I was working as a teacher. My first year in that job. I was worried what my peers and boss would think of me being preggie, so I held my tummy in all the time. I was a size 18 when I began my Ria pregnancy. I dropped 7 pounds during the pregnancy. I did need to wear maternity shirts and pants by the end, but not by much.
This pregnancy was wonderful. I felt so pretty and happy. It was really wonderful. Except for the stress of my work. That was pretty rough.
And then there was the ultrasound. It suggested that our baby's heart might be turned wrong and other parts of her underdeveloped. We "had to" have another ultrasound. We were trying to get accepted into a midwife attended and run birthing clinic in the hospital. We were not accepted. Not because of the heart thing, that turned out to be nothing. There was no problem. There was no problem with her at all.
Probably good that we weren't. Laurie MacPherson-Smith was our midwife - upon recommendation from Claudia Shafer, our birth-class instructor. She was good. Not as good as I would wish... apparently she'd had too many babies born in a certain way... so when it looked like Ria might be born in that way, she had me change my position which was more painful than anything prior to it... and I had a very painful labor to birth Ria.
Jessie didn't review the birth class information. He didn't do what he was supposed to do to help me. I felt very much on my own... because I had a wrong expectation that my husband would do certain things. He could've, but it didn't happen that way.
Neither of us had any way of knowing how completely and utterly I would "lose" my ability to stand up for myself whilst in labor. It's amazing how different... how much sweeter I am in labor than any other time in my life... how much weaker and unable to speak for myself. At least, that's how I was for the first five. I hope I will be differnt for the next since I've been doing SO much work to become a new woman in ways imperceptible to most folks.
Jessie was present for much of the labor and for the birth. He did the best he could under the circumstances.
The day before Ria was born, we had a visit with our midwife. She swiped my cirvix. She did not discuss that with me before she did it. If she said anything about it, she didn't help me understand it fully. As a result, she broke my waters. I know she did, but Ria's head blocked them from coming out until much later.
I went home and promptly worked my butt off. That last shot of energy was spent on cleaning. I didn't realize fully that I was in labor. I hoped so, but didn't know KNOW know.
She felt like she had to do something because I was, according to the way of figuring out when a baby is "due," nine days "late." It still upsets me that she started my labor in that way. It's because of this unnatural start that I ended up in so much pain at the very end.
When I laid down to sleep around midnight, waters came gushing out. The contractions became horribly painful immediately thereafter. I'm pretty sure I mistook Ria moving after contractions for contractions. It was all a ball of pain to my mind.
I was probably way more dilated at home, but the drive to the hospital, though short, was excruciatingly painful. When they checked me there, I was only 3cm. I was so upset. I tried all kinds of things: bouncy ball, walking (though not much), kneeling, showering. It was all just horribly painful. I was fearful.
A little bit before 1pm (I think), I was ready to push. My midwife told me to squat down and push with the next contraction, while holding on to some handles under the bed. I did. Apparently, Ria crowned with that one push. Pushing was blissfully wonderful. It was a relief and a release from the torturous pain of the laboring process. Because of the crowning, Laurie told me to get up on the bed. This is the moment that I needed my Mom or Jessie to step in and tell them that I would NOT move, that I was good where I was, and the baby would be born right there. Neither of them did so.
That move was horribly painful. Probably more painful than anything before it.
I labored for 22.5 hours to give birth to Ria.
After moving onto the bed and getting into position there, I pushed another two or three times and had Ria out. I was extatic. It was glorious to hold my baby. I'd previously thought I wanted a boy. I looked. I had a girl and could not have been happier to have her!
Our sweet, black-haired 8 pound 4 ounce baby girl! She didn't cry when she was born. The nurse tried to rub her into crying. But I wouldn't let her. I knew Ria was fine. I knew she didn't need to cry.
She had such a very serious expression on her face from the start. She didn't smile at me until she was nearly 3 months old... even though she smiled at her Daddy and her Mimi!