So, we’re having a baby. Several emotions pulsating through our physical beings; several thoughts speeding through our minds. Euphoria- we’re having a baby! Fear- are we doing the right thing? Calmness- we ARE doing the right thing. Anxiety- we only have nine months to plan this birth. Thus begins the story of Ziggy Skye.
Right away, we knew we preferred not to have our baby in a hospital. Determined to maintain a certain level of intimacy, we began searching our venues. The list of options was short, so a midwife was the way for us. In the beginning, I was skeptical of a home birth. I thought I was more comfortable with being somewhere other than home; somewhere I felt was more equipped for emergencies yet not as sterile as a hospital. But after speaking with Gail and Bonnie, my mind was made. At home, our daughter would be borne into an immediate circle of warmth and love. And those special ladies, Vanessa included, proved themselves to be all the equipment necessary.
My check ups reported nothing but perfect progression. Everything moving along smoothly, we felt there was enough time to become fully prepared for the arrival of our daughter. We were waiting to obtain the bulk of our necessities until after our baby shower. After serious consideration, we scheduled our shower for January 19th. That would give us our last month to tie up any loose strings. So, the day prior, I went shopping for something cute to wear. By this time, cute clothes were my only salvation to feeling like any average female, as opposed to a bloated whale. Later that night, I enjoyed a steaming cup of raspberry leaf tea while relaxing with my husband and a friend that was visiting. Having worn myself out that day, I retired to bed early. By two o’clock, I was up with an intense need to urinate and an odd moist sensation. Little did I know what was in store. Same goes for Jim, my husband. Had he known better, he would have gone to bed earlier than 1:30 am.
After I went to the bathroom, I felt a warm moistness exuding from me again. At about the same time, I began to feel a contraction. After that one, another took its place. Again I needed to pee. This time I was having what I later found to be “pink show.” I knew this because we had just begun our Bradley course, and had discussed the term; but we had three weeks to go, so this couldn’t be right.
Just the afternoon prior, we discussed false labor. As an attempt to put the pieces together, I decided to draw a warm bath with the intention of relaxing. One after another, the contractions kept coming. By this time, I was recording them with a pen and paper that I hauled into the tub with me. When I could no longer concentrate on both my contractions and longevity therein, I woke my husband. What a sight to see! Me, naked in the tub, watch in one hand, pen in the other, staring up at him. After wiping the sleepiness away, Jim took the reins of recording minutes. Mind you, it’s now 3:30 or so. He’s had only two hours of sleep, so he was somewhat out of sorts in the beginning.
Some time later, it dawns on us that this may not be false labor after all. It was then that we opted to call up the ladies. The first one we reached, Bonnie, arrived here just about a quarter to five. (She later confides that when we called her, she was going to prescribe a nice long warm bath and a good night’s rest until she heard the description of bloody show. Once she heard those words, she reckoned that she should take a gander.) To our house she drove.
As she’s walking over our threshold, I greet her pacing the hallway clad only with warm white socks (it’s January). As Bonnie examines me, she calmly says “Oh dear,” but her widening eyes give her alarm away. We look at her imploringly. “You’re nine centimeters!”
Yikes! What to do? A decision has to be made. She looks at me and I know her question. And I have her answer. We’re having our baby here. We may be early but thirty-six weeks is still a healthy baby, and I have had no complications thus far. My vitals are good; the baby’s vital are good, so it’s a go. She calls for reinforcement and Jim starts into “birthing” gear.
Our initial intention is a water birth. What a beautiful way to enter the world! But an intention is how the idea remains. We had purchased the pool but nothing else. How are we to fill the pool once it’s blown up? How do we maintain the temperature of the water? All valid questions with no real answers. After six breathless trips from the bathtub to the pool with a five-gallon tub (we have no hose) and no more hot water left, the water level in the pool is only ankle high. We need the water to cover my bulging belly. The dream is over, done, pricked with a needle. Time for plan B. The couch in the den is our next stop.
So everyone is here. Bonnie, Gail, Vanessa, Jim and me. I feel no true urge to push, so I’m told to begin when I feel like it. At 6:15 a.m., I begin. But, I am just not getting enough push power per contraction. It feels like trying to run a marathon uphill without any warm up runs. We are trying all sorts of birthing positions. I am eating honey by the tablespoons for quick energy and Jim is coaching while twiddling my nipples for stimulation (not that kind of stimulation.) But nothing. I am winded and all I want to do is have my baby already.
The ladies strike gold with their next suggestion. I must go to the bathroom and sit on the commode and let gravity do her job. Boy, gravity is worth her weight in gold. My contractions are coming along nicely; Jim is still tweaking my nipples, and the baby’s vitals are great. What a trooper! With each contraction, I am holding onto the toilet seat for leverage. Many times I feared that I would break it. But, alas, I do not.
After some time perched there, we convene again in the den. We try again over the couch on my knees. Unbeknownst to all of us, as Ziggy had traveled down my canal, she had cocked her head a little bit, not enough to harm her or myself, but just enough to make that position very uncomfortable. To hurdle over that, I attempt another position, but in process of doing so, I slide onto my back on the floor. And believe it or not, that is how she was born. I birth her head at 8:12 and then my contractions stop again. Oh boy. They stop long enough for even Ziggy to get impatient. While waiting for me to get it together to birth the rest of her, she turns her head just enough to open her eyes and look at her father for the first time. Then she calmly turns her head back down. This may sound horrific, like out of a movie and maybe it was a little. But, honestly, it was beautiful, heartwarming, maybe a bit funny, and something that my husband will never forget. Three minutes later, Ziggy Skye was borne to us, an enchanting, alert, and peaceful daughter that we enjoy continuously.
I must say that for us, our pregnancy was surreal. Wonderful, yet surreal. But the moment that Bonnie gave us our baby after catching her, a whole new world opened that we cherish. And what makes our birth story so compelling to revisit and recite is the care, love, assistance, and the memories that these glorious women have given us. Not only were these ladies caretakers, but also for a brief moment in time they were family members. And in our souls, they will forever be sacred. Thank you, ladies.