Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saphira's birth story

If I were to sum up this birth, I would say violent but fulfilling. It's ironic because she was my fourth and my smallest (8 lb 5 oz). The only explanation is the speed with which she came.

I woke up Thursday morning with the bloody show and contractions 7 minutes apart. So I called everyone, and with my husband and midwife rushing me, we gathered the kids from school and went to the birth center. We spent a peaceful day there doing all the things I imagined I would: baking frozen pizza and cookies, going for a walk, resting in bed, etc. I think I was a little too relaxed because the contractions petered out. So at 4:30 I sent the photographer home and we left. I figured I could at least go to class. So I did.

Of course, as soon as we left the birth center the contractions started up good and strong, ten minutes apart. Maybe it was the house music we were listening to in the car. My husband and I preplanned that he would pick me up from class an hour early. It was a good thing we did because labor was really picking up at that point. I took a bath to see if that would stall labor, but during the bath contractions went from 7 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart!

Timmy and I got back in the car and sped back to the birth center (which is 40 minutes away). I was pretty much in transition during the ride there because I was at the point where I was saying "I can't do this. I don't want to do this anymore". Mostly I just called out "Father. God. Jesus. Help me. Momma." and some swearing. We might not have made it if Timmy hadn't been doing 90 the whole way.

I was scared that no one would be at the birth center when we got there (because the midwife hadn't been able to call us back and a recent news story of a similar situation making me paranoid). So when we got there and the lights were on and the door was open I broke down in relief. I walked in the door sobbing. My midwife, Meredith, had put some water in the tub already so I got right in but labor was so hard and furious I got little relief. I was too hot so I got out. (Afterwards Meredith told me the water needed to be 6 degrees warmer to actually birth the baby there. I could not have tolerated it any hotter).

I was inconsolable at this point. Relaxing through each contraction -though possible during active labor- was completely unhelpful during transition. I preferred to tense up and brace myself against furniture and struggle through each contraction. For instance, during one I was on the floor on my hands and knees, slapping the tile floor as hard as I could hit it. After getting out of the tub I crawled into bed and lay on my side, screaming random demands to: open the window, turn the fan on, point the fan on me, get me a bowl for me to throw up in. Then I felt a little pushy. Another contraction and I just started pushing -laying on my side with legs still together! My water broke and more (mom's know what I mean). Just like my last birth, the midwife was not expecting this and she frantically got on the phone to call for her back-up.

The violent part
I turned onto my back, laying sideways on the bed and pinned Meredith against the wall with my legs as the next contraction hit. I was absolutely roaring as I pushed half her head out. With Dimitri I got the whole head out in one push which was a relief. But with Saphira's head only partway out I was in so much pain I just wanted her out. Meredith was commanding me, in her most serious voice to stop pushing. My husband was on the opposite side of the bed, at my head. He saw how out of control I was and he grabbed my arms and pinned me down as I was trying to grab the baby's head and pull it out. I'm screaming that when I push it feels like it's tearing upwards, which is a scary prospect. Thankfully it didn't. The next few contractions were a violent battle with me writhing in pain and pushing, Meredith telling me not to push, me asking her why, me telling her no, and begging Timmy to let go of my hands. Then she was out.

Finally peace
My first words were something along the lines of "Thank God she's out". Meredith immediately put her on my stomach. She was soft and beautiful, amazingly clean, purplish in color- I thought that it was her complexion and commented that she was darker than my other kids. I pushed the placenta out and asked Meredith to make sure it was a girl. It was. phew.

Even though time is immeasurable to a laboring woman, Meredith said I delivered her 17 minutes after arrival. In that 17 minutes I went from 7 cm to delivery. It may have been short but it was agonizing. Probably because of the speed, I couldn't have taken any more.

The birth was almost the opposite of how I planned. I delivered on my back instead of in the tub. I didn't catch my baby or even see her coming out with a mirror. I was anything but calm. None of my friends or family was there. I got no photos... But as my midwife said, maybe it was exactly what it was supposed to be- just me and my husband. We certainly think so. It was a scary moment, the two of us. A meaningful moment.

I'm glad there was no video. The delivery was scary enough to live through once. I don't think I'd ever want to see it again. I am proud of what I did though and in a strange sort of way look back fondly on the birth because it was hard but I found the strength to do it.



  • At 3:42 PM, Blogger Jennifer Meyer said…

    Wow, we are so proud of you! You did an amazing job under very hard conditions. We can not wait to meet her! What did you decide for a middle name? We love you so much!

    Jen & Ben

  • At 4:47 PM, Blogger Deena said…

    We're naming her Saphira Deena. I wanted Saphira Shanghai (because I was there when I found out I was pregnant) but Timmy won out. It was always the plan anyway- our first born son is Brandon Timmy. So I guess we're sticking with the original plan. :)

  • At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    SHE IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!! I'm really proud of you! She's going to be a head-strong little girl. *wink*


  • At 12:52 PM, Blogger Deena said…

    ha ha. Head strong. No kidding. We were already joking how she thinks she's the queen... "I think I'll come out today. No, maybe not. OK. Yes, I changed my mind".

  • At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh my goodness what an event.. and I'm glad it was just you guys.. I know you were set on friends and family.. but I think once you started roaring we would have run away :)



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