Friday, February 29, 2008

While we're all taking a break

Seventy-five hours. I was in a haze of endorphins, and time felt very strange--it was something that had texture and elasticity. Each contraction had its own pattern, its own colors, its own rhythm. I knew, going through it, that it was the most heroic thing I'd ever done, because it was a hard labor and it would have been if it had lasted six hours. The pain in my back was intolerable without counterpressure, and the contractions never got organized. It seemed like every few contractions I had to come up with a new way to get through them. I danced deep in my hips, I rocked, I got on hands and knees, I squatted, I knelt with my upper body draped on the birth ball, I sat and rolled on the birth ball while I nearly fell asleep leaning forward on the bed, I lay on my side with my upper leg propped with pillows. I held onto my spouse, my mother, my doula, my midwife. I climbed stairs sideways, I gripped the side of the bathtub from both inside it and out, I hung onto the banister, I grabbed onto a rope hung over door.

My water was broken. I vomited more or less daily. On the third day, I took castor oil and it got messier. I was at the limit of my body and it didn't seem like the baby was ever coming out. The baby started to seem like the enemy. The baby did seem like the enemy. I just needed her to come out so my labor would be over. When I talked to my midwife about it ("How do I stop thinking about the baby as the enemy?") she said the only other person in the world who was physically experiencing my labor with me was the baby.

Z. didn't have such a great time of it. A few months after she was born, we discovered that she started crying when she heard male voices singing. It was abrupt: happy baby, distraught baby. She did the same thing when I lowed like a cow for her: happy baby, distraught baby. I realized that was what the sounds I made during labor sounded like to her. She was traumatized by it, too.

I was a homebirth mom; I only transferred to hospital after 65 hours of active labor at home, and I transferred because I needed to sleep. If I hadn't intended to have a homebirth, I would have had a cesarean, and I didn't need a cesarean. My health and Z.'s health would both have been compromised needlessly, and given that she was transferred to a different hospital for complications unrelated to my labor, our separation would have been even longer and more profound.

So, I do consider my hospital birth--anaesthetized, on Pitocin, and hooked up to machines--to be a homebirth success story because it was a vaginal birth I would not have been permitted if I'd started in a hospital setting, or even in a birth center. Thank god I had a midwife who trusted what she knew a normal birth looked like. Thank god that if it was going to take me that long to get there, I had someone willing to give me the time, and that she, A., my mother, and my doula all gave me the support that I needed to use it. Thank god.

But god has a sick sense of humor, you know? Because this homebirth sucess story was not a successful homebirth. My doula was calling me a birth warrior, but I don't feel like a won a victory. I feel like my body had this big ugly surprise that it waited my whole pregnancy to spring on me, and I'm still coming to terms with it.

(Oh, and restart your watches at midnight, okay? We'll be back on the clock, then.)

Pause in the proceedings

Z. was born in a non-leap year, so all of you with watches running, you can relax for a day. This one doesn't count.

I'll try to get back on later to talk about it more.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Ever wonder what 75 hours feels like? Start your watches.

2005, my water breaks. Contractions start in 15 minutes.

Maybe next year I'll be over this instead of shoving it in everyone's faces all over again.

One of the great imponderables

The scene: we are reviewing an online shopping cart together.

Z: I want dat, an' dat, an' dat, and all of dose.

S: Do you just want everything?

Z: Probably I do.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cut to the quick

The scene: Mama is singing Z. her bedtime song. There has been some debate about which verses will be sung.

Z: It seems to me ... I don't like you.

S: Oh?

Z: I sink dat maybe some kids like dair parwents and some kids don't like dair parwents.

S: (laughs and kisses Z.)

Z: Cuddle me!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another year

Last year, I started blogging.

Yesterday, we were back at the Four Seasons for our circa-Valentine's Day High Tea, on yet another miserable mid-February day. The valet opened the car door for me again, and accepted the key to a different, slightly battered Civic Hybrid (the car we drove last year was totaled in May), and this year we had two second-hand carseats in back, one of them not yet installed, because while repairs at the usual building are ongoing, Z.'s daycare has had to move to new digs far enough away from our house that as of tomorrow, we are carpooling to spare the polar bears.*

Last year, I was still making my way back towards music; mostly, the radio was tuned to NPR. This year the front of the car is littered with cd's.

The trash in the seat wells is pretty much unchanged.

Blogging, blogging. Very few decisions have changed my life as much as my plunge into the Web 2.0 world. I went from isolation to abundant connection, and I figured out some seriously important things in this space.

When I began I felt quite urgent about writing, but the place the blog has in my attention has changed a great deal, and my posting has fallen off dramatically. I realize that I am at a crossroads with it. I'm not quite sure what is going to happen. I would like to be posting daily again--given the array of things I'm avoiding dealing with in my unbloggable life, I don't expect that to happen anytime soon, but I think that was a good discipline for me--only if daily blogging is a project I'm going to resume, I need to find an approach to content that does *not* use confessional journaling as its model.

This isn't really an announcement of change, though, more like an alert that this is a blog in search of a new mission statement. I'm hoping to figure it out when things settle down. You know, in my next lifetime.

*All credit to Phantom for the concept of teh polar bear points.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The news from your daycare co-op

Z. has been in a pulled-together daycare co-op a few days a week, with kids from another class at her school, just until the semi-permanent interim place opens in the middle of next week. I can walk her to the regular daycare location (currently closed for repairs). It's a drive to the co-op. It takes us just long enough to listen to this song twice, stopping the cd once to discuss the state of the snow on the ground, and taking time out between repeats to discuss Kermit the Frog's musical opinions.

Next week, driving to the semi-permanent place, I think we can probably memorize the song in one trip.

I feel almost like a commuter.