Sunday, November 2, 2014

Birth story part 1

This isn't the first birth story I've written, this is the fifth. My fifth child, my first daughter, our rainbow baby.

"A rainbow baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm need happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and hope."

The journey to her has been a long one, so her story here is a long one. When we lost Bram on November 17, 2012 our world collapsed. Not just my world, or TJ's world, but our sons' worlds. As those familiar with the story know, it wasn't a gentle passing. Bram was the 3rd boy in our family. His birth changed me in ways I can't explain. It was painless, it was ecstatic, it was my dream birth and you can read it here.

Our family was there for his death, he was hit by a distracted driver while waiting to go get family pictures. His body was broken beyond repair. When he died his youngest sibling at the time was 9 months old and still breastfeeding. My body went into shock. My milk supply was minimal, and my cycles stopped for the next 9 months. I feared that my fertility died with Bram, as it seems many things died or were forever changed with his passing. I hoped beyond hope that I would find out we were having a rainbow baby on the first anniversary of his passing. But it came and went, many of my friends announcing their own pregnancies. Pangs of jealousy rose in me as happy as I was for them, and I got very quite. Christmas came, and the solstice came,  and I got sick following the new year. A horrible tooth infection, a stomach bug, and waiting for another flow showing me that I'd never have another baby. I'd never have a rainbow.

A friend who was very pregnant and no longer needed her ovulation tests offered hers to me. I decided to use a few to see if there was any LH in my urine. To my surprise, they were REALLY positive. And they stayed positive for a few days. I ovulated on the 14th month mark without Bram, Jan 17th 2014. Ten days later we got a positive pregnancy test.

I was so excited. It was the happiest moment I had in a long while. I was pretty queasy the first trimester. I'm understating that. I was exhausted and sick all the time. It was miserable but I took it in stride and tried not to complain. I was just plain thrilled to have the opportunity to be pregnant again. Overall though the 1st and 2nd trimesters were uneventful and healthy. In the 3rd trimester though I began connecting and attaching to the baby inside. She had a name, we had things for her. I was able to get her co-sleeper set up and the corner it sits in decorated.

But pregnancy after loss is different. I was scared, I'm still scared. I was scared of a tainted womb, a toxic pain filled environment for a baby to grow in. I was very detached from my body. It was work to connect. Im really grateful to have close group of friends who believe similarly to what I do about birth, and I leaned on them heavily. They reassured me so often I can just imagine, their loving eyes rolling every time I came up with some new ridiculous thing to obsess over. But they helped me clear out the fear, or at least they gave me strength against those fears. At 33 weeks I got to travel to one of my best friend's homes in another state for a couple days. I was able to rest and be nurtured. I realized how important my self care was and how lacking I had been. I caught up on sleep, I swam, I was massaged and surrounded by love. I felt so safe, I felt a wall come down. I hadn't had a chance to really release while taking care of my family. I used my family as an excuse to not take care of me. I came home refreshed and my family was so happy to have me back.

When I came home I was anxious for the next weeks to get on, yet in no rush to have buttercup here. I felt like there was so much to do and so little time. My to-do list seemed to have more to-do added than I could check off in a day. Plus I was caring for my mom who had recently had a part of her kidney removed due to cancer. (She's cancer free now!) As we got into September, I felt like maybe she'll come early, as every mother thinks, but I thought too that maybe she'll be a week or so later. I kept telling everyone she would be later. Then I had my beautiful blessing. I felt ready, I wasn't going to worry about the to-do list, I wasn't going to stress about stocking the freezer. The house was as clean as it was going to get with all these silly kiddos. We had one more hurdle, one more surgery for my mom and our baby could come after that. She went in the first friday of October.

Through the 3rd trimester I had dealt with a lot of pelvic pain, a lot of sacrum pain, and leg issues. It felt like I was having back labor, but without contractions pretty much all the time. I went to my chiropractor quite a few times, got regular massages, did many magnesium baths. Finally I went to a crainosacral therapist, one who had done some body work after Bram died. I wasn't really open to the therapy then, but I was now and it helped as much as it could, which was a great deal. The feeling of being in constant back labor stopped. But I could tell that buttercup was bigger, and suspected that she was restricting a real improvement.

I had many break downs and sobbing fits while my mom was in the hospital. My due date was a week after my mom went in for repeat surgery and I hoped I wouldn't be in labor when she was ready to come home. My due date also happened to be just after a full moon, a full moon with solar eclipse. So of course I thought the moon would put me in labor. I couldn't sleep the night of the eclipse, so I watched it happen and it was lovely. I talked to my baby I told her to come whenever she was ready, she was safe, she's loved, and we couldn't wait to see her. I realized around 5am that the reason I couldn't sleep was because I was waiting for labor to start.

I decided after not sleeping most of the night I'd go get the guys some breakfast and come home before they got up. While I was out my mom let me know she was ready to come home. So I went and picked her up. I came home, caught a nap and went about my day. During that day I lost my mucus plug. Not a big deal, they can regenerate. Didn't stop me from incessantly checking the toilet paper every time I went to the bathroom.

I was pretty tired that day and my boys were pretty high needs through the day. Very energetic while I was recovering from a very long sleepless night. I was so looking forward to a full nights sleep. After dinner I noticed some light contractions. I texted hubs and let him know that I would be timing them. Only to text him about an hour later to let him know they fizzled out because the kids were requiring too much of my focus.

When he came home I had to send him out for a few things for my mom, because she couldn't go out and I was too grouchy and tired to be in public. He came home about an hour and half after he left and while I still had a random contraction every 20-30 minutes, it was nothing different that what had been happening for the last few weeks. We went to bed, around midnight, I closed my eyes and paid attention to the sensations in my body.

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Thanks for reading and loving Bram!