08 August, 2012

Touching down

Malachi was born on August 6th, 8:20 am. He was 8lbs 1.5 oz, and 21 inches long. He was a surprise, in many, many ways. He is our first and only 'planned' baby; Last fall Milt and I had a long talk about the fact that we both were wanting another child, but had been hesitant to bring it up because Adin was our last, due to my history of complications and the flow of our family. When we found that we both had this desire, this feeling that there was someone missing we decided to go ahead and have one more baby (and yes, try for a girl). I found I was pregnant in October, and we were thrilled. This pregnancy was different from the beginning; this time around I had morning sickness, fatigue; all the 'typical' pregnancy symptoms. Surely this meant a girl. We had girl names picked out, but just in case we also chose the name Malachi, in honor of the grandfathers, both of whom had Milton in their names (and are the reason for Milt's name). Baby's due date was July 21st, and I began my prenatal care at Andaluz Water Birth Center in November. The care was wonderful, although my initial midwife left the practice, then the next midwife was going to be on vacation in August and so was unavailable; I finally met with the midwives who would be with me to the end, Adelle and Jessica, and Catherine, Adelle's assistant. Jessica's assistant wound up leaving the practice as well, and her replacement was another midwife, Carmen. I also felt that I wanted my sisters and mother to be at the birth this time. This was also a first; previously I hadn't really wanted anyone around. My family started arriving the 23rd of July, 2 days after the 'due' date. My sisters drove up from California; then the following Sunday my parents arrived by train, and finally on the 1st my grandmother flew in from Hawaii. Still no baby. The day for my boy's birthday party and the family photo shoot came and we had a lovely time, but with one day to go before my sisters and father had to leave I was a little anxious. That night, the 4th, I began having contractions while eating dinner. Great, we thought, following the pattern for the first two, and this baby should be born by noon! 3am the next morning and, true to form, I was definitely in labor. We waited a couple hours, then drove in to the birth center and got set up. Hours passed. My sister headed back to the house to finish packing up. More hours passed. By noon we were starting to wonder where the heck this baby was. Finally, afternoon and my sisters and father had to leave. I was progressing steadily but slowly, and was exhausted. Contractions felt erratic and somehow wrong. I kept waiting for my body to take over, but it never did, I had to work on each contraction. I labored through the night, trying to rest, but it was relentless and alternate contractions were extremely painful; they just felt wrong. Adelle and Catherine stayed up with me all night, alternating shifts. Carmen arrived as well, and they sat with me, emptying and refilling the birth tub, sitting with me in the bathroom, helping me to lay in the bed when I couldn't handle being upright anymore. Jessica arrived later on, and joined the shift. 8 am, sitting in the bathroom, and suddenly I could feel the baby crowning. The ladies helped me go very slowly from the bathroom to the tub, and I fought myself to just get this baby out. The contractions never took over; I never had the unstoppable pushing; I had to push this baby out myself, through the burning, and I did. He came out in one very long, very painful push, his head, then immediately his arm, as if swimming out and down. Adele scooped him up and handed him to me. He waited a moment to cry, then I checked and he was, to the surprise of everyone in the room, a 'he'. I laughed. Everything after that went fine; I was bundled into bed, the expected bleeding occurred and the drugs did their work. I gave him the name he had told me in a dream a month previous, and he was here, but somehow still unreal. And completely perfect.
My stay in the birth center was amazing; I got to rest, and only rest, for 2 days; had round-the-clock care, amazing food, and peace. It was beautiful. My midwives were wonderful. It was the best it could possibly have been.

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