Bear with my tardiness here, Doiron turned Two over a month ago . . . and since this blog is a supposed scrapbook of his life, it warrants a post, late or not. It was a fun get together, larger than I realized when planning but so amazing to see just how many people in the world care about our Doiron, we had lots of family and friends (some who were womb buddies but we had never met yet!) and many were there in spirit. Bryan’s parents were visiting from California, THANK GOD and they helped me whip everything together, as well as put a few finishing touches on the party that we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own, so so very thankful. Here are a few pics from our soiree ala my sister Ryan (thanks love!)
And finally, in an effort to obtain something physical for Doiron’s memories, I wrote him a little letter. One of my favorite items to stumble upon on other blogs are parents letters to their children. Writing is probably one of my greatest weaknesses, already as I read back over this I blush, but it’s what I was feeling that day and I’m glad I wrote it down. I’m uploading it here mostly because I’m worried I’ll lose this journal (but hopefully not, because I’m hoping to continue to write him little notes of love throughout his life in here). So have a laugh with me and enjoy. And happy happy birthday do my man cub, 2 is gonna rock (it already is)!
So, back in January I told you not to worry, that I would write part two of my birthstory soon . . . five months is soon right? Well, it is when you have a toddler. Being that it’s mothers day and I’m watching Birth Story on a daily basis, I thought it was time to share the moment I became a mother. If you don’t want to read part one, I don’t blame you, I’m really not a writer so here’s a recap. I LOVED being pregnant, except for the PUPPS. But my midwives took great care of me, as well as my amazing husband, I read Ina’s books and took a course in Hypnobirthing, I felt more prepared for Birth than I’ve ever felt for anything. Now it is December 8th, two days before my due date and I’ve broken out in a horrible itchy PUPPS rash.
As I went to bed, I felt a tightening in my stomach, it felt like a mild menstrual cramp. Was that a rush (contraction)? Do I have to use the restroom? It only lasted a few seconds so I shrugged it off and went to sleep. It happened a few more times throughout the night, I wouldn’t call it painful, but there was pressure around the baby and it kept waking me up. In the morning I talked to my sister, she said it sounded like contractions but assured me it was probably false-labor, she had it around her due date too. I called my mom/boss to tell her I didn’t get much sleep but would be in a little later, she urged me to stay home and rest in case it was the real deal, I’d need my strength. She was super hoping Doiron would come on time, as we get crazy at work with the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and she would have a hard time attending the birth if he was late. Bryan called his work to let them know he wouldn’t be coming in. A normal person probably would have called their midwife at this point, I had bloody show a few days earlier and still hadn’t called (I told you I’m weird with phone calls), but in my defense my magical purple folder told me not to call until the rushes were five minutes apart and growing stronger.
The rushes were coming anywhere from 30-60 minutes apart and lasted various amounts of time. Meanwhile, my rash was driving me bonkers and I was out of lotion, so we did the typical lets get this baby coming thing, and took a long walk to the pharmacy. Maybe it was too long, four miles, when 9 months pregnant and possibly laboring? Yea, too long. The whole time I kept questioning if I was really in labor, I only had one rush on the way there and one in the store. We got back to the house, I laid down for a nap, the rushes started to come regularly about 20 minutes apart, they felt like strong menstrual cramps, they were annoying but not crippling. The day progressed, as did the rushes, it was now 10 PM, and they were about five minutes apart and definitely getting stronger. Now it just felt rude calling Mary (my midwife), but if a baby was coming she had to know. I called and a very groggy Mary answered the phone, “contractions all day!? Why didn’t you call earlier!?” I sheepishly mentioned the purple folder . . . she laughed at me. Then she informed me she had the flu and wouldn’t be able to come but that Debra would be on her way. I had met with Debra a few times and instantly connected (she helped me convince Bryan not to circumcise), I was disappointed that Mary wouldn’t be with me after eight months of finding comfort and strength in her, but at the same time, something felt right about Debra being there.
Debra arrived by eleven, gave me a look over and told me I was still in very early labor. She prescribed two ibuprofens, a glass of red wine to relax my uterus and sleep. She told me to ignore the contractions, not to spend my energy on them and sleep. She decided to spend the night as it was late, my sister set her up on the couch and they talked over a glass of wine (if that’s not awesome I don’t know what is). I didn’t sleep great as the rushes were every five minutes and pretty strong, but there was nothing scary or painful about them. I would simply breath and feel my body preparing for delivery, ignore, however I could not do.
It is now December 10th, Doiron’s due date. Debra checked me around seven AM and said I was still in very early labor, she wasn’t even sure Doiron would be coming that day. She left to run errands and get some rest but left me strict instructions to call her when they were close to three minutes apart and strong, again she told me to ignore the rushes, rest and eat. I laughed, these things are not easily ignored, and I hadn’t felt like eating for a while. I slipped into the flannel nighty with cardinals my mom had bought me explaining she gave birth to me in a nighty just like it, and I enjoyed my day in my room with nothing but my Christmas lights shining and the Hallmark channel streaming cheery movies, breathing through the rushes and feeling them progress. Around noon I checked in with Debra, she advised me to start squatting during the rushes, sway my hips side to side, relax my jaw and give a deep groan to help baby boy move down. Oh man did that feel good. I would hold on to anything close by, usually Bryan, and sink low to the ground, the sound that came out of my mouth was unlike any I had ever made, it was meditative much like OM but more guttural. Ok, these rushes were getting stronger and stronger, ranking higher on the meter than just a nuisance, but knowing that it was my muscles working hard to open and move Doiron down, it never registered as pain. When a rush would come I’d repeat to myself “it’s ok baby, down and out, down and out.” At three o’clock they were now three minutes apart and Debra decided to come back with her entourage, a total of three midwives. My mom also decided to come and brought me my ultimate comfort food, wonton soup and eggrolls. I didn’t eat much but was ashamed to be eating junk food, I knew Mary would not approve. To my relief, Kate (another of my favorite midwives) shared that they had brought Chinese food too, and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. My environment, my home, was completely calming, loving, and secure.
Ok, now I’m starting to tear up as I write. I love these ladies so much and the experience they granted me in the comfort of my home. Never was I scared or nervous, I could handle this, they told me and cheered me on. They called me a pro, and told me I was handling these rushes like no big deal, the third midwife (who I’d never met) was surprised to hear it was my first. The sun was starting to set, Doiron was making progress. Bryan was rubbing my back, being my support, squeezing my butt together (don’t laugh, it feels amazing, pregnant or not, and relieves the pressure on your lower back). When he realized he hadn’t eaten all day he asked if he could make a sandwich, I looked him square in the eye and told him he wasn’t leaving my side. Kate swiftly moved in to support me and whispered at Bryan to go make a sandwich.
I couldn’t tell you what time it was from here on out, the rushes were close together and all consuming. I kept swaying and cheering the baby and my body on, going from my husband to my yoga ball. I tried laboring on the toilet for a minute, when Debra asked me how that felt I responded “too open ended.” My body was working hard, I was getting hot, the “birthing nighty” was no longer providing comfort and I stripped it off. My midwives looked at each other and declared I was serious now, apparently losing all sense of modesty is a threshold in labor. I tried a warm bath but it aggravated my PUPPs and like the toilet just wasn’t comforting. I liked being in Bryan’s arms and able to move, but I was getting tired so I went to lie in bed.
I would flip between sides, go on all fours and then rest on my back. The rushes were constant and I was dilating, but to be honest I have no recollection of the frequent checks and number reports. I do remember listening to the precious heartbeat of a calm baby just going through this amazing process with me. There came a time when I looked at Debra and said I feel like I need to push, “then push” she responded. But not with all my might, go with the rushes, do what feels right. And so I did, and like the squatting, it felt good, it felt natural. But it took a lot of energy, I was ordered to drink a coke for the first time in years, my sister had gone out and bought me popsicles. But before I could get much down, came another rush. I started to fall asleep for the short interim moments. It wasn’t until I had a dream that I was a librarian pushing stacks of books out of my vagina, that I felt unmotivated, why was I doing all of this work for a stack of books?
I sat up and looked at my midwives and said what’s next? This isn’t working. They decided to puncture my bag as it hadn’t broken yet, hoping this would speed up the process a bit. Yes, yes it did. Again, I couldn’t give you any kind of timeline but what seemed shortly after I began to make some real progress. Then, my sister’s hair caught on fire. Yup, we had the lights out, just Christmas lights and candles lighting the way, while trying to take pictures, movies and stay out of the way, Cali backed up into a candelabra on the wall and singed her hair. We all laughed, and honestly the act of laughing helped me relax and helped Doiron further along. We could feel his head, and after more pushing the second bag of waters broke. At this point, I’m not sure who, but someone mentioned that we had seen all of these Christmas movies three times, so we turned the TV off, I hadn’t even realized it was on for hours. I was now on my back pushing, the last place I ever thought I would be, so I asked to turn on my side, but Debra advised that this position was actually working really well for me so I stayed. The third midwife (I gotta call my ladies and get her name!), said “if she could just get her heels behind her head that baby would be out.” So I did, I pulled my feet as far back as I could and pushed my little man out. That ring of fire is no joke, I screamed, I did tear and that part HURT, but once I was holding my baby, I felt no pain. I was meeting the most amazing soul that I had just spent nine months getting to know, face to face, finally realizing that I am a mom for the rest of my life.
I quickly asked for the time, 12:06, Doiron was six minutes past his due date. At this exact moment, my sister and mom were in the room with us, my dad was in the living room, Bryan’s dad and stepmom were on a plane on their way, and his Mom and Stepdad were on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland listening to everything on the phone with my mom I could literally hear the iconic music and people screaming as they went down the dark shoot (if that doesn’t score D a life pass to Disneyland, I don’t know what will).
Doiron had a bit of fluid in his lungs and they used a bag to help him breathe at first, but they assured us there was no reason to be alarmed. I wasn’t worried for a second, I trusted these ladies so much, my husband however was calmly freaking. I see where he’s coming from and honestly feel a little guilty that I wasn’t concerned, maybe it was the exhaustion, maybe I really was that assured. In any case I had a beautiful, healthy baby, absolute perfection. Doiron laid on my chest, while we waited for the chord to stop pulsating, I rubbed his head and back repeating “oh baby, oh baby” then Bryan cut the chord. I felt more cramps and asked if that was normal. Somehow in all of my studies I had completely overlooked the afterbirth process, just a few more mild pushes and the placenta was out. This is probably a total TMI moment, but I did keep my placenta. I had read about eating it, or making pills out of, the first was not an option for me and the second was a passing thought but in the end I decided I would plant a tree with it for my baby (it’s still in my freezer, seriously, don’t come hunting for ice cream in my house unless you have a strong stomach, we hope to plant a tree at our new home soon).
Doiron was then handed to my husband, you’ve never seen a man so in love than the moment you hand him his first son. He helped dress him for the first time and took him out to meet my dad and hold him close. Debra was now going to stitch up my tear, since Bryan was holding our Baby my mom stayed with me to hold my hand. At Debra’s suggestion we all sang Christmas carols as she stitched. Yup, the MOST amazing experience of my life with the MOST amazing people ever. It was at least three in the morning before the midwives left, they stayed to clean up, start some laundry, help me shower and get us all tucked in. That night we slept soundly in bed with our little man between us, the most blissful sleep I’ve ever had.
The next day we had family and friends stopping by for visits. Doiron and I cuddled in a comfy chair in the living room by the Christmas tree and took naps. Mary came out to meet Doiron the next day (with a mask) and made sure we were all in good health. Despite a little jaundice we were all fantastic and in complete bliss.
And that’s our story. I can’t wait to do it all again. I want another large belly, sans PUPPS and I want my visits with the loving women at Heart of Texas Midwives. I have only learned from this experience and have full confidence that the next birth will be even easier and I will definitely call my midwives every step of the way. I want to try a water birth again, I hope Mary can be there, and I want to hire a birth photographer to capture more moments, but if everything went exactly the same, I wouldn’t mind one single bit.
Wow, I can’t believe you read this whole thing! If you have any questions or comments please please please share, I’m obsessed with positive birth stories and would love to hear yours.
So Doiron and I had a little date on Tuesday, we went to this. The amazing people at GALS put it together, and it was the most inspiring event I’ve ever been to. I was worried to take Doiron to a movie by myself, now that he’s a toddler and doesn’t like to sit still. But I walked into the theater and saw a mass of mamas and their babies, and one of my midwifes. It may have been the fact that it was the first day of my period, or just the fact that I love all of these things, but tears swelled up and I knew it was going to be an emotional event. When we entered the screening room, moms and babies fanned out, I looked for a spot near the exit in case of a melt down, and spotted some very smart mamas that brought a blanket and sprawled out in the very front, I quickly nabbed a seat near them, and Doiron quickly introduced himself to the 6 month old babies with pats on the head and kisses. I never know how to act around other moms and babies, my personal philosophy is just to let them interact and only intervene when necessary, but we’re talking a walking, stumbling, sometimes hitting 13 month old vs two 6 month olds confined to their bellies. But as they interacted one mom leaned over to another and said “I never know if I should be hovering over them or what?” and the other mom replied “Nah, they’re fine.” So I happily let Doiron talk to the babies, but admittedly hovered a little cus like I said, he’s a toddlin’. Once the movie started Doiron was pretty content munching on snacks (all the babies were sharing, it was cute) and nursing (yup I’m still nursing, hoping to make it to 24 months), and bouncing in my lap. But he fussed, and so did the other 20 babies there, and it was ok, no one left the theater, everyone was openly nursing or walking their babies around . . . it was the best movie going experience ever.
Oh the movie! What a spectacular movie! Honestly, I cried, I laughed, I rubbed my belly thinking of future babies, cried some more, and felt so inspired and reassured that women are AMAZING, and with the exception of major health problems, EVERYONE can have their baby at home . . . as Ina says “Your body is NOT a lemon!” Birth Story takes you to the farm that Ina and her husband founded in ’71, as a communal place to live and a safe place for women to have babies. You watch Ina in her home washing dishes, aiding women in births at the farm and in their own homes, and speaking to groups of people all over the world. I would love to visit this commune in Tennessee someday, and would be astounded to meet Ina. But even more so, the film made me realize how much I want to make my own little “farm.” More realistically, I want to create my family’s safe haven. A cozy home, that runs efficiently, with yummy vegetables growing in the back yard and music flowing through the house. A couple chickens clucking around, and a place where my children feel free to share their emotions, have pillow fights, get into trouble, and learn. The film showed many births, yes from the graphic perspective, and no, it wasn’t gross. It was amazing. Another of my favorite quotes from Ina “Why do men think that they are the only ones with a body part that can grow big and small again and be perfectly fine?” (or it was something to that effect) Following the movie was a panel discussion that included Mary(one of my midwives), another midwife, and a woman who lived on THE farm, and whose birth story is published in Spiritual Midwifery! I was astounded to learn that there were actually many people who lived on the farm present. I tried my best to listen to the discussion but D was over the whole sitting relatively still thing and was busy climbing up and down the steps . . . no matter though, it was a room full of loving women discussing how beautiful the film was and how we hope to make at home births a common practice in the US. It is a cause I fully support and hope to spread.
I already give Ina’s books to any of my friends who are expecting, and once this movie is in production I plan to do the same with it. Please feel free to ask me any questions about my experience, and please see this movie if you have a chance and learn about at home births before deciding its unsafe, or just a fad, or too hard. Because it is the most amazing experience ever. Yes, it hurts at times, but it is really all within your power. I have posted the first part of my birth story here, I am working on composing the second half, the real birth story. I hope you’ll come back and read it! And now of course. . . the pictures.
I set out to tell my birth story today. However, I LOVED being pregnant so much that I couldn’t just skip over that part. Thus we will call this part one of Doiron’s birth story as this is turning out much longer than I had expected. It all started when I was 16 years old and my sister had a beautiful baby boy, Michael Wade. Once I held him, I felt complete, from that moment on I couldn’t wait to find my soul mate and start our own family. Just a short two years later I found my love Bryan and after college we had an amazing Quaker Style wedding (more on that later) and not even a year later I was pregnant with our Sweet Pea (a sickeningly cute nickname that stuck once we told our family we were pregnant and “it” was the size of a “sweet pea”).
We weren’t planning on getting pregnant yet. We had just moved from California to Texas, both started new jobs, and settling into a house with my sister and nephew. I did however stop taking birth control, because I wanted babies, and I believe in fate. When we realized that pregnancy was a very real possibility I dug out a dosage of the morning after pill that was given to me by planned parenthood, who knows how long ago. I took the first pill, I sobbed. I told Bryan that I couldn’t take the second pill, because if I was by chance pregnant, I wanted that baby! Weeks went by and I had forgotten about the whole thing. For years I always had a stash of pregnancy tests because I was awful at remembering my birth control, and did I mention, I really wanted babies! Every time something felt the least bit off I would take a test, always negative. One day I was at work, everyone was pissing me off, everything was making me cry, I felt exhausted. I was talking to my mom, who is also my boss, and we decided I must be PMSing. I went home to vent to my sissy, we chuckled and joked that I sounded pregnant. She told me her story of when she found out she was pregnant, and I thought to myself I can’t wait for that day. I went to bed convinced I would wake up cramping and digging for tampons.
When I got up, I stumbled to the bathroom, and I swear my intention was to get a tampon out from under my sink, instead it was a pregnancy test. I took the test still in a haze, and it wasn’t until I was looking at the positive sign that I realized I had in fact taken a pregnancy test, and it in fact said I WAS pregnant. I began to shake, I couldn’t decide if I was excited or nervous. Bryan was still sleeping; I sat back in bed beside him thinking I would wait for him to wake up. But he wasn’t, so I shook him and said “good morning hun,” he rolled over and moaned. So I waited what felt like minutes but was probably seconds, “honey, I really need you to wake up.” He must have heard the tremble in my voice because he sat up, I told him the news, he was definitely more nervous than excited. We decided we wouldn’t tell anybody until we went to the doctor and knew for sure. So I called my sister five minutes later and told her. I was convinced I wasn’t going to tell anyone else, but when I got to work and saw my mom, I started crying. “Still PMSing?” she asked, “Not exactly” I replied. And then it slipped. She hugged me said everything was going to be fine and the rest of the day passed in a weird jolty way. The next morning we went to planned parenthood where it was confirmed, I was definitely pregnant. I was ecstatic, the idea was growing on Bryan as I used every reason I could think of to tell him we were ready. We told the rest of our families shortly after.
Rewind to one week before our wedding, I was busy crafting favors when I happened upon The Business of Being Born on netflix. Five minutes into it, I was crying and was deadest on having my babies at home with midwifes who loved me and my baby, not a cold hospital with nurses and doctors where this is simply a paycheck and the sooner it’s over the better. I was worried Bryan wouldn’t agree but he didn’t take much convincing, so I married him without hesitation. It didn’t take long for me to find Mary and Debra at Heart of Texas Midwives, we instantly connected with these ladies and felt at home in their little house. For the next eight months I listened to Doiron’s heartbeat in the comfort of a queen bed adorned with a lace coverlet, talked about the birthing process in the cozy kitchenette while snacking on fresh fruit and sipping cold water. These weren’t “Doctor’s Visits” they were conversations with loving women, mostly Mary, who swooned over my growing belly and greeted me with hugs and kisses every month.
They gave me a purple folder 1/2 an inch thick, wrote my name on it and let me pick out a sticker to put on it (ok maybe it was like going to the doctor’s a little bit). The folder was their magical book of pregnancy, it outlined the stages, what each visit would entail, what to do if I felt nauseous, what kind of diet I should follow and most helpful to me, some reading recommendations. Ina May Gaskin’sGuide to Natural Childbirth changed my life. Any fear I had about birth was quickly put to rest and I began to understand and trust my body in a way I never had before. Mary also arranged a hypnobirth instructor to come to their office and host a four week course. For some reason, Bryan and I were the only ones that signed up, so we ended up with private lessons, and the amazing instructor Vanessa, came to our house. I was going to ROCK this birth!
I had the easiest pregnancy, no morning sickness, no aching back and an amazing husband who made my health and comfort his first priority. I didn’t even have a single stretch mark . . .until, around week 34 . . .I got a massive stretch mark that reached from the top of my hip up and around to the top of my belly button. And it itched. I read that stretch marks are itchy because your skin is in fact, stretching, but no amount of lotion helped. One day I showed it to my mom, huge, red, and bumpy, her only words were “that’s not normal.” That night a small rash appeared on the top of my left foot. I figured it was a weird reaction and would go away by morning. When I woke up, it was now on both feet and now my hands. Remember that health-conscious husband I told you about? He called my midwives immediately despite my protesting (I’m very weird about phone calls). Mary answered, and of course wanted to speak to me. We discussed the rash and my diet, nothing sounded out of the ordinary. “It could be PUPPPS,” she said, “except it usually starts in your stretch marks, which you haven’t mentioned.” Lightbulb! PUPPPS it was, the cure? Having the baby. Not willing to spend the rest of my pregnancy in agony, we turned to the internet. It was my husband who discovered that many women had luck with Dandelion root, Flax oil and fish oil. I added these pills on top of my prenatals and it really seemed to work! The rash went down, a new batch of PUPPPS would pop up ever so often, and for instant relief I tunred to Sarna cream, but the initial standing-in-an-ant-pile feeling never returned. Mary also put me in contact with a past client of hers who also had PUPPPS. Unfortunately for her, she was also under the impression that there was no relief from the rash, but there was one thing she said that left an impression. The night before she went into labor she had a really bad breakout, and she thought to herself I have got to get this baby out. So, when December 9th came around and I found myself in itching agony, I got my hopes up that Doiron would in fact come on his due date, December 10th.
Don’t worry, I wont leave you in suspense for long, a girls gotta sleep though! Next week I’ll be viewing the Birth Story movie, if you’re in Austin I hope you’ll join me!