Part I Part II
The pool soon became a moot point. The contractions were very close together, and I was moving toward pushing. I was very much in my own world, working through the contractions, and my body sort of started pushing for me. Janet must have been watching me closely, because she came over behind me (I was still on hands & knees), and I said, “I might be pooping.” Yes friends, I am among the estimated 30% of women who tend to poop in labor. It happened with His Highness as well. Why I always feel the need to confirm this I have no idea, but I had a similar conversation when His Highness was born. Anyway, Janet said, “That’s alright, go right ahead,” and that’s all I’m saying about that. Then I felt that the baby was either crowning or darn close. So I yelled. I don’t think I was panicking…I remember being surprised to find that the baby was right there, and feeling like I needed that extra oomph to get through it. Then I heard, “OK the baby’s going to crown with the next contraction, OK the head is out, OK the baby is here.” I don’t know, but it might have been that quick. I thought “I can tell the baby’s here because it doesn’t hurt anymore,” but I think I said something entirely boring, like “Good.” Faith helped me turn over w/o disturbing the cord, and they handed him to me. One of them had said “He’s a little peanut,” and as I took him I said, “Oh my gosh you’re tiny!” I heard Faith say “Time of birth 6:35.”
I held the baby while Janet and Faith were bustling around me. I don’t know what they were saying at first, but I started paying attention again within a few minutes and heard them saying Apgar score types of things, and somewhere in there they stuck a thermometer under his arm, and were listening to his respiration (and pulse?) with the stethoscope. They commented that while he didn’t cry he was pink, and breathing, and his lungs sounded nice & clear, so he was just a mellow baby. I checked for boy parts, just to be sure.
No, the Cat Daddy didn’t make it back in time! The sitter lives on base, which is a 15-20 minute drive. Add in the drop off time and there’s no way he could’ve been back by 6:35. He came in very shortly after—he said the clock read 6:40 when he got there. He breezed in the door and said, “OK I’m back, you can give birth now!” and I looked at him and said, “I already did.” He looked at me (holding the baby) and asked, “Where’s the baby?” and I replied, “Right here, I’m holding him.” I would love to have a photo of his expression as he realized that it was done. Never have I surprised him like that. It was great.
Janet and Faith had me sit on the birth stool to wait for the placenta to come. This was not my favorite, as the contractions were more noticeable than I remember with His Highness (I’ve heard that is common). I remember feeling very whiny about wanting them to stop. I teased the Cat Daddy that he was in time to see the placenta come out. He hung out in the vicinity, but stayed where he was sure NOT to see the placenta come out. The placenta came out either right before or right after Janet cut the cord (she waited for it to stop pulsating). A disgusting blob into my 4 quart Emerilware pot. Apparently for a placenta it looked good—all intact and such. That was all I needed to know. Blech.
Shortly after this (right after?) Janet said, “OK, time for you to go to bed,” so we all proceeded to get me to bed. Here Janet & Faith looked me over and proclaimed me a superstar birther (or something like that—that’s how I felt, anyway). Janet was saying that the baby had never turned back—he had actually come out with his head sideways, and it was so quick that there was no molding. In her words His Highness had “paved the way” (he had been 8 lbs 9 oz, the new one was 6 lbs 12 oz). Yay for him!
After all this and in no particular order--Janet & Faith helped us get started with nursing, and the Cat Daddy made a big breakfast for everyone. Yum. If I hadn’t just given birth, I’d have said that I felt tired only because I’d been up since 1am. I felt better than I’d felt at all since we arrived in Cheyenne. No heartburn, queasies, or anything. We called the fam to let them know the baby was here and all was well. Janet hung out with me while she did paperwork, or texted, or something, while the Cat Daddy and Faith set about emptying the pool. It took some doing to get the drill pump to work, and even then it was slower than we’d expected it to be, but whatever. The pool got emptied. They also pulled up & tossed all the plastic, started laundry, etc. They caught Zoe getting into the placenta--ew. This was the grossest of the gross for the day. Faith called her a “dirty bird,” a nickname which I think has stuck. Faith told us stories about gross experiences with pool-emptying. We were equally amused (because she told them with great panache and they were hilarious), horrified (because they were, in fact, gross), and grateful (that they didn’t happen to us).
Eventually Janet decided that I would need a couple stitches for a very small tear (Faith called it a skid mark—nice). The worst part of the entire day was the local anesthetic because it involved needles and because it STUNG. But Janet and Faith both know my needle issues and were way cool about it, so it wasn’t so bad. They were talking during this time, and at one point Janet said something about “…and here we have our first knot,” which makes me laugh because it sounded like they were at a scout meeting or something.
After all this excitement, it was time for the weighing and measuring. Janet undressed the baby and found that he’d had a healthy poop already. Ah, the milestones of the neonate! The Cat Daddy took lots of pics, and I had great fun getting to be right there to watch it all (as opposed to lying down across the room). Faith (who is also a nurse, doula, and lactation consultant) gave the baby the Vitamin K shot, which of course made him cry, so there was his healthy cry.
All in all, the baby and I were sound as a pound and good to go. Except for the unused, deflated kiddie pool airing out on the porch, I don’t think you’d have known anything out of the ordinary had happened that day. So Janet and Faith went on their way for the day (to return the next day, and three days after that).
I take the credit for placing myself where I knew I’d be the most relaxed—at home. Beyond that, I am just plain grateful for how smoothly everything went. I loved not having to worry about packing or getting in the car to go anywhere. I loved laboring amid my own space and having access to all my own stuff. I loved feeling like I was in charge, could do what was most comfortable for me, and didn’t have to ask ‘permission’ to do certain things (eating, for example). I felt safe & supported, but not intruded upon. I felt like a rock star for the day. I loved that such a major event felt, to some extent, like no big deal. It felt seamless to me—we have our new kiddo, and here he is; he’s in our family now, and here we go.
That’s all to say it was fantastc--all I dreamed and more. I can't say enough good about the experience. Rock on...