Tag Archives: family

Giving Birth a Second Time

My little “Taco Baby” was born six months ago.  Having him “on the outside” has proven to be substantially more enjoyable than being pregnant with him, too.

When I was about 25-weeks the midwives and one OB were concerned that his belly was measuring too small in relation to the rest of his growth and his fetal age, so I was placed on very close monitoring.  I had many ultrasounds, a few non-stress-tests, and weekly Doppler heart-rate monitoring.  Every possible test they could imagine before becoming invasive was administered, and the boy passed each one.  I felt helpless, though, so as an effort to “do” something, I increased my protein intake significantly, and boosted my overall calories (more tacos!).

After a month of pigging out, the doctor informed me he had grown, but his little belly had not.  In fact, his abdomen was now in a dangerously low percentile.

I left the midwife feeling dizzy with panic, and I had to pull my car over as I began to cry hysterically.  I’ve wept plenty of times in my life, but usually it’s a slow, somber, moaning cry; or an angry, burning, ugly cry.  This was a tense, amputated-limb, going into shock cry.  Otherwise, “hysterical”.  I called my husband, of course, and told him immediately we must name our son.

Spencer David

Around this time I watched a segment from More Business of Being Born, where an associate of Ina May Gaskin drew an analogy between prenatal technology as a flashlight in the darkness, and our maternal instincts as our adjusted night-vision (with moonlight).  The flashlight is brighter, obviously, and helps us focus on one object at a time with more clarity, but the natural night-vision soon gives us an ability to see many things as a whole.  I chose to trust my instincts, and I began to feel confident that Spencer was healthy.

Month after month he continued to grow, moving continuously within me.  Day and night he moved and the word I felt to describe him was playful.  There was a fun-loving aspect to his movements, and not a restlessness.  He seemed so normal to me.  My favorite was the ultrasound images, where every week he had something in his mouth — a hand, finger, foot, or the umbilical cord.  Spencer just seemed like he was enjoying himself where he was.

At last, under the deadline, his size caught up and I was taken off the “high risk” status.  Now, if only I’d been paying attention to the results of my strep-B test…

The due date came and went, and my sister and mother attended to me and my family as we waited impatiently for something to start.  At a half-past midnight on a Tuesday I awoke with the commonly-described, “dull, achy pain”.  I told my mother, and my husband, then laid back down and stared at the ceiling until I just couldn’t pretend to be going back to sleep.

My sister came from her hotel as I took a shower, then she braided my hair. My husband and mother soothed me with massages at each contraction to help me relax, and I listened to Neil Halstead music.  We got to the hospital at around five in the morning, and that’s when my serenity was dashed.

Natural childbirth in a hospital is not easily accommodated.  The natural-birth mother does not arrive to a hospital with enough lead-time to complete administrative paper-work and tests.  The natural-birth mother gets there in time to start pushing.

I don’t want to go into all the hairy details I remember, because it’ll piss me off to focus on that.  I do remember going to the bathroom just to have a contraction in peace.

The real frustration was that I needed an antibiotic for my positive strep-B status.  The line wasn’t placed properly, and I received a full dose of antibiotic, which was more painful than the late-stage labor pains I was experiencing.  I honestly felt as if my hand had been smashed with a sledge-hammer. It didn’t really matter, though.  The baby was nearly there.

At 7:20 I began pushing and Spencer was born at 7:42. The pain was less fierce than with Grayson, because I didn’t have back-labor, but I felt weak, and like my pushes were ineffectual.  There was no easy way to do that.

This is him! He’s here! This is the moment! ~ My husband kept reminding me.

For an hour we held him, I nursed him, we massaged his skin and waited for his cord to stop pulsing.  My in-laws arrived to the delivery room, and the baby was taken for some tests.  This is the other part I don’t want to remember, because they kept him for too long and I started to panic.  Mike went to get coffee, I think, so he wasn’t there, and I just wanted my baby back!  Silly hospitals.  They thought I needed to recover or something.  What I did, was go to the bathroom, and then walk down the hall to my recovery room.  Bring me my baby!

yokography_SDB_029 yokography_SDB_024

Mike brought pizza in for an early lunch as Grayson came with my sister to meet the playful, happy guy… but he brought me a big nasty cheeseburger.  I should thank him again for also bringing the cheese-fries, and the Coca-Cola.  In a few hours he opened his eyes at last, and my friend Yoko was there to capture that.

Now, six months later, he’s fat and hungry a lot.  He loves to smile and eat, and he only fusses — never cries.  He lunges for his bed at nap times, and started sleeping through the night at five months old.

Also, he looks like me.