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The Birth

Sorry I've been a bit quiet. I've been a little busy. ;)

Hmmm..where to start? Well Monday was our midwife appointment, and it was also a very important birthday. My Sweet Pea and Hubs of course!

So we went into the midwife, and really the only info I was interested in was if all my witchcraft and yoga poses had worked. Was the baby's head engaged correctly?

I was running a bit late because I'd taken Sweet Pea to a big giant inflatable indoor playground with her best buddy for her bday. I went in and immediately got my vitals. The nurse weighed me, and lo and behold the scale finally hit 180! That's my magical birthing weight. Weeks ago when I had my first run of prodromal labor I was at 182. Too much. Then the following two weeks I was 178. Too little.

But yesterday I was right at 180. See when I hit 180 lbs, a baby falls out of me. I started my pregnancy with Sunshine at 155. At 180 lbs, she came out. I started my pregnancy with Sweet Pea at 135. When I hit 180, she came out. I took this as a good sign.

The midwife asked if I wanted a cervical check, and I said meh, not really. I just wanted to check head alignment. She felt from the outside and said all felt well, but she went elbow deep to really see if she could feel the sutures on the top of the head. Sure enough. The headstand I did that morning worked! Baby's head was coming down nice and straight.

As the midwife is still up to her elbows in my lady bits she asked if I wanted her to sweep my membranes. You'd think I'd be quick on the decisions with someone spelunking my body, but I sat there for a while contemplating. Baby Mama stepped up and answered for me and said no I didn't want that. I'd expressed to them earlier that it really only increased the chance that my water would break. I knew it was a natural way to "induce" labor, so I thought about doing it just so Baby Mama might be that much closer to holding her sweety. But then again if baby isn't ready it doesn't do much anyway. So we opted out for now.

Sweet Pea was kind enough to document the visit via photo essay 

She said I still felt dilated to about a 2, and I was maybe 70 percent effaced. And all that cervical hocus pocus really helped because I left the office feeling a little contracty. We scheduled our next appointment for a Non Stress Test on Friday. Since little Peanut was baking longer than expected we had to check and make sure the placenta was still doing its job.

We all walked out together, and said "See you Friday!"

Sweet Pea and I headed out, and I called and cancelled my chiropractor appointment. I figured if little Peanut's head was in good shape we could wait a few days for the chiro.

When we got home I had the overwhelming urge to finally clean up the pit masquerading as my house. I got on the living room and finally did the rotting dishes in the sink. I'd just given up the past couple weeks and enough was enough. I also got crackin' on a birthday cake for the Hubs. Hershey's Cocoa cake is his absolute fave, and it was delish.

We had a nice quiet evening, and I told Hubs I had to run to the store while he put the girls to bed because I was sending cupcakes with Sweet Pea in the morning to school for her bday.

As I was walking through WalMart I decided to grab some Evening Primrose Oil. That stuff is supposed to ripen your cervix, and the midwife said mine was only about 70% effaced. We needed it to get a bit more stretchy before I'd go into labor. So I grabbed a bottle and went in search of some raspberry leaf tea. It's supposed to tone your uterus, but as I stood in the aisle looking for it I realized I'd been having some real pelvic pain.

I brushed it off because I'd been in labor for weeks. And I headed over to my mom's house for a quick pedicure. I just knew this baby wasn't going to come with my toes lookin' all ratchet. When I got there I popped an Evening Primrose Oil pill...and I don't mean down the throat. You have to put those bad boys right by the cervical source. Never did find the raspberry leaf tea. I figured I'd look tomorrow, so I popped open a mango pineapple probiotic Naked juice.

When I got to her house, Mom had candles going, a lavender foot soak and some tea made. She's a good mommy.

She was removing the polish when I thought maybe I should start timing these contractions. I was sure it was just prodromal labor again, but I figured I'd better at least get a little idea of what they were doing. I had my foot up on her leg and I started timing. They were all over the place. 6 minutes. 4 minutes. 7 minutes. 6 minutes. But whoo buddy they were getting a little strong.

I texted Jessica, my doula, but also let her know they were just kind of strong-ish and probably nothing. That was around 9 p.m. I also texted Baby Mama just to give her a heads up that I was timing. She was just about to go to bed, and I told her my new plan was for her not to tell me if she was heading in. I didn't want my uterus getting stage fright again just in case. I would send her screen shots of my contractions and updates, but we'd been through this rodeo a number of times now. Don't get all ready and rarin' just yet.

Meanwhile my toes were an adorable shade of pink. Mom swears the baby is a girl.

Still timing the contractions I saw that they were still 6 minutes apart and only about a minute long. I decided to go home and shower and try to get some rest. I was pretty tired, and it was Hubs birthday. There's one sure fire birthday activity that even the midwife suggested to get labor going. I figured I'd better go try that out.

I had a good contraction on the way home, so I put it in my app. When I got home I gave the phone to Hubs and jumped in the shower. I'd stick my head out and say "Ok start!" when I started to feel a wave come on, and he timed contractions with my app while I was in the shower. I got out and they were about 3-4 minutes apart, but still only about a minute long. As a matter of fact some of them were less than a minute. The hallmark of labor is contractions that get longer and stronger and closer together.

Looks like more prodromal labor. I sat on the edge of the bed and started to towel off when I had a contraction that really freaking hurt. I started to cry a little. If this was fake again it really wasn't cool.

11:00- I text a screen shot to Baby Mama showing my contractions closer together. She starts to kind of wonder if they should get up or stay put. I just tell her the contractions hurt, but ya know...been there done that.

11:04-  I text Jessica, and tell her I'm going to lie down and see if these contractions go away. It's usually at the two hour mark they start to stall out, and around three hours they get weaker. It's been about two since I started timing, and I'm not sure but they still seem strong.

She texts back that she thinks I'm in denial.

11:06 - OK That contraction really freaking hurt. I call in Jessica. I don't care if it's prodromal labor. I need her to help me through these.

She's dressed and out the door before my next one hits.

I was hesitant to throw on my labor skirt, lest I tempt the prodromal labor gods. But I threw it on and grabbed my sports bra. I went into the living room, turned the lights down low, got on the birthing ball and huffed my lavender oil until she arrived.

I told her to just come on in since we've done this dance a million times. But typically when she'd arrived I'd been in good spirits, joking and ready for a dance party. This time I was grunting and moaning through contractions when she walked in.

I text Baby Mama.

As Jessica helps me through the contractions I start to wonder if this might be the real thing. Each time labor has started it's been more intense. And this time was definitely more intense. But the difference is that the baby's head was in the right position now. If my suspicions were correct, my prodromal labor had been stopping because her head was asynclitic. Now that it was corrected...

I have a few contractions on the birthing ball and Jessica puts pressure on my lower back with some AMAZING Deep Blue oil rub. It's like icy hot but more magical. My back labor starts to melt away as Sunshine emerges from her bedroom.

"Are you having the baby Mommy?" she asks peeking from behind the chair.

The question makes me pause. Am I? Is this really it? In my gut my first thought is...yeah. I think this is it.

I tell her I think so, and she says "Yay! I get to go to Scarlett's house!" She gives me a quick hug and trots off to go snuggle Daddy in bed.

I move to the couch to get through the next few contractions. They went from ow ow to HOLY MOTHER EFFER OWWW!! pretty quick. I start to think it's time to head to the hospital, and I think maybe my mom needs to drive us. I'm going to need Jessica to help me from jumping out of the window. She has been timing my contractions, and says it's not quite time to go. But I start to worry that these are ramping up quick, and I text my mom to give her a heads up.

I get back on the birthing ball to get ready for the next contraction, and it starts to ramp up just as Sweet Pea emerges and rubs her sleepy eyes. I start to feel the contraction hit HARD, and without saying a word, little Sweet Pea toddles over to me and throws her arms around my neck. She gives me the sweetest hug and I bury my face in her hair. She hugs me tight and I just let myself melt into her sweet little neck.

It was by far the best contraction I would have all night.

When it was over she gave me one last squeeze and toddled into bed with Daddy. Wow that oxytocin really works in labor. I thought about having her stay and love me through these tough ones.

By the time my mom arrives, Jessica has already called the midwives to let them know we are on our way. I have trouble getting to the car, and I flashback to Sweet Pea's birth. I remember my doula, Katie, sitting behind me in our Expedition as Hubs dashed to the hospital avoiding pot holes. I was in transition then, and I could feel every pebble in the road.

Back to reality, I start to feel lots of pressure down below and I tell Jessica I'm fairly sure my water is going to break in her car. She doesn't seem worried. Just leans my seat back and off we go.

The ride to the hospital was a bit longer this time than with Sweet Pea. This hospital was about 20 or 30 minutes away, whereas the one with Sweet Pea was maybe 10 with traffic. Luckily my mom has the magic touch and was able to flip all the lights to green as we raced to the hospital. The urge to bear down was getting strong.

I started to feel like I couldn't do this. There was no doubt in my mind at this point that these were real contractions. We were having this baby tonight.

When we pulled up to the doors of the Women's Center I didn't think I could make the walk to the triage waiting area, and there were no wheelchairs in sight. I also knew for a fact that I wasn't getting into a bed down there just to have to get up and go to the second floor once they determined I was in labor.

I made a mental deal with myself that I could make it to triage, but no bed. So after my next contraction I mustered all the strength I had and walked into triage. I bypassed the chairs and went straight for a wheelchair I saw in the corner as Jessica checked me in. They came to verify information, but I could barely talk.

"She's in very active labor" I heard her tell the nurse.

They wheeled me over to the bed, which was lined so neatly with a little wee wee pad and monitor straps.

"How f*cking adorable" I thought. Nope.

They asked me to get into the bed so the midwife could check my dilation. I'm not sure if I said the words fck off, but I felt them radiating from my soul. I think what I managed to say was something like "She can check me in this wheelchair or not at all."

It was Lexi, the midwife who found Peanut's head was asynclitic on Friday. I hear someone say "Third baby...third baby. She says she can't get up in the bed."

Lexi asks if I can, and I tell her I'm about to start pushing. They immediately wheel me to the elevator to go up to L&D.

"No elevator babies OK?" Lexi asks as we load up.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Jessica is frantically texting Baby Mama to find out where they are. They think about half an hour.

We get to the room, and again I'm pissed at all this walking I'm having to do. They want me to take 4 steps from the wheelchair to the bed, and it is by far the longest 4 steps I've ever seen. As a contraction dies down I once again muster all I have and stumble onto all fours onto the bed. I stay in cat cow, and I tell Lexi if she wants to check my dilation it's going to have to be farm animal style because I can't lay on my back.

She tries to check with my butt in the air but OH MY GOD it feels like she's checking with a Maglite. I decided I can roll over after all.

I get on my side just like when I had Sweet Pea, and she checks my cervix.

7. A MOTHER EFFING 7!?!?! That's it!?!? I thought a 12 for sure!!! I felt so much pressure and wanted to push so bad. I start screaming at the injustice.

Lexi assures me that a 7 is actually good. It means I'm in transition, which is the worst part. It also means it's almost over. But holy shit I still need to dilate 3 centimeters before it's over. 3 centimeters has never seemed so big.

Jessica rubs some lavender in her hand, places it near my face and assures me that I am strong and amazing, and that I am doing this.

I want to simultaneously kiss her and punch her in the face.

Fine. Ok let's do this one at a time.

The next contraction ramps up and I start to scream. It feels good to scream.

With Sweet Pea I was very quiet by the time I got to the hospital. I would take each contraction and focus on a line of wallpaper. I'll never forget the wallpaper in that hospital room. I was so quiet with each contraction with Sweet Pea that the nurses didn't even know I was contracting unless they saw the monitor.

This child however was a different story. I wanted to get up and move, but I also didn't have the strength. So I yelled. And I mean I screamed with each contraction at the top of my lungs. It felt so damn good to scream.

I also pushed. Yeah I know, I'm not supposed to push. So maybe push isn't the right word. But with each contraction I just let my body do what I instinctively wanted to do, which was to bear down. Lexi said my bag of waters was bulging, and I remember that feeling from Sweet Pea. If I could bust that water bag I knew we'd have a baby. So with each contraction I screamed and cursed and grunted and let myself bear down. It was raw and primal, and I felt like a feral animal. But I'd tried being nice. I'd tried visualizing the contractions opening my cervix and helping the baby down. I'd tried riding the waves of contractions just like with Sweet Pea.

But this wasn't Sweet Pea's birth. This was Peanut's birth. And these contractions needed a fighter. I raged against the pain screaming. With each contraction I willed it away screaming "NO! I can't! I don't want to!" And with each one Jessica stayed right in my eyes and told me "Yes. You are. You can. You're doing it."

This is what a doula is for folks. Before I ever went into labor we had several conversations about my birth wishes. I don't say plans because plans fail. I say wishes because it's what I desired for birth. I let Jessica know ahead of time that my favorite word in labor is NO. I tell those contractions Bye Felicia every single time. I'll scream that I can't. I scream that I don't want to. When each contraction ramps up I chant No No No No. And I need a doula who says Yes. Yes you can. You are a rock star and you are doing this.

And that's exactly what she did. She empowered me through each of those contractions reassuring me that not only could I do this, but I WAS doing this. She also reassured me that Baby Mama and Baby Daddy were just minutes away.

Good thing...because with the next contraction I bore down and SPLASH! My water broke and that little Pices baby descended down the birth canal.

I knew from experience with Sweet Pea that it was probably time to push. But I waited for the okay to try and start pushing this baby down. I screamed from my soul with each contraction, and Lexi asked if I wanted her to check and see if I was at a 10.

Sure you can check...if you have a magic mirror. But if you expect me to lift my leg so you can try and get in there you've got another think coming. I didn't care if I was dilated to a negative 2. I felt the baby start to descend with each contraction, and I let them know.

With both of my girls they checked, and when I was a 10 we held my legs back and I pushed. We counted to 10, and they would let me know when to push.

Lexi just stood there and told me to trust my body. If I thought I wanted to push then it was time to push.

I opened my eyes to see Baby Mama and Baby Daddy standing at the other end of the room. In my mind I was overjoyed to see them and grinning from ear to ear. In reality I think I had the look of Linda Blair and the vocals to match because they both looked a little freaked.

No time to fix my face, I could feel a freight train barreling through my birth canal. Jessica saw that Baby Mama and Baby Daddy might need a little push, so she asked if Dad was going to catch if he'd need sterile gloves. Just a little hint that uhhh things were about to get real.

They get him suited up, and I start to push.

No counting, no checking to see if I really was a 10. They trusted my body. I pushed when I felt the urge, which seemed to just come in spasms. Before it was like a crunch. You push and hold for 10 seconds while they count you down. This was me feeling the baby descend and just giving it pushes to ease it down. It was surreal but empowering.

I saw Baby Mama standing at the end of the room and in my mind I said "Come on friend! Come sit next to me and come meet your baby!" But in reality apparently I just growled and scowled.

They told me with my next few contractions to take those screams and turn that energy inward pushing the baby down.

I tried, and I didn't know if I was even doing anything right until the whole room started to get excited. Lexi told me if I lifted my leg and pushed that we'd have a baby.

Two words Lexi. And one of them IS the F word. There was no chance I could lift anything. This kid was going to have to somehow come through my clamped thighs.

I started to hyperventilate and Jessica whiffed lavender in my face. I regulated, and she looked me in the eyes again.

"You're going to hate me for this."

She grabbed my thigh and lifted and I bore down and pushed with everything I had. I didn't hate her at all. She was my strength when I had none left. It felt like forever, but later they said it took maybe three pushes to bring that baby into this world.

I felt the head come, and Baby Daddy rushed over to help deliver the shoulders. I SCREAMED with everything I had and at 1:53 a.m. the little life I'd carefully guarded for well over 40 weeks came beautifully into the world.

The second those little toes left my body every single doubt and fear left my body. I didn't need the primal screams anymore. All I could feel was an insane flood of endorphins and relief. I felt my face melt from a scowling grimace into relief and pure joy. There need to be more studies on the brain chemicals that happen during birth. Because it is absolutely amazing how quickly my feelings went from "I can't do this! I'm dying." to "Ahhhh I feel incredibly happy and that wasn't so bad." It's literally like a switch flip.

And there was Baby Mama to hold my hand.

I've had a baby with an epidural, and I've now had two without. There is no shame in an epidural. I could not have done that Pitocin induction birth without an epidural because it wasn't humanly possible to me. So that epidural saved my life and my sanity. My daughter was born and we are fine. However there was a lot of emotion missing from her birth. I pushed for three hours with Sunshine after a 22 hour labor. So when she came out and they placed her on my chest I was just utterly exhausted. I was excited because she was my first baby, and of course I loved her. But there was an element of raw emotion that was...for lack of a better term...numbed.

Once Peanut was out I immediately asked Baby Daddy the burning question. Boy or girl?

He hadn't even had a chance to look! He was just busy delivering his first born child, and as he did Baby Mama threw her arms around me. I wish I could share this picture. It's the most moving thing to see Jessica holding my hand and Baby Mama embracing me as Baby Daddy delivers his baby into the world. 

I was overcome with emotion. Aside from the birth of my own children, that was the single most beautiful moment in my life. The emotion in the room was palpable. Baby Daddy's face as he delivered his baby earthside, and the gratitude and love that poured from Baby Mama was so intense I thought I would burst.

"It's a girl" he said.

I cried. A girl. That sweet little embryo that we all prayed for. That little spec they placed in my womb on my mother's birthday. That rowdy little monkey that liked to kick and pounce back when Sweet Pea jumped in my lap.

She was a girl.

I'm not sure there was a dry eye in the room. Baby Mama snuggled up next to me, and they placed her daughter on her chest skin to skin. I laid my head on her shoulder and just cried as she held her sweet baby girl for the first time.

All the waiting and heartbreak and patience. None of it compared to that moment. Peanut cried the sweetest cry and her parents fell instantly in love. She screamed as they got her settled onto her mother's chest. And within seconds of being there she snuggled her sweet cheek against her mommy's heart, and she settled in.

As Baby Mama held her and we waited for the cord to stop pulsing, Baby Daddy grabbed my hand and held tight. We did it. Their baby was here.

As we waited to cut the cord they strapped bracelets and monitors and all sorts of things on the little nugget. Because I got to the hospital with less than an hour to spare, and because my veins kept blowing I wasn't able to get antibiotics for the Group B Strep.

The midwife didn't seem concerned since my water stayed in tact until right before she was born. But as a precaution they were going to monitor her.

She looked perfect, and she had a healthy set of screaming lungs, but the heart and O2 monitor kept dipping. The nurse started to look concerned, but the midwife kept calm saying she seemed to actually be doing just fine. Still the nurses were a bit worried, so they took her to the warmer, and prepared to take her to the nursery for her wonky heartbeat.

Baby Mama reassured me that they would be back, but I told her to go take care of her baby! I would be perfectly fine. She hugged me again and Baby Daddy gave me a hilarious umm thanks! And they left to follow their baby girl to the nursery.

Everything kind of died down, and I got to see the placenta because I'm a weirdo who thinks that thing is really cool. 

I'm not however crunchy enough to keep it. I let them throw it in the Tupperware and save it for art projects or whatever they felt like using it for.

My midwife checked my lady bits to assess the damages, and lo and behold I didn't get a single stitch! I guess at this point it's like throwing a hot dog down a hallway or something. But she said it's just because the baby came at such a good pace. She didn't fly out of there and blaze a trail. She just naturally descended. It's crazy. Like nature actually knows what to do or something if you let it.

Once I was all cleaned up and the nurse assaulted my uterus a few times I was alone with my mom and Jessica, and we just rehashed the whole scene. My mom never got to be there for the birth of her grandchildren because I lived so far away. This surrogacy allowed me to have my mom with me during delivery, which is something I always wanted. She was in awe and just kept telling me how proud she was of me and how strong I was.

I rested for a bit, and I knew Mom and Jessica were tired. It was about time for me to head up to recovery anyway and get settled in my room. I sent them home with hugs and thanks. I knew I'd see them tomorrow.

The nurse said I just had to get up and try to pee before I could head to recovery, which seemed simple enough. But when I sat up I felt all my innards just slam down on a very very sore uterus. I had to sit on the edge of the bed a minute before I got my sea legs.

I finally made it to the bathroom, but nothing would happen. The nurse said when she'd been kneading my uterus earlier those gushes weren't all blood. Some of them were gushes of pee. Lovely.

So I got credit for trying and I got up to wash my hands. However as I stood at the sink I got that very familiar hot feeling that creeps over you just before you pass out. I stumbled over to the wheelchair and told her I didn't feel so hot. I wasn't sure if I was going to barf or pass out. She handed me a barf bin and we waited for the feeling to pass. It did, but I just didn't feel great.

I told her just to head up to recovery so I could lay down. She asked if I was sure, and off we went. But as we rolled through the hall I started to feel wonky again. I tried my head between my knees and laying it back, but nothing worked. As we got on the elevator to go up to my room I remember feeling hot.

That's all I remember until I woke up in my recovery room with a team of about 10 nurses running around freaking out and telling me to come back to them. I apparently blacked out cold, which truthfully isn't surprising. I'm quite the bleeder, and I used to be quite the fainter when I gave blood. I'm blaming a faulty vagal nerve.

They got the IV ready to pump some fluids into me, and I started to come to. I didn't really get what was going on because to me it felt like I just took a nap. But they were all drama about it, so I guess I wasn't just closing my eyes for a spell.

I climbed into the bed and started to instantly feel better. They elevated my head a little and once the fluids started flowing I started to feel human again.

It has now been 24 hours since that little girl came into the world, and I'm just now sitting down to blog about it. I know you've all been such a loyal part of this journey, so I wanted to update you.

There's so much more to tell about her first day here, but for now I'm going to rest.

Just know that we all appreciate the kind thoughts and prayers. And yes, little missy's heart did stabilize. She's with her parents next door, and we are all still riding the adrenaline high of this journey.

I'll have more for you tomorrow, but for now I am going to kick back and recover from one of the most incredibly surreal and amazing experiences of my life.

We did it. She's here. 

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