Saturday January 2, 2016. I just woke up, it’s around 5:30am and I have a belly ache and cramps. (Yesterday was New Years Day and Ian & I ate crappy Tex mex b/c it was the only restaurant open in Lancaster). I assume I am just having a belly ache from the food. I’m going back to sleep.
8:30am, still crampy. Today I am exactly 36 weeks pregnant, and something is always achy so I’m chalking this up to growing pains, however I am a little concerned. I’m calling Nicole & Erin (my 2 best friends whom have 5 kids between the two of them), my mom and my midwife. Everyone is saying, “you’re fine, it’s normal”. (And kinda laughing at me and saying “chill out first timer”).
9am. So we’re out to breakfast, as per our usual Saturday morning. We’re sitting in a booth at a diner. I’m miserable. But at 36 weeks pregnant, I’m just always this uncomfortable. But today I feel just more uncomfortable, uneasy.
10:00am, we’re heading to the farm (where we now live but at the time we were still living in the city). It’s a mild and sunny January day. (Ian often rides through the fields on Saturdays to get an idea of any changes to make to the stock list.) I’m on the Gator (bumpy ride) for some fresh air and sunshine. It feels good to be outside. I’m mildly crampy but it’s escalating quickly into so much pain…I’m starting to have tears roll down my cheeks. I’m getting off the Gator and going in to the house to rest. Ian’s mom just asked if I have my bag packed? She thinks I might be in labor. Am I ?
12:30pm We are heading back home to Lancaster to chill. This 35 min ride home is extremely uncomfortable. I just want my sweatpants and my bed.
1:30pm. I’m calling my mom, my friends, my midwife, again. They are all kind of humoring me and say, “if you only think you’re in labor, you’re not! You’ll KNOW!” I say, “oh…ok?!”
2:00pm, I’m on all fours on the floor gripping the side of my bed. I’m getting surges of pain every few min. I still kinda think I’m in labor. Ian is calling the midwife, again. She is telling him if I’m having pains every 5 min that last more than 30 seconds then it’s a good idea for us to come in.
2:30pm. Ok. Let’s time it. I’m having pains every 2 minutes that last 45 seconds. Ummm. Yeah. Let’s go! I’m back in this damn car for another 25 min ride. I’m not enthused about being in this car…this box…at all! All I want is to be taken to a field or barn full of cows. Haha I know it’s silly and as I voice this request to everyone they all think I’m crazy. I just want to be around female animal energy. My idea is to envision that I’m a cow in a field and that is how I am going to deliver my baby! For now, I’m gripping Ian’s arm and the door handle. I still think I’m in labor. And I’m thinking these are contractions?! Yeah. Pretty sure.
3:30pm. We arrive at the birth center. My midwife is checking to see if I’m dilated. 7.5 cm! Thank you! I am in labor…at 36 weeks! Alright, this is all happening so fast that I have no time to plan, worry or panic. Thankfully the the nursery is 90% done. We did have the bag packed and the car seat has been installed. (Ian by the way, I’m pretty sure, is still in denial.) I take my pants off and just have on a sports bra and I slip into a birthing tub. I’m feeling this. It’s calm and warm…. but I need more control. I only last in this tub a few minutes. I need to get out. Im putting on my shirt. (My favorite comfy shirt…a v-neck tie dye t shirt my friend Erika made me.) I am remaining pant-less. I’m going over to the corner of the queen size bed in my birthing room, and I am camping out here. On all fours, on the floor, my head pressed down into the corner of the mattress, gripping the sides of the bed, eyes closed, steady breathing. (Which by the way I highly suggest as a birthing position). It’s very quiet and I want no one to touch me or talk to me. Ian is sitting in a chair next to the bed. He keeps coming over on the bed and is rubbing my head during these contractions and giving me water in between. My midwife and nurse have come down to sit on the floor with me and are there hanging out, chatting. I actually am enjoying their banter. I keep asking if I am doing good. They both keep telling me that they cant believe this is my first baby! After each contraction, I shake it off. I stand up after the surge and liquid rushes out of me, I’m guessing this is my waters breaking? I never really know. It’s every time I stand up and there is this gush. I feel another one coming, I’m getting into my position. All fours, head down, gripping the bed. I’m saying, almost in a chant, “oh Ian oh Ian oh Ian”. Then as quickly as it comes, it goes. I stand, I shake it off. I chat a little with my midwife & nurse. I have a routine. The pains are getting more intense but I have a good handle on it. (I have zero medication. I’m at a birth center.) My room is very dim. There is a bathroom, a bed, and big tub. There is this tree painted on the wall. I chose this room (1 of 4 options) because of the tree. I’m the only one birthing tonight. It’s just Ian, the midwife, the nurse & I.
6:30pm. I’m asking to be checked. I am 10cm! It’s time! Time to push.
I dont even know what that means…to push?! It’s like wiggling your ears…I’m not sure I know how to communicate with, much less command, that part of my body. So my midwife is taking me to the bathroom, she is telling me to sit on the toilet, and says on my next contraction, push as if i’m going to the bathroom. I follow her directions. It’s an awful feeling. I feel as if I stay in this position that I will rip in half. But this is very useful as a way to get me in tune with this part of my body. I’m going back to my base camp. Back to my bed. This time I am off of the floor and on top of the bed, I’m still on all fours. Ian is standing next to me. I’m holding his hand and I’m digging in. All fours, face down. Pushing my baby. In this position with my head down and straining to push, I’m getting crazy reflux. It’s all I can think about is how my throat burns. I’m just finishing my second contraction while pushing and I have decided that I never want to push again! I’m at the end but I feel like I just can’t do this. It’s not that it hurts buts it such a powerful sensation. At this point my birthing room becomes like a sporting event. Everyone is behind me commentating my progress and cheering me on. Another midwife and another nurse have arrived. They’re exclaiming, “I see her head” and I’m so excited like finally, I’m done! But it’s just the tip of the iceberg… literally. I start to get sort of mad because It’s like I’m in charge, I’m doing all the work and have all these feelings, yet everyone else gets to see my baby before I do. I push a 3rd time and her head is out!! Her eyes are open. Ian is seeing her and he’s so excited! At this point I say, “I’m done! Hells no!” “There is no way I’m pushing again. I can’t! I can’t.” That pain, sensation…it’s unexplainable yet I feel so accomplished. It’s the first time I say, “I can’t”. I’m not discouraged but I just can’t I don’t want to feel that feeling. Ugh. The feeling that I had just experienced, pushing out her head, I never want to feel that again. But with this little human dangling out of my body, I really have no choice. I think to myself 1 more push, and I’m done. 1 more. 1 and done. Ian sees her and he is excited. He is telling me about her. Another midwife comes in and holds my hand. I have my face buried, I feel this unfamiliar hand in mine and I turn to look up and it’s taking me a second to realize that Jamie Lynn, my favorite midwife, is here and holding my hand! She exudes this confidence and commands the room, I have her by my side, Ian is at the foot of the bed with the baby. I feel good. I CAN do this! I am doing this!! I push with everything I have.
7:50pm. The noise. The sound that came from my body. I will forever remember. I’m not screaming so much as I am grunting really. This animalistic primal sound, a groan coming from my mouth..and from my physical body, that’s a whole other sensation and feeling. It feels like a thousand gallons of liquid and the entire inner contents of my body are shooting out along with my baby! I ask Ian immediately if she flew out out b/c i feel like there is this amazing force that just pushed her from within me. He actually says she did in fact come flying out! Still on all fours, they ask if I want to see her and I’m in such shock over the physical feelings of pushing my baby from my body that I say, “I need a minute.” Ha! It wasn’t the pain, it was more of a “holy shit did that just happen wtf?!” I compose myself and flip over. Laying on my back now, I take my baby in my arms, still attached to the chord. She is laying on my belly. We take a few minutes to let the blood course through me through the chord and through her. The midwife and Ian begin to cut the chord. I’m pulling her closer to me, to my chest, my heart…and she is wiggling over to my right breast and latching on! I can’t even believe it! I’m floating on a cloud. We’re floating on a cloud! I immediately erase all the pain and anxiety and sensations and I’m so serene and chill. I feel like I could get up and go for a jog or make dinner. It’s literally like nothing happened and she appeared. Adrenaline I guess. Love, really. I just had a baby. 4 weeks early. And she, Goldie, is breastfeeding. I’m breastfeeding! How do I, how do we know how to do this?! My midwife begins to push on my belly and do a few things, this is extremely painful. This is after I deliver the placenta. She is totally killin my buzz! I ball up my fist and scream just out of reaction. My midwife says “sorry, I guess i should have warned you”. Karen, Ian’s mom is in the room. They are giving me a shot to stop bleeding because I’m not clotting. Luckily I have no rips or tears. And Goldie is being weighed. She is PERFECT. A little small, but perfect.
10:30pm I take a picture of Goldie for the first time. Im counting her fingers and toes and feeling all over her. Holding on to her. Loving her.
From here I don’t remember too many details. Ian’s mom and dad were both in the room by that point and I remember laying in bed with my baby like no big deal…I made a human! Ian crawled into bed with me and our baby, and a jar of peanut butter! We literally shared the jar and I’m pretty sure we ate most of it. Our last meal had been about 11 hrs earlier at 8:30am. Goldie was born at 7:50pm. We were in a birth center so we were allowed to leave that night. Ian, Goldie & I took a nap and around 1:00am we packed up our 5 hour old new baby and went home. She was 4 weeks early and 5 lb 11 oz. The outfit I packed didn’t fit. She was swimming in it. I hated putting her in that car seat. It was January and so cold. She only cried the last 5 minutes of the almost half hour drive home to our loft apartment in the city. I stared at her the whole way in the back seat. I can’t imagine what Ian was thinking as he drove his new baby home on a freezing January morning. When we got home I dressed her in 3 different outfits. All huge. Nothing fit. I laid her down in a bassinet. Then I moved the bassinet to a few different spots. Next to me, between us. Then I took her out and bundled her up, put her in the nook of my arm, and I laid down. We slept that way the entire night. (1 year later and she sleeps right next to me every night, snuggly between Ian & I.)
December 30, 2016. 4:30pm She is actually asleep next to me taking a rather late afternoon nap. Nursing in her sleep. comfort suckling. She is a healthy baby. You would never have known she was early. Chubby cheeks, and always happy. It’s 3 days before her first birthday. They don’t know why I went into labor early. (I think maybe because I waited tables just the night before on New Years Eve and was on my feet for 10 hrs… which by the way when I was in labor I actually called into work to let them know I wasn’t going to make it into work that night! ) It’s been an amazing journey so far. Motherhood. Parenthood.
(Side note): Ian & I met March 28, 2015 at Central Market in Lancaster, PA. We were buying goat cheese. Both of us had just left pretty toxic relationships, both in our mid 30’s and both had just moved into our own tiny apartments in Lancaster City. If you notice the date that we met, and the date that Goldie was born (taking into consideration the fact that the baby arrived 4 weeks early) then you can see that it’s been a whirlwind. 40 weeks. Ha! Love at first sight? Maybe the Universe had a hand in the course of events? A midwife friend of mine has suggested that Goldie, our baby, chose us to be her parents. Maybe Goldie orchestrated the meeting of Ian & I. Here we are. Early August we moved into Ian’s family farm and we live with his parents. (Along with 5 cats, 8 cows & about 40 chickens!) I’ve been on my own since I was a teenager. I’ve always been a bit of a loner. In less than 2 years I went from being an individual to being a couple to being a herd!! The adventure is just beginning. It’s cool because Ian & I are still celebrating “firsts”. It’s awesome. It’s not traditional. Is not for everyone, I’m sure. I was originally writing this just for myself. To have it down, in writing, my birth story. So I hope you enjoy it and feel the love.