Friday, February 26, 2010

Water birth

I've written my birth story already, but the "water birth" aspect of it has still been kicking around in my head ever since. Every time someone says "oh, a water birth, was it cool?" I want to be like "gahhhhh are you kidding it was the awesomest thing eveeeeer!" but that wouldn't really explain it either, plus it would be a little intense and scary. I finally sat down tonight (the baby and husband are in bed - yes I am squandering possible sleep time. Yes I know that's dumb) to try to get it out.  Hmmm. Anyway, my musings......


“You look beautiful when you’re in labor,” I heard my midwife say from somewhere far away. Looking back now, I wish I had been present enough to thank her, to smile or to even recognize that I heard her words. I did hear them, somehow, from the soft blue place I floated. I heard them but they hovered somewhere outside me, like the lights and the noises in the hallway and everything except my belly and my breath and the water.
I floated through my labor, literally and figuratively. I spent seven hours in a big round tub, making my own waves as each contraction made waves through my body. I rolled sideways and clung to the edge and kicked against the pain and swayed in the wake and then floated again. I sank deeper and deeper into the water, into the tub and into myself as my baby kicked hard to come to the surface and I dove down to meet him.
On “land” while I waited for my cervix to dilate enough to get into the tub (5 cm), I had paced the floor and rocked on the edge of the bed, breathing hard and finally seeking refuge in the hospital shower, where I closed my eyes and pretended I was swimming. I moved quickly, racing the pain in my bare feet and hospital gown, mentally urging my uterus to contract, murmuring “open, open” to my cervix each time another contraction swelled. I knew, somehow, that the water would make everything right, so I begged my body to move faster, to get me in that tub! My husband knew it too, and reminded the nurses often that I wanted the water. I felt strong and tough, maybe too much so. I fought against each contraction, struggling to find a way to bend my tense muscles around the pain.
Finally it was time to get into the water. Immediately my body melted, and instead of tightening against the waves, the rest of my muscles were soft and weightless and all I had to focus on was my womb, the center of everything. Without having to think, I found the right way to breathe through each contraction and then, the moment that I suddenly knew breathing wasn’t enough anymore, to hum and then to moan and then to scream. I didn’t have to choose these things – it wasn’t about being brave or tough, it was just about being, period. The water showed me that right away. From the moment I lowered myself into the water, my memory is a blur of murmured conversations and gentle hands and cranberry juice. I floated in an incredibly private place, naked in the water in a room full of people. I was barely aware of the things going on around me – my husband pouring warm water over me (and accidentally squirting my with the icey faucet), the nurses checking the baby’s heartbeat, my midwife whispering “she looks like the quintessential woman in labor, look how she floats in it!” It all found its way to my hormone-drunk brain, but by the time it got there it was diluted, dimmed and not very important anymore. I was somewhere else, somewhere primitive and dark and wet. When I think about my labor now, I sometimes picture myself in a sort of womb, experiencing the labor the way my son did – rosy darkness, warmth, the sound of water, the rush of blood pounding, the world shrinking and shrinking and shrinking around us and then, when we are barely there anymore, opening up again so we can breathe. We swim together through each wave, him pushing up towards the light at the surface, and me diving down to find him where it’s dark.
When I finally met my boy, I lifted him out of the water with pruny hands, and he opened his eyes and looked at me, and we were both surprised to find ourselves on land


~Ashby


Edit: Also published here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Popping In


                                                                 Six weeks old today.

                                                                          Holy cow.


~Ashby

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One Month, golly gee

This has been, by far, the fastest month of my entire life. I never really got it when parents said "it flies by" until now. Wow. On one hand, it feels like we've had him forever, but on the other hand it's like yesterday I was hanging out in the labor tub, getting pissed off about the amount of sunlight in the room.


Miles is, obviously, the best baby in the universe. Duh. He doesn't do anything miraculous like sleep through the night (ha!) or speak Spanish (yet), but he does other miraculous things like wake up every morning wanting to play for an hour, and stare wide-eyed at the window, which he just noticed, and suck on Jesse's nose. He has been holding his head up since the day he was born, but now he actually looks at us when he does it, without crossing his eyes! He talks in his sleep, too, which is so killer.
Sleep isn't happening so much, for me and Miles at least - our current nighttime schedule involves 3 hours of solid sleep right when we go to bed, then he's up every hour (no exxageration) to snack after that. I've been attempting to keep him awake longer at each feeding so he gets more in his belly, but it's legit impossible to keep him up once he passes out at the boob. I strip him, flick his feet, make him do situps, whine plaintively in his ear - nuthin. He just lays there all droopy with a satisfied smirk on his face. And then, of course, is awake, hungry again, in 45 minutes. It's cute. Everyone keeps telling me that this will change on its own, that eventually he'll know the difference between night and day and just naturally do a little more eating during the day, a little more sleeping at night. I, however, am skeptical.
It's unbelievable how much life has changed in all the obvious ways, and how little it's changed at the core. I mean yes, I never ever ever have two free hands unless he's passed out strapped to my body in the Moby, and when he does miraculously fall asleep in his swing I find myself running around the house doing everything at warp speed in case he wakes up. And things like, oh, leaving the house seem far less important when there's such a cute little person there. So yeah, things are different. But really, everything makes much more sense now - we already spend all our time with people with kids, so now there's just one more kid (the house is like a daycare on weekends when everyone comes over with their wee ones). And I don't know, it feels like we've been waiting for him for so long that now that he's here it's exactly the same as it was, just easier to breathe.

I already get all weepy when I think about how fast he's growing. Sure, there are things I dislike about this stage - lack of sleep, almount of spitup flowing down my shirt on a regular basis, inability to do silly things like eat a meal or shower. But they're nothing compared to how amazing it is to have this tiny person curled up on my chest, squeaking in his sleep. I think that that image of him, the top of his head pressed against my throat and his fists curled up under his chin, is how I'll always think of him. Which I'm sure he'll hate when he's 25.
And holy cow, do I adore my husband. Wow. I was worried that once Bundle came, I would find myself sadly feeling less for Jesse, since all the love directed itself towards the baby. Well, I'm an idiot. Apparently there is not finite amount of love, and things just seem to multiply exponentially because man, I am swimming in it lately. It's almost gross
 

~Ashby