Monday, January 23, 2012

A Special Birthday Bond

Way back in April I met a couple that I soon knew would be my friends for a long time.  Chia and Greg came to me through the midwives of Birth By Design and we clicked very quickly.  The couple already had 2 young, ADORABLE twin girls (about 16 months old at the time) and so this birth would be a VBAC for Chia.  As a massage lover, Chia purchased The Mother Load package of massages so we spent hours together every other week with the goal of getting her body in a great place for pregnancy, but often found our spirits in an amazing place as well.  We would laugh and laugh to the point that Chia once mentioned that she wondered if we would be able to be serious in labor at all!  I assured her that when the time came, we would have our laughs but we would most certainly get serious :)
Then Greg came along for the Pampered Papa massages.  His easy spirit was such a great balance to the mix and I so enjoyed spending time with him pre-birth-day as well.
Then on October 5th, Chia came over for her usual massage at 8pm but happened to be contracting every 6 or so minutes.  With her twins being born at 33 weeks, Chia found it strange/interesting that this was her 3rd baby but had no clue what to expect for actual labor!  During her session, we definitely had our laughs, but Chia started breathing through her contractions in a way that made me think, "I'll be seeing her again really soon!".
Sure enough at 2:52am I got a text from Chia that read, "Happy Birthday!" (It happened to be mine) :)  She followed with details of her contractions, nothing unbearable but they were getting stronger and longer.  We all tried to get more rest, though Chia wasn't feeling particularly sleepy and Greg was getting excited!  At 5:55am I heard from her again.  Her contractions were now 3-4 minutes apart but she felt that she was still coping really well so we all just kept on with our morning.  By 8:25am I arrived at Chia and Greg's house and everyone was doing just fine.  The girls were eating breakfast with Greg, and Chia was getting a little relief in the shower.

By 10:30am the girls had been dropped off at a friends house and we were all together at the NOVA Natural Birth center.  While we waited for Peggy and Kim to complete some appointments, we walked the halls and chatted like nothing was going on.  My favorite quote from Chia that was repeated throughout the day was "ok, so now what?" or sometimes it would be "ok, what next?" (said in a very 'chipper/excited yet bored by this anticlimactic labor thing' tone).  At 11:03am Kim checked Chia and she was 4-5cm!  We decided to take a few light hearted photos before things got less chipper... (Fun Props: compliments of her friends from her baby shower!)

We walked the halls for the next hour and then around noon Chia got into this huge, amazing tub...

It wasn't long before Greg joined her and I have to say, if I hadn't known from Kim's cervical check that Chia was in active labor, I would have assumed she was still in very early labor by her demeanor!  Chia, Greg and I sat over the next few hours literally telling jokes between contractions!  And I don't mean "joking around"... I mean:
Chia- "Hey guys... know any good jokes?"  
Greg- "Oh I know some"... 
Juli- "So a guy walks into a bar... and says 'ouch'".  {...Crickets}
Who would have thought??  Honestly, if Chia could have had a board game in that tub she would have!  

After only two hours in this amazing pool of belly buoyancy, Kim checked Chia and she was 7cm with a bulging bag!  A few hours after that, she hadn't progressed much and we noticed baby was hanging out to the side.  Having had twins before, Chia's uterus was much larger than a uterus having previously carried a singleton, so this baby had PLENTY of space to go wherever it wanted and in this case it was literally tilted off to her right.  

All day when contractions would intensify, either myself or one of the other midwives would ask Chia if she was feeling any "butt pressure yet".  Every time she said no, and every time we said "you will".  Finally instead of asking we decided she would just let us know when she did!  

At 6:28pm I heard those magic words come from Chia's mouth..."ok now I'm feeling some definite rectal pressure"!  I called the other midwives in, letting them know we had a change!  We were so excited, but then shortly thereafter Chia said that the pressure had subsided and her contractions seemed to slow.  So we worked together for the next few hours to get her contractions closer and stronger again.  

During this time while Chia and Greg were in the tub, we all just sat quietly waiting between contractions.  The mood was light but definitely grew quiet as she began working harder.  I was able to reflect during this time... that 32 years ago to the day my very own mother was working just as hard to bring me into this world.  Choking back tears of gratitude, I had a newfound appreciation for my mother thinking of all that she did to bring me life.  

Around 7:30pm Chia decided to get out of the tub for a while.  We all transitioned over to the big ol' queen bed and tried to help Chia get comfortable.  

These next few hours were definitely hard work, but Chia always kept her wits about her.  Always "with it" enough to ask questions and to jokingly say to me, "you shut your mouth!" after making a joke of my own, I was surprised at her amazing clarity of mind when so many moms turn so deep within.   

After a few hours of slowly opening and pushing (and Kim holding Chia's belly straight so that baby wasn't leaning too far to the side),  a baby girl was born at 9:42pm!  Once examined it became much clearer by the little moulding from baby's head that she was asynclitic (which also caused the stall in Chia's labor towards the end).  All in all, a beautiful, successful VBAC was achieved and I will forever have a sweet little birthday baby bond with miss Brooklyn Grace Richardson.  

Late that night, after midnight, I returned to my own home where my mother was waiting for me (visiting from Richmond) for my birthday.  She'd made me a special birthday dinner earlier that evening and had it heated for my late arrival.  32 years later, my mother is still mothering me and I feel so grateful for all that she's done and continues to do throughout my life.  I can't wait for the day that I get to be a mother... to bring a little one into this world the way she, and Chia, and every single mom out there works so hard to do... so that after 32+ years I may still be there to heat their birthday dinner after midnight :)  

Thank you Chia, Greg, Sierra, Kennedy and Brooklyn for allowing me into this special part of your life!  And thank you for sharing such a unique birthday gift with me!!