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Ingrid Solveig was born at 5:51 pm, Feb 5, 2005. She was 8 lbs 10oz. On Feb 4, 2005, at about 6:30, we had our sweet dog Kaya (aka Snuffer) euthanized. She was about 10 1/2 yo. That whole week I could tell that Kaya was goin down hill. She had lost a lot of weight, was not eating, was soling on the kitchen floor, and she was very weak and in pain. She was no longer responding to steroids (for an enlarged spleen). Because she was so old we decided not to put her through invasive tests of treatments, but to let her pass peacefully. I had not expected her condition to change so quickly, so on Friday I took the day off and made an appointment with the vet. I told the vet that I was about to have a baby and needed to take care of my dog and not worry about her while I was having my baby. The soonest they could take us was that night. So Kaya and I hung out in the house together all day. She laid by the door in the hallway, I tried to feed her pain meds and treats, and talked to her. I thanked her for putting up with us all this time.

We dropped Bea off at her friend Sam's house. My sister in law Randi came with us. She is the greatest dog lover I know, and I was happy to have her with us. The vet took us last, and we waited in the car with the Snuffer. When it was time her, Chris carried her into the exam room, she snapped at the vet (one last time). Randi, Chris and I petted her and talked to her as the vet gave her the injection. She went very quickly. After she stopped breathing the only thing you could hear in the room was me bawling. Chris asked Randi to escort me out of the room. On the way home we talked about Kaya's antics, how she helped Chris and me get together, how gentle she was with Bea. She was a wonderful dog, and I'm glad we had a chance to be her human companions. I wish I'd had her euthanized sooner so that she didn't suffer, and that we could have done it at home-like our birth….

On the way home, I started getting serious gassy heartburn. We ordered some Chinese food, and I had some dragon maki, and sesame shrimp. Chris had to go back to work for a bit. Bea went to sleep early, Randi went home to take care of her dog. I laid on the couch and watched a documentary on the British Royal Family until I fell asleep. Around 9 or so my father in law called to see if we had put kaya to sleep. Yup. I was so tired and crampy, I couldn't really talk to him.

I took a bath to help the crampiness. I figured something was happening, the cramps weren't B-H feeling anymore, but nothing to write home about. They went away after the bath, and stayed up surfing for a bit.

At 5 in the morning, I woke up. More crampy mild ctx. I went back to sleep to see if they'd go away. Chris asked if I was going to have the baby soon, I said, "probably this weekend." At 7 I got up again, and there was my mucous plug and a little blood in my morning pee. I couldn't go back to sleep. I called the midwife who lived closest to us. She told me to count the ctx and call her back in 1/2 an hour. I think they were about 5 minutes apart, but not strong. She said to call back in a couple of hours. So I ate breakfast, and started to clean the house a bit. I called her at the appropriate time, the ctx were still nothing I couldn't clean through, but were 5 minutes apart. She had the apprentice Patti come over and check me. At about 11 am I was 3 cm but not too effaced. So she went home to get her gear, and she called Jharna, the midwife to report. I went back to cleaning (talk about a nesting instinct). I tried to watch my favorite tv show Buffy the Vampire Slayer at noon, but it was too distracting and I didn't like the vibe. So I turned off the tv, listened to music, vacuumed the floor. Sometime around 12:30 or so I took a bath. Jharna came over, gave me a quick check, listened to the heartbeat. The bath was very relaxing. I had programmed a "birthing music" playlist on iTunes a few days earlier, and I just listened to music and soaked. I was spot on knowing what I would want to hear while in labor: blue grass, English and Irish folk music (I was really into the song Pretty Polly for some reason), Neil Young, the Cocteau Twins, Blind Faith, Thin Lizzy, John Renbourne, Pentangle…

Sometime while I bathed, Bea hopped in the tub with me, and was very mellow for once! I told her I was taking a quiet bath, and would not be able to talk while I was having a contraction. She stayed for maybe 45 minutes, and I had to ask Chris to redirect her. My mother in law took her outside to make a snowman.

I got out of the tub and put on my Ziggy Stardust t-shirt. All I wanted to do was walk walk walk walk. I walked up the stairs, down the stairs, up into the nice cold attic. Chris and I just walked around and listened to folk music and bluegrass. At some point I tried to lay down, and quickly puked. No more laying down. I stopped walking and just rocked my hips, dancing through the contractions. Jharna said Ingrid's head was not quite in my pelvis, and she had me walk up and down the stairs some more.. So I danced and walked, danced and walked.

When I tried to get on all fours, Ingrid heart rate decelerated, so that was out. When I got too tired to walk or stand, I leaned up against Chris, propped up against our Liberator ramp. I thought it was funny that this pillow we used for sex was best used to have a baby on. And then I realized that the sounds I was making and the sensations I had were much like having an orgasm. I was so happy to be home in my bed, having my baby at that moment, although I would have liked not to have given birth sitting and laying on my back.

I got up again to dance, and I had to pee, but I didn't want to walk to the bathroom. (I just wanted to dance-rock my hips) I was starting to get the urge to push! Oh the pressure! Apparently the bag of waters was just in front of Ingrid's head. Jharna suggested putting a pin hole in it, but she wanted to wait for Kristen, the other midwife to arrive. Fine with me. So Kristen arrived, Jharna poked a tiny hole in my bag of waters, and…. I thought I peed on myself. My bag didn't break, and there was just a trickle. But the pressure was lifted, and I really wanted to push.

I don't know how long I pushed, let alone how long I was in the tub, or how long I walked around. At some point when I was walking around I looked at the clock and it was 5:00. But I had no concept of time. My clock is 15 minutes fast, so I estimate I pushed maybe 20 minutes, 30 minutes tops. I had much more of a burning sensation than I did with Bea. But when Jharna told me to stop while she helped Ingrid's head on my perineum, I listened (last time I pushed when the midwife said to stop and I ended up with a tiny tear). Jharna was very adamant about my stopping. But Lord did it burn. Ingrid came out with a couple of good pushes (once I had the green light). Her apgars were 9 (hands and feet a little blue) then 10. And she was born with a nuchal hand (which is why Jharna told me to stop pushing for a sec). I had a few skid marks, and Ingrid scratched me with her little fingernails (so she clawed her way out?). I cheered! No tears. I could live with skid marks.

When she crowned, I felt her mushy little head. I wish I'd had a mirror. My mother in law, Chris, the midwives, and Bea were all there. Bea got a little freaked out and left until Ingrid was completely out. She was born with a head full of hair, and a little hemorrage on her eye. And of course she was absolutely beautiful. My mother in law cut the cord. (I love my MIL!) She was a little slow to nurse, but she latched on like a pro within a couple of hours.

After everyone left, Bea, Ingrid, Chris and I all snuggled in bed to "sleep". Chris and I just stared at her all night. I kept up the vigil when he went to sleep.

I could have written my birth story before she was born, it seemed to go exactly as I had hoped, although I would have liked for Kaya to have met Ingrid. Kaya was her spiritual midwife.
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