Peace and welcome back to me! I've been on an extended hiatus, having taken the time to be pregnant and have my first born son! But Refined and Fly is back like I never left with so much to share. So in honor of my return, I'll share what was keeping me away from all of you...my birth story...
Rewind to Monday, February 15, 2010. I am officially 42 weeks pregnant according to my first sonogram. My son was not ready to make his debut just yet. I had a few lite contractions here and there a few weeks earlier but nothing serious. The accepted time span for a safe birth is between 37 and 42 weeks. February 15 was the deadline.
I had been recieving all of my prenatal care from The Midwife Center for Birth and Women's Health in Pittsburgh, PA http://www.midwifecenter.org/tmc/tmc/content.asp and intended on giving birth there. I took the newborn care, breastfeeding, and childbirth classes. I had a normal pregnancy...no complications. I did everything right. I even had a couple sonograms for good measure. I had a doula and my videographer was on notice. Transportation plan was made. Car seat was set up in the vehicle. I wanted to have my child in the ocean room. I wanted to do my breathing, grunting and yelling in the jacuzzi they offer. I made my birth cd and prepared my birth plan. My bag was packed. I was ready.
He was not.
At 41 weeks, the midwives recommended I do a non stress test and sonogram at the hospital to make sure he was okay. He was fine. Now mind you, my due date had changed a few times. According to the first day of my menstrual cycle, he would have been due on Feb 13th. Then at my prenatal appointment, i was told I miscounted and he was due Feb 6. At another appointment, I was told I counted correctly and he was indeed due on Feb 13. Then I have my second sonogram, and now he's due Feb 2! Since I know this is not an exact science, I just figured some time in February. When they started talkin deadlines in late January, I stated I thought my due date might be wrong and that it may in fact be Feb 13 since he hadn't come yet and an expectant mother feels things. I just didn't feel like he was ready yet.
Back to Feb 15, and I'm back at the hospital for more testing. No problems. Just so happens that one of the midwives is there so she takes some time to talk with me.
So the midwife is telling me my options. Unfortunately, if the pregnancy goes beyond 42 weeks (aka the next day), I would not be able to have my child at the birthing center and would have to come to the hospital the following evening Feb 16 at 10pm for cervical stimulation and induction the morning of the 17th (I could have decided not to be induced and wait it out a little more, but still no birthing center at that point). My dream of having a natural birthing center birth started crashing down.
I waddled to the bathroom and cried.
She said she understood how I felt and she would cry too if she were in my position. She knew how badly I wanted to have a natural birth at the birthing center. She gently reinforced my options.
I knew what I had to do.
I was under the gun and time was ticking. I was determined to do things my way, or to give all I have and all within my power to create the birthing experience I had envisioned. Then, I figured, if I did what I could and nothin worked, I would be at peace with whatever happened next. You have to understand...after seeing The Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth all I wanted was a natural birth. It was the midwife center or bust.
I had a matter of hours to make somethin happen.
One of my sister-Earths out here in Power Born (Pittsburgh, PA) told me how she used blue and black cohosh to naturaly induce. I called one of the Earths Scihonor Devotion to obtain the process for using the herbs. I called our local elder Earth Queen Shamika for more guidance. She essentially said do what ya gotta do (within reason). You do not want induction. We were in agreement. I started taking the herbs in intervals at 8pm and did so for 5 or 6 hours and gave it till the morning to work.
The night comes and goes with no drama so I reosrt to what I had been dreading but was resigned to do if I needed to...
Why castor oil? Ask one of your old school aunties and she'll run it down. Lets just say it gets EVERYTHING out of you and in the meantime,stimulates contractions. I started taking the castor oil with orange juice and started walking up and down the stairs. Taking the castor oil is no joke! I'll just say be prepared for a very uncomfortable day, but it gets the job done!
I start seeing results, though they are small, but good signs of progress. By now I call the birthing center. It's about noon. 10 hours till the deadline. I ask them if we can come in so they can do something to naturally move this process along. Sure.
I get to the midwife center around 2pm. They sweep my cervix (VERY uncomfortable...imagine a pap smear times 5) and we start the breastpumping and walking up and down the stairs. After a few hours of this, I go from being 1 cm dilated to 3 or 4 cm. We were there till about 7 OR 8pm. I am having regular contractions. Unfortunately, they aren't long or strong enough so they had to send me home TO get some rest (are you kidding...how can I rest while having contractions lol) and if things were to pick up, I should give them a call. The good news is, we bought ourselves some time. They gave me till the morning to have to go to the hospital. I had to go into active labor tonight!
We get back to our apartment and I lay down. After about 30 minutes, my water broke!
What followed was something I've never felt...
Intense physical focused PAIN.
Now the car is just down some stairs and right outside (mind you, we just missed the snowstorm and its still slippery outside with lots of snow), but when you are having contractions, it feels like its 10 miles away. I just wanted to be teleported into the jacuzzi. Everytime I had a contraction, I was frozen and could not move. Braxton Hicks contractions ain't had nothin on this.
We finally get to the car. I'm in the car with two Gods having a conversation (my God, Masiah's father, and one of my bros). I'm in the passenger seat. I'm listening or talking with them, then all of a sudden OOOOOOOOOOOH! I'm grabbing anything I can get my hands on, twisting and turning in my seat. They continue their conversation. Do not even think about driving if you are in labor. You are likely to cause serious harm to yourself and innocent pedestrians. We finally park the car, and though the midwife center is a half a block away, again, it feels like 10 miles. With each contraction, I stop walking and grab the God's coat to support myself from my knees buckling.
I finally made it to the ocean room. It was 10:30pm.
I intended on wearing a tank top and skirt during the labor due to it being videotaped for my mother in California. That went out the window. In 10 seconds, my clothes were on the floor and I was in the jacuzzi.
Jets on my back...aaah
Now the jacuzzi was cool but that was only a little relief that came to my aid. I was having what's called back labor, where most of the pain is in my back, mixed with some abdominal pain.
I do not remember what the pain felt like. I cannot really describe it. I suppose it felt like horses were tied to my back muscles and they were all running in opposite directions. My mother's first child's labor was the same way...back labor.
It was the worst pain I ever experienced in my life.
I breathed deep. I grunted. I screamed like I was dyin! And in beween contractions, I either did a short monologue into the camera or fell asleep. It's hard to imagine being able to sleep for 3 minutes in between all that pain, but that little bit of time is heaven on Earth. A contraction is like someone riding a bike up, then down a hill. it starts, reaches its peak of pain, then decreases to nothing. The birthing center does not offer epidurals, which is one reason why I chose them, just in case I was tempted by the pain. A small part of me was. Well, maybe bigger than small.
"I don't know if I can do this!"
"Is there something you can do?!"
"When is this going to be over?"
"Please, I just need a 15 minute break."
I remember saying all of these things. My bros upstairs were wondering if I was okay due to all the nosie I was making. I didn't care what I said or did, though I didn't curse anybody out and remained fairly polite for my condition. My God was the best birthing coach I could ask for. He remained calm and encouraging. He helped me through it.
But when you are in labor, though you may be surrounded by supportive people, it's you and the baby. The child is the understanding being born through you and it is your responsibility to get him out safely. Once the process starts, it does not stop.
By this time, I had to use the bathroom and got out of te jacuzzi. They took it as my cue to permanently get out. I wasn't read yet but I went with the flow. A minute or so later, it was time to get on the bed and push.
My birth cd was playing, which truthfully, I couldn't focus on too much due to the pain. It just sounded like some faint background music that I heard every once in a while...I think while my contractions stopped. However, as my son was crowning, Queen Shamika's song, "3rd Rock from the Sun," about what it means to be the Earth from my mixtape came on. That was really the only song I heard all night and was just what I needed to hear at that time. I focused on the song, who I was, and what I was there to do. I focused on my name. I focused on being a mama warrior
This is what women have done for thousands of years and I am a part of this universal continuum, walking into another level of womanhood...motherhood.
30 minutes after I started pushing, my son had arrived at 1:30am. 12 hours since my first contraction, with 3 hours of active labor& 30 min of pushing.
No epidural, no petocin, no drugs
9 pounds, 8oz, 21 and 1/2 inches long, with a head full of hair and healthy
My big beautiful shining star.
The most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
My prince who will one day be king...Masiah I-Culture Beneficent Allah
A great human leader, a servant of his people, at one with his culture bringing the gift of knowledge, and ruler of his universe...a king amongst kings, his brothers.
As mentally and physically challenging as it was, I wouldn't have had it any other way.
He was worth it.
Peace and welcome back
I Medina Peaceful Earth