This is long! (Sorry, I am a writer at heart). It is as told to her.........
The Birth Story of Rhiannon Morningstar Register
On Monday, June 27th, 2005 I had an appointment with one of the midwives in the practice. She informed me that my amniotic fluid was low and that it seemed you had lost some weight. An induction was to be scheduled as soon as possible. I knew this meant Pitocin, which would lead to epidural and the end of my birth plan. I left that office with tears in my eyes. Your grandmother, who had taken me to the appointment, could not understand my pain. I called your father at work and he told me over and over that he loved me. I told your granny to just take me home. I kept crying in the car. All afternoon she sat with me, but I really needed to cry this out. After she left, I got my wish and mourned what seemed to be the end of everything we had planned. And its not that I didn’t want to see you—don’t think that for a minute. Its that we had researched and practiced and done all kinds of things to give you a gentle, natural birth, because we already loved you so much.
Your father came home and held me for a long time. A storm was brewing outside. Thunder was rolling and its sound matched the rumbling in my soul. I went outside and spoke to the Great Mother and told her that I would do anything to make sure you were safe and that I would accept whatever path lay before me. Then I asked you to please come on your own, that night. I went inside, sat down on the couch, and began feeling more Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Except they weren’t Braxton-Hicks.
We went to bed around 11 or so that night. I had been noticing that my surges were fairly regular, but honestly thought nothing of it. I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
But around 12:30 the surges began waking me up and I thought, “Well, let’s time them, maybe it will be good practice for later.” I consulted my pregnancy book and saw that the contractions needed to last about a minute before I called the midwife. They were ranging anywhere from 15 seconds to 60 seconds and were anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes apart. After an hour of this (it seemed like only minutes) I reluctantly woke your father up.
“Don’t get too excited but I have been having contractions all evening and they are getting pretty regular.”
I read off the stats.
“Call the midwife.” His calm demeanor as firm and reassuring, but I knew that there was anxiety and excitement within him. He picked up a book and tried to read as I waited for the midwife to call back from being paged. The midwife on call finally called back and listened to my story. She had known nothing about my possible induction, and said that they contractions really weren’t that close, but since we were having fluid issues that I should come on down and see if we had anything to work with. I hung up the phone, looked over at your father and said “Let’s go.”
I chuckle to think of your father running around at that moment. I was trying to convince him that you weren’t about to come shooting out, that he could slow down. He grabbed the bags, the birth ball, everything and told me to meet him in the truck.He asked if I wanted to call my mom or should he. I asked him to please call since I was still in my underwear. I was still getting dressed and looking for my purse and the truck is already starting up. I wondered if he would leave without me! I got in the truck and we pulled out into the night.
A rain was falling on us as we drove through the center of town. We were one of the only cars out. I asked your father to put on a cd of chants that I liked. They were very earthy and calming and I chanted and sang, holding my belly and grinning like a wise old buddah. The surged gained strength. I tried to drink in everything… every sensation, every sight. This was a moment I had wondered about my entire life.
We pulled up to the hospital and your father dropped me off at the entrance while he parked. I wandered in to the registration area and waited my turn. Your father came in lugging so many bags and accoutrements… we were a circus compared to some others who walked in. It was 2:30 am on June 28th when your granny walked in and the registration sent us up to the labor and delivery floor.
Evidently, you picked a popular day to arrive, because we got the last room available. I was hooked up to monitors to check you out and my dilation was checked. Still at 3-4cm. The surges were getting stronger, but between them I was able to talk and laugh and wonder at my body. Your father knew exactly what relief I needed and when. He would offer the water bottle or a wet washcloth. I wanted to walk around so they took me off the monitor and let me walk with your father. I had to stop many times and bury my head into your father’s arm, riding out the wave of sensation. On our second walk, I had to go back after only a few steps due to nausea overtaking me. I went to the bathroom and was sick. After that, I asked the nurse when I could go sit in the Jacuzzi tub. She said that she would get it started right now. I slipped into the tub at 5:30 am.
I had been looking forward to this tub all during my pregnancy. I will always wonder now what might have happened had I just gotten in the shower or not gotten in water at all. All I do know is this: once in the water, the surges came on like gangbusters. I went from 4 to 8 cm in an hour. Your father says that he thought my last surge in the tub was going to make me pass out. I got him to help me out and we got down the hall to our room.
The sensation was now extreme pain and I felt myself almost physically riding a wave. I could envision the crest of it and then me sliding down the backside. At the peaks, my head was thrashing, I was losing control. Why couldn’t I get a grip? In the back of my mind, the thought I had been trying to never think: I can’t handle this.
I looked over at your father. My eyes probably already told the story, but I said it anyway.
“I’m so sorry…. But I think…I need something.”
He knows how committed I had been to natural birth. And he knows I can handle lots of pain. He couldn’t help but respond with a tinge of sadness.
“Whatever you need.”
We called the nurse in and I told her I “needed something for the pain”.
“Do you want something in your IV or the epidural?”
“I don’t know just anything!” (The surges were SO strong now and there was barely a minutes respite between them).
Your granny piped up. “Just take the epidural honey!” I knew she couldn’t stand to see her only baby in pain.
I don’t know if the sound of my heart crashing was audible to others, but it was to me. I thought we had dodged the intervention bullet and now here I was choosing to introduce medicines, needles and tests.
The nurse said that we needed to get a certain amount of fluid in me before the anesthesiologist could administer the epidural. I was hooked up to an IV and the drip was started. However, I was beyond the point of control. I am not usually a pushy person, but when the nurse came back I begged/demanded that they give me the epidural NOW. She said it would be up to the Dr. since the IV hadn’t run very long. He came in, said Ok, and started the process. In what seemed like no time, it was over and I could actually breathe for once. I was laid back in bed, and I allowed myself to rest for awhile. And to be honest, I remember looking over at your father and saying “I don’t regret this, because now I am less stressed.”
Sometime in the late morning, the midwife who had said that I would need to be induced came in. She was on call now and was pleased to see that I had gone into labor. The nurse came in and said that I was fully dilated and that I should try to push. Of course, since I had had the epidural I could not get in a squatting position. I didn’t understand why your father couldn’t just hold me up from behind, but I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask. There I was, pushing in the lithomy position, a position helpful only to modern medicine, but the only thing I could think about was getting you out.
After 2 hours of pushing, the sensation was too intense and I asked for more epidural. They gave it, and I continued pushing.
The midwife was concerned. You were presenting “sunny side up” and evidently had your hand on top of your head. I remember the nurse showing your granny and father a peak of your head showing. I remember thinking, “I know they’ve both seen me there, but not at the same time.” A Doctor Kelly was called in, with more nurses. I forgot to even ask for your father to be up by my head, I was too into my internal world.
The doctor was great. He explained everything, which I actually thought was too much because I basically ended up saying “Whatever you need to do.” He was heroically trying to avoid a C-section. He reached in with both of his hands and tried turning you. I kept pushing. They went to the vacuum extractor. I kept pushing. Finally, they had to reach for the forceps. I was not in this world anymore dear daughter. I was in some place that can’t be reached except by the laboring woman. With the grip of the forceps and a primal noise from my throat, you emerged into this world. It was 1:02 p.m.
Despite my position, I lunged forward and touched your arm. “Hey baby! Hey baby!” I kept saying. I cried tears of joy and wonder at what I had just experienced. Your father came over to me, his voice shaking and tears in his eyes. He hugged me and we both shed tears, sobbing from pure love. He looked deep in my eyes, and through oceans of tears said “You’ve made me the happiest man in the world. I am SO proud of you.” Then they brought you over to me and laid you on my chest. I looked up at your father and said “Is there anything in this world that you wouldn’t do for her?” He agreed that there wasn’t. You were so beautiful laying there with your dark hair (your father’s!) and your little mouth (mine!). You granny was busy snapping pictures and movies of anything and everything and the meanwhile, through all of this, I was being stitched up by the doctor. I asked the doctor if he had performed an episiotomy and he said he had not. Score one for my birth plan.
Throughout the following days, your father and I learned about you and fell in love with you. And your father and I fell in love all over again. He was the epitome of what a man should be. He stepped up to the fatherhood plate and swung with all his might. And as a husband he was spectacular. He helped me through the next rough days, doing more than many husbands would.
Rhiannon, I will never forget the day you were born. It was your great-grandmother Helen’s birthday. You will never meet her, but you have that connection. And I will never forget the change that your father and I went through because of the entire nine months and especially the intense 12 hours that brought you to us. You are loved, Rhiannon Morningstar. We will never let you forget it.
Writer, teacher, and mama to Rhiannon Morningstar 6/28/05