Where to begin?
This is going to be a long post. I can feel it. It is not going to be a post full of prose and my usual ruminating and I am not going to wax poetic. I'm too damn TIRED.
As I write this it is 6:15pm and my little nugget is sound asleep. He is now 14 days, 3 hours and 29 minutes old or 20,369 minutes old in total.
Wait. Now he's 20,371 minutes old.
Let me address a question I'm sure some of you are asking.
Why in the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks was I allowed to go 18 days past my due date?
The answer to this could potentially be quite long. I'll try to keep it short.
Because I was having a homebirth ( I mean, I DID have a homebirth but I'm getting to that part...) the option of being induced was only an option if there was something wrong with the baby or I had gone TOO far past my due date. At which point my midwife would've said, "Okay. Off to the hospital with you."
Without stepping on too many toes I personally think that induction of babies has run rampant in this country, with a lot of babies being born before they're supposed to based out of fear and hospitals and doctors worrying that they could have a lawsuit on their hands if, and that's a BIG IF, a baby didn't make it because a mother was allowed to go to 42 weeks or even beyond. That, or some doctors find it easier to schedule THEIR life when they know when the babies are "due" to be born.
Not all babies are "done" at 40 weeks. They're just not. Hawke needed 42 weeks and 4 days before he was ready.
It would be as if one had an apple tree and watched the fruit start to grow and then once the first fruits started to ripen then decided that ALL of the rest of the fruit must be ripe, too. Sure, one could pick the fruit, but not all of them would've been ready. Not all of the apples would be bursting with sweetness!
Does that make sense?
It makes sense to me. And my Hawke is BURSTING-SO-FREAKING-FULL-OH-MY-GOODNESS-NOM-NOM-NOM-I-COULD-JUST-EAT-HIM GOODNESS.
I'm off of my soapbox now.
I had been having false labour pains all week. To the point that I actually called Debi, my midwife, and said, "Okay, I think I'm in labour."
To which she replied,
"Uh huh. Sure. Call me when your contractions are 3 minutes apart."
She's a smart lady. She's heard a lot of pregger ladies in labour over the phone. She wasn't impressed with me. ;-)
And she was right. My 5 minute apart contractions went AWAY. I don't know where. Somewhere else. This made me VERY MAD. Zack and I had gone to dinner to Scalini's the night before, when I was exactly 42 weeks, so that I could ingest their Eggplant Parmigiana. And I mean ingest as I am not a fan of eggplant. Eggplant is not a very pretty vegetable. It in no way resembles an egg for one, much less a purple egg. I digress. Zack's entree was better. The garlic rolls were to die for. I digress again.
Thursday came. No baby. I went and got a pedicure and tried to avoid eye contact with everyone there because I knew if ONE person asked me when I was due I was going to punch them in the eye.
Friday came. I slept until 3pm that afternoon, which ended up being a very good thing. Looking back on it now one of the more amazing things that happened was that Melanie Dilley showed up on my doorstep. Her husband, Scott, was working on building a dog run in our backyard for Gracie (he's also the guy that did our studio buildout) and apparently Melanie had stopped by to see Scott. I hadn't seen her since December! I heard a knock on my door and I opened it and there she stood, lovely as ever, a straw hat hanging down her back and in her fantastic British accent she said,
"I'm here to pray for you."
"Oh! Well, okay. Great!"
So she came in and very simply placed her hand on my shoulder, while I sat at the dining room table, and she prayed for me. Prayed for Zack, prayed for Hawke, prayed for our other 3 boys, prayed for the house. She prayed a lot of things. And it blessed me so much to have good words spoken. To have someone else speak things aloud that needed to be said. To interceed. I needed that prayer time.
While that was happening Zack was at the studio doing a shoot with Dallas Austin for a magazine (that shall remain nameless at this time because I can't remember if we're allowed to say which one it is or not) and apparently Dallas's manager or someone had gone down the street to Fox Bros. BBQ restaurant and brought some back to the studio. So when Zack came home he wanted BBQ 'cause he had been smelling it for a few hours.
So we went. And it was good. They have this appetizer called Texas Fries that has more calories than one should eat in a week.
Let me say that by this point I had decided that the baby was never going to come. My friend, Que (who's son Aiden's middle name is also Danger!) wrote to me to say that at one point she wondered if she had contracted some crazy disease where she had all the SYMPTOMS of being pregnant but wasn't ACTUALLY. I started to think that maybe that was REALLY HAPPENING TO ME.
We came home and tried to watch "So I Married An Axe Murderer" because Zack had never seen it and I think it's funny but we got about 30 minutes into it and I could tell he hated it. Then he put on "National Lampoon's Vacation" because I had never seen it and he thinks it's funny and we got about 30 minutes into it and he could tell I hated it.
"How about Zorro, the Gay Blade?", Zack asked.
I was incredulous.
"Really? Really? Ugh. No.... ", and here Zack smiled his "I'm going to show all my teeth and look really stinkin' cute" smile.
We started that and 5 minutes into it I was hooked. That movie is hysterical.
"2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a Peso. All who love Zorro, stand up and say so!"
During the whole movie I was feeling...funny. I dunno how to describe it. My lower back was aching and I kept having to pee. And by that I mean MORE than I usually do which is crazy because I was already doing so much of that already. I was only comfortable sitting on a Yoga ball that my step-mom let me borrow on the day I THOUGHT I was in labour.
We watched Zach Galifinsdrasdfildgguwdsld (Galifinakis) Live at the Purple Onion after that. So funny. Not recommended if you're uptight or offended easily. Just a warning.
But oh my goodness I was laughing so hard. And Zack and I were eating Red Vines and I forgot momentarily that I was miserable. We headed up to bed around 2:30am.
An hour later I was sitting up in bed thinking, "Boy was I STUPID for thinking I was in labour before. These HURT." The contractions just started, BAM. No slow building up or anything. Just all of a sudden they were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting a minute or more. Zack called my sister, Erin, who lives in Conyers and then called Debi. Debi was just leaving the Athens area where another lady had just had her baby. Poor Debi. Back to back babies!
By 4:30 am Erin was at our house and I was still working through contractions and when I wasn't having a contaction Zack was making me laugh and I was euphoric because DEAR GOD FINALLY THE BABY WAS COMING OUT.
I had a water birthing tub all set and ready to go in the upstairs landing of our house, right by the bathroom and down the hall from our bedroom. A La Bassine birthing tub. I loved that thing.
Debi and her assistant arrived sometime around 6 am? I got into the tub and basically never left.
Well, I got out to use the bathroom. And one time I had this crazy idea that I would feel better if I could labour on my bed but one contraction into that idea and I was cussing like a sailor and saying, "THAT WAS A BAD IDEA."
Erin told me later that she knew I was really head deep into active labour when I became very curt with everyone.
"Turn the lights off. And cut the music. No more talking. Shut the dog up."
Debi checked me around 2pm and said that I was only at 6 inches. This made me almost want to give up. I hit that point where I thought, "Who in the heck am I kidding? What was I thinking?" And I was dealing with all kinds of negative images floating through my brain. And right then I remembered what Melanie had said to me after she had finished praying. She said,
"You're going to hit a point where you're going to wonder how you're going to do it. You're going to start beating yourself up and questioning everything. Go ahead and start thinking now about how you're going to deal with that."
So, when I hit that point, my way of dealing with it? I gave up. Or gave in. In a good way. Weirdly there were two "daydreams" that helped me. Everytime I had a contraction, (Which hurt like a MOFO. With Phoenix I had laboured for 12 hours on induced pitocin contactions but was eventually given an epidural and, also, 8 and 1/2 years had gone by since I laboured with Phoenix so I had FORGOTTEN...)
Where was I? Oh yes, everytime I had a contraction I imagined that I was a...this is kind of weird but...a squid. I don't know why. The imagery of my arms and legs being all limp and my stomach area being the area of concentrated energy made me think of a squid. The other "daydream" image was every contraction was really me being hit in the stomach with a cannonball that sent me flying through the air and, again, my arms and legs just sort of dangled.
I can't believe I just wrote that. But. Hey. There you go. Not romantic. I wasn't reveling in the life that was about to make his entrance into the world. I wasn't breathing with hee hee hoo hoo's and going to my happy place.
I was a squid who was also a multiple cannonball victim.
20 minutes later the most primal, insane feeling came over me. I knew I had to push. That was kind of cool. In hindsight. In the moment I felt almost animalistic or something. And apparently by the way I cried out, Debi, who was downstairs said,
"She's ready to start pushing."
Everyone rushed upstairs and Debi checked me again and I was at 10cm.
I pushed for 3 minutes.
And he was out.
With Phoenix I pushed for almost 3 HOURS.
Here he is about...oh...10 minutes old.
May 16, 2009. 7 lbs 12 oz. 21 inches long. Head circumference 14 and 5/8 inches. Born at 2:46pm.
We have more pictures, and Zack has some video footage, but, interestingly enough, not as many as some might think. Zack was busy helping, and sitting with me, and holding me while I pushed. And the pictures we do have I'll share eventually.
It was an amazing, amazing experience. And I think it's sad that in the state of Georgia having one's baby at home is illegal. That my amazing midwife, Debi, would have been arrested if found out. It was redeeming, too, because my mother was going to have had our baby brother at home and their deaths and the complications surrounding it made some of my family think that Erin and I were crazy for wanting to have our babies at home but it was OKAY. I haven't spoken to Erin about this but I think I wouldn't be remiss in saying that we both have a feeling of, "There you go, Mom. We got to do what you wanted to do."
Ah, but there I go, inching my way back up on my soapbox.
I'll share more, later, about Caleb, Phoenix and Joshua's reactions and what they think of him. They love him, by the way... ;-)
Right now, I'm going to go snuggle with my newest boy. Who is now 20,462 minutes old.