Arlowe Jean Nessier

Born April 21, 2014

It toke me six months and one day to write this
I didn't proofread or edit because
that would have taken another month...

My due date was April 17th, but I knew all along that she would come later.  I was uncomfortable and crampy for a few nights before, and could have sworn I was in labor Friday, the 19th, but when I woke up and peed my contractions stopped.  Probably should have removed the toddlers legs from my belly and peed at 1am instead of waiting until 6am...hindsight.

It was the Saturday before Easter and I there were no signs of baby other than the fact that I didn't want her to come that night which in my head meant that she was totally coming that night.  Because you can absolutely tell babies when to be born, right!  The only reason I didn't want her to come during the night was because Caches was excited for the Easter Bunny to eat the carrots he left out and get a basket and I so badly wanted to see his face light up.  I didn't care if I was in full blown labor that morning, I just didn't want to be gone to the birth center.  

She cooperated, and we had such a fun morning opening Easter Baskets and going on Egg hunts with family.  I didn't have much of an appetite all day, but other than that it was a normal day.  We went to my moms house for lunch and yet another egg hunt and while sitting on the patio visiting, I noticed some cramping.  It was not very exciting so I didn't pay much attention, but I did notice that it was somewhat regular so I began to time the cramps and they were 10 min apart.  It was about 4:00pm and with contractions every 10 minutes I decided to take Caches for a walk and see if things picked up at all.

We walked all around the neighborhood closing trash can lids and stopping to watch bugs.  My contractions got stronger but were still far apart.  We even ran into a family friend who asked me when the baby was coming and I played it off like I didn't know.  We finished up our walk and headed home around 5;45pm.  Contractions were stronger and a bit closer together now but still very manageable.  I fed and watered the chickens, fed the dogs, picked up the house and gathered some last minute items for my overnight bag all while telling Caches that his sister was probably coming tonight and that he might wake up to grandma and not mama.

It was about 7:00 now, and time for Caches to go to bed.  Even though contractions were pretty uncomfortable I was determined to put him to bed just the two of us.  We told stories and I draped his lanky body over my belly one last time as we rocked back and forth.  I reminded him again that he would wake up to grandma and I would be at the birth center with daddy.  He took the news surprisingly well, too well, he knew.  Tears streamed down my face as I cradled my baby boy knowing that both of our worlds were about to be turned upside down.

After a while we laid in bed next to each other and I rubbed his back until he drifted off to sleep.  It was difficult to lay still during my contraction but I managed.  I kissed his head and walked out to the living room.  I decided to call the birth center and let them know what was going on and to call my doula.  After getting off of the phone I sat down on the couch next to Ryan for a moment and out of nowhere my contractions all but stopped!  Probably 15 minutes passed with nothing.  Was this a false alarm!?  WTF!?

I grabbed my breast pump and began to pump and walk abound the kitchen.  After pumping for 15 min or so contractions picked back up big time.  They were about 4 minutes apart and I had to stop walking of put all of my attention on them.  I knew it was real.  It was about 9:00 by now and my doula encouraged me to eat even though I was in no mood.  I ate an apple and a string cheese in between contractions and annoying the crap out of Ryan debating if it was time to go to the birth center yet.  Did I mention that the birth center was 40 minutes away!?

I didn't want to get there and be sent away because I was only like 2cm dilated, but I also didn't want to deliver a baby on the side of the road!  I went back and forth and back and forth for a loooong time until finally I decided to go.  If they send us away, we will get a hotel room.  I called my mom to come over and the doula to let her know we would be leaving soon.  My mom arrived just before 11:00 and shortly after we headed out.

Judge me if you must, but there was NO way I was sitting in a seat buckled up for 40 minutes with strong contractions coming every 3 minutes.  I knelt on all fours in the back seat and draped my body over the car seat during contractions.  I thought the ride was going to seem like FOR EVER, but luckily it went rather quickly.  We arrived at the birthing center just before midnight, and even though I joked about taking the stairs, we rode the elevator up to the second floor.

I was checked into triage and told I was going to have to wait to be checked out because there was a birth going on right then.  I changed into a gown and swayed back and forth through contractions.  Some of the positions I thought would be comfortable turned out to be incredibly uncomfortable and I pretty much just stood up swaying back and forth the entire time.  Bending over or laying down caused me a great deal of discomfort.

Moments after midnight our doula arrived and came into triage to be with us.  In between contractions I was fairly comfortable and could move around and chat, but when the wave of a new contraction came I couldn't speak.  I remember thinking, please just be in labor enough to be admitted.  Please don't make me leave.  I also remember wishing I wasn't so darn tired (Caches had some rough nights leading up to this and my hips were ON FIRE, so sleeping wasn't happening).  Finally the nurse came in to check me.  As she checked, she looked at me funny.  Were you dilated at your 40 week apt?  Yes, I was 1cm.  I was waiting for her to say I wasn't dilated at all or that I was still a 1.  She looked at me and said, um, you are 8cm with a bulging bag of water.  You are really calm for 8cm!  We need to get your a room!

We walked down the hall to our room and I remember asking if I could get into one of the birth tubs.  They wanted the doctor to check me first because they don't like babies born in the tubs, but she was still busy with another patient.  Yep, I drove to Santa Cruz for 8 months worth of appointments and met 5 different midwives only to have the on call doctor deliver me.  Ha ha, universe, ha ha!   Luckily she was very laid back and very supportive of me just kind of doing my thing.

While we waited I found it comfortable to hang ALL my weight on my poor, lovely doulas neck during contractions.  Sorry, Michele :)  Finally the doctor came in and checked me and I was still 8cm with a bulging bag of water.  She told me I could keep doing exactly what I was doing, go over to the birth tub and get in the water, or she could break my bag of water and see if that would speed things along.  Originally I was apposed to any kind of intervention, including breaking my bag of water, but after she told me that baby was in the perfect position, I could still get in the tub after she did it, and breaking my water could speed things up, I decided to go ahead with it.

It was just a few minutes after 1:00am when she broke my water.  A TON of fluid gushed out, sorry, but it did, and I could feel baby's head drop what seemed like a good 4 inches down.  I remember thinking what a mess that would have been in the car, and then almost immediately my body was like GAME FUCKING ON.  I had a game changing strong contraction and announced that I already felt like pushing!  Could I really already feel like pushing?  It didn't matter, my body was PUSHING!  I got out of bed and squatted beside the bed leaning over it and holding on.

I could still talk in between contractions and remember making jokes with Ryan, but I kind of blocked out everything else in the room.  I know that nurses were around me and that I made a poop joke, but I don't remember much else during that time.  Then after a contraction the nurse told me I had to get into bed.  Say what?  I refused. Climbing up onto the bed and laying down was out of the question.  You can't have your baby on the floor, she told me.  WHY NOT! THERE IS A TOWEL THERE?  Yeah, I was kind of annoyed.  Anyway, they helped me into bed and I got into a sort of child's position with my butt lifted up.

The doctor who was amazing and calm and was literally just sitting there watching me, told me that she could see baby's head.  What?  I'm that close?  I don't know if they asked me to or if I did it on my own, but I laid down on my side to push and remember reaching down and feeling baby's head.  Oh my gosh.  It's really right there!  The doctor told me one more good push and her head would be out.  I folded my body over my belly with the next contraction and looked down just as her head was coming out.  I saw her head coming out of my body, and it was amazing!

I felt another contraction coming and pushed.  Wait, wait...  The doctor told me that the cord was wrapped around her neck twice and tightly and that she was going to have to cut it in order for her body to be born.  I really wanted to delay cord clamping, but it wasn't going to happen.  She cut the cord and with one final push at 1:34am, Arlowe Jean was earth side.  I was overwhelmed with relief and love and more relief.  I remember thinking how amazing that just one moment ago my body was in intense, purposeful pain, pushing a baby out and then in an instant, calm.  Pain free and so calm!

Our bodies truly are phenomenal.  I remember telling Ryan that I couldn't believe how strong my uterus was.  Seriously, I didn't really even do anything, my body just knew what to do and DID IT!!  Go body!

Of course I wanted that baby on my body immediately, and she was, but only for a moment.  Arlowe aspirated some fluid so they had to suction her a bit.  About five minutes later (felt like forever) they returned her body to mine.  And I can still feel it. The magic in that moment when our eyes met for the first time.  The wonderment of the wold around.  The recognition of life, of love.  Feeling her impossibly soft skin, touching her downy head to my lips over and over again, and breathing in her scent.  On my lord, do babies smell delicious!

We laid together, her skin on mine, for a long time.  There was nursing and staring at each other and the whole world stood still.  After while we had to move into a different room so baby was dressed and wrapped up.  I put on a gown and hopped up out of bed much to the nurses shock.  Um, you just had a baby!  I know, I feel like I could lift a truck!   But they still made me ride in the wheelchair.

Once we were in our room and all was quiet I remember telling Ryan that giving birth was the most amazing thing in the entire world.  I was completely high on hormones, but that I didn't think I was one of those women who was like, I could do it again tomorrow!  Well, some time passed and guess what.  I could totally do it again tomorrow!  But I won't, this womb is closed for business.  I could be pregnant and give birth a dozen more times, I love it, but the minor detail that pregnancy and birth lead to children kind of complicates things.  So for me, this most amazing, healing birth will have to last me a lifetime, and I think it will.



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