Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Aoife's birth


You will later learn the whole story of Liam's birth. I still cannot tell the story without crying. I can tell people about Charlotte and her death with an almost straight face, but I tear up when I think of his birth.
But he almost died, too.

I was terrified to be late with Aoife. Charlotte was 8 days late, and Liam was induced, but at 10 cm. was delivered by c-section because he was suddenly breech with (maybe?) his cord under him. So Aoife, I just had to wait for. And if she was too, too late? They might cut me open again to get her, too.

But I digress. Here is her story.
It was the 27th of March. Early in my pregnancy an ultrasound had said this would be my due date, but as it was only 5 days off of my period due date, I had kept the date of March 31 in my head. This day, the 27th, was a Monday. Our car was in the shop. Liam slept until 7:30 and I arose early. I had had some contractions in the night after some attempts (undisclosed) to induce labour and so took a long, hot shower (a real luxury with a toddler, you may realize) just in case I didn't get a shower for a while. Through the next 2 hours I had some contractions every 15 minutes and then they stopped. As I knew they would.
What a day Liam and I had. We just played. We drew with chalk and wandered around the yard. He had a "pointer", a long stick that he would use to find the bulbs that were poking their heads through the damp spring earth. We were together and we did what our hearts told us to do.
Later in the afternoon, I looked at the calendar. It was the 27th of March. The ultrasound due date and also one of 5 days around my due date that Trudy, the nurse that had accompanied us for the births of Charlotte and Liam and was now our family's fairy godmother, would be working. I said to myself, "I guess that baby's not coming today". It was already 3.
When Liam awoke from his nap I took him for a long walk, down the street past the dairy farm to see the horses, and I was contracting intermittently this whole time. I am a big contraction girl. All through my first 2 pregnancies I contracted all the time. So this meant nothing. And they were random.
Until I got home, and listened to a message from Greg saying he would be skipping that evening's class at UMass because he felt a little sick. A few minutes later, around 4:35 or so, he came home. About 5 minutes later I had a real contraction. And 5 minutes after that, and after that, so that by 5 pm. I felt I couldn't comfortably ride in a car and really needed to see my midwife.
I was so scared that my water would break at home.
I settled Liam in his high chair and called Gina who would take care of him. She came in 10 minutes, and I was doubled over singing my birth song.
I kissed my baby boy and cried deeply as I walked out the door. My life alone with my little son, my saviour, was about to change forever. I hoped.
We arrived at our hospital and went up to the birthing center. Trudy met us with hugs. She had pilfered some flowers from a departing family's room and put them in our room. Our midwife, Amy, checked me. At this point I was half expecting to be sent home in false labor. 6 1/2 cm. I was having my baby. The monitor was on and her heart was still beating.
I was so happy. I had my Greg, and my Trudy, and that was all I needed. I didn't even really need the midwife. Trudy knew us so well, and Greg was so good at this. And so was I. I sat on the birthing ball and sang my song, over and over, a deep, Jacob-marley-esque dial tone of a noise, and as a contraction subsided I would lapse back into the conversation I had left behind.
3 hours later I knew it was time. Amy checked me and I was almost ready to go. Could I push? I had a little rim of cervix left.
Amy asked me if I could roll over on my side so she could just look as I gave a little "trial" push to see if the half-centimeter or so of cervix that was left would give with a little push. Strangely, as I gave her this field of vision and relaxed on my side, my contrations stopped for a minute. Maybe 3. It was a welcome reprieve. I was so happy. The baby's heart still beat strongly.
I gave my sample push. Down came the head. Trudy said, "You're having a baby!" and with two more pushes my little baby's head was out, and her shoulders, too, and I reached beneath her shoulders and pulled her to my chest, tiny and pink, covered in vernix.
She was so quiet, but she squeaked and groaned and nuzzled in like a kitten. As I had asked her to, Trudy covered my baby in a warm, white blanket so that nobody, not even us, could see the sex. I wanted to enjoy my baby here, in life, as I had in the womb, as an anonymous somebody who I loved with all my heart. This birth had happened so fast, and so beautifully, and she was already here, and I just needed to be with her for a minute before we moved on to the next stage.
She bleated like a little lamb. She looked different from Liam and Charlotte! I was surprised to see this being who did not resemble my two first children, who had been so alike. Finally I couldn't wait any longer. I peeked beneath the blanket and cried.
"I never thought I would bring another baby girl home," I said, and everyone in the room sighed pretty hard. I was weeping, but not like when Liam was born, because this birth had happened so smoothly and with so much joy and even confidence that I just wanted to trust this little girl, and I knew she was meant for me.
Of course. Of course this was the child for me. As Liam had been who he was, a calm, loving, beautiful little boy, who looked enough like his sister to reassure me that she lived alongside his spirit, but yet was a little boy to help me to know how very different they were. And now, two years and 11 months later, my next little girl, to give me the knowledge of having a daughter here to love.
Everything about baby Aoife was calm. She never, ever, ever, cried. She slept peacefully and nursed well. She loved to be held and would sleep on anyone. Aoife, Aoife. My sweet little girl number two. Have I ever told you the peace you bring me? You are without holds. You are mine. You are you. How I love you.

1 comment:

hippeemommy said...

I am reading (crying) my way thru your blog. Your words are heartfelt, poignant and just...amazing. You are a strong woman, and I am honored to read your words.