A Version of Elijah's Birth
A few people have asked me to write the story of Elijah’s birth. This is kind of difficult for me on multiple levels. The main thing is that I really only remember certain things and I am very uncertain of other things. It was not a satisfying birth, nor an awe inspiring birth. This is not going to read like the typical birth story and it will definitely have gaping holes in time and details (some of which I might even be fabricating, because memory is weird), but it is what it is.
At some point during my #pregnancy, fairly early on, we needed to have some plumbing work done in our kitchen. We lived in a 1950’s cinder block, flat tar roofed home built directly onto a concrete slab foundation. This means that there was no basement or crawlspace and that all the plumbing was inside the concrete slab. This became important once we realised that we would be needing several feet of our kitchen floor jackhammered up in order for several feet of old cast iron sewer pipe to be replaced.
I am not sure if you understand. Let me break it down:
house built on cement slab foundation with plumbing inside of cement
plumbing problems requiring jackhammering of SEVERAL linear feet of kitchen floor to resolve
kitchen floor = old vinyl title flooring on top of even older linoleum flooring on top of concrete
a new kitchen floor would be required
What started out being a few feet ending up being clear across the kitchen floor. I had a trench dug through my kitchen!
So, if we were going to have to replace a kitchen floor, why not just remodel the whole kitchen? Right?! This seemed reasonable to us at the time. This required new cabinets, which got delayed; new counter tops, which had installation complications; new vinyl flooring, which required that I live somewhere else for two days to avoid toxic-to-fetus glue fumes; new paint, which required TWO different painters because the first one hired was an idiot; and a new kitchen sink, because a three basin sink was my dream.
My pregnancy rolled on and so did the delays of the kitchen remodel. So did the arrival of my kitchen sink.
My “due date” came and went like a breeze on the wind, but still no kitchen sink.
I was basically in early #labour for about two weeks, beginning on the 41st week mark. I checked my cervical dilation at 42 weeks gestation and 4 days and was a 6. Baby could practically fall out at any pint.
Still no kitchen sink.
I mentally and physically refused with all the power within and without me to give birth before having a kitchen sink. I was NOT going to do the dishes postpartum in the bathtub.
Sink arrived and was installed.
I finally exhaled and let labour really happen at 43 weeks and 2 days gestation.
Labour only lasted roughly, maybe eight hours from start to birth of placenta.
Some of the most excruciating eight hours of my life.
I spent some of them rolling around on a bed moaning, which did not help.
I spent most of the time in a bathtub filled with water, which helped immensely.
I remember very little else about my labour other than being annoyed by everything, William was there sleeping through most of it, my son’s godparents were there at some point.
The actual birth: I was sitting in a partially drained bathtub pushing until the head was almost completely born and then I kind of sort of flipped to hands-and-knees, because it was apparent that sitting on my tailbone while trying to push out my enormous baby was not working.
Probably some “sticky shoulders”, but not dystocia.
To the best of my and William’s memory, Elijah was born posterior while I was hands-and-knees and William sitting on the edge of the tub behind me.
2:44PM Thursday, September 18th, 2003.
There *might* have been a nuchal cord (which is a common thing for 1 in 3 births).
E weighed 10 pounds and 2 ounces
I had some abrasions and a not-quite 1st degree tear, which needed no repair, but hurt.
I lost some blood (like you do when giving birth), but it was not alarming nor did it affect my health.
E latched on and nursed fairly soon after birth, but then decided to feign ignorance on how to nurse after the second day.
My postpartum meal was Merlot (I think it was either Barefoot or Luna di Luna) and french fries.
I had a smoothie with some of my raw placenta in it the next day.
Breastfeeding was a miserable thing for about 2 weeks, but then was perfect like an old bad habit.
E’s godmother lived with us for two weeks #postpartum. She kept me company and did some cleaning and cooking.
I am sure that I had some mild postpartum #depression, mainly due to the breastfeeding issues.
And that is pretty much it. I only left out a few details that I actually remember. I can not say that it was beautiful and I can not say that I loved doing it. However, I did get a pretty fucking amazing kid out of the deal.