Dahlia Calliope Jones
Born September 6th, 2007 at 9:07pm 5lbs 15oz 17 ½ inches long 13 inch head circ.
We had decided that we would welcome one more child in to our family. This was to be our last baby. It had taken us about four years each to get and stay pregnant with my two boys so I figured it would take a while to get pregnant. I expected it to take about a year. Two months later and I was pregnant. I was absolutely thrilled but also a bit scared since Eavan would only be 2 ½ when the baby arrived. I was hoping for a magical pregnancy where I would be radiant and glowing and just full of life. Of course I got another pregnancy like my last two where I threw up almost every day of the pregnancy, was absolutely exhausted, depressed and definitely not glowing. The depression finally started to lift around 7 months when I started get my mind around the fact that a new baby was coming. I started getting really excited to meet a new person, feel that silky soft skin and smell that magical baby head smell. This pregnancy was another planned unassisted pregnancy and birth. Health-wise I was great throughout this pregnancy. All my complaints were just superficial things that didn’t impact my overall health. I ate well throughout, my blood pressure was always normal, I gained a minimal amount of weight and didn’t even get a new stretch mark. As I got toward the end of my pregnancy I was getting anxious, impatient and uncomfortable. I had a feeling this baby would come around the same time as Eavan at 39 weeks.
I started having really regular, painful contractions every evening (very frequent sometimes every 2 minutes) at around 35 weeks. By 38 weeks I was prowling my house like a caged animal, snapping at everyone, experiencing intense crying jags and feeling the pressure of everyone’s schedules and hoping everyone would get to the birth in time. We planned to have my dh, my children and a close friend at the birth. I really wanted to give birth in water again and wanted to make sure to give my dh plenty of time to get the pool set up. I kept having nights where the contractions would get very intense for hours but I never felt that birth energy kick in and so I just knew that it would stop when I went to bed. This happened on and off for several weeks and I was getting frustrated and tired of it all. Finally on the night of Wednesday the 5th things started to change. I woke up regularly all night to more intense contractions. This was the first time I had contractions while sleeping. I also had prelabor diarrhea all night so I knew things were getting close. I had regular (about 20-30 minutes apart) contractions all day long and they were more intense and had that energy behind them. I told Jenabe (dh) and Beth (my friend) that it could be that night but definitely by the weekend.
I was expected at a baby shower at Jenabe’s work at 4pm that day and I was wondering if I would make it. I had my neighbor come over and let me take a shower so I could get ready. I went and picked up my daughter and took her home to watch her younger brothers. I left to go to the baby shower still having contractions about every half hour. The baby shower was from 4-5pm and it was really nice. I thought it was sweet of his coworkers to go to the effort of celebrating our baby. I had also had a very nice mother blessing with 5 beautiful women friends a couple weeks earlier. I felt really loved and special and was just getting so excited to meet our new baby. I had two contractions during the shower so things were still much the same as they had been all day. I did say at the shower that I thought the baby could come tonight but definitely by the weekend. Jenabe told a room full of people all about our UC plans. I was nervous when that started but everyone was great and just asked a few questions without any negative comments. Wow! The shower ended right before five and we gathered up all the gifts and loaded them in the van. Jenabe was driving his car separately and would be along a few minutes after me. As soon as I closed the door to the van I had a wicked contraction that was more intense than any that day. I figured I better get home. During the 8 minutes it took me to get home I had at least 6 very intense contractions. They were making it hard to drive and I was so glad I didn’t have far to go.
As soon as I got home I headed into my bathroom and sat on the toilet. I felt like I had to go but contractions were coming fast and intense. By the time I came out of the bedroom Jenabe was home and I told him I had a list for him. He asked “is there a sense of urgency behind it?” and I said “oh yes!” He sort of looked at me and realized things were happening. I sat at the computer and timed contractions with contraction master. They were all over a minute long and 2-3 minutes apart. It was all starting to come clear that I was indeed in labor. I called Beth to let her know that it was most likely tonight and that I would call her back when we needed her. Her dog had just had a tooth pulled the day before and I wanted to make sure she had plenty of time to deal with her. After that I had a major contraction that made me stop in my tracks and vocalize. I was holding on to the dining room chair with my eyes closed swaying and moaning. When the contraction was over I looked up and both Jenabe and Kaija were staring at me intensely. Jenabe suddenly jumped into action and started cleaning and giving orders to the kids and inflating the birth pool seemingly all in one motion. It was then that I realized things were really happening and I would be meeting my baby sooner rather than later.
I headed back into my bedroom and bathroom alternating between my bedroom and the toilet. I tried several different positions such as lying on the bed (excruciating for one contraction until I could leap up), on my knees at the bed, standing at the bed, holding on to the door frame and dangling from it (the only one that helped at all) and the toilet. I finally was able to go poop and felt a bit better and less nauseous. I really didn’t want to poop in the pool so was relieved. I headed back out to the living room because there was chaos erupting (Eavan screaming) and Jenabe was struggling to get the pool blown up. I told Jenabe I was going to call Beth to come distract Eavan. (her role at the birth) I called her about 12 minutes after the first call and told her things were happening really fast and that she should come over now. I couldn’t stand the noises of the house, Eavan being too loud, the vacuum, Zaid bouncing the ball etc. I was grateful that everything was getting done and I knew it needed to happen but this labor was so fast and furious I just couldn’t handle. I asked Kaija to make me a playlist of some of my favorite hard rock music and put it on my shuffle. I retreated into the bedroom and stayed there for the duration. During Eavan’s birth I couldn’t move during contractions at all or they really hurt too much. I sat in my rocker during his entire labor not moving. This labor was much different. It was so fast with contractions one right after another. Moving, standing, swaying, or lying down weren’t working at all and caused me to freak out. I finally decided to try out my glider and just sit still and see if that worked. It was the best place to be. I would sort of hang my head down when a contraction would hit and I would focus all my attention on visualizing my pelvis opening up and baby’s head moving and fitting through perfectly. When it would get really painful I would tell myself that it didn’t have to be pain it was just intense pressure and would imagine my cervix pulling back over baby’s head and the head causing the pressure. Funny enough diving right into the center of the pain and seeing it all take place made it all easier to bear. Zaid came in with the shuffle and head phones and that helped so much. I could finally just get lost in the labor land. Kaija did great picking out music. It was all loud and fast and fit just perfectly with my labor. I couldn’t hear any of the distracting noises that would take me out of my focus and make the contractions harder. I stayed like that riding the waves of contractions, losing time, opening and allowing this force to move through me. Jenabe would come in and check on me every once in a while and I would give a thumbs up and he would leave. At one point Beth checked in to let me know she was there. She asked if I wanted her in there and I said I wanted to be alone. No one else could do this for me or with me. It was a dance between me and my baby and forces beyond us all.
I was so grateful that I had everyone around but that I could also be alone. I knew that everything and everyone was being taken care of and my only job was to bring this baby into the world. At one point I had Jenabe bring me in water with a bendy straw so I could stay hydrated. I also would make regular (incredibly painful) trips to the bathroom to make sure my bladder stayed empty. At one point when I wiped there were two little blobs of mucus. I laughed and thought that is the most pitiful little mucus plug ever. Such weird thoughts while in labor. I kept making myself laugh with my weird thoughts. I never saw a mucus plug with my last labor but for a couple weeks had been checking after every bathroom visit hoping something might be happening. Luckily the bathroom was really close because walking and being on the toilet were excruciating. I mainly just sat in the glider curled up around my baby trying to just hold on for this wild ride. The contractions continued to get more intense and more intense until they were each having triple peaks and I would break out in a full body sweat and feel so hot then the contraction would fade and I would be freezing and my legs would shake. It was at this point that I thought that I couldn’t do this for a long time and that this better mean a fast labor. A couple more contractions like that and I knew I was in transition and things were moving right along.
When I had first gotten home I had looked at the calendar and thought “oh tomorrow is the 7th that would be cool as it is the same day number as my birthday”. After having several triple peaked contractions I realized that my baby would be here long before midnight and would actually be born on the 6th. On one of the many visits in I asked Jenabe what time it was and I think he said around 7:45pm. I couldn’t believe things were moving so fast. I had read many birth stories during my pregnancy and one thing that always struck me was when the women would say that they didn’t think they could keep going for hours and the baby came right away. So when I had that thought about “I cannot go on like this for hours” I knew things were rolling right along and I felt a sense of relief that my baby would come soon. I rode one contraction into the next and then just got lost in my music in between. It all felt like one big long dance that never ended. Around 8:30 Jenabe came in and told me the birth pool was ready. I couldn’t go out to the living room yet. I needed to stay so hyperfocused to handle each contraction that I didn’t want to do that in front of everyone. I didn’t want to be on display. I stayed in my glider wrapped around my baby moaning and visualizing. The moaning changed in intensity and I started almost growling at the end of each contraction and really almost bearing down. It was at that point that I realized I needed to get in the birth pool. Jenabe had heard the change in my vocalization and came in and helped me to the living room.
It was magical what he had done. The lights were dimmed, the house was clean, video camera set up, birth pool warm and inviting. AHHHH!! What a wonderful man I have. Beth and Eavan were playing in Zaid’s room and Kaija and Zaid were out in the living room with Jenabe. I got in the birth pool and just tried to stay in control. I felt like my hips were going to shoot off in both directions. I got on my knees and decided to check myself and felt the head about 2 knuckles in. That was exhilarating. My baby was on the way!!!! . Zaid was so excited about the baby, the birth and everything around it. He had been my biggest cheerleader during pregnancy. He kept trying to find a good position to see in. The room was dark and I was growling/grunting and so no one knew if the baby was coming right then or not. Zaid didn’t want to miss a thing but I had to tell him at one point to find a spot and stay in it. I just couldn’t stand any distractions. I rode out several contractions trying to hold my hips together, screaming, yelling Ow ow ow ow ow ow, trying to bring my voice down low as it would get really screechy and I would feel lost. I changed positions several times which is the greatest thing about the birth pool. I hadn’t been able to move much without losing it and in the pool I could easily flip around but no positions were working. I could feel the baby’s head moving down through my pelvis and I really tried to just breathe the baby out. It wasn’t working. I was starting to feel so crazed and like I couldn’t take another moment.
I decided to push through the pain that was hideous during the peak of the contraction. I pushed a bit and then real hard to push past that pain and suddenly the baby’s head was crowning! I couldn’t believe it. I felt the baby’s head and the sac was stretched tight over it. I tried to break the sac without even thinking about it but I have no nails and it was cushioned with a bit of fluid and I couldn’t get a hold of it. Another contraction hit and I started to push and then eased up because I didn’t want to tear. As with all my births I couldn’t not push and made a decision that I didn’t care about tearing and just pushed. I actually gave just a tiny push and felt that huge release of the baby coming out. I looked down and saw the tiniest grayish blob at the bottom of the pool between my legs. It was so small I had a momentary thought (as I was reaching down to pick it up) of “what is that” and then I had the tiniest little baby in my hands. I said “oh you are so tiny” and held my baby up to my chest. I had done it!!!! Oh my! Someone said “what time is it” and Kaija said “9:07” OMG Four hours!!!! Baby was so small but bright pink, breathing but gurgling. I turned baby to drain out some fluids and Jenabe asked what we had and I said “Just a minute!” LOL I was busy making sure baby was just fine. Once baby cleared some fluid and I had baby cuddled up close I took a peek under the leg and said “we have a GIRL” Jenabe clapped and grinned, everyone was so excited. As soon as she was born she gave a tiny cry and Beth and Eavan had come right out to meet her. He didn’t watch the birth but he was there to welcome his sister into the world. I asked Jenabe if we could name her Dahlia Calliope and he said yes and so that’s her name!
My little Dahlia was here. I had convinced myself that I was having a boy because of the similarities in pregnancies but a couple weeks before she came I had an inkling that it could be a girl (just like with Kaija) and decided we better come up with a girl’s name. I had my little girl in my arms on my chest. We had put a hat on her and covered her up with a towel. She was so quiet that Beth asked if she was alright. I looked at her and she had fallen fast asleep. I had said all along that this baby would be calm and sleepy because she was so different in utero than my others. It was true. I had my calm, sleepy, tiny baby girl! Wow! About 4-5 minutes after she was born I had a contraction and said “oooooh I forgot about the placenta!” This made Kaija laugh really hard. My placentas come very quickly and I actually felt it detach with that first contraction. I had another a couple minutes later and knew I needed to get out of the pool. Her cord was very thin and had already gone white and limp within minutes of the birth. She was bright pink, breathing great and sound asleep so I knew she was just fine. I stood up and handed her to Jenabe. Kaija grabbed the placenta bowl and handed it to me. Zaid was right there and didn’t want to see but I was too quick. I reached down and grabbed the cord, pushed a bit and plopped the tiniest most perfect placenta in the bowl. It was about ½ the size of my other placentas. Tiny and perfect just like my baby. There is a chance her cord only had one artery but it was so limp that it was difficult to tell. I got settled on the couch on one of my cool underpads that I bought for this birth. (I hate chux) got all bundled up as I was shaking and cold and got to the real business of checking out my new baby. She had woken up by this time was looking around sweetly and promptly popped her thumb in her mouth and sucked it voraciously for about 15 minutes to all our delight.
About an hour after she was born she latched on and nursed like a champ. I had a feeling she would be a good nurser. We just stayed cozy and cuddled up for quite a while. At one point Zaid came and cut the cord (really long so we didn’t have to unwrap her) and then later we tied it off with embroidery thread and Zaid trimmed it down. A few hours after birth I got in the shower. Dahlia just slept and slept as her brother and sister took turns holding her. Jenabe tried to get Eavan to bed but Eavan was snapping so I went to lie down with him and he was sound asleep in about 8 minutes. He just needed to know that mama was okay and was still available to him. He has gone through some major adjustments but he loves his tiny baby sister (that’s what he calls her or MY baby Dahlia). He has needed me to put him down to bed almost every night but other than that he has let everyone else care for him. During the birth he said to Beth “What’s mama doing?” and she said that I was having a baby and he smiled and said “She’s singing songs!” He talked to me a couple days later about how I sang songs to get the baby out. He didn’t want to nurse in the first couple days until he said he was too big. I explained to him that he could be big and still nurse so he is nursing a bit but not much at all. After I got Eavan to bed we finally decided to weigh her. I knew she was tiny but 5lbs 15oz? Wow! We measured her the next day and she is 17 ½ inches long with a 13inch head circumference. That first night I just held her on the couch wrapped in a blanket on a prefold (we didn’t dress her for about 36 hours) and stared at her in amazement. I was on such a high from the birth I couldn’t really sleep all night even though she slept plenty. I still wake up and am amazed that she is here, that she is a girl and that I am not pregnant anymore. That first 24 hours she nursed really well but then threw up every feed. I had called our cranial sacral therapist after she was born and he came when she was about 22 hours old and adjusted her. She instantly nursed much better (latched on the left for the first time) and stopped throwing up. He has such magic fingers. He is coming again to adjust her at 3 weeks. She has been nursing well but sleeps way too much. She lost some weight and has been slow to regain but she finally started waking much more often to nurse and now her cheeks are filling out. She is a delightful baby, only crying for a few seconds to let you know she needs something and then waiting patiently. She sleeps easily, nurses great and is very alert when she is awake. She is so sweet and calm and beautiful and we are all gloriously in love. I have recovered amazingly well. I got a few tiny tears that are almost completely healed, I am barely bleeding and overall just feeling really good. She is 13 days old today and Jenabe is back at work for the first time. I am so thrilled with my new family. I have been struggling to find my new role as a mother of four (teenager through newborn) but I know I will find my way. My family is complete and I am so happy.