Dmitri Alexander is here! He was born on Earth Day, and Joe and I are just so in love with him right now.
It all started a week before Dmitri's birth, when we thought my waters might be leaking and we needed to induce within 72 hrs. or go to the hospital. Everything turned out fine and the consulting doc okayed just waiting for birth to happen on its own.
After I experienced contractions all week, things finally started to get serious on Thursday night. I knew it was finally time to call the midwife when I caught myself feebly kicking my sweater across the floor instead of bending it over to pick it up. Joe called Jeanette (our midwife) at 11:30, and she got here about 1:30 a.m. Contractions were erratic in length, 2-4 min. apart. Pat, her assistant, arrived about an hour later. I was in transition shortly thereafter, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that my cervix was at 8 cm.
Into the pool I went, and it was soooo wonderful! The experience of being supported and surrounded by warm water was incredibly soothing. I will always have a special place my heart for that inflatable fishie pool! There was pain, incredible intensity, and there were also moments of doubt and wondering, especially since pushing took a couple of hours. The important thing, though, was that my body just took over and did what it needed to do. I didn't really need to play any mind games or use tricks to make labor easier. In fact, it was much better when I figured out just before transition that I didn't have to "do" hypnobirthing or relaxation. Everything I had prepared for was inside of me. I just had to be there, breathe, and let my feelings and questions out as they came. Also, Joe didn't need to do anything specific, either. He just had to be there and listen.
I had a lengthy phase of grunty pushing, and then the pushing got much more serious. (Oh, so THIS is how hard your body works to expel a baby!) After a while of serious pushing in the pool, Pat and Jeanette suggested that pushing might be stronger out of the pool. I tried a couple on the toilet and then went into the bedroom to do a supported squat with Joe. Oh, I was wrong before. So THIS is how hard your body works to birth a baby! I had finally clicked on the pushing. The water was just a bit too relaxing, I think. :-) Jeanette and Pat say they've experienced that with a lot of first-time moms.
It was wonderful to go through the final phases of labor with Joe right there behind me. We were in front of a full-length mirror, so Joe could also see the birth. The head finally emerged, and I have to say the "ring of fire" was no big deal for me. Don't know why it wasn't, but I'm glad. And then it was such a relief to see the rest of the body come sliding out. Dmitri started crying right away, and he was already pink. Jeanette told me later that both of his Apgars were 10, so I guess he was ready to join us! Joe cut the cord when it finished pulsating, and we finally got around to finding out that we had a boy.
One thing that surprised me, especially in light of my hypnobirthing training, was how much I vocalized. I enjoy singing opera, and I really think letting go by a kind of low singing/moaning it out just worked very naturally for me. I learned that you never know what your body is going to do, but it doesn't matter. It will do the right thing. Yes, it hurt and it was uncomfortable (also all-consuming, passionate, and a weird kind of wonderful), but I had my voice, my breath, the pool and wonderful hands-off people supporting me and letting me do what I needed to do.
Funny moment: When it was time to get in the pool, I was inordinately concerned about poop. Are you sure I can get in? Should I go to the bathroom one more time? Is it okay if I poop? What if I poop? As it turned out, no poop!
So Dmitri was born at home on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, at 7:06 a.m. 7 pounds, 2 oz., 20 inches long. Earth Day coincidences: His name means "lover of the earth," from Demeter. We planned on birthing in the kitchen in the pool, but he was born on the floor in our bedroom, where the earth and ecology flags are hanging. Las month, Joe did a painting inspired by folk art that's now hanging in our living room. There's an earth in the center and then flowers and vines entwining out and up on either side. I really love it, and remarked to Joe well before the birth that I really thought it looked vaginal/labial, not something I usually notice about art, but I had birth on the brain. I thought it was sweet that a man would create a painting with such feminine resonance. So maybe our little guy came at just the right time.