, only with more hair.  He’s nursing like a champ and dozing in my arms as I type this.  As for Mama, I’m a little sore and I managed to score myself a few stitches.  I’ll take those as a nice trade off for only about 23 minutes of pushing.  We’re definitely looking forward to the weekend as a time to rest and bond as a family. 

Before Ira was born, I was so afraid.  I wasn’t sure how I would be able to love another human as much as I love Jackson.  I didn’t think I had the room in my heart for another one.  I even felt like I grieved the loss of Jack as an only child, and at times, almost resented the new baby for it.  A good friend shared with me that she had that exact feeling before her second child was born.  She promised me that my heart would grow to include this new little one.  Well, now that Ira is here and in my arms… I definitely understand what she was talking about.