I don’t really know how to begin writing the birth story of Squishy Girl. Every time I’ve tried to write it, my instinct is to get it all out as fast as possible – like word vomit – without having to feel any of it. As you can guess, this makes for a very plain version of her story and that isn’t how I want to remember the birth of my little girl. And it’s exactly why I haven’t shared her story until now. Even now, I’m not sure how this will turn out, but I really feel like I need to write it. I’ve felt it since she was born. I just didn’t know how to do it without cutting out a lot of information. So, I warn you now – this will be long! I apologize in advance, but I simply don’t know how else to write it without sharing all of it.
If you follow my blog or my Facebook page, you know that throughout Squish’s pregnancy, I struggled. I struggled with emotions – wanting a baby, not wanting a baby, pregnancy-induced depression and so on, and so forth. This struggle led to worry. A lot of worry. Worry I could not decipher. Was I worrying because there was really a problem with baby and/or me or, was I worrying because I was so completely unsure of my feelings and making them into a “problem?” I didn’t know the answer and that made me worry more.
I started feeling better about myself around 20 weeks and really connecting with the life growing within me. I began to want a baby again (like I had before getting pregnant) and I began to fall in love with my wee one. Except now, I was terrified my worrying, sadness, stress, and unhealthy habits had caused harm to my baby. I hadn’t done anything like drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, but to me, the food we put into our bodies during pregnancy is of utmost importance and can contribute to or even cause many problems for us and our babies. And no matter what I did, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had done something to my baby. What I needed at the time was a calm voice of reason to go over everything with me and bring forth my true sense of what was happening; but there was no one. My husband tried, of course he did, but Del simply couldn’t convince me that everything was okay. I spoke to the midwife I was hoping to use and, sadly, she couldn’t (or maybe wouldn’t) quell my fears either. Granted, she didn’t know me that well, so I don’t really blame her. I wish so much she would have just seen me, though. I think I could have avoided a lot of the negative that I encountered. But, alas, it was not meant to be. Instead, she referred me to her obstetrician. I didn’t want to see him. I didn’t want to go back to the medical world for my pregnancy, but I felt like I needed someone “professional” to look me over, check on baby, and tell me everything was okay. I needed someone that I thought would know better than me to give me clarity. How silly I feel now typing that out.
I scheduled an appointment with the OB around 28 weeks. I’d only seen one doctor throughout the pregnancy and that was an ER visit at 20 weeks because I’d been feeling faint and just all around awful. They did a quick sonogram to ensure baby was alive and well, but otherwise no information was divulged. I felt I needed more and so I went to see Dr. K.
Just like the story of my little boy being circumcised, this story leaves me with my head in my hands and unable to move through the emotions of it. I look back now and think, “You stupid woman. Why after everything you went through with the medical community would you run back to it for something unnecessary?” But at the time, I could not figure out what was reality and what wasn’t. I didn’t truly believe something was wrong with me or baby, but I could not convince myself that I was right. I was struggling mentally trying to decide what exactly it was I needed and how to go about getting it. In the end, I decided to be seen for the peace of mind that I just wasn’t able to get from myself. I wish I had been able to. So much drama and further uncertainty would have been avoided.
I remember feeling trapped as soon as I entered that exam room and immediately I wanted to leave. I knew this was a bad idea as soon as the door shut, but it felt too late. It felt like I was stuck now, like I’d thrown most of my choices out the window and now my baby and I were at the mercy of someone I didn’t even know.
I consented to doing a pee test, weight check, and blood pressure. I was doing all of those things at home anyhow and they did not bother me. Anything more than those few things felt intrusive and unnecessary.
After meeting with Dr. K, I felt better. He was nice enough and didn’t push the vaginal exam or any other tests. He said over and over again that it was completely my choice and he sat across the room from me so that I felt safer. I cried retelling my other birth stories, especially the birth of my 3rd son, and he gave me tissues. I have an extremely hard time opening up to others and showing my emotions publicly so that was incredibly difficult for me. He seemed so understanding, so very different from my first OB. I sat in the chair they provide in those exam rooms and I never once got on the table during that visit. He seemed hesitant about several tests I wanted to forego, but we did agree to me testing my sugars for a week at home to be sure I did not have gestational diabetes. I was at my biggest weight ever and that was really messing with my head. Since the possibility of having gestational diabetes was the biggest worrying factor for me, but I didn’t want to do the glucose test, I believed testing at home to be a great compromise. I had no idea it would end up how it did.
A week or so after that initial appointment I had an appointment with a dietician to get set up to test my sugars at home. Apparently, there is no distinction made between someone testing to see if they have gestational diabetes (also known as GD) and those who actually have GD. They treated me as if I had gestational diabetes, despite my several reminders that there was currently no proof that I had GD, and that I have not ever had it in my previous three pregnancies. No one cared. My weight was all they saw. My insistence about the issue went unheard and I stopped trying. They tested my A1C and it was great. They tell me it’s pretty irrelevant and I wonder if that’s so true, what is the point in doing it at all? I wish I had been stronger. I wish I had been braver. I wish I had fought back against a lot of what I instead agreed to because I didn’t feel like I was making the choices any longer. I felt like someone else was making the decisions for me and I was going along because I was too scared someone would insist I birth in the hospital if I didn’t. I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to fight back if that happened and I didn’t want to chance it. I know how ridiculous it sounds now, but when you’re pregnant and hormonal and scared, fear tends to rule you. It’s exactly why I chose to birth unassisted in the first place, so fear would not be the ruler over my body and baby.
I tested my sugars for about 10 days at home before returning for a follow up visit. Aside from one or two high numbers, my numbers looked great. The dietician was very happy, but acted like I was to continue testing at home, as if I had GD. I felt confused and asked about it, but she insisted it was no big deal and that they just wanted to be sure. They then returned to treating me like I had GD. They had me speak with a perinatologist, whom we will call Dr. D, but I mostly ignored what he had to say. He is a doctor who only sees the bad and I refused to let more of that into my headspace.
Another few weeks went by and I was still testing my sugars at home, 4 times a day. I was still getting great numbers and I kept telling my husband, “I’m sure at this appointment, this will all be done.” Except it wasn’t. They had me speak with a perinatalogist again. First, he insisted I have gestational diabetes, despite all proof to the contrary. He then requested that I return for an ultrasound. This I didn’t want. But my husband wanted to know the gender of the baby and since I’d had a difficult time connecting, I felt like maybe that wasn’t the worst idea ever. I also thought maybe the u/s would bring me some more peace of mind. I was hesitant, though, because I knew any discrepancy picked up on that u/s would be cause for more intervention. I knew it, but I ignored myself. Again.
My husband and I returned in a few weeks for the u/s and another GD appointment. Surely, I thought, they would finally see how great my numbers were and that I clearly didn’t have GD, and would release me from the program. Well, of course that didn’t happen. It was a pretty normal appointment aside from Dr. D pushing metformin on me to control my supposed diabetes!! I reminded them I did not have GD and then declined the metformin. Then they looked at me like I was crazy when I mentioned that I wanted no more testing. “Whatever,” I thought. “I’ll stop it next time. I’m just excited to see the baby.” The u/s appointment was directly after the GD appointment and in the same office, so we were moved to an exam room to wait. Finally we were taken to another room, the big 4D ultrasound room, and I laid down on the table. My husband sat in the chair next to the table.
The ultrasound was one of those lengthy, let’s measure every single tiny part of the baby and uterus ones, so we were in there for a while. The perinatologist doing the u/s was a nice guy and made small talk. We’ll call him Dr. C. He asked if we wanted to find out the sex and I hesitated, because originally I wanted to wait until the birth to discover what we were having. My husband just looked at me. He had already told me he wanted to know without a doubt. I felt a little guilty and said, “Yes.” We had to wait a few more minutes for the doc to measure a couple of parts and then he rolled over the nether regions of the baby and said, “It’s a girl,” very unceremoniously. It’s not at all how I imagined finding out I was having another girl (after 2 boys) and I cried from the joy of knowing the baby was a girl and the sadness over the moment I’d envisioned being lost. Dr. C told us everything looked great and we finished up the u/s. We were then moved back to the exam room to speak Dr. D. Again.
Dr. D very matter-of-factly asked me when we would do the next ultrasound. I told him, very matter-of-factly, that we weren’t doing another ultrasound. His eyes bulged, he stammered a little, and asked, “But… how will you know how big the baby is?” I replied that we wouldn’t and that that was okay. He then seemed flustered and said, “But… how will your doctor know how to deliver you??!?” I smiled and replied, “I birth at home.” Dr. D almost fell over, his jaw gaping. It was pretty funny, remembering it now. He sort of threw his hands up, sighed and said, “Well, whatever.” Then he got up and left the room. That was the last time I saw him.
I received a phone call a couple of days after the ultrasound and Dr. K (my OB) explained wanting to go over the u/s results. He said Dr. D, who reviewed the u/s, was worried about excessive amniotic fluid and that I needed to think about having more testing done to ensure my baby’s safety. “Excessive” fluid doesn’t worry me all by itself as most of my babies have had “excessive” amniotic fluid and it hasn’t ever been an issue for any of us. Dr. K then says, “Well, the fluid combined with the gestational diabetes….”and I was forced to remind him once again that I did not have gestational diabetes!!! He quickly replied, “Ohhh… that’s right…,” but doesn’t seem convinced. I rolled my eyes hard as he continued speaking. He seemed concerned and was feeling the need to do something. He made it known that he was worried and if it were his baby… and then he trailed off. Basically this phone call was to tell me I should give in to whatever they wanted me to do. He didn’t say those exact words, that I should do whatever they say, but he kept going back to the, “Well, it’s your choice. I’m just here to help,” kind of talk, but it doesn’t feel like he’s leaving the choice up to me. By this point, I have had it up to here with the fear and I was angry and frustrated and tired of being told I was doing it wrong and that my baby would die if I kept it up. So, instead of allowing fear to rule me this time, I asked him for facts. “Give me statistics, numbers, risks, factual information I can use to make an educated decision here.” So he said he would speak to the perinatologist and call me back. This annoyed me. Why the heck didn’t he know off hand why this is a big deal if he was so damn concerned?
Dr. K called me back within minutes and said that Dr. D didn’t have the exact information I was looking for at that exact moment, but “Wikipedia says a normal range is under 20.” My fluid level was at a 22. I mentioned that I was 33 weeks pregnant and my fluid levels were not likely to rise much more, if at all. I then asked again about risks and statistics and he said the risk is increased slightly and could “ultimately end up with your baby dying.” This statement made me want to reach through the phone and rip his tongue out. Why, why, oh why do doctors think this is the best way to convince a pregnant woman to make a good decision? If I hadn’t had my wits about me in that moment, I may have agreed to just about anything. Thankfully, I am not ignorant and I knew this game. I confronted him angrily, but kept my temper in check. He knew he’d just hit a raw nerve by my response and tried to step around what he’d just said. I confronted him about the use of Wiki and the dead baby card. He back-stepped and said, again, that it was up to me what we did, but he’d prefer I come in for NST monitoring every few days for the duration of the pregnancy. I explained that there was very little possibility of me actually agreeing to that, but that I’d do NSTs at my regular appointments (which were about 2 to 4 weeks apart at that point, whenever I felt like obliging and going in.) He seemed frustrated by my inability to just roll over, and I understood that from his point of view since the NSTs would basically mean nothing being that far apart. He said in the end it was my decision and we hung up.
I was fuming over that conversation and fuming that I’d allowed myself to get into the whole mess to begin with. How did I get to this point??
Another few weeks went by and I went in for another GD (from this point on GD can be interchangeable with gestational diabetes and the “other meaning”) appointment. I’d told myself this was the last one, no matter what. I would be walking out of there without having to test anymore. I had no idea that it would be my last appointment, no matter what I had to say. Around 36 weeks, they let you go from having to test your sugars when you have gestational diabetes since you are so close to giving birth. This annoyed me, but I was happy to be done. I did not see either of the male perinatologists that time; I saw a female. She was very nice, went over everything that had transpired and said, “I really don’t understand why they kept making you come back.” I sensed the frustration on her end and it was nice to know I was not totally crazy. I was surrounded by people treating me like my desire to have my baby peacefully at home, not wall-to-wall with machines and people in white coats, was the crazy idea and I was starting to question everything. It was no small thing that she gifted me that day. At least I knew I wasn’t alone in my agitation with the whole system. I couldn’t imagine working in it.
From the ultrasound to giving birth, I had a total of 2 NSTs. It wasn’t what they wanted. Dr. K was visibly annoyed, but he always brought it back to “It’s up to you.” I appreciated that, but I really think now he was doing it to save his own ass and not because he really thought I deserved such a choice. Should something have gone wrong, I imagine he would have said “Well, I always told her…” Luckily for him, I’m not that kind of person. I chose to birth at home without an attendant because I wanted to be the one making the choices about how my body and baby would be affected during pregnancy, labor and birth. I wanted to be the one choosing what was best for me and my baby, seeing as it is my body and my baby. How could anyone else possibly understand us better than me?
On March 16, when I was 39 weeks pregnant, I went for what would be my final appointment with Dr. K. For the first time I allowed him to palpate my belly and check on baby. I also consented to the final NST. It was great, of course. She was always doing perfectly, which I always knew. When the appointment was done, I went and made an appointment for 10 days later. The woman behind the counter raised an eyebrow and said, “I’m sorry, how far along are you??” I told her 39 weeks, today. She said, “Well then you need to be back in a week.” I told her that no, I would not do that. I would be back in 10 days, at the earliest. I’d prefer 2 weeks. She called Dr. K, asked if it was alright, and then found the closest time on the schedule for 10 days out and wrote it down for me. I had to laugh about it. I took the appt. card and went on my way.
While driving home, I noticed I was having timeable contractions. I started watching the clock as I drove and they were every 6 to 8 minutes, without fail. I started to get a little bit excited. Maybe I wouldn’t have to go to 42 weeks! I’d been a bit miserable since week 32 or so, so having a baby a little ahead of schedule did not seem like such a bad idea… as long as it wasn’t forced. About 25 minutes into my drive, I called my husband. Clearly, this was very, very early if it was the “real thing” and I told him I was heading to the store to pick up a few things. When I got to Albertson’s, the contractions were continuing and I really started to think maybe it was labor. I walked through the store quickly and decisively, wanting to be in my own space as soon as possible. As I drove home, I kept checking to see if they were still coming. They were. The contractions continued, on time, until around midnight when I realized nothing was happening. No progression, no intensity, nothing. I gave up and went to bed.
I went through the same “false labor” scenario for days. It would start and stop, sometimes lasting up to two days, sometimes only a few hours. I got to the point where I ignored everything. I decided until my water broke, I wasn’t paying any attention. The false labor combined with some serious SPD and I was endlessly waiting for baby to come. Hours turned into days turned into weeks.. I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t think. I was so overwhelmed that everything felt difficult and painful. Mentally, physically, and emotionally I was completely beaten down and exhausted.
My EDD was March 21, 2012. My husband was scheduled to be away from the 21st to the 24th for work. Del was worried I’d go into labor, but I told him not to worry. It appeared little Squish wasn’t interested in coming any time soon. She was posterior, my first ever posterior baby, so I made several efforts to encourage her to turn. I am pretty sure I got her to turn about a week before she was born, but she turned back.
The day before Del came home, I had a small amount of bloody show. Not gobs. Not tons. But it was something tangible for me. For me, bloody show means a baby will be in my arms within 48 hours. (Disclaimer: It does not mean this for everyone!)
On the 25th of March, I woke up at 4am with contractions. Legit ones. They were uncomfortable, even painful, but not too bad. I decided to try and sleep. Around 7am, just as Del was leaving for work, I texted him, “Are you still home? Don’t leave.” He walked into the room a few minutes later and asked me what was up. I told him I’d been having contractions since 4am and was having trouble sleeping through. It felt legitimate and he needed to call in sick to work. As soon as he did that, I felt like I was on a timer. Catch 22.
I chose to stay in the bedroom for a little while longer while Del did everything around the house that needed to be done. Around 10am, I got out of bed and took a bath and a shower. I bounced on my birth ball, I rocked in our green rocking chair, I walked, I sat, I tried to watch TV, and I tried to Facebook and play games on my phone. The contractions came no matter what and as happy as I was to be in labor, it had also gotten pretty painful and I found myself worn out very quickly. Around 3pm, I went to pick up The Twins from school. I decided to make things move faster (because I needed it to go faster) I would walk and pick them up. It is only about a mile, round trip, but it was hard. I had to stop and work through contractions down the walking path several times. I was worried someone driving by would freak out and try to take me to the hospital. Thankfully, it was relatively empty when I was walking and if I just stood and kind of rocked (which I am known to do, baby or not, since it’s basically habit now), no one would notice.
No one did.
We came home and I decided to eat something. I remember being very hungry at one point and terribly annoyed by it because I was also in pain simultaneously. I kept thinking, “If we can just get to bedtime, she’ll come. If we can just get to bedtime, she’ll come.” If only it had been that easy! It was not. I labored through the night, exhausted and in pain. The contractions ripped through my abdomen, down my hips, buttocks and thighs. Every. Time. Positions didn’t matter. Water didn’t matter. I was in and out of the tub at least three times during the night. I remember feeling like a whale in that tiny tub though, and asking my husband to fill the pool. Turns out he’d purchased the wrong hose and couldn’t fill it. At all. Unless I wanted him to run and exchange it. I told him to forget it. I couldn’t imagine trying to rally four kids while in this much pain. “Put the pool away,” I told him.
I really think I had just “given up” at some point and that was the worst thing I could have done. I wasn’t in a place to be super self-aware at the time, so I could not convince myself that I was making things worse. I could only think, “If it hurts this much, maybe something’s wrong.” Gah. I knew, knew, knew nothing was “wrong,” but when things would get difficult, it would cross my mind. I really think the entire pregnancy and fear- mongering played a big part in my birth, much larger than I realized it would when I made the decision to see a medical professional during my pregnancy.
Dawn came and my little girl still had not made her appearance. I decided to try lying down and sleeping. Occasionally someone from my husband’s job would call and ask how things were going. I hated that. I wished they would stop. Pressure, pressure, pressure. I felt extremely pressured to just get on with it already. I felt like I was in a pressure cooker and everyone was just waiting on me. As if being a woman in labor (painful freaking labor) isn’t enough, we also take on the guilt for “letting down” those around us.
This was my list of thoughts on repeat once the sun rose:
“Why isn’t she here yet?”
“Why is this hurting so much?”
“Why won’t she just drop already?”
“What’s the hold up?”
“Is something wrong?”
“Is my baby okay?”
Now, I was checking on her throughout labor because I was not in the best space mentally and needed reassurance that she was well. I didn’t feel like there was something wrong with her, but my mind was playing so many tricks on me that I needed something that I could focus on to keep me sure that she was okay. Her HR was great, even through contractions. She was doing just fine. It was me who was having a hell of a time getting through.
In the bedroom, I rolled from one bed to the other, trying to sleep, trying to escape the pain, trying to figure out how the heck I was going to get the courage to give birth to my baby. It hurt so much! If I only I could just get a little sleep, if only these contractions would let up just a little, if only, if only, if only… I had trouble remembering to relax so of course everything was worse from tensing up. I finally gave up on trying to sleep and escape. Kind of. And I started feeling pressure – real pressure – down low and knew something was in the works, but I wasn’t ready to face it. I laid on the bed for at least 30 minutes, denying that I had to go push at some point. I simply did not want to. I was irrational by now and no one could get through to me. Eventually I decided to go to the toilet and see if that would help her descend. I needed to open up my pelvis and encourage her out. I wasn’t ready, but I knew it had to be done. I told myself if I could just move to the toilet, it would get better.
It didn’t, but I made the journey anyhow. I struggled through several contractions on the toilet until Ina May popped into my head and I heard her say, “Open mouth, open vagina.” And I clung to that for all it was worth. I repeated in my head over and over. I hung my jaw low, mouth agape, hoping some magical force would recognize my mouth was now relaxed and thus so my vagina would be too. I tried anyway. Eventually moaning began to seem like the thing to do. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cuss. I wanted to rip someone’s eyes out. Instead, I moaned. I moaned through every achy, painful contraction. I begged my little girl to please come out and meet me. While moaning and begging, I felt her drop down and turn anterior. It was an incredible sensation and if I hadn’t been in so much pain, I probably would have enjoyed it much more. The memory of it stays with me though and I will forever cherish it.
My husband was in and out throughout all of this, but for the most part I labored alone. He was there when I needed him and he was a wonderful support, but when given the opportunity when in labor, I am better off on my own. I remember at one point, while still in the bedroom, asking him if he thought we should go to the hospital (mostly because I had never labored so hard for so long and it was scaring me), He was such a voice of reason. He made me think about all the reasons we stayed home and how that would be affected if we went. He asked me if I really felt like she was in danger. I didn’t and it didn’t make sense to go to the hospital just because I was in pain. I knew that. He knew that and he helped me see that this was just another way of me trying to escape the pain – having the need to do something instead of just waiting. He was my rock throughout this birth and I cannot thank him enough for being there and letting me fall apart several times leading up to Squishy Girl’s birth. He was always there for me and always knew how to get me back on track.
Del came in just as I felt Squishy turn and drop and I told him I needed to move into a better position. He asked if he could help or if I needed something and I asked him not to leave. It took me roughly 20 minutes to convince myself to get up off that toilet and onto the floor to birth my baby. I knew it had to be done, but it is so damn hard to convince yourself of anything when you are in that place mentally. When you are struggling physically and emotionally and you are so desperate – you reach almost another world, somewhere I’m not sure exists here on Earth. It isn’t Heaven or something like that, but it is a place that will challenge every inch of your being and you have no choice but to succeed, to finish. It is such a world to be in and yet, still be here on Earth, still dealing with all the normal, routine things that happen every day. It is why I believe being in a calm, peaceful environment is so, so important during birth.
At some point, obviously, I got off the toilet and onto the ground. I was in between transition contractions, as they were one on top of the other, and I nearly fell while trying to maneuver myself. On hands and knees, on the bathroom floor, with my head resting on the side of the bath tub, my husband grabbed a towel and placed it under me. I waited to push, remembering to let the head ease out first, before actively pushing. I panted and panted. Oh God, I panted! I could not keep it up though. My body wanted to push. I wanted to push. And I hate pushing! So on the next contraction, I pushed. I wanted to push as hard and as fast as I could and just get it over with, but it was not that simple. For every little bit she moved down, I had to push five times. It was the longest pushing phase I’d ever experienced and I remember grabbing at my vagina after several pushes and feeling nothing!! All of that hard work, for what? That’s how it felt of course, not how it actually was. Progress was being made and within another ten minutes or so, her head began to emerge. I really feel for women who have to push for hours and hours! You are amazing!!
But then my husband asked me to stop pushing.
“Why do I need to stop???” I asked.
“You pooped… just hang on a second,” he declared, and wiped away any remnants.
I was embarrassed and at the same time, completely and totally did not give a crap! “Let’s get this show on the road,” I thought. “Wipe and go, man! Wipe and GO!”
I wished so much that I was a contortionist so I could see what the heck was going on! Or that I could not be in pain for just a minute so I could squat and see better. I was not a contortionist, nor did I have time to flip around, so hands and knees is where I stayed. I settled for yelling at Del instead.
“Whyyyyy woooooon’t shhhhhhhheeeee cooooooommmmmme oooouuuuuuuutttttt!!!???!!!” It was more a statement than a question, but within seconds of saying that, out slipped her head. I was raring to push again when my husband told me stop. Again. I questioned him, unsure of why he could possibly say this now and suddenly I became concerned. “Why??!????”
“The cord’s around her neck, just hang on,” he said, sort of urgent, but still calm – he is fantastic in what most consider stressful situations.
I waited through a couple of contractions as he gently and slowly slipped the cord off of her neck. It was pretty quick, but it was wrapped tightly so it took a little longer than what it might have if it had been looser.
Pushing recommenced and within one or two contractions, she slid out and made her grand entrance. Del caught her as I maneuvered around her cord to take her. She was so slippery!!! I don’t remember that with any of my other babies. She was greyish in color, sort of floppy, and had meconium on her body. I gently held her slanted down and then swiped inside of her mouth to be sure her airway was open and slid my thumb and forefinger down the sides of her nose to be sure her nostrils were clear of any mucus. Her cord remained intact and I put her on my chest, skin to skin, as I knew this was the best course of action for her. I rubbed her back gently and firmly. It seemed like forever, but within a minute or two, she pinked up and began to cry.
I wrapped a towel over us and tried to sit back and relax for a minute. I could not sit back. Hemorrhoids. Fucking hell. All of that work and now I couldn’t even sit down? This is the problem with my face in the picture immediately following her birth. I was sitting on a hard surface with a very painful bottom. Not too long after, a gentle urge to push came and out plopped the placenta. We left it attached to Squish until it stopped pulsing and turned white and then Del cut it and put it into a plastic bowl and stuck it into the freezer. I encapsulated it a month later, which I wrote about here.
Soon our four children entered the bathroom to meet her. The tiny room felt stifling with now 7 people in there. It also got extremely loud very fast. They all said hi, cooed and awed over her and then I asked to shower and they retreated to the den to watch some television while I went to breastfeed the baby and get some rest. I showered quickly and then was off to the bedroom to cuddle and bond with my little girl. Del cleaned up our mess and I was thankful. We climbed into bed and took a few more pictures. I was basically a zombie at this point and did not at all experience a birth high this go around (at least not until the following day or two). We slept for three or four hours and then I announced her birth on Facebook. We weighed and measured her. Adorable Squishy Girl weighed in at 9lbs even and measured 21 and ¼ inches long, born on March 27, 2012 at around 1:15-1:20pm (we’re not exactly sure about her birth time – whoops). My in-laws came to see her that day and my mom and step-dad came the following day. It was such a nice, peaceful time.
I would not trade that time after the birth for anything. There were no hourly checks of blood pressure or someone repeatedly asking me to pee in a cup. No questions about my bowels at all. I was allowed to feed and care for my baby however I saw fit and no one was there to correct me and treat me like an imbecile. There was no poking and prodding of my baby, no one taking her from me or trying to slip her formula while I was sleeping. No weird food that doesn’t really feel, taste, or smell like real food. The whole baby moon following Squish’s birth was perfection. If you can birth at home, and feel it is in your & your child’s best interest, I strongly recommend it.
For days after her birth, I would cry when I would think about my “failed” birth. So I stopped thinking about it. I was afraid the sadness I felt over her birth not being the “perfect” birth would impede my bonding with her and I could not interrupt that process. I could work through her birth later. I could not bond with her later. To ensure our success, I set the experience aside in favor of falling in love with my little girl. It worked somehow, and I have no problem feeling love and closeness with her as a result.
I sit here a year later and cannot feel the same fear I felt during her pregnancy or birth. I am sure hormones played a huge part in all of that. I remember it as a good thing, a beautiful experience and once again, I am grateful for that. Some may say I’m not being true to her birth story, but this is how I remember it. I know I was extremely confused, but I will always believe her birth was exactly how it was supposed to be. Some may question whether I wish we’d been in the hospital for her birth. My answer would be a resounding, “NO!” In the hospital, she would have likely had her cord cut when they noticed it around her neck, she may have suffered because of the meconium due to the early clamping and cutting of the cord. Maybe not. But I have a very strong feeling that we were exactly where she needed us to be. Even with the raw sadness I had for not getting to experience another “perfect” birth immediately following her arrival, I knew her best start to life was here at home. And the time our family spent connecting with her and welcoming her into our family can never be replaced and it never would have happened in a hospital.
She is one-year-old today. She is no longer a tiny baby. She is spunky and cheeky and stubborn and… exactly like me. She is going to challenge me for the rest of my life, I am sure of it. She had to make sure I was ready for her starting with her birth.