This week is Anson "The Chief's" fourth birthday and I've always wanted to write a more vivid account of his birth story. At the time I was too scared to explain the entire story--no more! Here it is in four parts:
"My water just broke," I said to Chup who was practically comatose due to a head cold and a bad night's sleep, "we're having a baby!"
"Oh that's great!" he mumbled and rolled back over to sleep.
But I couldn't sleep one minute longer. I was buzzing in my body. Downstairs I went to prepare my nest. I cleaned, folded warm laundry and baked cookies. I had this idea of having my whole house filled with food and drink for a celebration. When Chup finally woke up I reminded him of our position and he said, "So, should we go to a movie?"
We went to Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, while waiting for the movie to start Chup walked with me up and down the mall. The contractions started coming. I counted the spaces between them, they were short and irregular.
After the movie I called my sisters and mother and told them I was in labor. Or what I thought was labor. Lucy came up and we rode around in the Monaco, a sea green car we bought with Retro House. Actually, it more boat than car. I kept counting the contractions.
Page showed up with a crock pot of warm lavender water for my body. My mom took up camp on my couch. We sat around talking and counting, eating and reading birth stories until evening. Page gave me a massage and told to me go to bed.
"You'll probably have this baby tonight, you'll need to sleep as much as you can while you can."
Chup was dead to the world. Not only was he sick, he was confused and nervous. I collapsed in bed next to him feeling a bit disconnected to him.
I contracted irregularly throughout the evening. In the morning I woke up to see Page and my mom both asleep on my couches in the front room. They had kept a vigil all night.
"I'm still having these short, irregular contractions," I whispered, "I feel like I need to relax."
I got in the tub and thought about all the angels I knew. I could sense I was not alone. With every contraction I imagined my body being filled with light, spreading from my uterus outwards to my fingers, toes and head. I felt most of the pressure in my lower back and it was painful in my thighs too. Though I couldn't seem to get in a regular, strong labor pattern, I knew my body was trying.
"I think your baby might be posterior," Page finally said, trying to feel the position of my son against my tight belly. Posterior babies don't put enough pressure on the pelvis for strong contractions needed to push the baby downward. "We could wait it out, but I'm worried your uterus is going to get tired and you'll need your strength at the end. I'm going to go home and shower, you think about what you want to do."
I knew my body could keep going, I knew it was healthy and smart, but I could see the morale of my support team dwindling. My mom was nervous for me, she didn't like this idea of an unassisted homebirth but she didn't want to stew at home. She continued to encourage me, "Honey! You are amazing! So calm!" but I knew she was fighting back anxiety.
I found Chup downstairs crashed out in the guest bedroom in the basement. He was miserable.
"Babe," I said lying down next to him, "I think we might need to go to the hospital, Page thinks the baby is posterior and I am not progressing. And it's been over twenty-four hours since my water broke which could make me susceptible to infection."
Chup looked at me like he had no idea who I was.
"Do you understand?" I asked him.
"Yes, what do you want to do?" he asked, his voice sounding distant and deep. He rolled over and looked at me, his eyes coated with medicated drowsiness.
"I want you to pray about it," I said feeling for the first time upset and panic., "I'm too nervous."
After Chup's prayer we both looked at each other and felt it was our decision.
"The hospital?" Chup said to me.
"Let's go," I replied.