The King is here.
I let 12 days go by after his birth without so much as posting a picture.
Sorry. I’m easily distracted. I’ve had non-stop company and I’ve been nursing a newborn around the clock, which for a novice such as myself, requires both hands.
So yes. I’ve neglected to update my favorite corner of the web.
But what about Henry, you ask.
I’m sure it’s why most of you have pulled up this site repeatedly over the last couple weeks.
The newborn I birthed! Where is he? How did it go? Did the birth center live up to its expectations? Would I recommend natural childbirth? (More on that later…)
I know some of you grew impatient and decided to find my Facebook profile. As cringe-worthy as FB can be sometimes, it’s much less time-consuming than writing a real blog post. For someone whose friends and family are scattered all over the world Facebook is a requisite social networking tool. My profile has been a hub of activity since Henry’s birth.
In this space, however, I like to take my time.
Just like Henry.
Who, by the way, was born at 1:05 p.m., Sunday, June 5 at Breath of Life Birth Center.
He weighed 8 lbs., 12 oz. and measured 21 inches long.
“Ooo! It’s about time we got a trucker,” said my midwife, who sized me up with a disconcerting GRIN as I waddled painfully into the birth center in the throes of active labor. “We’ve had a lot of pipsqueaks lately.”
The most coherent thing I said that morning: “A TRUCKER?! I don’t want a trucker!”
But I got a trucker, who one hour after being born attempted to crawl. No kidding.
I had a post in the can prepared for the day I went into labor. I wrote it two weeks before the Trucker King’s due date with the thought that I might go into labor EARLY.
I wrote it thinking I’d have a SLOW and steady labor. That I’d have time to open my laptop, sign onto my blog and publish a saved post.
Labor is supposed to creep up on first-timers, or at least that’s what they told us in our natural childbirth classes.
Most first-timers labor at home, grab small bites to eat, walk around the block, breathe slow and steady and allow their husbands to rub their backs.
This first-timer downloaded Iron & Wine’s best-of double disc in anticipation of the ebb and flow of mild contractions.
Mild my ass.
I woke up at 6 a.m. with medium contractions that by 8 a.m. had become sharp and unforgiving.
I tried to eat a bowl of Special K Red Berries, but there was no time for that. It sat on the kitchen table, milk-less and uneaten until my father dumped it back into the box after my husband, my mother and me sped off to the birth center at 8:30 a.m.
After pulling a no-show for five days, the King was ready to assume his thrown in a manner aptly described by my midwife as “rapid-fire.”
Or, as I like to describe it, FAST and FURIOUS.
Seven hours of total labor.
Almost four hours of PUSHING.
Just me in a jacuzzi tub, my mother covering my head and neck in ice-cold wash cloths, my husband gritting his teeth as I drained the blood from his hands with each push.
It was grueling.
The hardest f#@%ing thing I’ve ever done.
But it’s done.
And now I feel like I can do anything.
Had I been in a hospital, would they have let me push for nearly four hours?
One of my friends was over the other day to see Henry. She’s a nurse at a nearby hospital. I asked her if they would have let me push for four hours. She shook her head no. Probably not.
I might have ended up with a C-section.
Or other unfavorable interventions would have been used.
Three things were in my favor that day:
1. Henry’s heart rate was strong and consistent. He was in the birth canal for a long time, but he was never in distress. My water didn’t break until five minutes before he was born, thus there wasn’t a scary sense of urgency to get him out ASAP.
2. My physicality. Remember all that running? All the insistence on training for something I knew would be insanely difficult? It paid off, people. Nothing prepared me better for natural childbirth than the stamina, strength and endurance I built up by running, biking and swimming pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy. Nothing. Not even yoga. You can’t downward-dog your way through a four-hour pushing phase, but you can sweat, scream and endure. I know it ain’t pretty and that some of you might think I’m crazy, but 12 days later, I’m proud, relieved and grateful that I was able to do it my way.
3. My midwife. She was amazing. She never let me think I couldn’t do it on my own. She never told me I was doing anything wrong. She saw me through the most taxing physical experience of my life with the calm, cool composure of a woman who has delivered hundreds of babies. Two hours into pushing, I turned to her and asked, “Is something wrong?” And she said to me, “Everything is fine. You’re doing great. The baby is fine. You’re almost there.” It was exactly what I needed to hear, even if I wasn’t almost there.
I’m cutting this short because I’ve stalled long enough…
Let me formally introduce you to His Royal Majesty, Henry Richard.
He’s the best thing Joe and I have ever done.
I’m sure you’ll hear more about him at a later date.