2 years ago today I started my first birth. It was hard and wonderful. Empowering and scary. It was everything I imagined and full of unexpected twists. Over the years I've thought a lot about what I wanted to change, but in the end, I'm so happy it went exactly how it did. Healthy and happy mama and baby - that's what always matters the most.
Today I'm sharing my rewritten birth story. The one I want Jemma to know and remember. It is different than the raw and emotional story I initially wrote, but simple and beautiful in it's own rite. My rewritten story focuses on all the positives - everything I want to highlight, all the good and lovely, because truly, that is exactly what Jemma's birth represents.
- - - - -It was a warm day for September. The last day - the 30th. I had a relaxed day at work and ended things early after a meeting with my wonderful manager. She sent me home with well wishes and promises that I "looked lower" and she doubted I would return to work the following week. I shook my head and laughed as I walked out the door.
Daddy and I decided to go out for dinner. I had a coupon to Red Robin for my birthday burger and meat was one of my most favorite things to eat during pregnancy. We arrived at the restaurant and I gobbled down a HUGE plate of prime rib dip, fries, cantaloupe, and strawberry lemonade. Since I was celebrating with my birthday coupon I also got a free birthday sundae! Mam was full to the brim with yummy food!
We got home, changed clothes, and settled into the living room to watch Survivor. I was feeling awfully tired after my big meal and cuddled into the couch with drowsy eyes. Not many positions are comfortable for very long while super pregnant so I soon rolled onto the floor to do some of my pelvic rock pregnancy exercises.
Then I felt a trickle and a gush. I hopped up as quick as I could and raced to the bathroom. "What's the matter?" called Daddy.
I yelled back to him, "I think my water broke!"
We called our midwife, Lucina, and she assured us that your birth journey had begun. We planned to stay at home for awhile before driving to the birthing center, but contractions were starting and I was already starting to feel uncomfortable. Lucina ok'd a warm bath to help me relax while Daddy packed the car with our birth bags.
Before getting into the bath I texted my manager to tell her she was right, I wouldn't be back at work anytime soon. I was having my baby!!! We called both our families to share the big news too.
After my bath I tried to relax in bed. We watched a little bit of Grey's Anatomy. I bounced on my blue birthing ball. I felt anxious about traveling in the car while enduring contractions. Another phone call to Lucina prompted us to get on our way to the birth center since it was nearing 11 pm.
We arrived at the birth center and made ourselves at home in the green room - my favorite. I was still in shock that my little baby was on his/her way! I felt tired since I hadn't slept since Wednesday night and kept telling everyone I hadn't slept in a long time. The birth center staff made me a yummy berry smoothie to give me a boost of energy - I had a long night ahead of me!
Throughout the night and into Friday I alternated between soaking in the bath, walking, squatting on the edge of the bed, and rocking on all fours. Anything to alleviate so of the strain and stress brought on by contractions. Daddy was such a trooper - by my side through it all! Lucina had two other mamas arrive at the birth center so our back-up midwife, Adele, stepped in as our primary care provider. She brought along her assistant, Serena, who was such a blessing to us. Serena was a source of verbal and physical encouragement and helped both Mama and Daddy through some rough moments.
At this point I had fully dilated, all except for a small cervix lip which Adele moved. Ouch! I was ready to start pushing and did so in the tub - you were going to be my water baby after all :) Pushing didn't bring about much progress so we tried to help you move along by lunging up and down the stairs at the birth center. That's tough work in the midst of contractions!
By Friday evening Adele determined that your little head was tipped in an asynclitic fashion. This explained why things were taking extra long - your head and my body were working hard to remold so you could drop further down and make your grand entrance. To help this process we had a acupuncturist and chiropractor visit our room. The acupuncturist helped relieve my nerves and the chiropractor adjusted me (and probably you!) to help us both continue to mold. I'm so grateful we were able to have this extra help during your journey into my arms.
Early Saturday morning my contractions had slowed to allow my body to rest. I had been awake for 42 hours, working very hard, and I was extremely tired. Adele advised us to pack up from the birth center and caravan with her to the hospital. At the hospital I would get an epidural so I could sleep, regain my energy, and successfully push you into the world. We agreed to this plan and loaded into two cars - me with Adele while Serena and Daddy followed with our bags.
By 3 am I was checked into the hospital and the anesthesiologist was prepping my epidural. I was in good spirits and ready for a power nap! Our families joined us for a quick visit to say hello and then we all closed our eyes for a few hours of sleep. Throughout it all you were happy and healthy and never gave us a worry. Apparently you were just content to stay connected to Mama for a little bit longer :)
Around 9:30 am on Saturday morning our whole birth team reconvened. It was time to begin pushing ... again ... and we knew this time would result in a little baby! YAY! I pushed hard for 2 1/2 hours and at 11:36 am, you were born! Daddy excitedly announced to the room, "IT'S A GIRL!" and I was so surprised! I snuggled you up to my chest and Daddy and I looked into your bright eyes and beautiful expression. You were the most beautiful baby we had ever seen! We had waited until you were born to decide on your name - it was between Tallulah, Elsa, and Jemma. After meeting you, there was no doubt you were our little Jemma.
Jemma Janell - our perfect 8 pound 10 ounce, 21 1/4 inch long baby girl! Daddy and Mama love you so much sweetheart! You are such a blessing to us and we can't imagine our family without you!