My birth story with little berry, part 2

This is the final part of my birth story with Little Berry. For the first installment, see here .
Around noon on August 4th, I was still laboring hard. My water had still not broken, but I was having strong contractions every three minutes that I could not talk through. I was using the shower for 10-20 minutes at a time and it really helped. At one point, I began to feel guilty about the water usage and came out of the shower. My midwife suggested I use the birthing tub, and filled it for me. It was bad timing.

Pappa Starbucks was at home (remember, it was just around the corner) to walk our dog. I was exhausted so she filled the tub for me and I got in, leaving me alone. I felt suddenly and intensely overwhelmed by how alone I was and I started feeling tense, upset, perhaps even scared. I felt hot and painful and angry and loathed the birthing tub, although I think if I had tried it again with Pappa Starbucks there to would have been able to relax and enjoy it. I got out and put my headphones back on, listening to the same song over and over. It was "Crazy" by Seal and I had been using it throughout the morning. Something about it helped me relax and I kept it on repeat. I bounced on the birthing ball, tried the birthing chair, and when Pappa Starbucks returned, I was exhausted and realized I needed sleep. I had thought there was no way I could sleep in labor but I did-for almost an hour I was in a heavy hard sleep that was lucid and also very deep. When I woke up, I felt like I was coming out of a trance and I began laboring hard again.
I know my midwife checked me and I was almost fully dilated. I tried the shower again and I remember standing under the sharp splattering of hot water, the sound of running water filling the room, when I entered the third stage of labor. I wanted to push, I needed to push, but I was in the shower alone and there was no one else there to keep me from falling. I had a vision of responding to the urge to push and then slipping and hitting my head, or of the baby falling down the drain, a bizarre frantic airless panic sank in. Looking back on moments like this I wish wish wish I had sought out a doula. I could have used someone throughout my labor to just "be" with me. I was alone a lot. My midwives were busy with another mamma to be who had arrived (they complained about her while I was pushing!) "only two centimeters dilated and already screaming."
I crawled out of the shower on my knees, found a towel, and went back to the pretty yellow room that was around the corner. I think if I had not been alone in the shower I would have probably given birth rather quickly standing up there, it felt natural, compulsive.

When I went from the rushing water to the quiet yellow room I also felt tense again and instead of still needing to push, I began walking. I spent about 15minutes walking, my contractions very strong and consistent. I was on my knees breathing in and out to Seal when my midwives started insisting I try different positions. They were tired I'm sure. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon and I had been there since about 8am. It occurred to me that this is going to happen soon and I'm almost there!
I know I was anxious. I felt very unsupported. I'm okay saying this now, I've worked through most of the feelings I have about her birth. Writing these things down for me is the last step in moving past the sorrow I have over what I expected versus what I experienced. Not all births with midwives and "natural birth centers" are peaceful or beautiful. Not all women who choose unmedicated births have support teams and I was one of those women.
My midwives were fairly aggressive during the last stage of labor and the 45minutes I spent pushing. They held my legs, they told me when to push, they moved the lip of my cervix back forcefully without asking if I wanted them to. They massaged me forcefully with olive oil and never once asked if I wanted them to. And I didn't have the energy, knowledge, stamina- to tell them they were hurting me. I wish I could have that hour back, I would do it differently, I believe firmly that these are all interventions, that left on my own I could have found a natural position (rather than flat on my back, really, the most unproductive position) and I would be sharing different words.

But I lay, and I pushed and I cried, and I yelled words about how "I DIDNT WANT TO BE PREGNANT ANYMORE!!!!" And after this feeling of immense anger and solitude passed,
I breathed in and pushed down down down through the end of the world and out into the spinning light of a yellow room I birthed my beautiful daughter whose cord was tucked in spirals around her neck, where Midwives clamped it and cut it even though her pappa had asked to do it himself, and lay her on my chest to learn how to breathe.
We went home that same evening around 9:00, 4 hours after she became my daughter, little berry was safe at home, in a small apartment on a pretty street that will always be a little special, it was where I began to feel like a mama.


My birth story with little berry, part 1

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!