Daisy tells a graphic birth story. You have been warned.
Well dear readers, Fern has had herself a Baby Boy. As of this writing, he is exactly 48 hours old, 6 pounds and some change, and he looks like a pink Mr. Magoo with long hands and feet. I’m totally his favorite. Fern and her Honeyman are busy adjusting to life +1, so I shall unfold the tale for you….
In the wee, wee hours of Monday morning (or late, late Sunday night really), Baby Boy let Fern know it was time to be born. So Fern and the Honeyman set off for the birthing center, calling cowgirl M to join them. The predawn hours were spent in the first stages of labor, sleeping when possible, singing and breathing when sleep wasn’t possible.
I, meanwhile, was sleeping peacefully, then having my usual morning of coffee and cats and chickens and Little Boy and getting the Herban Cowboy off to work. Just before 8am, M calls me and tells me Fern is 6cm and progressing nicely, so I have another cup of coffee and read another chapter of my book. At this point, I assumed we had hours and hours and hours, so I casually dressed Little Boy and we finally dragged our butts to the car and headed out the door.
I called M as I left, wondering if I should go let Fern’s chickens out on the way, but the urgency in M’s voice dispersed all other thoughts. “Um, I think you need to come right now and hurry. She’s at 10cm.
“What? Already? Ohmigod. I’m on my way.” Pedal to the metal. I decided if I got pulled over, I’d stick my belly way out and tell the cop I had to get to the birthing center to have a baby (technically that would not be a lie).
I was the last of the birthing party to arrive. Back in the birthing room, Fern was in the whirlpool tub with her Honeyman behind her, supporting her. I joined the midwives, M and the photographer, who documented the event. The lighting was dim and the only sounds were the whispers of the women and the bubbling of the water in the tub.
And that was what astonished M and I the most. Here was this woman, with a baby’s head pushing past her pelvic bone, and she squatted quietly in the water, occasionally moaning with her breath as she pushed through the contractions. Um, wow. M and I shared giggled confessions behind our hands at how much we had screamed and cursed as we’d pushed our children out of our bodies.
And Fern was so beautiful! And not in an “oh isn’t childbirth beautiful” kind of way. I mean literally, truly, powerfully beautiful. She is a slender woman anyway, and her pregnant belly only added a graceful curve to her middle. Her skin was dewy and unblemished, her chestnut hair piled gently on top of her head. I couldn’t stop staring at her, naked and laboring, every part of her perfect and gorgeous.
You know a woman’s true self when she gives birth. Y’all, when it happened to me, it was awful. I was a fat, sweaty, naked, angry animal with a puffy face and frizzy hair. I screamed like a Viking during every contraction, cursing and belching and crying in between. There was so much sweat and poop and blood. At one point, I even begged Death to take me. There was no such drama for Fern.
After more than an hour of coaxing the kid towards the light at the end of the tunnel, the midwives got Fern out of the tub and into the bed to move around and change positions. We tried a few different ones, everyone taking turns holding her up or squeezing her hands.
Standing? No. Hands and knees? No. Laying over a yoga ball? Um, no. Finally, Jill (the midwife leading our team) says in her thick South Georgia accent, “Well. I hate to do this, ‘cuz usually the mamas hate it, but let’s get you on your back honey. I hate to do it, but sometimes it’s just the magic you need.”
So we flipped Fern like a pancake and propped her up with some pillows, the Honeyman snuggling beside her in the bed. Sure enough, not long after that, Baby Boy’s head starts coming out.
Okay. So even though I’ve actually had a baby this way before, and I’ve seen pictures and videos, I have never actually witnessed a live human birth. And that right there Ladies and Gentlewitches, is the coolest thing I have ever seen.
Jill said, “Somebody get the mirror.” Ooh! I’m on it. I can do that. I grabbed the big hand mirror and held it up between Fern and Jill, angling it so Fern could see all that was happening. And Fern, who had had her eyes closed the entire time I had been there, suddenly opened her eyes wide and watched.
The waves of the contractions crashed bigger and bigger, each crest bringing us closer and closer. With each push, Fern saw more and more of the baby she’d been growing inside her. We held her up, we murmured our encouragement and love, we watched in agony until finally –
We all gasped as his little face appeared. M and I began quietly sobbing with joy (such a strange feeling). And then with an unceremonious mmmmbloomp, he was out. Jill wiped him off and put him on Fern’s chest to be kissed and cooed at and fallen in love with, while the rest of the team sprang into action, cleaning up various fluids and baby’s first poop (mmmm is for meconium!), delivering the placenta and finishing the paperwork.
With the hand holding part over, M and I decided to make a graceful exit. We left the happy new family in the bed, Baby Boy already a champ at latching on and nursing.
So that’s it kids. Our newest little Herban Cowboy has arrived. Fern has requested no visitors or phone calls if possible for this first week. Facebook messages are fine, since she can get to them at her leisure. If you are one of her friends and you are dying to be helpful, bring food! Visitors are overwhelming, but food is necessary. M and I are doing our best to keep the new family fed, but more help is always needed. You can always call me or M to find out what you can do.
Thanks to all who have breathlessly awaited our new arrival. And in the coming weeks, Fern will emerge from her New Mommy Cave to tell us her story herself. And post pictures.