Warning: SO many words ahead.
Finally, finally you're here.
From the moment they placed you on my chest our world and our hearts cracked wide open to welcome you in; to share in this little life we have built. It's a simple life, but it's ours and it's beautiful. And now that you're here, it's a more complete life.
Will you let me tell you a story, baby doll? The story of your entrance into our world? I'll try not to embarrass you...
|First family selfie|
During our 39th week together, Mama started to get really anxious to meet you. She knew she needed to be patient and let you decide on your own when you were ready, but that's not to say she didn't do a few things to encourage you. She started walking more, swimming at Mamie and Papi's house (they bought a house with a pool in anticipation of you, darling. They, and Papa, can't wait till your big enough to play in it), and taking Evening Primrose Oil. Several days passed with no sign of your pending arrival.
At 39 weeks, 6 days Mama and Papa had a great dinner at Mamie and Papi's house and watched a few episodes of Jen Hatmaker's reality show on HGTV. Mama started to feel really tired and uncomfortable so they decided to head back home. When they got home, they got distracted by a puzzle they had started earlier in the day to pass the time till you came (your parents are super cool people). Mama was increasingly more uncomfortable as they sat there and worked on the puzzle, but it never crossed her mind that it could have been the first signs you were on your way. She's still not sure if that's what it was. Finally, they decided to go to bed.
At 1:57 AM, Mama jolted awake with what she was 85% sure was a no kidding contraction. It felt like a really bad menstrual cramp (I realize that will never mean anything to you and probably just embarrass you, but there it is. It's part of the story.) She got up to go to the bathroom and then waited to see if it would happen again. About 10 minutes later, sure enough, another contraction. She waited through a few more contractions, which were about 10-15 min apart, over the course of an hour. At about 3 AM, she woke Papa up to let him know that you were coming to greet us. They called their midwife, Fawn, to let her know labor had started and to make sure that the light bleeding Mama was having was normal. (It was.) She told us to try to go back to sleep which Papa thought was a great idea. Mama knew that was not gonna happen.
|What you can't see is that this is a cat puzzle...|
I think we thought we were being clever as we are NOT cat people.
It wasn't long before she realized that this was happening and happening quickly. You were not wasting any time in finding your way to us. Mama woke Papa up again and let him know that he needed to start to prepare the bed. He also started timing the contractions.
I suppose I should interject here that you were born at home. More on the whys of that choice at another time.
Mama spent the next hour and a half laboring quietly and peacefully, in the dim lights of her bedroom. The only position that was really comfortable for her was bent over the edge of the bed, swaying and breathing through the contractions. Occasionally, she would lean on Papa's chest and they would slow dance. Papa was the most amazing coach and partner. He was right there for every contraction, rubbing Mama's back and encouraging her through each one. Between each contraction, he rushed around to prepare the bed, and he did his best to get the birth tub ready. They soon realized they would not have time to make use of the birth tub.
Fawn and her apprentice, Jamie, had told Mama and Papa that when contractions had been consistently 4 minutes apart for an hour, that was when they should call to have them come. By the time the contractions were consistent for an hour, they were 3 minutes apart, so at about 5:15 AM Papa called Fawn to let her know that contractions were 3 minutes apart and she should probably come. Fawn sounded a bit skeptical that Mama was already that far along, but she said she would come. Fawn arrived about 5:45-6 AM and she checked Mama to see how far along she really was. Everyone was surprised to find out that she was already fully dilated after about 4 hours of laboring! Fawn asked Mama if she was ready to push to which Mama replied "Not yet!" She needed time to process that this had happened so quickly and mentally prepare to push and meet you. After about another 30 minutes, it was time to push and help you make your entrance into this big, scary, and wonderful world.
Just a few reflections on the story up to this point (part 2 to come later in the week).
We spent MONTHS in pregnancy preparing for what we were expecting to be a 24 hr/30 hr/LONG labor. Everything we read and everyone we talked to said that for first time moms, this was normal. We took a Bradley Method course to learn and practice techniques to get us through the long labor successfully as a team. Everything we do in life is a team effort, from the mundane things to the major life moments, so Bradley was tailor-made for us. Mr. Ford dove into the role of support head first. He amazed me all through pregnancy at how involved and curious he was about the whole birth process and the role he could play in helping the birth of our child be the successful, natural, intervention-free home birth we desired. I fell more in love with him in pregnancy as he sought to serve his growing family in this way, and we drew closer together than ever before.
So when labor actually started and progressed as quickly it did, we were surprised, to say the least. We ended up not needing most of what we had learned and practiced and only used a fraction of the birth kit we had assembled. It certainly helped to be so prepared, though, because it felt as though we were just trying to mentally keep up with what my body was doing. Being so prepared allowed us to just default to what we had practiced without having to think about it too much.
It all felt very dreamlike and surreal, as it all started in the middle of the night and I felt very outside of myself the whole time. The contractions were certainly difficult, but again, I had prepared for something much more painful and HARD, so it was strange to me to not be too phased by them. It's hard to describe without sounding nonchalant and dismissive of the very real difficulty of laboring through contractions, which I certainly felt. It just...I don't know...felt NATURAL for me to be experiencing these labor pains. I don't know if it was because I was just trying to mentally keep up with what my body was physically doing that I didn't have time to really FEEL the pain, or what it was; it just felt as though I was always meant to DO this thing. I was so ready and it just felt...natural. Yes. That's the best way to describe it, I think. I felt peaceful and in control and capable and strong. Frankly, I FELT the truth that God has embedded on my heart and in my soul that I AM a Woman of Valor. There are just not sufficient words to explain it and I feel as though I'm grasping at them now, so I'll just leave it be.
Stay tuned for Part 2.