Friday, January 28, 2011

Calm Waters

This is a birth story.
It is long and intense and amazing and funny and detailed.
If that kind of birth story is not your cup of tea, here is the short version:

I was pregnant for 9 months. Then I had the baby. He's fully awesome. The end.

Now if you'd like a little more information, please continue…but remember you have been warned, this IS a birth story, which includes all the UNedited thoughts and experiences of a girl who commonly is known for stepping over "the line".
You know...the "is it appropriate to say or not" line. I offer no apologies. Just that warning.
Now, go grab a cup of red raspberry leaf organic tea to strengthen that uterus as you read, sit back, and enjoy…the story of birthing our last baby.

40 weeks pregnant


It seemed like a fool proof plan.

When I observed my history of going into labor, I noticed that it seemed to come a few days earlier every time. So this time, with baby #4, I would assume that the trend would continue and would put us delivering about a week earlier than my Jan.15-19 due dates.

Perfect. I love knowing "the plan".

So goes into overdrive my multitasking, event organizing, control freak self, in setting up my schedule, my kids schedules, my moms schedule to help with the birth and week after, my hubby's schedule and that of my girlfriends who will be present for the big day…all this consideration for a day that not only was I hoping to go into labor, but I was counting on it. And I would make sure I had control of the situation by depending on my old faithful companion…the 4 oz bottle of castor oil. (You may remember him from this post.)

I would promptly take the required amount of the rancid stuff the morning of the pre-planned birthday, wait the allotted 2-6 hours for the effects to begin (with my mother by my side, as she had arrived the day before), call the midwives, husband, and birth team by noon, deliver the baby by dinner, and relax for a few days in the hospital where we had decided to have him, since I "should take a few days off from home to rest", as I had kept being told by everyone.

Fool proof.

The morning came to take the plunge. At 9 am, after dropping the girls off for school, I starred at the tiny castor oil bottle sitting on my counter, calling out to me that it held my destiny within. It was as if inside that little brown bottle, my beautiful new son was gestating, just waiting for me to take off the lid and release him. I could taste the sweet (gag) victory as I gulped the ounces required, quickly chased down by orange juice. And a coke. Ok, 2 cokes. And half a root beer. And half a tube of toothpaste. Seriously, have YOU tasted castor oil? Not what I'd serve at a new years eve party! Although…hehe..that COULD be a funny experiment to substitute the vodka spiked punch with a CO spiked one…filing mental note. (You should also file a mental note not to attend any of my future parties. Or at least bring your own drinks. You're welcome.)

Moving along.

I nonchalantly glanced up at the kitchen clock, oh, every 30 minutes, as I eagerly anticipated the first tummy rumble, followed by the first massive contraction, leading into this glorious birthday. Tick tick tick…1 hr, 2 hrs, 3 hrs….By 6 hours post oil gag down, I tell no lie when I say I felt absolutely nothing. Not a flinch, not a spasm, not a bubble. My heart dropped to my feet. How could this be? So, I did what any totally depressed and deflated woman would do in that situation. I grabbed my van keys, drove directly to my town bargain shop, and (Daddy G, if you are reading this, skip this part and go to the next paragraph.)… stocked up with 23 dollars of Christmas sale chocolate. And hid what I didn't devour on the way home, so that teeny fingers wouldn't rob me of my comfort. I needed this. My plan had failed me. My faithful friend, castor oil, had completely betrayed me. Oh the total disloyalty. Forgiveness would be a long hard road paved by many moons of therapy sessions. And many many chocolate covered marshmallow santas. 23 dollars worth to be exact.

Needless to say, the birthday would have to go into emergency plan B. Except plan A was fool proof. So there was no plan B. My mom was at my house now, being the complete saint that she is. She spent the days cleaning, organizing, doing laundry, walking the girls to school, playing with Prince L so that I could nap, making dinners, grocery shopping, and taking me on dates to "walk the mall" to try to convince the boy inside me to come out and play. She put up with my whining and complaining over every ache and timing every false contraction and saying I THINK THIS IS DIFFERENT about a thousand times. She made my red raspberry leaf teas for me, brought honey bagels to my room, and even offered to buy me another bottle of castor oil. Now, I try hard not to hold grudges, so I thought, that MAYBE, I had had enough chocolate to move past my disappointment with old faithful castor oil, and would give him one more chance to redeem himself. Everyone deserves a second chance right? Wrong. Backstabbed me again. Never again will I ingest that repulsive poison.

Over the next week…yes WEEK…(plan A is WAY out the window at this point), I find myself googling every little known fact about natural induction methods from around the globe. The teas, the herbs, the oils, the sex, the bumpy car rides, spicy foods, laying naked in a field on a full moon drinking lemon tea…there were a lot of suggestions. And minus a few that were WAAAAAAAY out there, I tried them all. And guess what, nothing. I began to wonder if he had set up house in there and had decided to stay in till at least 18. Although this would be fairly uncomfortable for me, I'll bet every parent of a teen out there may see the appeal of remaining in utero through the teen years. But, for me..I just wanted him out. I wanted to meet him. To know him. To love him. To fit in my size 2's again. K, so that could be pushing it…maybe my 3's.

All of the due dates my midwives and ultrasound techs had given me had come, and gone. I was now officially in the totally covet worthy category of overdue. It royally sucks to be a member of that club. And I thought I had revoked my membership 7 years ago after Queen S's birth…but apparently something got lost in translation, and here we were, invited to play tennis, at the clubhouse once again.

Side note about the location we had decided to birth at. As many of you know, Prince L was born in our home. It was a beautiful birth with midwives, family and friends around, and truly a unique experience and very different from the 2 previous hospital births I had experienced. At first, we had planned to do the same this time, but as the time came near, all I kept hearing was, "Oh, you are doing it in the hospital this time right? You know that you'll need that rest…with 4 you'll have your hands full!" Any positive comments were few and far between.

**rabbit trail from side note** Now, in situations like these, I find a waring personality within me. One side of me (the side with rocker pink spiked hair, and a variety of piercings and tattys) scoffs and says who the h*#@ cares what anyone else thinks. My birth, my way, you're not invited, neither is your opinion. And then there's the other side (she wears a chenille pink sweater accented with pearl buttons and her hair is in a nice proper bun, and her lip color matches her sweater perfectly, bubblegum pink), and she totally cares about what others think. She is a people pleaser to the core, and wants the important people in her life to approve as much as the random stranger ordering his extra hot vanilla latte behind her in the starbux lineup. She knows she can't make everyone happy, but she will darn well try. And she'd never say darn. That's a bad word. These two fight each other constantly, and I'd say it's usually a toss up as to who will win out. This time, this situation, bubblegum pink won. She just cared too much about opinions, and was swayed to do it the way that was considered "expected" and "understandable" by 99% of the opinion poll. ****

I had felt disappointed with the decision to go to the hospital, and actually cried as I packed a hospital bag (read: 2 gigantic bag/suitcases, a food bag of snacks, drinks and games, 2 king sized pillows, a nursing pillow, 2 velvet blankets, and yes even my own bed sheets, pink of course). But after the u-haul was packed for the hospital, I shut down a part of me, and told my punk rock star to suck it up, and began trying really hard to visualize what this experience would be like. I did the virtual tour online of the hospital/birth centre, saw the admitting desk, imagined myself walking the hardwood floors, soaking in the jacuzzi tub, laying holding my babe in my arms, surrounded by an unfamiliar environment and sterile medical gear. It was hard to give into the images, but I really did try to find a peace in them.

Wow, that was a long side note. But it will come in handy later to know this.

If you are still with me at this point, please take a moment and pat yourself on the back, and say, "I am an awesome friend, and Bex sure loves me!" And now go heat up the bottom of your tea, and grab something sweet, chocolatey and packed with calories…I'll wait.

Welcome back! Mmm, that looks good. Ready for more?Ok where were we?

Right. Overdue.

The morning of the 21st, I woke up crying. Like not a princess tear on the satin pillow type cry, but the type that involves snot and crusties all over the left side of your face, mascara from the night before stained on your pillow-and husbands pillow, and pure, deep, inner heaving sobs. I was startled to awake like this, and rushed back into my dreams to see what had brought me to this place. That's when I was met with this beautiful picture of a birthing pool set up in my room, at the end of my bed. Candles all around. My family and friends, some on the floor on pillows and blankets, some on the bed, cheering me on. I heard the sound of angels singing as they sat around the roof, awaiting the arrival of this prince of God, and everything was SO peaceful. I had a huge smile on my face, and gave birth right there, in my house, surrounded by people I loved. That's when I knew. I knew that even if others view me as the rebel pink haired punk who homebirthed, that's who I was in this moment, and that's who I needed to be. I rolled over in bed (NOT a small feat at this point by the way), and woke up Daddy G. I asked him if he would support my decision to give birth to our son at home. I did expect him to waver a bit and seem unsure since he thought we'd already decided on this point, but instead, he looked at me and without hesitation, said "Of course I will!" Oh how I love this man! His one stipulation was that he didn't want our 3 older children in the house when the time came, which I thought was totally fair enough. So, I woke up that morning, with a renewed excitement and vision, driven to find good places for our babes to go during the blessed event. I felt a release that morning, a peace that I had so desperately been looking for in all of this preparation. And it felt wonderful.

My midwives came over around noon, and I discussed our new plan with them. They were excited for us, as I think they always knew that's what was in my heart. They left the birth pool at my house, and said that we need to get a liner to go in it. Apparently there is only one place that carries them in my whole city, so I was encouraged to call them immediately since it was Friday afternoon, and they didn't think I'd make it to Monday still pregnant, bless their hearts! When I called, the lady said that she delivers once a week, and her next delivery date was next wednesday. I told her that I was already overdue and expected to have this babe in the next couple of days and I needed it. Now! I was nice…well, maybe a little pushy, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do sometimes! If I didn't get that liner, I couldn't use the pool, and THAT was not an option! She was suddenly very lovely and said that we could come to her house and pick it up that night. Which is just what Daddy G did.

He returned with the liner at 10:30 pm.

My first mild contraction was at 10:35.

The next one didn't come for 12 more minutes. Then 14. Then 21. Although these certainly hurt a bit more, (like a charlie horse in the uterus) I was sure this pattern was not bringing us closer to meeting our baby. They stayed like this, off and on, sporadic at best, yet still semi-painful when they hit, no closer than 7 minutes apart until 12:30. At that point, I thought maybe I should call the wonderful lady, Miss T, who said she's take my girls when the time came. I felt reeeeeeally guilty to call her past midnight. Especially since I wasn't REALLY sure if this was real or not. (I just knew I was going to look like a total moron when I was still pregnant 5 weeks later.) I was leaning on a stack of pillows on my bed when my mom asked if she should get the girls up for Daddy G to take over to Miss T's house. I told her I didn't know. I said to just let me go through one more contraction and I'd let her know. When that next one came, lemme tell you… I… KNEW. This was the real deal. That was the beginning of the REAL labor for me, that one contraction that declared, IT'S TIME! I had been waiting for weeks for it, and when it appeared, it did not disappoint. There was no denying it. My eyes crossed a bit and I looked up from my pillow castle and said, PACK UP THE GIRLS!

At this point, my mom mentioned I should call my midwives…just to "give them a heads up". It's not like they had to come yet. I knew we'd probably be doing the 7-10 minute contractions for a few hours yet. I was fine to do that on my own. And really, I was hoping to let them sleep as long as possible. (Why I always feel like I am inconveniencing others with my "petty" problems like oh, going into labor, is beyond me. Someone maybe with 20 years of doctorates in therapy school or something is bound to have an answer…have them call me if you find them.) But my mom urged me to call, so I did, again, feeling reeeeeally guilty for waking her up, and we talked for about 20 minutes, in which I had 3 contractions during that time. We agreed that I would call when they became 5 minutes apart. The moment I hung up, things really picked up. Daddy G was setting up the birth pool in our living room, I called my 2 girlfriends to come over as I promised we were pulling an all-night party, (as I crossed my fingers hoping I was right…still didn't *quite* believe it) and then suddenly noticed these contractions were all coming only 3 minutes apart. Where the h#$% did the 5 minute mark go?!

I suddenly felt panicked, and thought for a moment, "What if the midwives don't make it?" Daddy G has a book called "Worst Case Scenarios", and I was really hoping he read the page on delivering your own baby. I called them right back, and they said they were on their way. When I got off the phone, I was SO ready to jump in that pool. I went into the living room, expecting to be able to strip down and dive in (Oh wait, there is a note on the floor of the pool that reads: ABSOLUTELY NO DIVING…I kid you not. Bahahaha, well there's goes my birth plan….what on earth??) Instead of a pool full of nice warm water ready and waiting for me, I was met with the scene of my dear husband with the liner over top his head, trying desperately to figure out how it fit properly into the pool. Part of me wanted to laugh, he looked hilarious, but the other part of me, the part who was probably already at 12 cm with a head half out of me, took over as I roared "I NEED THAT POOL! LET'S GET A MOVE ON!"

Things are a little blurry as to what happened next. All I know is people began to show up, and my house was suddenly filled with 6 women, one husband, one 2 year old son fast asleep upstairs, and a whale of a momma ready to close this pregnancy chapter! It was 2 am, the pool was filled, I was inside, candles were lit all around, inspiring music played in the background and I swear if you listened close enough, you could hear the angels whispering. It felt just like my dream. It was beautiful. And all I could do was smile.
When contractions would hit I would sing, or laugh, or try the hypnobirthing breathing/relaxation methods I had been practicing (yeah, that book's out with the Tuesday trash! Ha!) There was one contraction where suddenly I began to bawl. My midwife asked if they were getting more intense. I told her no. At this moment, I was realizing this was it. The last time that I would be birthing. And it was instantly very very emotional. I wanted to remember everything. And feel everything. And be present for it all. Before it was all a memory. A birth story. Words on a computer screen.

If you remember Prince L's birth story, you may remember the moment of transition. When you feel like a caterpillar whose guts are being squished out by a curious preschoolers sticky fingers. I kept waiting for that moment, because then it'd mean we were close to meeting our babe. The thing is…it never came. The contractions never got more intense from the very first one that declared it was birth time. In fact, the only way I knew that I was in transition was because they were suddenly only 1 minute apart…and then…BLOOP…out popped a bubble. Yep, I birthed a bubble. It was the size of a baby's head. But it was not a baby's head. It was a white bubble.

I felt confused and asked my midwife if that was the baby's sac. She said it was. But of course! My water had not broken. Side note: in the last few days of this pregnancy, I tried to go out every day to as many public places like malls and stores and restaurants as I could. Not just to distract myself and pass time faster, but call me sick and twisted, I ALWAYS wanted that movie scene to happen to me…you know, the one where the girl is standing in the grocery store check out and suddenly POP, water breaks everywhere, and she exclaims OH! MY WATER JUST BROKE! And everyone shouts hoorays and congrats and applause fills the air and flowers are thrown at her feet, and that hot fire fighter whose in line behind her sweeps her up and carries her into the ER.

Well. Apparently MY waters…they're made of fiberglass, and they don't break. So, this being our last babe and all, I will have to surrender to the fact that this walmart flower fireman water breaking moment will never happen to me. So, IF it happens to YOU, please take pictures, or better yet, video, and send it to me so I can live vicariously. Appreciate it.

Back to the bubble. There I was birthing a bubble, when suddenly, I felt, what can only be described as a very tribal roar rising within me, and then, in that bubble, was a beautiful boy's little head. And 2 moments later, his shoulders and body followed. I broke the water sac off of him and pulled my sweet boy out of the pool and onto my chest. I was laughing hysterically, and could not believe that only an hour after my midwives arrived, here I was, holding my boy on the outside.

Kade Jackson Dean was born at 3:06, January 22, weighing 8 lbs-2oz (my smallest babe), measuring 20 inches, and with a beautiful head of dark brown hair!! (ALL my other babes were bald bald bald, so this was an awesome surprise!!)

Getting weighed:


Daddy cutting the cord


Smiling at Gramma:

His name means calm waters, which is so appropriate since he was born into calm waters and also, as we are getting to know him, it's very apparent that he has a very calm and peaceful nature about him. And apparently to be born in the sac as he was, or in the caul, is considered very rare and a sign of great blessing, and that the child will have an important destiny…but we already knew that. ;)

The water sac he was born in (possibly a good shower cap? I know, I'm crazy.):

We are all absolutely smitten with him…well…Prince L is still a little unsure…but as soon as Kade can burn the ants with the magnifying glass with him…I'm sure they'll be best of buds. ;)

**Thank you God for Your presence all around during this pregnancy and birth. And most of all, thank You for this precious gift of Kade. We pray that you bless him and keep him and make Your face shine upon him all the days of His life.**

The people there:
Proud Daddy G

My girls, J & J


Cousin R

Plus J and S, my wonderful midwives. Shoot, didn't get a picture of them together.

And of course, the star of the show, Kade!

With proud sisters!!


And a very satisfied Photobucket and son