Now that Maise is almost EIGHT WEEKS OLD (where the heck does the time go!?), I finally feel like maybe I have time during that nap to journal some stuff. Except it’s 2017, so instead of journaling, I’ll blog. Mostly, for myself, and I guess for the 8 people on planet earth who might want to read what I have to say (hi, Papa!) Maise’s napping now, so I probably have 6 minutes to write. Good thing I type fast.
I’m starting with her birth story, which will be long winded because I want to remember it as best I can even though I’m writing it 8 weeks later. I feel like it all got foggy before we even brought Maise home! Maise was born in a beautiful birthing center we selected early on in pregnancy, after much research and soul searching. I basically went to a fancy, specialized B&B to have a baby. Our prenatal care was out of this world, and Sam and I grew to love our midwives like close friends. Our last appointment with them was just the other day and I felt so sad to be closing that chapter of our lives, though I know exactly who to call when and if baby number two ever comes along.
Maise’s birth story starts two weeks and one day after
Facebook expected her her “due date.” Now, I know babies adhere to no schedule, and it’s crazy making to think that they’ll actually show up when we predict they will, but FIFTEEN DAYS!?!? I thought I would go insane. I practically WAS insane. Basically no one could talk to me without getting their head bitten off, and I screened every phone call and text message that came through. I was hormonal and enormous and angry and sad and a little scared, if I’m honest. I ate all the time and did everything within reason to try and make her come out. Sam and I walked through the neighborhood in the rain at midnight. We trespassed into the high school stadium so I could walk stairs while I cried in the pouring down rain and then made Sam get me a Slurpee and french fries. I never slept and I peed all the time and was generally cranky. I texted my midwives all the time. I wept through every prenatal appointment, NST, and car ride to or from. I WAS A CRAZY PERSON. My husband is a saint.
Finally, we evicted her. I went into labor in the middle of the night, feeling contractions starting around 3am. I labored quietly while Sam snoozed, not really believing that I was *actually* in labor. I’d been fooled at least once before. Around 5am, I decided this probably WAS the real thing, and called my midwife. She asked us to check back in with her in a hour, and continue to labor at home. Sam started timing my contractions as things got more serious. At 6am, we decided it was time to go in to the birth center, and met there an hour later. Even though the car ride was only 10 minutes or so, it was SO uncomfortable and I’m glad we didn’t have further to go. Megan, one of our midwives, pulled into the parking lot right behind us. She helped Sam schlep all of our stuff up the stairs; we all had to stop once so I could have a contraction (I remember Megan saying, ‘you’re skipping the elevator, I love it!’).
When we got to the birth center, our room was all set up already and the building was otherwise empty. One of the student midwives, Tara, was there before us to get everything ready. I immediately got back on the bed and continued laboring as I had at home (sitting up on all fours). Everyone kept trying to get me to eat and I kept refusing. They tried to get me to change positions and I fought them at every turn. My M.O. for the day was pretty much “I don’t want to do that.” My mantra in my head was, “Breathing in I feel strong, breathing out I let go. I relax my jaw, open my body, our baby will come.” Around mid-morning, I went into the hall to walk around some and do the stairs a few times. At some point I shouted that I was gonna barf and they brought me a bowl just in time. After that, things slowed way down and I got very discouraged. Tracy, one of my other midwives, kept telling me that it was normal for labor to slow down and I should use this time to try and get some rest, but I was just so frustrated. I felt like I had already worked pretty darn hard, and for things to stall out just meant I would have to do that work AGAIN. I got in my head and asked Sam if maybe we should go to the hospital so I could have the drugs, because I wasn’t sure if I could handle it getting harder. That’s when Sam remembered that we had the Labor of Love book I had everyone fill out at my baby showers. Sam pulled it out of the diaper bag and started reading me the sentiments that my loved ones had shared knowing I wouldn’t read them until baby Tilley was well on her way. Some were funny, making me laugh through my tears as I remembered goofy home videos I made with my best friend when we were 8. Some reminded me to make cookies in my head to distract myself. Some were uplifting, others were cartoon drawings from friends or scribbles from my favorite two year old. The one that stuck with me the most came from my cousin, Tom –
What one woman can do, another woman can do.
Everything turned for me at that point. I knew we could do this. My body was made to do this. My kiddo is strong and healthy and on her way. I needed to refocus and believe in myself. What one woman can do, another woman can do. It stuck with me through the rest of labor, and I still repeat it to myself regularly.
Things picked up after that. We got in the birthing tub and started to labor through some much more difficult contractions. The water wasn’t particularly warm, and the midwives were boiling water like crazy to warm it up for me – at one point I told them through a haze to keep boiling water forever and never stop. Sam was with me every step of the way. Things got progressively harder until I remember shouting to Tara at one point that I felt like I HAD to push, and she said that was OK. I kept talking to my baby, asking her to please come out now because I was kind of over this whole labor thing. Sam kept telling me I could do this. My midwives were crazy encouraging and kept telling me what a great job we were doing. At some point, it got dark outside, though I don’t really remember. I think I broke all the bones in Sam’s hands, plus Tara’s, plus Megan’s. Sorry, friends. I just really needed something to squeeze. I pushed and pushed and pushed, for several hours (three? four? not sure). Tierra, the other student midwife present for our birth, started bringing me ice cold washcloths and putting them on my face, head, neck, chest, back… it was like she could tell exactly where I wanted them, and I never asked. Megan told me that at one point I said I just wasn’t going to push anymore, and then immediately started another pushing contraction.
We weren’t planning to have the baby in the water, but as I stated earlier, my M.O for the day was “I’m not gonna do that” so when Megan told me I should get out of the tub, I said no. There were MANY contractions after that, and then Megan eventually convinced me to get out of the tub to let gravity help our baby come out – good thing she did, because Maise was born VERY quickly after that!
Maise was born on 1.29.17, at 8:32pm, 9 perfect pounds, 22.5 perfect inches long.
You just woke up, and I can hear you squaking on the monitor waiting for me to come get you. We worked really hard together for you to get here! You’ll never know the depth of my love for you. If I ever wandered lost through life before, it’s because the moment you were born, and every moment since then, it has been clear to me that you’re the reason I was put on earth. I’m here to be your momma, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. You’re my light, sweet nugget. I can’t wait to know you forever.