My newest nursing adventure has begun!
I found out I was having a girl shorting after the new year began. My previous child, Josiah, was a surprise. We didn’t find out his gender and finding out at his birth was one of my incredible moments of my life. But alas, my husband isn’t big into delayed gratification and ruined all of my fun with this baby.
I didn’t think I really minded whether or not we had another boy or girl. I would be happy either way. But as I lay on the examination table with cold sticky gel on my belly, with everyone’s eyes glued to the big sonogram screen, a wave of terror washed over me when I heard “It’s a girl!”
What as supposed to be an exciting moment in my life was one filled with terror. So many questions. So many fears. So many memories. Choking back tears and forcing a fake smile I wipe my belly off and sit up off the table.
Apparently I have more emotional issues to deal with than I realized. More unresolved pain. Memories yet to be processed and reconciled.
My greatest desire in life is to have a pure heart. Sincerity and authenticity are among the most important qualities to me. If there is residual pain, fear, bitterness, resentment, all of that must be resolved, dealt with, and purified out of my heart and spirit. My gratitude that God blessed me with another sweet girl swells out of my heart. She has come to purify me.
My husband and I began the process of starting a new church last year. There is much to do. The timing of this pregnancy was not the most convenient. I didn’t have time to concentrate much on this pregnancy. It was like I was even pregnant for most of it. She was merciful to me. I had an easy pregnancy. Healthy. No issues. I battled swelling in the last trimester but a little rest and some supplements and it was easily manageable. She’s being merciful to me post birth as well. I have recovered faster from this pregnancy than all three of the others. With each baby, after birth pains get more intense. My after birth with Josiah was absolutely horrendous. I expected and prepared myself for even worse this time around. But Adeline has been merciful yet again. My pain has been minimal. Birth, that’s a different story.
With both my older girls, Loretta and Ruby, I pushed myself hard and went into labor 10 days early. I was sick of being pregnant. I didn’t believe in going past my due date. Whatever. (Yeah… my attitude was horrible.). Both girls were a struggle to nurse. Particularly Ruby. With Josiah I took it easy and desired to make it to my due date. The sucking reflex is one of the last things to develop. Loretta was born without a sucking reflex. We won’t even start talking about all of Ruby’s issues. She didn’t have issues. She had subscriptions. I learned my lesson and took it easy with Josiah and he was born healthy the day before my due date. He latched on immediately after birth and all was great. He began smacking a few days later while nursing, but a little lip-tie and tongue-tie revision and some body work, as we were good! Rainbows and unicorns.
I pushed myself too hard through my pregnancy. The last month I was completely done. I took it easy, rested plenty, let the house go to pot. Things were seeming okay. Then there was a birth party. Two days later my son woke up puking. Two days later, the girls wake up puking. The next morning, Thursday, I wake up with a fever and nausea. I take it super easy that day. I stayed in bed all day. I manage my fever so I can sleep and relax without the joint aches and chills. I do everything I’m supposed to. But what I was trying to avoid inevitably became my reality: Labor.
At 5am that morning I wake to do the normal, “I’m pregnant and can’t sleep through the night without peeing” thing. I receive a message from a friend asking me if I’d had the baby yet. “No. You’re crazy. I’m making it to 40 weeks!” *Contraction*
I hang out in the bathroom to make sure it was my imagination. Fifteen minutes go by and I have another one. This totally isn’t happening. I lay down in the bed. Almost falling asleep, I am awakened by another one. And they hurt bad. It is not the exciting early labor contractions. I breathe deeply, I can’t move out of bed into a bed position. It’s too late. My husband wakes up from my change in breathing pattern. I get in the shower and they start getting closer together. We call my mom inside. We call the midwife. Inflate the birth pool. They stretch back out to fifteen minutes. Aaaaaaaaaand stay there. All day.
Midwife checks me and can’t even reach my cervix because it’s so far back. She leaves. I’m not in labor. Just sick and having contractions because I’m sick. Except they won’t go away. All day. Sometimes they space out to 30 minutes, but they never et closer than 15 minutes. I text the midwife. I’m just sick. Rest. Drink fluids. Take magnesium. My husband feels bad for me. But I’m not in labor. I keep waiting for something to show that I wasn’t crazy. They contractions are very intense. Very painful. I call the midwife. Baby isn’t in the right position. That’s why it hurts and isn’t going anywhere. But I’m not considered to be in labor. Rest.
I never bleed. I never lose my mucus plug. Nothing. Just contractions. I’m on my hands and knees all day, trying to turn the baby. Trying to make it through the contractions. But I’m not in labor. I am in labor. But I’m not. If I was dilating, there would be evidence. So I’m not in labor. I’ve tried everything. They won’t stop.They won’t go away. They won’t subside or lessen.
Finally my husband has an urge to put pressure on my tail bone. Counter pressure. I’ve heard of this. And it feels good. So good. It helps me make it through the pain. Then the pain increases. More and more. Im desperate. I’ve got to try something else.
I go into the bathroom and fill my tub. On hands and knees in the tub. My sweet daughter, Loretta, pouring warm water over my back and my husband puts counter pressure. (Loretta is six and asked to be present for the birth. I prepared her by watching a series of videos that gently acclimates them to birth. I found the videos on a website.) I ask my husband if I have the purple line. He says I do and finally! Someone acknowledges I’m in labor! The baby is coming! Everything changes!
My mom leaves work and heads this way. The midwife leaves and heads this way. My mom is 30minutes from me. My midwife is all the way in St Augustine. It’s Friday, Good Friday, at 5pm. Traffic is a concern.
We start filling up the birth pool. My tub is in the corner and so there’s not a lot of room for me to lean over the edge. My arms keep going numb. My knees hurt from the hardness of the tub (even though we put a towel under me). I can’t wait to get in that birth pool. Lean over the soft spacious side.
Even though the pool isn’t yet filled, I get out of the tub because I just can’t take it anymore. I sit on the toilet so that I can easily stand and squat during a contraction. At this point, counter pressure hurts worse and I refuse to let anyone touch my lower back.
Suddenly my water breaks. Immediately my body bears down as the infant rejection reflex is triggered. My body is pushing her head out. I’m not. I can’t step away from the toilet because it is impossible to move. My husband gets on his knees infant of me, I lean over him and he backs me away from the toilet a few feet so my mom can get behind me to catch the baby.
My friend Brittany had arrived at the house at some point (I have no idea when). At some point also my stepdad had come home from work and was watching Josiah and Ruby. I think he was “feeding” them dinner. Brittany runs into the bathroom when she hears me screaming. It’s completely involuntary. She was at Josiah’s birth so she knows what I sound like when I’m pushing. Loretta comes in and crawls past me so see Adeline make her arrival.
My water broke at 6:47. Adeline comes out at 6:49. I’m still leaning over my husband, standing. My mom is holding the baby behind me. My husband essentially carries me into the bed room to the bed while my mom trails behind us with the baby. The placenta is delivered and placed in a bowl next to us. I hold my sweet Adeline and wait 30 more minutes until the midwife arrives. Laying next to me on the bed, She begins rooting. She latches on first try and sucks.
My mom tells me that she came out forehead first. Sunny side up. No wonder my contractions were so painful and spastic! No wonder the counter pressure was required to move her through the pelvis. It all makes sense now. Fourteen hours of labor. Sunny side up baby. Still no tearing.
Adeline is very sore from malpresensation. She cries when touched. Her face is asymmetrical. Her latch is tense and her suck strong. Too strong. It hurts to nurse. I’ll look at her tongue later. It could be tension from a traumatic birth.
She is beautiful! She looks just like Ruby but with hair! I’m so happy she has hair! Soft, beautiful hair.
My pretty big girl, Loretta, gets to cut the cord. She also put on gloves and helped the midwife examine the placenta (Which was also beautiful! No calcifications or infarcts.).
I tried to talk my husband into an unassisted childbirth for Josiah and Adeline. He was uncomfortable with it so I never pushed the issue. That night, I was holding Adeline while Michael was holding me. He told me that he was so glad that it ended up being an unassisted birth. It was so nice to just enjoy welcoming our new baby with just the family. No rushing around to check dilation or motor heart tones. No crowds. No phones or cameras. All of my babies I have birth pictures and videos of their births. Not Adeline. Not a single picture. No video. Just the sacredness of birth at the home with the family. Just like women gave birth 4,000 years ago.
I love this man. I love that he is the father to my now four remarkable children. I love that he supports me. I love that all my children flooded into my bedroom immediately after birth to meet the baby and kiss their mommy. What a beautiful experience. What a precious baby. What a glorious welcoming of our sweet Adeline Lauraine.