Thursday, August 12, 2010

Potter's Tell

It was a dark and stormy night…Just kidding (although it really was, lol!). The rain was the reason we didn’t head home after the midwife told us that I was not in labor. There were no more clients at the birthing center so she told us we could hang out there until the rain subsided. She lived just five miles away so she bid us adieu. I wouldn’t have driven all that way (again) to the birthing center if I didn’t believe that (this time) I really was in labor.

I sat in the darkened room confused and disappointed. Granted, this was my first drug free birth, although not my first baby, but just because I wasn’t screaming and writhing in agony didn’t mean that I wasn’t in a lot of pain.

My husband was stretched out on the bed, peacefully snoring. I was flitting from chair to chair to bed trying to find a perch that was comfortable. FYI, no such place exists when you are nine months pregnant.

The pains increased but the time between them remained steady at about two minutes or so. I didn’t want to wake my husband up if there was nothing he could do; we had spent all of the previous night and early morning in the emergency room for one of our other children. We were all exhausted. As it got closer to 11 pm, I found myself increasingly paralyzed by the contractions. My stomach was queasy. If this WASN’T labor, something else was wrong so I shook my husband awake.

“Call the midwife,” I panted. “I feel so sick.” I motioned for the wastebasket and he got it to me just in time. Exhausted from the sleepless night and morning, the contractions and the vomiting, I dragged myself to the bathroom, while my husband nervously paced around calling the midwife who instructed him to call the birthing assistant.

Perched on the toilet, I could barely hear him, but I felt relief for the first time in hours. It seemed to me that for whatever reason, that position took away the pain. I sat in the cool darkness of the bathroom, eyes closed, breathing deeply, grateful for the reprieve.

My husband flew into the bathroom, phone in hand. “Get off the toilet, now!” he bellowed. I was startled but resolute. “No, this is a good spot for me,” I assured him.

“You have to get off!” he said frantically.

“I’m not moving,” I murmured. “This feels OK.”

“Get off the pot now!” he shouted, tugging on my arms to pull me up. I plopped down. “You are having the baby now!” he said.

I remember thinking, “I think I’d know if I was having a baby.” But to humor him and reassure myself, I reached down for a quick feel.

Sure enough there was what could only be, a head.

My husband pulled me up and tried to lead me to the bed. I could only make it a few steps before the overwhelming urge to push came over me.

“I can’t do it. And I have to push….”

My husband dropped to his knees, his hands outstretched. “I see her,” he said. “Push again.”

And there she was, so tiny, in his giant hands.

There we were. Me, him, and her.

There was no sound. The room was dim. Her eyes, as they are now three years later, huge. She looked at us, still having not uttered a sound.

I wanted to make sure she was breathing so I poked her. She let out single momentary wail. We grabbed the sheet from the bed to wrap her in and looked at each other in wonder as we waited for the midwife. I stepped over the cord still attached to me and sat on the bed next to my husband and our brand spanking new daughter. We barely spoke save for giddy nervous laughter and the occasional “wow.”

When the midwife arrived some ten minutes later, the place was aflutter with activity. Lights flipped on, she barked instructions to the birthing assistant and to me. My husband caught my eye and we locked in on each other.

This was not how we envisioned the birth of our child, but it was perfect. When I think back on that day, and I often do, the quiet envelops me. I see her serene precious face and the awe in my husband’s face. On that day, we were immersed in God’s splendor and fully present for his wonder.
immersed in God's splendor

1 comment:

Angela said...