Monday, April 2, 2012

Tallulah's birth, part III

I've had complaints that with all the various parts of the birth story, everyone is hanging on the edge of their seats waiting to see if the baby was actually BORN. Well, I'm here to tell you, she most definitely came. And with a bang.

Sometime close to 3 pm, I began feeling the almost unbearable constant wave of pressure that signifies transition and moving quickly to the pushing part of birthing. Since Atticus took over 2 hours to push out, I was thinking I still had a long way to go and was becoming a tad discouraged thinking about the next step to getting her out of me. My groans intensified and there were a few times I said the usual "I can't do this, I'm not going to be able to get this baby out of me myself" or something to that effect (really, shouldn't the witnesses write the birth story, I can't remember what happened!) But of course, everyone was very reassuring that I was doing this, and it was almost time for her to come.

Unlike with my first birth, where I was checked, declared to be 10 cm and ready to push, and only then started pushing (probably too soon).... this time around, I didn't even have time to think, oh, I'm complete, time to push. I went from one intense wave to one where my body just automatically started bearing down, I had absolutely no control over what was happening. I think maybe Jennifer had left the room, so I believe someone ran to get her because I was pushing. Next thing I know, I look up and there are no fewer than 8 nurses surrounding me yelling at me to get out of the tub. Yeah, because I can really move right now, I thought. My body kept bearing down, I kept groaning, and I reached down and felt a head maybe an inch or so from crowning. Whoa.

Nurses and midwives and loving friends kept coaxing me out of the tub, but during those few seconds/minutes I was having a contraction and pushing I couldn't even fathom moving. I was told to PANT! And my baby was in DANGER! And "someone call respiratory!!" "We're afraid from your baby!" says one nurse, and I look up and scream at her to "SHUT UP!"

Jennifer was the only one of them who actually said something that reassured me that I could and needed to get out of the tub because if I didn't, everyone would freak out, take the baby away to check her, and didn't I want to keep her on my chest right after she came? Finally, the contraction ended, and I lifted my head and calmly announced (ok, in my imagination I was calm, but probably not...) I was ready to move to the bed because if they called in respiratory and freaked out, I would be pissed. Tim and a few others helped lift me out of the tub and moved me to the bed, where I knelt down and leaned against the back (Tim was right there next to my face whispering wonderful, confident sweet things), just in time for another wave to hit me and the uncontrollable urge to push overtake my conscious desires. I felt some burning, lots of pressure, and in no time, that wonderful, amazing relief that can only be experienced when a baby's head emerges from your vagina. The rest of her followed quickly and I sighed a huge sigh of relief for how short the pushing was.

After a few seconds of making sure all was well, I was helped to turn around and sit down, and the vernix-covered, wriggly little baby girl was placed on my chest. I couldn't believe how perfect everything was, and that I actually had my baby, here with me, not in a warmer somewhere not moving or crying, but screaming at the top of her lungs and letting everyone know she was JUST FINE, THANK YOU, leave me with my mom. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing, then Tim (with Atticus in arms) cut it.

Everything after this point was fairly (non) routine, the nursery nurse came in to give her a bath and check her over, but we didn't want her bathed and had waived all the standard procedures (eye ointment, vitamin K, Hep B, blood sugar testing), and I didn't want her taken away. When I said she could do everything with the baby on my chest, she kind of looked at me and was like "uhh, I guess that's ok" like no one had ever requested that. They did take her over the infant bed to do her footprints because the nurse just could not do it except on a flat surface and it was of UTMOST importance to her. After a while, we weighed her, and she was a hefty 7 lbs even, 18.5 inches long. She was nursing well (it took her a little while though, she screamed and screamed for a good ten minutes after she was born), and continued to do so for the next, you know, six hours...

Looking back, I can't help but think how her birth was exactly what I wanted. I couldn't have written a better birth. It was long enough to not be too fast, short enough to not be too slow. The pushing was easy, I didn't tear, she basically slid out of me with little conscious effort on my part. She came out healthy and pink and screaming. The only part that kind of sucked was a nasty postpartum hemorrhage that required much uterus pressing on, a shot of Pitocin in the butt, and some suppository Cytotec pills (yish). But even though it was painful to have someone pushing down on my uterus for ten minutes (I think she forgot I didn't have an epidural) and inserting burning pills into my anus right after having a baby, I can't help but be grateful that I was in a place with skilled birth attendants, drugs to save my life, and it was all paid for by my awesome health insurance (thanks, Dad). I appreciate the lack of intervention during the birthing process but at the same time, when I needed it, medical intervention was there and for that, I am grateful.

(I do wish to point out that even during a home birth, a skilled midwife will recognize a hemorrhage and carries the same drugs to stop it as they had in the hospital, and all would've been well at home too).

After Atticus was born, I remember thinking how I never wanted to do that. EVER. AGAIN. I couldn't stay on top of the pain during transition, pushing was long and hard and tiring, and then to top it off, he came out still and silent, was whisked away and not given back, and I didn't even get to hold him for hours, and he was in the NICU the entire hospital stay so we couldn't do the constant skin-to-skin like I did with Tallulah. Now, everything turned out well in the end, breastfeeding went smoothly despite everything, we are plenty well-bonded, and Atticus is a healthy and smart toddler. I still felt sad about a lot of his birth and the aftermath, and going into this birth, I was so nervous and scared it wouldn't go well. I feel like Tallulah's birth has healed me from those feelings, and made me appreciate everything wonderful about her older brother's birth in addition to hers. Not to mention, made me realize I could do this again. And maybe even again. So, thank you, baby Tallulah, for this beautiful birth experience and for completing our family in the present moment. We really love you.


  1. That was so beautiful! Thank you for sharing it. I'm so glad you had such a great birth. Oh, and your hospital has a great tub. I also had trouble staying on top of the pain at the end and after he was born I was positive he would be an only child. Stories like yours give me hope. :)

  2. What a wonderful birth. Thanks for sharing. I love reading happy birth stories!

  3. You have 2 wonderful, beautiful children! And Lu's birth sounded like a dream, the perfect homebirth at the hospital kind of story:) Enjoy your family of 4 and congratulations!

  4. I'm glad to hear you were able to have such a good experience this time around. Atticus' birth story reminds me of my own experience with Sammy's birth. And your feelings after having him echo my own. Gives me hope knowing that there could be a better birthing experience ahead.