Name: Mariska Priya Irene Pilichowski
Date: Thursday, January 25th 2007
Time: 8:34 am
Weight: 8 lbs. 4 oz.
Length: 21 ½ inches
I woke up on Wednesday January 24th at 3 in the morning, which was not at all unusual for me. Waking up at or staying up until all hours seemed to happen on a regular basis during the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy, so there was really no need to get concerned. The baby was moving “funny” as I described it at the time, putting a ton of pressure on my cervix but there was no pain. So I got on the computer to check my messages and look at my message boards… do my typical web “stuff”. I sat online until about 5 just wondering why the baby was moving so much, usually this time of night was sleeping time. The around 5:30 it dawned on me, baby wasn’t moving and causing this pressure – these were contractions! I definitely felt dumb for not knowing what it was, but I had been keeping track of the pattern of the “movement” which was set firmly at two minutes apart. I decided that this must just be a fluke and I wouldn’t bother to wake Greg – he needed his sleep. At that point I figured that I would need my sleep too, but lying down was very uncomfortable in my back so I headed back to the computer until Greg’s alarm went off at 6.
Once Greg got up I grappled with whether or not to tell him about the contractions. I thought just in case it wasn’t a false alarm he had better know to stay by his phone. Of course this freaked him out more than anything, he was pretty nervous which amusingly enough was the exact opposite of me. We tend to play off of each other and balance out each others emotions, and this was no exception. The more confident I got the more nervous he seemed.
After a bit Greg left for work and I tried to find something to do. Oddly enough at this point I have no idea what that was exactly, but at some point in the day I decided to call my chiropractor to have my hip alignment worked on. I spent a good portion of the morning on the computer talking to my friend Abbey who was probably laughing at me and definitely trying to convince me that this was labor as I was still in denial. I could breathe easily through painless contractions and was sitting around laughing about how ridiculous it was to think of this as labor and that’s just not what women in labor do.
Greg was working a half day so he came home around 11:30 and took me to my appointment. While I was there my contractions started getting a little more intense, still not painful – maybe even less achy in my back but more noticeable which I took to mean stronger. Still I would tell any woman in labor to go see her chiropractor - it was so pleasant! When we left I told Greg that I wanted to go for a drive and hit some really bumpy roads as maybe that would speed things along without being overly interventive. We had been talking the nights before and he kept telling me that because I was overdue my labor would be fast, no longer than seven hours. But this was entering hour nine and while I wasn’t in any rush to be out of labor I wanted more than anything to meet this baby! We ended up driving around until almost one o’clock, when I decided that being in the truck listening to talk radio was more irritating than any impatient baby meeting urges that I had.
When we got home Greg wanted to call my mom, his mom, and my friend Lauren. I managed to hold him off until late in the afternoon/early in the evening, as I still wasn’t sure that this was it and I didn’t want anyone worrying about us. All I wanted to do was sleep. But laying down made things hurt and I was otherwise completely without pain and decided I wanted to stay that way even if it meant staying awake. So I went to the computer which, apparently, is the equivalent of strapping on a sign that says “please come bother me with a list of mundane chores”. So while I was in labor I muddled through writing two thank you notes before deciding that it was just easier to pretend to write when really I was just tapping the spacebar for timing purposes. By the way, if you’re a computer junkie and plan to be on the internet while you are in labor contractionmaster.com is wonderful!
I stayed online until close to five o’clock when I decided to send Greg to his parents’ house for some movies we had loaned them. By this point I was sure that we were in for the long haul and the extended version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was certainly long enough to get us through. My contractions, though still not painful, were getting tiring. Sometime shortly after Greg got back with the movies Lauren arrived, and I described contractions to them as “like running a marathon and all I want to do is stop running but can’t”. I ate something (popcorn maybe? I really don’t remember) and watched the movie. Every now and then I got up to pace the floors.
Around nine I had Greg run a bath, it was downright heavenly. Why anyone would want to go to the hospital and get shot full of drugs when they could stay at home in their bathtub is far beyond me. I stayed in the tub for a looooooong time, until well after midnight. For a while Greg came in with the guitar and we all had a tubside sing along. After that the noise started getting to me, as did the lights so I lit a bunch of candles, turned off the main light, and just relaxed. I sent Greg to bed around eleven-thirty and told him I’d wake him up if anything started happening. Lauren stayed faithfully by the tub until shortly after three when I told her to wake Greg. Nothing was happening, but she had classes to attend the next day and needed to rest just as much as he did. Greg got up and I got out of the tub for a while, but getting out of the tub and into the cool air made the contractions seem more intense. Sometime before four thirty I got back in the tub and Greg fell asleep on the couch. Lauren woke up just enough to see that Greg was asleep and she didn’t want me to be without support so she woke back up and we talked for a while. My contractions were intense, still not painful per se but I was exhausted and at this point had been in labor for 25+ hours. I was starting to feel like I’d be in labor forever and since I was so tired I didn’t know what to do. So we placed an emergency phone call to my mom.
Now my mother is a pretty incredible lady, she can make the best out of every situation I’ve ever seen her in and always has this insightful sort of grace and wisdom about her. She had managed in the middle of my pregnancy to hear my argument for homebirth, assisted or unassisted, and accept it. Pretty much she was the only person I could call who I knew would be completely impartial about what I should or shouldn’t do next. When she got to the house I was in the tub, trying to relax and rest between contractions. I remember very clearly calling to her as she was hanging up her coat to say “I’m very naked but come on in”. Funny what being self conscious will do to you, even though I was completely worn out that’s one of my most clear memories of labor. In retrospect it seems silly but I think that it was more for my benefit than hers, letting myself know that I could let go and not be tense. Anyhow, when she came into the bathroom we had a little chat, somewhere in that chat we talked about what would happen if I went to the hospital. I said (after more than one day of labor without sleep or a break) that even if we transferred there was no way I was getting drugs. She told me that if I wasn’t going to do that then I might as well stay home and do it the way that I wanted, so on the morning went.
I was half asleep through my contractions which really did more harm than good, fatigue generally lessens the ability to cope with tension and this was no exception. I would actually fall completely asleep between contractions and wake up as they were peaking which was difficult to deal with. My mom was an awesome labor coach. She’d come hold my hand and tell me to breathe and breathe with me. My lower back was aching with every contraction and I’m sure I was super whiney but she never stopped telling me how well I was doing. This went on for a couple of hours, sometime in there we sent Greg off to work and Lauren went to school. I guess it must have been about seven-thirty when I decided to get out of the tub again, and then it took a few contractions before I managed to get all the way out. The plan was for me to go lie down for a while but as soon as I got out I realized that I needed to pee, badly. Unfortunately my bag of water was blocking my urethra (it was actually protruding from my vagina) and there was no way I was going to be able to go.
My mom was in the bedroom, on the phone with Greg telling him to come home and to do so right away. While she was on the phone and I was on the toilet I decided that breaking my water was the only way we were ever going to get anywhere. In hindsight may not have been my best move ever, but it was certainly better than rupturing my bladder so I’ve made my peace with it. It actually took a great deal of effort to break my water, my bag was thick and rubbery, I pinched, poked, and prodded it before grabbing a pair of tweezers off the sink. They had a sharp end, but not sharp enough to puncture skin so I figured they were my safest bet. It took two pokes with the tweezers before the bag broke, but when it finally did it was like a flood. My mom told Greg to hurry up that I had broken my waters and to get his little keister home. As soon as the broke it was relief, but at the same time things were instantly a thousand times more intense. With my next contraction, which came almost immediately, I was pushing. I wasn’t trying to push, but somehow my body wouldn’t let me not push. The fetal ejection reflex really is an amazing thing. I started vocalizing (loudly lol) and my mom heard and came to help. She tried to get me to get off the toilet, but ended up having to pretty much yank me off. I’m sure it must have been quite the visual. I moved onto all fours and at some point managed to get out a quick “catch the baby”. I pushed once and there was a head, which my mom told me was full of hair. I pushed again and there was a forehead and eyebrows, but she was a bit stuck. So I pushed again, it seemed painstakingly slow at the time, though now it seems to have gone by all to quickly. My mom announced to me, rather frantically, that there was a little hand with little flexing fingers right beneath the baby’s eye. She asked if this was normal, but I was contracting again and all I could do was roar and push. Somehow in the midst of all this my self-consciousness managed to creep back into the picture and I was a bit ashamed to be so loud. My mother, godsend that she is, sensed this and told me “if it helps to vocalize, do it.” and to push with the next contraction to get the baby’s body out. The next contraction was taking its sweet time, but when it finally came I roared baby out the rest of the way. Funny I waited all of my pregnancy to feel the “ring of fire” that everyone tells about, but it never came. I should probably be thankful for that but somehow I almost feel gypped. My mom set the baby down so I could rotate to hold it, and as she set it down she said, “he’s perfect… NO – SHE! IT’S A GIRL!” I’ve never heard that tone from my mom before and I may never hear it again, but it was perfect!
I got off my hands and knees and picked up my little baby girl, and we tried to encourage her to cry as that seemed to be her first job in the world, an obligation she shirked for what I thought was an eternity. She gave one little yell and we decided that was good enough, she was breathing perfectly with no fluid in her mouth or nose. I tried to get her to nurse but she wasn’t interested, she was trying to open her fat little eyes to peek around the room. I didn’t notice but as I was cradling her in my arms for the first time my mom was answering the phone. It was my best friend in Colorado calling, I had called her the night before to let her know I was in labor and she wanted to know if I’d had the baby yet. Funny this is actually how we marked the time of Mariska’s birth.
After I got off the phone we wrapped the baby in towels and I delivered the placenta. It was so much smaller than I thought it would be. After the placenta was delivered I moved to the toilet, as bleeding on the floor somehow seemed like a bad idea. We hadn’t had time to put down chux pads, so there were towels and a bathmat but little more. As I was on the toilet the phone rang again, this time it was April (doornail_dorothy herself) wanting to know what was going on with me. I had mentioned to Abbey (or rather, Abbey had mentioned to me) that I was in labor and they had gotten curious. I gave her a quick fill in while my mom held the baby. Then another phone started ringing so I went back to holding the baby while my mom answered. It was Greg, who I promptly told to get the hell home, our baby had arrived without him and he needed to meet it. And, yes, I told him “it” as I didn’t think it would be right for him to find out over the phone that he had a daughter.
He got home a few minutes later, and my mom told him to come hold his daughter. He was… hilarious. It’s a funny thing to watch a first time dad who has only ever held three babies realize that he’s a father. He was overjoyed, nervous, excited, and I’m sure a great many other things to many in fact to be listed here. As soon as it registered with him that it was a girl he called her Mariska. While he was holding her he called his mom to announce that she was here and a her and quite perfect.
The four of us stayed in close vicinity for a bit, taking everything in when my mom reminded us about cord cutting, weight, and height measurements. First we cut the cord, tying it off with a bit of sterilized yarn before Greg cut it. This part of her birth never felt right to me, I couldn’t watch - hopefully our next will be a lotus birth. After that Greg brought in the sling and the fish scale and we weighed her. She was 8 lbs. 4 oz. Next we measured her length, which would have been easier had I not misplaced the cloth measuring tape. At 21 ½ inches she was just a tad longer than I had predicted.
About this time Greg’s parents arrived, which I must admit I wasn’t happy about. I wanted to stay in my magical little bathroom and put our baby in her first diaper, dress her in her first outfit, and rinse her off. Instead she was diapered and dressed in the other room while I hopped quickly in the bath, where I discovered I had a small superficial tear. I got out and put on some underwear and my robe and went to bed. Mom saw how annoyed I was that my baby girl wasn’t with me and decided to announce that “the baby is hungry”. She brought Mariska in to me and sent the inlaws on their merry way. Greg, Mariska, and I all curled up in bed where we spent most of the rest of our day.
It was a long boring labor, the contractions weren’t ever painful but it was exhausting. I did end up going to the chiropractor the next day. I had a good deal of back labor, which apparently was strong enough to pull a couple of my ribs out of place because he had to pop them back in so I could breathe. It was a crazy, exhausting, rewarding couple of days that I wish I could relive. Since we had our homebirth, neither DH nor I can imagine having a baby any other way. We agreed that next time we won’t call relatives over right after birth and that next time he will in fact be there for the birth but other than that and cord cutting I wouldn’t change a thing!
Due to my total and complete nudity in all of my labor photos I won't be able to post most of them here, but my photobucket account is viewable here
That was awesome! And it's good to know I'm not the only one going unassisted!
Gawd, your pictures are just GORGEOUS! Congratulations!
Congrats! BTW, you're mom sounds like an awesome lady!
Just makes me want to go unassisted that much more! Although I think I'll tell my mother unassisted means "not her". :lol: She would not be as helpful as yours was.
Wow what an amazing birth story! Thanks for sharing :) Cobgreads on a beautiful girl!
She is so beautiful! I remember reading your story on the home birth board - its so inspiring!
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