Monday, June 26, 2006
The Birth:

I started feeling some good contractions Friday night, so I called Sharon (my midwife). Despite my telling her to wait (I was afraid it was another false alarm), she came with her students. When she checked me at around midnight, I was 1cm. We all went to bed - the students slept in our guest room/office and Sharon slept on the couch.

I woke up at 4am having lots of cramps and contractions. I was officially awake from then on. When Sharon checked me at 9am, I was 3cm. She and her students left, with instructions to call her when the contractions were 5 minutes apart. Soon after, Mrs. Stein came over and took my kids for the morning. I laid in bed and rested, having contractions about 10 minutes apart.

The kids came back at around 12:30, uber-hyper. I decided if I couldn't rest from their noise, I might was well get up and walk around. I did, and my labor picked up. Around and around my house I went, ducking into bedrooms or bathrooms when a contraction came on. The kids were completely bananas, and it was very liberating for me to just let them be. I was busy laboring, and couldn't control them. I think they helped distract me from the intensity of my situation.

My contractions picked up to 5-6 minutes apart, and after an hour I called Sharon. Once during a contraction I was leaning against a wall, and Chaya ran through my legs yelling that I was a tunnel. At that point I decided I hated all my children, and they had to go. Yaakov insisted on not leaving me alone, so we agreed he would ship the kids out when Sharon arrived.

Sharon came and the kids went, and I was 5cm. She monitored me, and the contractions were 5 minutes apart for about another hour and a half. Then the midwifery students showed up. I don't know whether it was the change in energy or what, but all of a sudden my contractions lessened to 10-15 minutes apart. They were less frequent, but much stronger. I was moaning my way through them. I was too tired to do laps around the house again, and I started to really despair. The contractions were so intense, and I was scared the labor would drag on forever. I started crying to Yaakov that I wasn't going to make it.

Sharon suggested she manually break my waters. I wasn't into it. It makes the labor stronger and faster, and I was already a mess. I made a deal with her. She would check my dilation, and we'd make a decision then. Anyway, I was 7cm (!!!) and the water bag was too close to the baby's head. So that was that.

I was thrilled, and I asked Sharon how much longer she thought it would be. She said, "This phase usually lasts between one and three hours." "Three hours?!!" I cried. She laughed. "You didn't hear the 'one' part!" Anyway, the contractions got closer, I wailed louder, and 45 minutes later our little man was born. He came out after 2 or 3 pushes - by far my easiest pushing phase yet. In fact, when Sharon told me the head was out, I couldn't believe it.

I have come to the conclusion that I will never have an easy, rosy, "Spiritual Midwifery" kind of birth. For me, birth is hard, agonizing, and intense.

But I can do it.


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