*****The following is a long overdue birth story. There's nothing terribly graphic but you can't have a birth story without at least alluding to lady parts and such so consider yourself warned! Feel free to skip ahead to the birthday wishes at the end.*****
On my due date, my mom and I were out having a late lunch after some shopping. We'd just finished our meal, the dishes still on the table when I felt something not quite right. I went to the restroom and sure enough, my water had broken. My mom quickly asked for the check while I tried to keep my legs crossed. My dark jeans and long sweater prevented too much embarrassment as we walked to the car. We called Harv to tell him the news, that things were happening but unfortunately not enough for him to leave work early.
We made dinner, had a tiny glass of wine, called the midwife, bought some castor oil in case contractions didn't start by morning. I was told to get some sleep, which seemed sensible but unlikely. We finally went to bed around midnight but thirty minutes later I felt the first painful contraction along with the urge to *ahem* go to the powder room. After about a half an hour of moving back and forth, bathroom to bed, I decided sleep was impossible and we were up for good. Harv set about filling the birthing tub and my mom manned the iPhone, timing contractions (there's an app for that). I got in the tub, went back to the bed, puked a lot (sorry), then back in the tub, now with a metal bowl floating next to me in case I felt sick again.
The midwife came a little after five and said I was four centimeters dilated. She said that was great. I had been hoping for something a little higher like, say, 10. I would have settled for 9. I was anxious to push because duh, I wanted her out. So at 9am, when the midwife said I was at 10 centimeters I was ready to go. There was still a tiny bit of cervical lip in the way so she said I could push but she had to get in there to keep that out of the way.
Out of the tub, into the bedroom to start what would end up being SIX HOURS of pushing. Yes, you read that right. Six hours of Harv and my mom working as human stirrups, the midwife keeping that lip out of the way, her assistant doing something to my junk with what I think was olive oil to help prevent tearing (it worked), then making me do a tug-of-war with a towel while I was pushing to counterbalance something or other I don't even know. The progress was slow but it was still progress and the baby's heart rate didn't drop once. It was unbelievably hard and yes, the thought that I was being tortured did cross my mind but deep down I thought "the midwife must think I can do this so I must be able to".
We went back and forth to the bathroom a few times, the midwife having me push on the toilet to try to get things moving along faster. After about five and a half hours she said we might need to talk about when we were going to call it and go to the hospital. She said if we did they would probably use a vacuum and the baby would come right out. I didn't have a problem with that but the thought of getting in a car or ambulance or even putting clothes on at that point sounded pretty terrible. I don't know if that thought motivated me to push harder but it wasn't long before she was telling me to go into the bathroom one last time. I had no idea until I saw in the bathroom mirror that the baby's head was very visible. That was the carrot I needed to get to the finish line. I pushed a few times on the toilet and she crowned. Then, so that she wouldn't be born in the toilet, Harv sat on the closed toilet seat and I sat on his knees. A full length mirror was on the opposite wall, the midwife on the floor in front of me, her assistant standing behind and my mom sitting on the edge of the tub, all in our teeny tiny bathroom. The assistant suggested we go out and sit in the same position on a chair, some place less cramped. I told her there was no way I was leaving that bathroom before my baby came out. And with a few more pushes, she did.
The last year has been the most amazing of my life. Ginny is such an incredible girl and I feel so lucky to know her, so blessed that I get to be her mom. She is usually happy, full of squeals and shrieks of laughter. Unlike me she's always moving and she has more confidence than I could ever dream of having. Like her dad she's unsure about new foods but usually ends up liking them on a second or third tasting and like me she loves her cats and just wants to bury her face in their fur. She plays Patty Cake, dances when she hears music, claps when she hears applause, loves keys, water bottles, packets of tissues and of course the ever elusive iPhone. Everyday she's doing something new and I can't wait to see what her second year will bring.
Happy birthday Ginny!