Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Home-Birth 2.0

Many of you who were 'fortunate' enough to hear me retell the story of Rowan's home-birth a little over two years ago, know I was beaming with admiration for my truly heroic wife. For 12 hours, Katie was able to move her consciousness inward and breathe through countless contractions with little more than a few low moans. (Minor disclaimer, I originally wrote this on my phone to hide my writing ways from Kate, and then transferred it. There are a lot of minor glitches, but time is money or something like that. Not my normal level of quality, but I appreciate your understanding.)
Her second home-birth attempt, this past Thursday evening and into Friday morning, was no exception to how amazing my wife truly is.

I got the call around 10 that all signs were pointing toward labor within 24 hours. Needless to say, it was tough to get through my last truly important work day. My seniors were presenting their senior projects at 1pm and I was one of the head judges. It would have been okay had I left early, but I felt I needed to be there when it was over to congratulate all my amazingly talented seniors who worked silly hard all year. On top of that, it was Thursday so that meant I had to post a feature length article on TORWars.com. In true Katie fashion, she conveniently waited until I posted my article and finally got home at around 5pm to start the hard part. Well, hard for me. Katie seems to be able to not only handle the pain that comes with contractions and of course, the hard pushing at the end, but she handles it in a way that I know I never could. She never complains, never slips into the television/movie cliche of barking out orders, hitting, or breaking limbs. She simply requests minor things and pukes a few times. Basically, I worriedly followed her around the house, catching puke, heating up water, and holding her up as she bore down and pushed.

When it came time to push, things were a little different than they were with Rowan. I noticed right away that this time pushing was harder for Kate. It took a little longer and the first few attempts didn't result in much. Once she got into the rhythm and the feel of pushing again, the process started to speed up. I was just stoked when our little baby Zoey's head made it's way into the world for the first time! Then things got a little scary. Carla, our midwife, noticed it first. Zoey's cord was wrapped around her so that it made it nearly impossible for Kate to push her the rest of the way in the position she was in. I could hear a slight nervousness in Carla's voice (as if it wasn't hard enough for me to keep it together!). Did I mention that Carla is my hero? She never faltered, just ordered me into action. She needed a better angle to help 'guide' the baby free from her corded prison. Before I knew it, I was hoisting Kate up onto the bed. Scissors appeared in Carla's hands as she attempted to cut the cord that I swear was wrapped around my half-born daughter's purple neck. Carla quickly abandoned that idea and we both urged Kate to push. Carla tugged at Zoey, Kate pushed, and I tried to keep my heart from bursting from my chest. In what seemed like 15 minutes, (likely it was 15-20 seconds), Zoey was free! Another 20 minutes later, (again, probably more like 4 seconds), she cried for the first time. Kate had no idea at the time, but I swear I was gonna lose it waiting for that moment.
The point of this post is to praise my wife for what I can only categorize as a goddess-like achievement. I don't know how any woman does it in a hospital with lots of lovely drugs to ease the pain we men will never know, let alone at home with no awesome drugs and only a birth partner whispering "you can do it" over and over again in her ear. My wife is a rare birthing talent if I do say so so myself. Crazy bias aside, I truly appreciate want she's been through and now it's my turn to take care of all three of my girls. Enjoy some of the random before and after photos that follow. There is also a sweet video of Rowan first meeting her little sister Zoey.

Rowan meeting Zoey for the first time