Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gabe's birth story, part I

Waiting for [Gabe] was like knowing something was coming but being in denial it could happen at any minute. While I told myself, this could be it, he could be here before we know it, the day he arrived I was still in some shock until it was really happening.

I had lunch with two of my best gal pals earlier in the week (the first week of November, that is, right after Halloween), and discussed how his arrival would ideally come after the first weekend of November. {Ah, the best laid plans o' mice and men, oft go astray!!} Many of my friends were speaking at a ladies event at our church that Saturday (the 5th), and my parents had some important plans that first weekend that I didn't want them to feel torn about if I had Gabe before the 6th.  However, things started getting into motion long before the 6th...

On the eve of his arrival, I was at our church's Wednesday night bible study along with the rest of our tiny family of 3, feeling a little rushed and out of breath as I usually am after the mad dash it takes to get everyone to church.  My belly was tightening a little bit in class and I figured it was just Braxton Hicks from all the movement it took to get there. I even jokingly told someone my water might break there and it'd be sort of awkward having this stream of liquid go down my pants (I am one for poise & grace regarding delicate matters, that's for sure!)  Awk-ward!  After class was over I was speaking with some of my dear birthing friends, Juline & Jenny B. I asked Juline, who is a birth assistant at the birth center where Mia was born, to feel my belly.  Did she feel like it meant anything? She wasn't sure but we were all just having fun discussing the possibility of imminent labor and all that.  I had only started taking 5-W, an herbal supplement, earlier in the week. 5-W (which stands for 5 weeks) is an herbal blend that supplies nutrients supportive to the female glandular and reproductive systems and should be taken during the last five weeks of pregnancy.  It's supposed to strengthen the uterus to make labor & delivery easier.  I was not taking Evening Primrose Oil or any other late-term pregnancy supplements as some of them were contraindicated with my blood thinner.  I had also taken 5-W with Mia the last couple of weeks and looking back I believe it helped.  It is supposed to even shorten pushing time.

Regardless, we all went home that night and got settled into bed assuming the following day would be busy with continuing the food prep I had begun the day before (see this post).  As I slept that night, I awoke a few times noting some low pressure in my abdomen, like he was pushing down on my cervix.  I assumed it just meant he was dropping even more, getting further into the birth canal. I did not necessarily think it meant delivery was soon.

However, when I woke up that morning, things started to feel different. Mia was acting much more differently around me, really wanting my attention and wanting Mommy to play with her. I had skipped my normal breakfast items to instead play with her and try to be "present," only to find myself distracted by what was going on with my own body. What was I feeling? Were these waves of pressure the real deal? Were contractions settling in??

Meanwhile, Greg was getting ready for work and we were discussing what was going on, and I started noting to him that I was having a harder time staying focused. But within a span of probably 10 minutes, we went from saying, "Go ahead, go to work," to "Why don't you stay home and sign-in online here, just in case?" to "Let's call Brian & Amanda, we need to get a little day & overnight bag packed for Mia!"
I downloaded Contraction Master on my iPhone and started timing these "waves" (a hypnobirthing term, which felt appropriate at the time as they were only waves and quite tolerable).  I texted my doula, Stephanie, who happened to have a totally free day ahead of her and was quite enthusiastic about the prospect of assisting me through another birth that day.  I was still dubious that this was it, but at the same time my body was telling me things were getting underway.

I still hadn't eaten breakfast and was hardly interested in it as I was slightly fearful of throwing anything up, as I did in Mia's labor, but I was glad I had made some homemade stock the day before that was still warm in the crockpot--that at least seemed to sound soothing to my stomach. I started sipping on that while Greg got Mia ready to go over to cousin Braden's and I unloaded the dishwasher.  Yes, I did very silly things while in early labor.  I unloaded the dishwasher and tried to clean up some of the kitchen.  I called my mom (not silly), to let her know what was going on, and I took a call from Monica--I think we were talking about her pregnancy weight gain (ha!) and I told her I thought things were happening.  I even had a contraction while on the phone, and the dear that she is told me to breathe :).  I sat on the birth ball during these waves and tried to relax through and sway through them, but I could tell they were speeding up and increasing in intensity.  I wanted and felt that I needed to take a shower, so while Greg was out dropping off Mia (and quickly running through Target as we needed some last minute hospital items!), I took a shower, did my hair and even put on some makeup.  Who knew if it would last but when I went into labor with Mia, I was not prepared in that sense.  I just wanted to feel presentable (somehow knowing I had done something with myself that day gave me the feeling that I was "in control") and have one good last shower before I was in a hospital for who knows how long.  By that point in time, our doula was almost to our house and when she arrived and Greg had gotten back, it didn't take too long for her to watch me to decide we should go ahead and get to the hospital.  

I texted Lindsay to ask her to come over after we left to deal with all the soaked beans, lentils and quinoa I had sitting out, and to store the remaining chicken stock.  And to also fold my laundry.  Let's just pause here for a minute and say I have some good friends who would come over and do such a thing for me.  Like I said, I really didn't think labor would be that day!  (In an ideal world you go into labor with your house spotless, your clothes clean, folded and put away, and your freezer already stocked with all the meals you intended to make!...and your printer already loaded with paper and your birth plan printed out.)

While we were about to head out the door, Stephanie put some more broth for me in some containers so I'd be able to sip on it at the hospital, and we grabbed our bag and our birth plan, which was just printed out that morning, and started the crazy journey to Tampa General Hospital...
The very beautiful Tampa General Hospital, on Davis Island

To be continued...

1 comment:

Rose said...

great beginning...i feel like i was there!