Fair warning: this will be short and sweet, because she's starting to do the fussy-sleeping dance on my chest.
Aria was born on June 2 in the early afternoon. I was in labor about 14 hours, most of which was spent at home, pacing my hall. When I arrived at the birthing center, I was already 8 cm dilated, and they were astounished at how calm I seemed. I felt calm, and I felt drawn inward ... I probably appeared lethargic, but I was inside myself, if that makes sense. (I might not be making sense. I'm averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night--and not in a row.)
The midwife drew water for the birthing tub, and I labored in there for about an hour or two. Time meant nothing to me; my husband's giving me the estimates now. It was nice to be in the water, but I didn't like my position in there and the pillow they'd given me to support my head was super annoying. The midwife broke my water in the tub, and the pain really began then.
I moved to the bed shortly after she broke my water, and she discovered a "second bag," (a second bag of water or the remainder of the first?) which when broken, out came meconium (a sign of fetal distress) and in I went to the hospital. They transferred me on a stretcher and I remember feeling the sun hit my toes and wondering if the wind would sweep up and reveal my naked body to the passing cars.
Once in the hospital, I was pushing for about two hours before Aria was born. When she came out, they tell me, she had one hand raised up by her forehead, like a flying Superman come to save the day. (To this day, she strikes that pose in her deepest sleep.) My first glimpse of her was blurry, as the emergency pediatricans whisked her away and I didn't have my glasses on. My first real look at her was in my smiling husband's arms. She was, and is, absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Despite the show of meconium, she was perfectly fine, and somehow I knew she would be.
I was proud of myself for not using any drugs, not even the Motrin they prescribed for the afterbirth pains and cramps. I was surprised by how few people were interested in hearing the labor story (the focus is really entirely on the baby, but it feels like giving birth is such an intense experience that some attention should be paid to that experience, a tribute somehow ...) or even asked how I was. I was also surprised at how long and not fun the physical recovery was ... it's been four weeks now, and the bleeding has just now subsided. I wasn't prepared for the afterwards, I guess.
I didn't end up using any HypnoBirthing techniques, just their philosophy: this is natural and you need to let go of control and trust your body and your baby to get through this process. The fear of the pain of giving birth is, I think, more than the actuality of it. Once you eliminate the fear--or at least cut it down to size-- you are left with an incredibly intense, but definitely do-able, experience.
I call Aria "Bean." It's strange; she and Fetus are two different beings to me, not really connected. I had been worried I would call her Fetus since we had been using that name for so long, but no. I do miss Fetus though, those tiny kicks and peaceful moments in the morning listening to the birds, imagining, sensing, just being. I can't miss Fetus for too long, though: Bean wakes me out of that fog.
Breastfeeding, on a side note, is much harder to master than it appears. I'm determined and it will get better, but my nipples were pretty upset with me for a few weeks there.
Thank you all for your good thoughts and wishes. I probably won't be blogging much this summer, but I am going to try to keep up with reading your blogs.