I'm getting to the point that my memories of my natural birth with Zoë are fading. For some reason it just doesn't seem "that bad" or "that painful" anymore. And I have had more people ask me about having more kids since Zoë has been born than with my other girls. Perhaps because I am older or perhaps because I have three kids and people secretly want to know if we'll shoot for a boy. Well... some secretly wonder anyway. Others just come right out and ask!
And it doesn't bother me. I find it amusing more than anything. Just today one of our congregants asked me if we wanted a boy. Honestly if I had five more girls I'd be the most blessed woman on the face of the earth. The gender doesn't matter to me. To Daniel on the other hand... he is outnumbered and he knows it! He wants some testosterone in our house. I don't blame him! I think for men it is different. They are created differently than women. Whereas most women have a deeper connection with their child (which is actually hormonal and totally cool if you research it) men have a more abstract view when it comes to conception. They want an heir, someone to carry on the family name, to share sports with and wrestle with that also has the same genitalia as them (seriously!). So I don't blame Daniel one bit for wanting a son or two.
No we are not trying by any means. But we haven't been preventing, for a few months, either. With a baby in our bed we are not getting much action anyway (poor Daniel, right?!). And that darn aunt FLO has not shown. I think I'm going on 1 1/2 years without a period. Which is disconcerting and nice all at the same time. Because PCOS and secondary infertility can be unpredictable I really do not know what my body is doing or going to be doing. I almost feel like it is a race against time; that if I want more kids I have to do it now just in case my ovaries decide to call it quits early. Since I'm not trying there's no point in getting tests to see what is going on in there. I'm secretly hoping that having been pregnant and having given birth recently will reset my body, too!
Perhaps if you've never had a miscarriage or fertility issue you may not understand all of this. I am very young but being youthful doesn't matter whatsoever when you have cystic ovaries and hormonal problems that can prevent you from even ovulating. I'm not in any rush but at the same time I can hear the clock ticking in the background. I also know that if my three beautiful daughters are the only ones to come from my womb that doesn't mean there aren't other babies out there that need a loving home. I am definitely not opposed to adoption when we qualify to adopt ($$$ and age).
Okay so the point of this was to kind of revisit my birth with Zoë. I think that as women we really do put so much pressure on ourselves in so many arenas in life. Birth is no exception. I think it is also one area that many women can become judgmental of other peoples' choices. I am in no way judging anyone or thinking about anyone and all opinions here are based on my own research and experiences. If a woman is confident in her choices and happy with the outcome of her birth choices then I rejoice with them! If they are disheartened by things that happened or happened to them or the baby then I empathize greatly.
All of my births were seemingly quick. My perception of time in the heat of the moment is most likely fuzzy. But my husband's perception lines up with mine so I must be right! Ha! It isn't how fast that matters anyway but how safe. Thankfully I've been blessed to have three very safe vaginal births. The first two I had epidurals. Sweet, sweet epidurals that offer you numb relief to the torturous pain that are contractions.
With my third birth, however, I decided to do things differently. I was scared out of my mind but in the end I think going without an epidural was the best decision I ever made. I kept thinking, while in labor this last time, "What am I doing? It isn't too late! Get the epidural and the pain will stop!" It is amazing the thought processes you go through during labor, whether you do have pain relief or not.
I was incredulous with myself but also in awe of what my body was doing. Contractions ARE painful. They are ridiculous. BUT you can overcome the pain during labor. What I had to do was take the contractions one at a time. I didn't look at the clock, I didn't think ahead to when the next one would come or ask how much longer. I kept my eyes closed and tried to keep my muscles relaxed. Daniel told me later that often my hand would be limp in his hand instead of a death grip like in our previous births because I was so focused on staying relaxed.
And I'll admit that when my water broke earlier that day I was kind of irritated in one sense. I was SO tired and didn't want to deliver a baby that day. And I don't mean that to sound selfish. I just wish I hadn't felt so tired, that I had more energy and felt ready to take on natural labor. I even said, "I don't want to do this today!" over and over during some of the more intense contractions. My husband found that amusing to say the least! Obviously I was excited to see my baby and put an end to a long pregnancy (I was overdue!).
Daniel could tell by my face when a contraction was coming. His mom was also there and she was often watching my face when he wasn't. Because I was not on any fetal monitoring they had to watch me for signs that contractions were coming. My brows would knit together and sometimes I would open my eyes to glance their way. I often heard his mom saying, "Daniel, I think she's having another one"!
There were some funny moments sprinkled in there as well. I was not a happy laborer (like I said before I was tired and just dozed in between contractions). The pain would make me want to crawl out of my skin. So when my husband would try to put a cool cloth on me DURING a contraction I would chuck it at him or across the room. It made the contractions worst when I did that because I was frustrated and overwhelmed by the sensation of the cloth during the pain. Some women enjoy it. The one thing I really liked during contractions was counter-pressure in my lower back. It offered so much relief. I had a ton of pressure while in labor with Zoë and it made me feel pushy.
When it did come time to push none of us knew it was time. My midwife had sent the nurse down the hall for something and she was the only medical professional in the room. There are no words to describe what happened next. In a mixture of amazement and horror I began grunting and bearing down to push without even thinking about it. My body was reacting and my mind was lagging behind! I pushed and I yelled and I remember thinking in my head, very calmly, "Am I screaming? Wow that hurts. Why am I screaming so loud?" It was an out-of-body experience! So surreal to hear myself and yet not connect it with myself. I sounded so far away and so loud at the same time.
And my door was open. That was awesome! All the first time mommies or even seasoned mommies were probably shaking their heads at the unearthly sounds coming from my room!
So anyway my poor midwife was rushing to put some protective gear on her shoes, hands and clothes. The bed wasn't even broken down. She just told my husband to grab one leg (I was side-lying) and just encouraged me to push as I wanted. Daniel said I pushed that baby out in under a minute with the midwife still reaching behind her to grab some things (probably the nasal aspirator and towels for baby; I have no idea what she was doing, ha!). I made a lovely mess of the bed and apologized later to the nurses for whoever had to clean it up.
I do remember yelling, "Just pull her out, just pull her out!" over and over. The ring of fire is no joke, my friends. But I don't want to scare someone out of a natural birth. The pain is worth it. The pain is nothing compared to the relief when the baby is out. The relief when you hear their cry and hold them in your arms. I wouldn't change a thing and I wish I had gone natural with my other two. An epidural can actually inhibit this wonderful hormonal reaction to take place once your baby is born. It is a reaction that makes you become instinctual protective and enamored with your newborn baby like nothing else. This isn't just a random statement but a proven scientific fact that epidurals can inhibit this reaction from the mother which may cause bonding to take longer.
So anyway I was thinking that in the event that I do have another baby there are some things I'd want to do different:
-I want to try water birth!
-Less cervical checks (she seriously checked me WAY too much but only because I kept saying I felt pushy and all this pressure).
-Push in a different position, like hands and knees or squatting if not in the water.
-I wanted Elaina to get to be there so maybe next time she will get to be there. We watched a lot of birth videos and I did a lot of thinking on it. She was so curious and I know it would've been an amazing experience for her so perhaps next time.
-Discharge as soon as safely possible (I had the option to go but stayed; I WILL be leaving early next time provided all is well. I was uncomfortable and just wanted to rest in my home).
So there really isn't much I would change. I think all of my births were amazing with the exception of finding out Abigail's collarbone broke during her delivery. That just breaks my heart when I think about it.
Thinking about when you give birth or reflecting on your previous births what do you think you'd like to do or do differently next time (if you think there will be a next time)?