Thursday, January 24

Silas' birth story, part one

Baby belly, the morning before my water broke, after teaching a yoga class.

My water broke on a Monday afternoon two years ago, four days short of my due date of January 28th. This was a complete shock to me. As a prenatal yoga teacher used to seeing women moping around as their due dates approached and passed, I refused to give much credence to my own due date, and instead declared that I had a "due window" and would give birth sometime before Valentine's Day. Since I was a first-time mama, and my baby hadn't dropped yet, I thought I had at least another week to go, if not more. So when I stepped out of the shower, sat down on the toilet, and felt that rush of waters, panic set in. I wasn't ready. It couldn't possibly be time yet.

There was a freaked out hour of frantic phone calls to my midwife, and trying desperately to reach my husband, before I settled in to the new reality. This baby was on his way. I made a plan, sent my husband to the store for fresh fruit, coconut water, and other essentials, and set about doing some cleaning around the house. In all likelihood my contractions would start and progress through the night, and my midwife, Illysa, would come over in the morning. If I hadn't gone into labor by then, we were to go to her office up in Austin, 45 minutes away.

East Austin. Still one of my favorite pictures I've taken.

We still didn't know whether we would name our son Silas or Cash,
so seeing this mural felt like a good omen.

Night came and went, and by morning there were still no signs of labor, so we packed into the car and drove up to meet Illysa. We spent our morning alternating between taking herbs, nipple stimulation with a breast pump, and walking around the neighborhood. (Some of the pictures in this post were taken during those walks.) My husband and I shared a lovely lunch at Blue Dahlia. We were happy and calm--our baby was on his way. In the afternoon, we met Illysa at her home, where she used a rebozo to try to get our baby in a more favorable position for birth. We then returned home, with a plan for me to take castor oil--the "big guns" of midwifery tools for getting labor started. We went for a short walk, then I took the offending liquid in an orange juice-vanilla ice cream "milkshake", as per Illysa's recommendation. What followed were several painful hours of diarrhea, about which the least is said the better. I finally fell asleep late that night experiencing mild contractions. I thought we were on our way.

Going for a walk before the castor oil episode.

But I woke the next morning to realize I'd slept through the night (good!) but that the contractions had vanished (bad).  Illysa and her assistant drove to our house for round 2 of trying to induce labor. More herbs, more nipple stimulation, using a moxibustion stick, and pacing and lunging vigorously all over my backyard. I have a vivid memory of being out in the late January sun (springtime in Texas), tired, trying to shake my booty to Beyonce, alternating between feelings of fierce hope that I was going to get this baby down and out, and exhausted despair, that all this, too, would lead to nothing. At some point during that day, as I was getting close to 48 hours since my water broke, Illysa gave me some IV antibiotics, to reduce the risk of infection for baby and me. (We still have the nail in the wall above our bed from where the IV bang hung.) Later in the afternoon, along with our doula Elizabeth, we went to the chiropractor in a final ditch effort to get our son in position for birth.

Very last baby belly picture. Meditating on the morning of Day Three.

After two days of doing everything under the sun to get my labor underway, it was time to let go of the dream of a home birth. Late on Wednesday Illysa suggested that our best option at that point was to head to the hospital so I could get an epidural and Pitocin, the former allowing me to rest while the latter got my labor going and my cervix dilated.

This was the toughest decision to make. I was fiercely opposed to the idea of birthing in the hospital, but I couldn't deny the fact that we had run out of things to try at home. So, angry and disappointed, we packed our bags (including a lot of yoga gear, my copy of Birthing From Within, and a small statue of Ganesh, given to me by a friend which had presided over many mamas' births) and headed back to Austin and into the new reality of a hospital birth.

:: to be continued ::

1 comment:

  1. aw...mothers are so hard on themselves. i bet you know now and i hope you knew then that our life path takes us places we never knew we wanted to go. no matter where or how you birthed dear sweet silas, he is a gift and so are you. big hugs.


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