Amelie’s Birth Story, Part 2: At first glance.

Amelie’s Birth Story, Part 2.
What I remember, in my mind’s eye, at first glance.

18 Feb, 2011

As I sit to begin to recount the story of Amelie’s birth, the blank page terrifies me. I don’t know where to begin.
All that stands out so clearly in my memory is the emotion I felt when I realized “this is it” on the night my contractions really started – one full week after my “due date.”

I remember waking & going to the bathroom. Something was very different. I debated waking John & calling my midwife, finally, I did both.
I remember sitting at the desk in the office which we turned into a shared space for Amelie’s changing table & bassinet. I sat & began to write bullet points of events & current emotions.
OH! The excitement that my sweet girl would be arriving so soon.
OH! The excitement to experience birth.
I remember the nervousness… hesitations of my heart as I was clearly heading into the unknown.
I even wrote “a little scared about delivery.” I certainly didn’t have expectations of what was to come.

The entire labor feels like such a blur in my mind’s eye…
I remember the delicious breakfast my husband prepared for me that first morning – about 6 hours in.
I remember the filling of the birth pool – which I planned to use for labor, not delivery.
I remember getting into the pool that morning, the warm water eventually feeling cold.
I remember the juicy refreshing first bites of the apple that I took.
I also remember the painful vomiting that soon followed {& stayed with me for days.}

I remember wanting to stay quiet & be focused on every breath I took.
I remember hearing my sweet girl’s heartbeat the times the midwife would check on her & being so glad to know she was okay.
I remember the joy & nervousness as I thought about that little heartbeat soon joining me out here… I would get to see her face, finally!

Details in my memory are quite fuzzy, there are facts that I know because they’ve been told to me, and then there are few moments that stand out as vivid memories. There are vivid little video clips in the library of my mind… from the trip to the acupuncturist on Tuesday afternoon… moments of calm & stillness. The music so soft & peaceful, that calmed my nerves. I remember the little pinches of the acupuncture needles as I leaned onto the table, trying to relieve the pain in my lower back. I remember thinking of the irony… that I’d never dreamed I’d be at an acupuncturist at any point in my life, & here I was, in the middle of my planned homebirth, at an acupuncturist…
I had come so far from the “practical, normal American” mindset to this “natural, non-intervention” lifestyle. I remember a true heart smile as I realized how much more open my heart & mind are now. What a wonderful place for my heart & mind to be as I was stepping into parenthood – open.

The most vivid memory of my labor is the constant support from my husband. I remember the thoughts of “I can’t do this.” during painful, back laboring contractions. I remember voicing that… And John’s constant support: “You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength… Now, you say it.” I remember it calming my heart each and every time he’d go over that with me, reminding me that no matter what, I have the strength because my Saviour provides.

Another vivid & fond memory from my labor was the wonderful support team I had, helping me get through contractions with pressure on my back where the pain was, prayers through the labor & encouragement through words that now escape me.

In fact, there are so many beautiful & perfect memories from my labor, that what’s difficult & heart-wrenching to me is how vastly different the ending is from the rest of the story.

Even now, nearly 10 weeks later, it feels like there’s a giant question mark in place of my confidence about birth. A question mark where there ought to be a confident exclamation point.

I remember vividly my experience of the hospital.
It’s a bit of a blur because that’s how I felt it. Every single moment there seemed unreal, as though it were happening to someone else – someone other than me.
All of a sudden I felt so disconnected from my own body, being told I had no knowledge or understanding of my body at all. I felt so disconnected from my body, being given no options about my life & the birth of my baby.

It feels as though in an instant – the moment they’d checked me into the hospital – all my rights, thoughts, opinions, concerns, and values were unimportant, unnecessary & not allowed.

Perhaps the moment that stands out most vividly in my memory – from all those moments which preceded the ultimate moment of holding my sweet child for the first time – is the journey from Triage to the Operating Room:
The lonely ride down the hall, terrified as I was approaching a very dangerous unknown. I’d been so strong all along, not letting fear or nervousness take my eyes off the prize & here I was, strapped to a hospital gurney, still trying to stand strong. And I felt that way. I felt as though I was standing strong until the moment the operating room came into view. The door opened and all movement ceased for a brief moment where I saw everyone standing around an empty operating table and all at once it knocked me down – it is meant for me.
I gasped & choked on tears, struggling to maintain any semblance of sanity as the darkness of that bright room squashed all my hopes about birth.

Even still, I was determined. I persistently asked for my husband, I consistently reminded nurses that once my baby arrived, she was to be breastfed, and she was NOT to be vaccinated, eye-gooed, or taken from my husband’s sight.

And the moment that I saw her face, it was a familiar relief.
Just like my first moments alone with my husband after our wedding ceremony – everything had gone wrong that day, but we’re here.
And this?
This is good.

1 thought on “Amelie’s Birth Story, Part 2: At first glance.”

  1. how come you had to have a c-section? i had one because of my blood pressure and my babys heart rate dropped. he is a miracle.


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