Saturday, May 13, 2006


We've been busy. We are working our butts off. We keep having to call in the grandparents and aunties to play with Sweet Pea so we can keep cleaning. A lot is getting done, but the room that's supposed to be getting cleared for a new bed is just not there yet. And Slipshod keeps buying flowers that need to be planted outside quickly so they don't dry out or get rootbound in their pots. It's great, really - the yards are getting more and more cheerful looking, and gardening is something that Slipshod and Sweet Pea do together on weekend mornings while I take a shower. It just takes away from the time Slipshod spends inside working on clearing the room.

Today Slipshod apparently said to Sweet Pea while they were out planting in the back yard, "I like spending time with you." Later, when I was getting Sweet Pea settled for her nap she said to me, "I like spending time with you." I said, "I like spending time with you too, sweetie!" Then she told me that her daddy had said that to her earlier (or maybe I asked her about that part, I can't remember), and she went on to tell me that she replied to him, "Yes! I like spending time with you and Mommy and Sweet Pea!" hee hee heeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Omigosh, she is just so endearing. It's a REALLY good defense mechanism. ha ha. Not that she needs a ton of that - she's pretty easygoing most of the time. Though 2 going on 3 is definitely getting more challenging for Slipshod and I as parents.

Last week it hit me pretty hard that I really was spending way more time worrying about getting the house decluttered/packed/cleaned than even thinking about labor, much less preparing myself for it. Wednesday evening Slipshod and I left Sweet Pea at home with her grandparents and went to our prenatal appointment (she usually goes with us) and then stayed for a refresher course on homebirth. There was another couple there who are having their third child, but first homebirth. It was fun to sit and chat with them and our midwife's assistant (our midwife was out of town). The assistant showed us a couple movies, one of them rather clinical explaining the stages of labor and all that, interspersed with video of real women in real labor. The others were amazing videos of homebirths which were really inspiring to watch.

It was very good for me to sit and focus on birth for a couple hours. But that night after coming home I felt really sad. I couldn't put my finger on why right away; I had to talk with Slipshod for a while before I worked through it. A couple of different realizations came out of my pondering. First, that I am simply not ready for labor. Hopefully I still have a couple weeks to work my mind toward it - I carried Sweet Pea to 40 weeks, so I will probably carry this baby that long as well, but you just never know - this baby is technically term now (the definition of which falls between 37 & 40 weeks), so she may be ready to come out at any time over the next few weeks.

The second realization was true and honest grief over the change that is about to happen to my relationship with Sweet Pea. We are so close, and I don't want that to change. I love being her mommy, and for a while I even thought about not having any more kids so that our relationship wouldn't have to be disrupted by a sibling. But ultimately I knew that if Slipshod and I were able to have another child, we should, because every only child I've ever known asked for siblings somewhere along the way. And I know that once Sweet Pea gets used to having a sibling, she will love it and the two of them will have a wonderful time growing up together. I learned a lot from my siblings so I know that she and her little sister will teach each other a lot too.

Sweet Pea ADORES babies, but I am pretty sure that having one actually living with us 24x7x365 will be a much different experience for her than playing with babies during play group or while visiting other friends. I have been concerned for a while about how difficult of a transition having a new baby will be for Sweet Pea. Now I am seeing how difficult it already is for me too!

But getting back to labor. I think that I have been putting off thinking about it. Finding ways and reasons not to deal with the reality that it is coming, and soon. I am hoping to post my first birth story when I go into labor, so at that time, if you have a couple days to read and someone to bring you meals while you do so, you will be able to understand, if you choose to actually read it all, what kind of baggage I am coming into this labor with.

Here's the short version: I felt the first twinges of labor, which for a while I mistook for gas pains, at 5am on July 22. Most of that day was simple and easy early labor, and early in the day it would even go away when I rested or took a shower. By bedtime that night it was still quite manageable, but I couldn't sleep through it. By 7am on July 23rd my midwife said that I was in hard labor. At 7:30am on July 24th I STILL, after a day, had not progressed past 3cm, so at my midwife's instruction we transferred to the hospital, where I, again at her instruction, got an epidural and was finally able to rest a bit. Then I got some pitocin, and after three and a half hours of pushing, pushed Sweet Pea out at 6:28pm on July 24th.

My midwife called it "pro dromo labor," I think because my contractions never became regular throughout the entire labor. Additionally, when Sweet Pea came out, we saw that her umbilical cord had been wrapped twice around one of her thighs, which certainly must have had something to do with her not being in the position to push against the cervix to help it open.

So you can imagine that I don't want to go through that again. Everyone keeps telling me, "Sweet Pea paved the way, your second labor will be so much shorter and easier," and all that sort of stuff. And I love to hear that, but for some reason I am having a very difficult time actually believing it. Especially since this baby, just like her sister, has at the end of the pregnancy turned posterior.

Yes, my three days of labor with Sweet Pea was ALL back labor. It fucking SUCKED. And I REALLY don't want to do that again.

But what has me a bit mystified is what exactly I am resisting here. I know that I can deal with a significant amount of pain, and four days of no sleep (I did not sleep much or well the night before I went into labor) at the same time. During my first labor, I NEVER ASKED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL. I NEVER ASKED FOR DRUGS. Those are points of pride with me. And also that after everything I had been through already, I was still able to push Sweet Pea out on my own, despite the 17 people (I am not exaggerating) who worked at the hospital who were crowded around me actually holding things like forceps and a vacuum inches from Sweet Pea's crowning head. Thank goodness that Slipshod, our midwife, and my sister were there. I seriously believe to this day that if anyone had done anything besides let me push the baby out on my own, my sister would have jumped on them and ripped their heads off. She knew that wasn't what I wanted, and even though I was starting to think maybe that wasn't such a bad idea (that's how they get you in hospitals), she fought them off all but physically.

Anyway - I guess what worries me most is that this baby is posterior. Technically she still has time to move around, and she will probably get into the right position when the time comes. But I am also worried that she is staying posterior because like her sister she may be stuck in the cord.

I REALLY want this labor to be much shorter than my first and to end at home with a healthy baby and mom. So why am I focusing on what might go wrong? I feel like I'm setting myself up for problems. Like I should be focusing on what I WANT to happen, and talking to the baby about what she needs to do, rather than freaking out about what happened the first time happening again. But somehow I can't seem to let go of the negative stuff. I really, really need to do that.

If this labor starts as mildly as my first, I am planning to try to get on here to post briefly. Not just to plop up my first birth story, but predominantly to ask for your good wishes, prayers, good vibes, that you keep me in your thoughts, and any other form of positivity anyone reading it might be willing to send my way. So keep checking... my due date is anywhere from May 29th to June 2nd (or later, we'll see how things go...). Or sooner, if the baby decides it's time.


Queen of Spain said...

I really gave up on my whole ideal labor and delivery thing. In the end, healthy baby, healthy Mommy. Doesn't matter HOW they get here, as long as they do. Because nothing works out as planned with children. So just let go of all the worries and notions. Focus on having two kids, not the birth.

Violet the Verbose said...

True. But this is very important to me. I want to do everything I can do to make things go well. I am not married to an exact outcome time-wise or in terms of what will happen in what order or where in the house; that's when things go wrong, when you have a hard-and-fast plan. But I feel that if I only focus beyond the birth, I won't have the mental strength I need to get through the actual process.

MrsFortune said...

Wow, you are a much better woman than I! 3.5 hours of pushing? Holy hemorrhoids, batman.

Anyway, I wish you a speedy, peaceful last several weeks of your pregnancy, and thanks for stopping by my blog!

Christina said...

Hopefully things will be different for you this time. It seems like we all want the ideal birth, but I know it often doesn't go how we want it to.

I wanted a natural birth, but ended up with a scheduled c-section. Cordy was stubbornly breech, and nothing worked to turn her. So we chose the scheduled c-section. I was more comfortable putting more risk on myself than putting more risk on her by attempting a version or a breech birth. (Which would have been impossible - she was sitting essentially upright in a yoga position with crossed legs. Brat.)

I'm still hoping that when we have our next child I can have a VBAC.

Stahl family said...

I know Sweet Pea's labor and delivery were not ideal for you, but have faith. The second time I delivered was way easier than the first in terms of time. However, I know your concern for posterior positioning...Ellie was not in proper position when it was time to push for me either. My midwife thought she might have to turn her during delivery, but my choice of pushing position helped Ellie to turn properly and pop out the way she should....Only a mere 2.5 hours after Pitocin (not my choice).