Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Story of Zoe's Birth

So I figure I better write all this down before I forget it. So here goes. After two weeks of waiting past the due date and being told how big she was, I thought I would never go into labor. I was debating castor oil, even though I was not dilated or effaced. On Tuesday night, Feb. 17th, I made a joke before I went to bed. I thought it would be awesome to wake up at 5 am the next morning with strong contractions and we could have us a baby. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!

At 3 am, I woke up to go to the bathroom and noticed I was having some good contractions. That must have been what woke me up. And I thought it was just my ever-shrinking bladder. I started to time them, knowing the birth center wanted me to call them the first time when they were nine minutes apart. Within the first 30 minutes, they were 7-8 minutes apart but had moved to 5-6 minutes in the second 30 minutes. I called Asya and told her I was in labor. She told me to call her when they were 4 minutes apart.

It was 4 am and I took a shower and started to get my things together. Aaron, of course, was making coffee in the kitchen. The contractions were getting stronger. Mom started timing them at 5 am and they were 3 minutes apart. I was trying to drink water but ended up vomiting. We called Asya again at 6 am and she told us to meet her at the birth center in one hour. While trying to find a certain pair of pants, we had to dig through our laundry bag to find them on the bottom. Now there were clean clothes all over the bed. So I spent my time in early labor putting my laundry away.

The ride to the birth center was torturous. How do women sit and labor? We got to the birth center a little after 7 am and were greeted with a smile by Asya. She told me I wasn't ready yet- I was still smiling. She examined me and told me I was at 4-5 centimeters-- half way there. I thought we would get settled in a birthing room, but there was a note on my chart that stated they expected a large baby and a sonogram had to confirm a smaller weight for me to be admitted. The office that did the scan the day before had not sent the results confirming Baby Deetz at 8 lbs 11 ozs, so I would have to wait a few hours and labor in the halls of the birth center. It was as good a place as any.

Mom, Aaron and I lingered in the family room and kitchen. I was walking the halls and swaying with contractions. I was still trying to drink fluids but with each intensifying stage, I would throw up. I found it to be a welcomed distraction, strangely enough. I needed to rest and try to get the baby down, so I sat on a birthing ball and Mom sat facing me on the bed. I would lean forward and rest on her between contractions and then I would lean back into Aaron during the contractions. It was a very smooth motion and helped me cope with the pain.

It was 9 am and Asya checked me again. I was at 7 centimeters. Good progress, but the baby still needed to come down lower. I was admitted to the birthing room and was told I could get in the bath tub if I wanted. I WANTED! So they ran the bath and I waited. What a soothing place to spend labor. The water took the edge off the ever-growing contractions and I was able to relax even more. I don't know how long I was in there, maybe an hour. I didn't want to get out but it was time to be examined again. I was 8 centimeters. Asya told me I could rest if I wanted to but if I walked around, we could bring the baby faster. I was pretty tired, having only slept 3 hours, so sooner sounded good to me.

The contractions were so intense, I took to moaning and leaning on the wall. Asya, Katherine, Aaron and my mom would massage my back and hips and follow me around with a glass of water. What tremendous support! I made a joke about getting back in the bath tub. Katherine said I could get back in the shower and she would spray warm water on my back. It was worth a try. I got in the tub and they put a stool for me to keep one leg up to open the pelvis and encourage the baby to keep coming down. At this point, my water hadn't broken yet and I was starting to have a hard time coping. Katherine was reminding me to breathe and I had to rub my belly during contractions to distract myself. It was a mantra in a way. All of the sudden, I felt a lot of pressure and my water broke like a water balloon. Thank goodness I was in the tub because it would have been quite a mess otherwise. There was quite a bit of meconium in the water. The midwives decided it was time to check me again in the hopes that we could start pushing.

It was 11:15 am and I was fully dilated and ready to push. Asya and Katherine told me how I should push, but it took me a while to get a rhythm. Aaron was sitting behind me for support but eventually they needed to change my position and give me some oxygen. So I laid on my side and continued to push. It felt like forever and I was afraid that I would not be able to get her out. Then I started to feel her coming through. I reached down and could feel her hairy head barely crowning. I pushed until I felt the "Ring of Fire" and waited for the perineum to stretch.

With the next contraction, I pushed and there she was, born at noon on February 18th. They put her on my chest and she cried and cried. I cried too. I couldn't believe she was finally here. Aaron and I went over the names we came in with and the only one that fit to a tee was Zoe Renee. She was perfect.  After eating some delicious Turkish food, we were home by 7 pm that night.

There was so much uncertainty at the end of my pregnancy, I had to open myself up to the possibility that my perfect birth would not be perfect. It may not happen at the birth center but I knew I would have all the support in the world. I was blessed to have a labor that progressed beautifully and the best environment in the world to labor in. Zoe knew what she was doing all along. We just needed to be patient.

I am so grateful to the midwives at the Brooklyn Birth Center for their courage and wisdom. If it were not for them, I would have been induced earlier and quite possibly sectioned. Because of their faith in a women's capacity to birth, Zoe and I had the best birth possible and Mom and baby could not be healthier or happier. Zoe is such a peaceful and sweet baby. I am blessed!