On August 3rd 2008, I was a week past my due date with my little berry. I was finishing up my Junior year at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. At 30weeks, Pappa Starbucks and I toured the labor and delivery wing of the Womens Hospital there. As we walked through the doors, the staff member was telling us about ankle bracelets used to prevent babynappings, that would shut down the entire hospital wing if the infant cane within five feet if the doors with this device on. It is standard procedure. I was already having concerns about my desired birth being compromised, and felt very unsupported in my delivery wishes. Pappa Starbucks is very pro interventions (he says that doctors have been to medical school and therefore are better prepared to make decisions regarding our health care needs, from cesarean deliveries to vaccines) and while that is good and right for him, it isn't right for me.
My philosophy was that if a baby was left with their mother to be weighed, to room in, etc, at least in most cases, this would be unnecessary. I was also upset about the way birth was being presented. Instead of telling me about the support staff that would be available, the tour guide was pulling stirrups out and showing the women in my group the fold down panel of lights and medical equipment and television setups that were in the ceiling "just in case," and that "the OR was right around the corner in case they needed to do a c-section." I asked about waterbirthing, and they answered, candidly, that that was considered unsafe and I needed to consider the monitors.
At this point I told pappa starbucks I was ready to leave, and we went home.
I was hormonal and irrational and pretty mad because I thought I had no other choice; but I knew this was not the right place for me to give birth to my daughter.
We discussed our options (I wanted to have a home birth at this point) and as luck would have it, there was a birthing center within walking distance of our apartment at that time, the only one in North Carolina. I was so excited that it was that close.
I would like to say I was reading up on natural birthing and attending birthing classes, but I wasn't. I was busy with a work-study job, taking several summer courses, and crashing in the early evenings, exhausted and also a little depressed. Pappa Starbucks was also working and going to school, as well as nannying part-time. To say we were busy and trying to do too much is an understatement. I think this is partly why our relationship has been so strained since her birth.
Making the Switch:
We didn't get a first appointment at the birthing center until I was 37weeks along. But because I was healthy and didn't have diabetes or any other conditions, they took me on. Their policy is that all patients take a birthing class before delivery, something I think hosipitals don't often require, but in the end they actually waived this requirement for me since there was no way I could get into and finish a birthing class in time.
After I got into the birthing center I only had 3weeks until my due date. We saw the facilities, met the midwives, and I began to read a lot of their books on breastfeeding, which was my biggest concern. I was more fixated on being able to nurse than on my impending unmedicated childbirth! August 3rd rolled around and I was huge. I was hot, tired, beginning to feel aneimic, and a week "overdue." I was craving vegetarian summer rolls and peanut butter and peaches like no one's business- eating those three things almost constantly.
I felt ready to deliver and had been 50%effaced for days, dilated to a 2for a week. I was using EPO and feeling... ready. I had the "nursery" set up, a huge room devoted to our little babe, diapers all lined up, clothes sitting waiting to be worn. I would sit and fold and refold her things, excited, eager, I had her coming home outfit picked out and the camera batteries charged.
On August 3rd, I felt two big contractions somewhere around noon but then nothing after that. Pappa Starbucks and I took to the mall, walking and walking and walking, finally ending the evening with dinner of Vegetarian Summer Rolls, and at about ten o clock that night I knew I was about to go into labour. I wish I had taken that chance to sleep, but I was suddenly feeling bursting with things I needed to do. I stripped all the sheets off of our bed and replaced them with bright white ones (I get the biggest laugh out of this now) and removed all the bedding from Little Berry's crib, thinking it needed to be cleaned again. I scrubbed the stairs one by one because they just looked SO dirty all of a sudden!! and I woke up Pappa Starbucks to tell him I wanted him to install the carseat. I was scrubbing the refrigerator, folding towels. I was nesting.
We spent the rest of the night "resting," (not sleeping, unfortunately) though my contractions got very close together quickly. They were 5 minutes apart andstrong by 3am. We hung out, walked the dog, and at 5am we called the midwives and drove to Starbucks. I wanted to stay home but he was adamantly against this, and yet he had HAD to get his coffee fix, a true coffee lover. I was very nauseaus and just wanted to be MOVING. Walking. We went into Starbucks a few minutes after they opened (he has once worked at this starbucks and knew everyone) and while he got his free coffee I tried to eat a croissant. When Pappa Starbucks is nervous, he
makes lots of jokes, talks a lot. Getting coffee took forever. We left at about 6, even though I wanted nothing less than to get in the car again and would have been happy staying there for the rest of the day.
When we got to the birthing center, the midwives unlocked the doors and let us in. We were both excited but knew I would probably spend the rest of the day in labor.
I was in back labor, so the midwife wrapped a sheet around my tummy to help Little Berry turn. This caused the contractions to feel extremely intense and she did turn later but not until I was enjoying a hot, hot shower.
.....to be continued!