"Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go."
-Fred Rogers

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Birth of Erik Robert Kristopher

I met Hannah in 2009 when I was about halfway through my pregnancy with my son, Mickey. Hannah had just recently moved to Chicagoland and she was starting her doula career in the area. My husband and I immediately loved Hannah's peaceful and genuine demeanor and we asked her to be present to support us during our upcoming birth. As the fates would have it, my baby arrived too quickly for Hannah to be present, but we'll forever be grateful for Hannah's support during the pregnancy and postpartum period.

Below is the story of Hannah's son, who was born one year ago. Enjoy!!

Erik’s Birth Story

On Friday, February , 2011, we went to have dinner at Sam & Jill’s house. I was 39 weeks along, huge, tired, and really “over” having pre-labor contractions every 5 minutes for a week. On the way to their house I noticed the HUGE full moon and said to Peter, “Maybe this will get the baby out!” (As a doula, I am a strong believer in full moon babies.) We had dinner then stayed late playing games, not getting home until after midnight. Right after we crawled into bed, around 1:00 am, I had my first “real” contraction. I immediately knew this was different and the real thing. From then until Erik was born, I had contractions every 3-5 minutes, never further apart or closer together.

When Peter woke up around 8:00 am, I told him it looked like this would be the day. J He immediately went into a house-cleaning frenzy, and also went to the coin store to get a special coin for Erik to commemorate the day.  I sent texts to my mom and doula, and generally puttered around, played on facebook, ate strawberries and waited for Peter to settle down. Heh. Around lunch time we settled on the couch to watch Office reruns, and we snuggled a bit. When I got up, I saw that I’d lost my “plug,” so I let my doula know she might want to think about coming. Amy arrived around 4:30; I was alternating walking and hanging out on the couch. I took hypnobirthing as part of my birth prep (it meshes very well with my natural way of dealing with pain), so I was pretty much in my “own place” and peaceful. I mostly wanted to just be left alone to do my thing. I think around 3:00 the midwife’s office called to confirm my checkup time for the following Monday, and I told them I was pretty sure we’d be seeing her at the hospital before that. Anyway, by around 5:00 I felt it was time to go. I was shooting for getting there around 6-7 cm;  Janet (my midwife) was thinking I was probably only around 4 and was trying to prepare me for the disappointment of being sent home.

The ride to the hospital was pretty miserable, and then Peter didn’t want to use the valet, so the walk back to L&D was not fun, either. Anyway, when we got there, I was already 7 cm dilated. The nurse and midwife talked me into getting AROM (which I now think was a mistake), and we were all thinking we’d have a baby in the next couple of hours. Wrong!! After getting admitted, I got in the shower for a while, which felt great. Around 9ish, I started having a strong urge to push. Yay, we thought. But I was only 8 cm dilated. I worked really hard to not push (anyone who has had that strong urge can sympathize!). I even tried pushing a little, but then my cervix started swelling. I felt like walking would help, but every time I tried to get up, the pain was unbearable (this is why I believe the AROM was a mistake). Finally, around 4ish (am on the 20th), Janet came in and found that I was still at 8, so she suggested I should have a minimum dose of Pitocin (to get over the hump) and a minimum dose of Nubain (to help me relax… after fighting the urge to push for that many hours, I was getting a bit tense). I had a hard time with it at first, but then decided we needed to do something to get the ball rolling and agreed.

An hour later I was (finally!!) at 10. Woot! The nurse said, “Why don’t you start pushing while I get the midwife. The head is at 0 station, and this is your first, so it will be a while.” I pushed for one contraction until Janet arrived, and he was already down to +2 station. Double woot!! I was extremely inward, quiet and peaceful during my labor (typical hypno mama), but during pushing? I went all primal. LOL Peter said he didn’t know I was capable of screaming like that, and I am pretty certain I was “that woman” scaring the crap out of everyone else on the floor! It just helped, somehow. Anyway, I pushed him out in less than 15 minutes, pushing how and when I wanted, in my own way. I think if someone had told me to be quiet (as I have heard doctors and nurses do at other births), I probably would have kicked them, in spite of my non-violent convictions.
Erik Robert Kristopher Williamson was born at 5:32 am on February 20th and was 10 pounds, 2 ounces (I was shocked by how huge he was) with a 38.5 cm head (Janet said he had the biggest head she had ever delivered, and he was presenting the top, rather than the smaller crown). I tore like crazy, we think mainly because, after all that time, he blew out of there so fast. Holding him for the first time was the most amazing rush ever.

Congratulations Hannah and Peter!!