I used to write quite a bit when I was younger, but since a severe case of writer's block has set in with "adulthood" (I'm only 19,
)...I'm not sure what to write about anymore. I did
have a spark of inspiration after giving birth to my daughter. Can you guess what it was...?...that's right, her birth story!
Please let me know what you think, all comments are appreciated.
The Birth of Aiyana Autumn
By Jas K
Newly 19 and spilling out at the seams, I rolled out of the night and into the early morning. After weeks of false labor and trying everything from walking to spicy foods, I was 9 days overdue and my body ached with anticipation. My olive skin was stretched taut over hiccupping life and churning limbs. I waddled my way to the toilet, wishing my grandmother a good morning on the way. I was calm and my mind was clear. My movements seemed more steady and intentional rather than the usual clumsy, pregnant stance I had grown accustomed to. There was something different with the way I carried myself that morning. Maybe it was because I was nervous about getting labor induced the next morning or maybe it was because I subconsciously knew I was already in the beginning of natural labor. For weeks before this day I had been anxious and frustrated that I was still pregnant, but this day was different. I relieved my what-seemed-to-be-full bladder and ran the bathtub faucet, dipping my legs into the pooling water. My grandmother had homemade a labor-inducing concoction of essential oils and I poured it into the swirling water around my full-moon belly. Glistening stripes of collagen gleamed at my hips and thighs. My breasts impatiently awaited a suckling mouth. My mind wandered to the appointment I had scheduled the next morning. The doctor had suggested I get induced since the baby was overdue and I was uncomfortable. I laid back in the tub as the contractions began. I knew all along she'd come in her own time, but I let the doctors say what they wanted. The contractions came slow and soft. Like a long-awaited whisper. I breathed in the soothing thoughts that surrounded my mind and exhaled nothing but trust in my body. The natural rhythm took over as I rocked my hips into the smooth porcelain. Knowing my child was on her way was utterly orgasmic. Taking time to relax and ready myself for the long day ahead, I watched the clear ripples radiate from my first-time pregnant belly. It was the last time I would be in that bathtub with a baby in utero. I sighed and climbed out of the tub and dressed myself. My mother arrived to take us to the clinic where they referred us to the hospital right away. The car ride was obnoxious to say the least. For once in my life, I felt every rock & twig on the asphalt. Finally, we arrived at Lutheran Medical Center, my daughter's birthplace.
Dressed in the dull, blue hospital gown I laid on the bed clenching through contractions; my partner, my mother, my grandmother & aunt at my side. After many months of telling them they could experience the birth along with me, I finally realized I needed to be alone. I needed to give birth on my own. I sent them into the waiting room so I could focus on myself and the tiny person inside of me. Once the room was clear of frantic and anxious energy, I let Mother Nature do her work. She twisted at the soles of my feet, climbing higher, growing into my ankles and knees, bringing blossoming vines of tranquility. The contractions grew stronger, more frequent. The nurse said a Doula happened to be on duty that day; I had her bring her in. Having no childbirth classes during my pregnancy, I was thankful to see a beautiful, expecting Doula at my side.
I made my way to the Jacuzzi tub. Slipping into the familiar warmth of the water and remembering I had taken two baths a day while pregnant. I am a creature of the water. I felt at peace as the pressure of the jets massaged my back and hips. I breathed slow and deep. I slid through the water like a round-bellied mermaid. Back and forth, front to back. The pain was beautiful. I knew it meant progress. By this time, I had been in labor for a few solid hours. After a contraction subsided, I opened my eyes to see not one, but two Doulas observing me. One had tears in her eyes and the other a look of pure excitement. The pregnant Doula wiped the tears from her face and told me how beautiful this scene was and she was happy she was a part of it. She told me her shift was over and that the new Doula was here to stay for awhile. I laughed. Throughout my labor, I laughed. I'm not sure what brought it on, but it felt good to laugh between contractions. I knew what I was doing without ever going to a childbirth class. I knew it would be all right. I knew my body could be trusted to deliver my baby safely into the world.
I stayed in the water for awhile, until the contractions picked up suddenly. It rocked me at the core. I wondered what the tiny being in my womb was experiencing. We were in this together and the comfort swelled inside of me; my chest warm, and pulsating with love for my unborn child. My long, deep breaths became suddenly shallow and sharp. The pain was contracting in on me, wrenching my body and shaking my bones. I felt sick. The Doula handed me a bed pan and I filled it with stomach acid and melted ice chips. I quickly remembered I had not eaten for around 10 hours as I wretched again. Another contraction came swiftly and heavily. The first Doula left and the new one took my hand and helped me from the tub and into my hospital gown. She then introduced me to the birth ball. My legs felt too weak to play on it for long. I rolled it between my thighs, opening my hips so her head could lower into place. Finding no relief from the ball, I found the birthing bar and gripped it, my knuckles turning white as another contraction bared down on me. It came crushing from my abdomen and found the palms of my hands, sweating and sticky on the bar. A scream escaped my lungs, the Doula corrected me immediately. She told me to channel that energy into breathing, into focusing on the progress I was making. I paced the floor, letting the laboring energy flow through me. I went to use the toilet and found I had lost my mucous plug. I returned to the bed to receive my next dose of antibiotics for my Strep B.
The progress seemed incredibly slow as the nurse checked my cervix and reported the dilation. At this point, I was beginning to tire. After all this time and pain, it still wasn't time to push. I began to question whether or not I could do this without easing the pain somehow. I pulled my mind out of my body, still controlling the pain and handling it as best I could. I planted my feet into the cold linoleum of the hospital floor and let the roots grow from my toes. Moaning and panting, trying desperately to find some relief from the constant sickening pain. It was like nothing I had ever felt before. I had created and nourished life inside my swelling belly and it was time to let this tiny person take her first breath. I climbed back onto the bed, frustrated, yet refusing to let exhaustion set in. This was my time; this was our time. I faced the back of the bed, gripping onto the thin mattress. I screamed again, but quickly turned it into a deep moan; I steadied myself; deep breath in, deep breath out. The contractions were taking over like internal earthquakes. It was getting harder and harder to stay strong and stable. I was shaking, I was dizzy and I was falling fast. The nurse grabbed an oxygen mask and held it to my face. I panted into it, inhaling the sweet scent and imagined it nourishing my baby girl. Transition had been wringing my body for hours. My cervix was stuck at 9 centimeters for what seemed like eternity. I just wanted her out. I was done with this. Exhaustion flooded every pore in my body. I swayed. I had reached the point of wanting to give up. Every natural birth reaches this point before or around 8 to 10 centimeters. I wanted to rest, but the contractions were on top of each other with no break in between. I felt crippled as another contraction swept over me. I yelled out, clutching the bed again. A minute later, it passed. The Doula fed me a spoonful of orange gelatin. I swished it on my sticky tongue and swallowed. It came back up immediately. I cried from weakness. I was trembling; tears welling in my eyes. The nurse checked my cervix again and I was finally at a 9.5. I cringed, my toes curling as another contraction enveloped me entirely. Gasping into the mask, I brushed it aside and moved to the end of the bed. I was stuck at a 9.5 for over an hour or so. I was upset that the lip of my cervix was still lingering. I wanted to push. I need to push! I wanted so badly to push, but I had to hold back for fear of swelling my cervix and delaying the birth even longer. I looked into the Doula's eyes and pleaded for some sort of relief. She massaged my hips, compressing my waist with her palms. I can't do this. Oh, help me. Please, help me. I had been in hard labor all day and the sun was setting quickly outside the hospital window. The nurse checked me several more times between contractions before I finally hit 10 centimeters and could begin pushing. The descent of the baby was sluggish. I pushed and pushed with what seemed like no advancement. The Doula said her head was stuck behind my pubic bone. She told me to rock her head beneath it and bear down. I did as instructed with nothing to show for it. Her head would lower a little and rise right back up as I stopped pushing. I felt fluid gush between my legs. I was excited thinking it was my bag of waters until the nurse told me it was not the sac, it was urine. I was discouraged my water hadn't broken yet. I wondered how much longer I would be in labor if my water refused to break. The nurse told me my cervix was open and the sac was bulging. I wanted to be done with this. I wanted her out and in my arms. I was so worn out I didn't care if the nurse had to get involved. She got the doctor and said the baby would be delivered within the hour. I sighed deeply as yet another contraction took over. I was at a halt. I tensed up and held my breath waiting for the end to come. As the contraction subsided the doctor asked if she could break my water. I wailed, yes! Yes, yes, please break my water. She grabbed what looked like a crotchet needle and water drenched my thighs. She said the water was green from meconium and it was good we broke the water when we did. My baby had passed her first bowel movement in utero. Ah, a sigh of relief escaped my lips as her head lowered and another contraction took hold. My lungs seized up. I couldn't breathe in as she made the decent into the birth canal. The pain, oh the pain; it was almost unbearable and yet I dove deep into my mind, into my body and breathed through it. I pushed with all I had in me. Every drop of strength poured into pushing, into delivering this baby. She still wouldn't make her appearance, though I pushed for over an hour. The doctor recommended she put her fingers in and tear me. I focused on where her fingers met my flesh and pushed with everything I had. After a few more pushes her head began to crown. The Doula spoke to me in low tones. She told me her ears and cheeks were out. I cried. It burned and twisted between my thighs as I pushed until her shoulders emerged. Her body slid out into the doctors arms at 7:47 PM and was set on my abdomen.
I shook as I held her, the chills taking over me as my child looked deep into my eyes. Dark, black slits peered up at the mother who carried her for 10 months and brought her safe and sound into this new world. I wept and laughed all at once. I was holding onto my newborn child for the first time. Relief flooded my limbs. The doctor asked if I wanted to cut the cord. And I did. I cut her umbilical cord, separating the tiny being from my insides. She no longer needed my womb for nourishment. My baby moon began on September 26, 2007, the night of the harvest moon. The doctor began to stitch me up right after I delivered the placenta. It all happened so quickly. Gallons of crimson fluid painted the picture of perfection. I was grateful for the wonderful encouragement of my Doula. My baby girl and I had worked together as a team; after more than 12 hours of all natural labor, she was here, she was finally here.
After the family entered the room to see her, she was weighed and rinsed. She weighed at 8lbs 7oz and was 20.5 inches long. After everyone greeted her and held her, she took to the breast right away. She was the most beautiful, sweet-natured baby I had ever seen. Sleeping soundly in my arms and suckling at my no longer impatient breasts, was my first born daughter, Aiyana Autumn.