Though autumn is traditionally the season bearing quick harvest, a long and sleepy kind of reflection also exists. It’s felt in weekends spent on pumpkin-spice drinks, home improvement projects, family bike rides and slow company among friends. Life trickles down in interesting little snapshots throughout the community: festivals and marathons and events at parks. The lovely turning of trees amasses hours for a journal; my favorite season, before summer.
Mere days before this metamorphosis our son was born.
Like the medical illusion of a due date, my hilarious pre-baby thinking advised me that labor would be quick and smooth. Healthy pregnancy, easier contractions, surely? I even read The Bradley Method and practiced all of the relaxation techniques– let me cash in my chips now, Baby Jesus…
So contractions lasted long enough to warrant breaking my waters and a few drops of Pitocin, but I’ll backtrack.
At about three or four in the afternoon of Friday, August 15th (Ian’s due date), contractions began to ascend into “%&*#! Did my mind really skip from the glowing last trimester to an automatic and happy newborn in my arms?” I advised Travis we would need to go to the hospital now. I was obviously dilated.
I was not, but had effaced 90%. Yahoo! What does that even mean? Travis and I went to IHOP since it was open, I lost it later and we rummaged through more contractions for the rest of Saturday. By early Sunday, the pain was intense enough to risk another non-insurance-covered trip to the maternity ward. This time, four centimeters were won and I had completely effaced. Better than all of that, we could remain in the hospital until he was born.
Mary, our incredible doula, was there as coaching support. Travis was thrilled, and I was feeling brave because I wasn’t having real contractions yet. Nurses everywhere at Women’s Hospital were amazing, and we hit the midwife lottery with Vicki as our attendant. By three in the afternoon on Sunday my contraction pattern was sporadic and non-starting and Vicki was worried I would burn out and not be able to continue without an epidural if I kept this up. They offered to break my waters and if that didn’t rile Little Bear up, give me a little Pitocin. We agreed it was for the best.
“Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers” was on the hospital television, making the night more magical. The birthing tub helped to ease my pain from about ten to one in the morning and then things climaxed. I thoroughly enjoyed the pushing stage, and decided to labor in the bed with stirrups instead of the tub. I was a frizzy, sweaty badass who gained respect for hereself and from the staff for my tough and quiet focus. Always on the stoic side with pain, I initially thought this was a weakness. But in our weakness, He is strong for us. A few loud grunts and rumbles, but no all-out screaming or stressed-out yelling. It was the hardest thirty minutes of my life, but I knew that little bugger was in there and I wanted him with us. Just when I thought it was over for me, Ian came out with legs and arms spread in the air. He was placed on my chest, and tears exploded reflexively. We were all crying, and it was beautiful.
I managed a fifteen-hour labor (about three for the finale) with two drops of Pitocin and membrane rupture. I wouldn’t change a second of it. Now that fall is about to settle, we are learning everything about this strong, sweet, handsome little gift. We’re building our family, and trying to appreciate each small moment. I am totally that parent who picks up her baby anytime he cries, co-sleeps with him almost every night, asks you to wash your hands first, and evades strangers with a blanket over the carrier and death eyes. He was worth every pain a million times over.