I went to bed last Tuesday thinking I would blog the next morning about the guinea fowl, Pumpkin and Banjo, or my mom and dad's 35th wedding anniversary party. I spent the evening getting all of my favorite pictures ready. Little Pearl Kathryn decided she would be arriving instead. I woke up at four in the morning with contractions every seven minutes and I knew we would be having a baby in the next few days. Here is a picture I took of Oliver kissing my belly the day before I went into labor.
My experience giving birth to Oliver four years ago was pretty traumatic. For the two of you who haven't heard about Oliver's birth, you can read about it here:
I had a miserable surgical birth and I was praying for a normal birth experience this time around. I spent the day at my sister's house in early labor. My contractions were regular and strong, but didn't appear to be getting any worse after 14 hours. My sister decided we should try to move things along, so we went for a walk down her block. I felt a pinch during a contraction and then felt my water breaking all over her neighbor's driveway. We laughed and Kate (my sister) vowed to bring back a hose later. Once my water broke, I knew we were going to be meeting the baby soon. We headed to the hospital where I was hoping to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean section).
My mom met us there and knew I was in active labor when I politely asked for some f****** water. I always hoped I would be "zen" and quiet during labor-a birthing goddess if you will. I was more of a birthing drunk sailor, loud with a foul mouth. No more "fudge crackers" for me, it made it hurt less to just say f***.
We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 PM. The nurse checked me and told me I was three centimeters, then patted me on the knee and left. She was assuming I would be laboring for the next 12 hours or so. Luckily my mom, sister and Glenn were all there to be my support people, because I was left alone by the hospital staff. They were all so helpful during my three and a half hours of active labor, cooling me with cloths, squeezing my hips, staying calm and letting me hang on each of them. I can't imagine how anyone could labor naturally without proper support. When I felt as though I might split down the middle, I insisted the nurses call my midwife. She came in to check and I was six centimeters. An hour later I had to push during a contraction, then thirteen minutes later Pearl arrived.
I thought I would save you from having to see the crowning pictures. It wasn't even close to being orgasmic (thanks Ina May Gaskin for that shred of hope), but it was painfully wonderful. I would do it all over again to meet my daughter in such a peaceful way, surrounded by the love of her family.
Oliver came to meet his little sister at the hospital the next day. You can see how thrilled he is to finally meet her. We were released from the hospital later that afternoon (thanks to our groovy postpartum nurse) and have been enjoying our quiet time at home together as a family.
This morning we had a placenta burial in the garden. My mother/baby blessing gift was an apricot tree to plant over Pearl's placenta. I'm sure next year we will have the best tasting fruit in town.
So, that's it, the perfect birth of our daughter.