May 3, 2014.
Having our tiny baby at home was empowering. I went to the zoo. I pulled weeds. We took a walk. I ate a bagel and a banana and a pear and red raspberry leaf tea ice chips and I felt like a fucking princess, like I could yell and kick a hole in the wall if I wanted and still my feet would be rubbed and my leg cramps would be rubbed and I’d still get my really really really hot mini pool in my living room. I didn’t kick a hole in the wall, or yell at anyone, but I could have is all I’m saying. Christina looked like an angel and she let me scream in her face and I think about her face sometimes, the look in her eyes between my contractions and the way they shined in the candlelight at four in the morning.
My mom was there, taking pictures and telling me to growl like an animal. I was amazed how my body would feel nothing between contractions, I started out eating and joking between them but sometime during the third day of labor I slept between them. I stared at myself above the mirror in the sink and told myself my body would get our ET out. As I sat in the hot hot bath I told myself my body would never get my ET out, they would go on living inside of me. I told myself I wasn’t ready to be a mom. I told myself I was. I told myself someone would need to take my ET out because I couldn’t.
I looked pretty. I remember I looked at myself and I thought I had the eyes of a goddess. I remember I started crying at some point and I said, “I’m crying, but it’s totally unrelated to the pain and I’m not sure I can even tell you why I’m crying. I could be laughing, too. I might actually be laughing. I’m not even crying. Even though I’m sobbing.”
After I started pushing there was no more pain, just pressure. So much pressure. It was my favorite part. I remember thinking I could probably have an orgasm the next time around. They said, “We can see hair,” and I said, “Hair? That’s not my baby.” She was so warm when she spilled out of my body and I felt alive for a brief moment before the blood went somewhere. Out of me? I don’t know. It was gone and I wanted my mozzarella cheese I never got to eat. I didn’t see Iris until Christina held her. I felt high for days and days and days. I came down about three weeks later.
I cried because the world looked beautiful. I cried because the dressing bottle at Dions was perfect. The mountains were pink. I could stand on my feet again.
I took back my lunchable from Iris. She collected all my goodies in the amazing placenta and I had it dried and I ate it and it tasted like blood and I craved more. I smelled like blood all the time but only I could smell it and I want it again.
I’d have another baby at home. And another. My midwife looked into my face and said, “Tabatha, stop yelling.” And I did. I loved her in that moment.
November 10, 2015
We've had the kid (who is now a kid!) for a year-and-a-half, and I often think about how positive our first birth experience was. My wife recalls the story with more anxiety, and it's not too difficult to see why. There were things going on that I would have been more scared by had I not been totally flooded with whatever magical high you get when you are in labor. For example, our labor was several days long. Baby had her cord around her neck. At 9cm dilated my waters still hadn't broken. There was some post-bleeding that required a shot of pitocin. This is what Christina remembers as being the most scary. I remember suddenly needing to put my head down, but my little baby was in my arms and I felt the most calm I could never have imagined. I needed a stitch or two.
In hindsight, I wouldn't have done anything differently. With foresight, I know to make a bunch of raspberry tea ice cubes, they were amazing and the right amount of savory and cold to suck on the whole labor. I know to have lavender and rosemary compresses if we have a different midwife, my baby and my body smelled like it for days. I know where to get the best sitz bath mixture from. I ended up having Iris lying down in bed, which was unexpected and didn't make sense, at all. I remember saying, "No, don't make me fucking lie down I fucking hate lying down." It was the only time I swore during labor, and it's true. I fucking hate lying down! It hurt! The pressure! My back! My hips! But my midwife knew I'd been up for days, my labor was in its third day and it slowed down in the birthing pool. I needed to get less comfortable to get my baby out.
Our midwife will be in Albuquerque for another year. While Christina and I are still adjusting, we'll probably always be adjusting, and the thought of having another baby with our midwife makes me elated. Another baby! If we do decide to have another baby, I'll, oh gosh, hopefully have a more pleasant time with the getting pregnant part, that's what took us years and heartbreak last time.
To be continued.