Saige's birth story actually began many months ago when we decided we wanted to have a child. Clif and I had so much love that creating a life between us only seemed natural.
So last September we decided to "start trying" and I became pregnant almost immediately. We were ecstatic. My pregnancy couldn't have been better, with virtually no ailments or symptoms. In fact, on most days, I felt better than ever. I attributed it to the great care I got from my husband.
After much discussion and research, Clif and I made the personal decision to hopefully have this baby with no drugs and the least amount of medical intervention possible. It was a decision we made as a team because we knew that it would take a lot of commitment and determination from both of us. We took classes, read, and put our faith in the human body. We decided to use a midwife but still deliver at a traditional hospital. We called Clif my "Doula Oblongada."
I'd convinced myself that I'd have this baby early so when my due date of June 22nd came and went it surprised me. Little did I know that I'd still have to wait another 9 days to see our little girl!
After passing the 41 week mark I had a series of tests run to see if I needed to be induced; fortunately everything was still looking good. At that time our midwife performed a natural procedure called "membrane stripping" in the hopes of moving things along. It worked! On the morning of Tuesday, June 3oth, I awoke at 4AM feeling crampy. At 5AM I decidedly concluded that the crampy twinges I was having were contractions and I woke Clif. I felt elated knowing that I would be having our baby soon and would not need to be induced. There was no more sleep to be had for a long time!
The contractions started mildly and progressed through the day. It was a surreal day; between contractions I sent last minute emails to coworkers in preparation for my leave, tidied the house, and made phone calls. Clif took his job of timing contractions very seriously and created a form on his computer to track them. He was so cute.
Finally, around 4PM my contractions had increased in severity and while not necessarily regular some of them were only 2 or 3 minutes apart. We decided to head to the hospital. Upon my arrival they checked us into our room and I was examined by our midwife, Heather. I was discouraged to learn that I was only 3 centimeters dilated. 2 hours later, I was only 4 centimeters dilated. Obviously I wasn't going to be one of those girls that got to brag about having a quick labor! During these first hours at the hospital we walked. And walked. And walked. Because labor makes you feel very self-focused I couldn't be bothered with stepping over curbs or looking for traffic. So we found a circular courtyard in the apartments across from the hospital and proceeded to walk in a circle for hours. At just about the same spot in the circle I'd lean against Clif and have a contraction. We laugh now at the ridiculousness of it.
Throughout the evening the contractions became more painful and my sense of time became blurred. We rotated between walking, bouncing on an exercise ball, and relaxing in a jacuzzi tub. The tub seemed to help the most; while it did ease the pain, it also relaxed me and caused me to dilate more and therefore have more contractions.
Throughout all this, Clif was my rock. He was so focused on me that at times I think we were one. If I'd get too tense, he massage the tension away. If I got distracted, he brought me back. If my breathing got rushed, he'd bring it down again. Despite the pain I managed to remain calm and actually sleep between some of the contractions.
Finally, around 3AM, our midwife informed me that I was entering "transition" which was the last phase before pushing. This news actually invigorated me as I'd gotten pretty darn sick of just waiting to dilate. I remember looking out the window and seeing the sky beginning to lighten as the dawn was coming.... the dawn will now always remind me of the morning my daughter was born.
Then came the pushing. I won't lie. It hurt. We laugh now at how loud I screamed; I feel sorry for those in the hospital that had to listen to me! It took me a bit to get the hang of pushing as it seemed counter intuitive to push when it caused such pain. But push I did! And then between contractions I'd fall fast asleep again.
And finally, at 4:32 AM on July 1, 2009, in a spectacular grand finale push our beautiful daughter was placed on my chest. Clif and I cried tears of joy and were flabbergasted with emotion. It was amazing! We'll never forget that moment. She was perfect - her Apgar score was a 9 out of 10! Saige didn't cry but just made a sweet whimpering sound and looked around wide-eyed.
While it did hurt, the funny thing about pain is that when it's done, it's done. You forget. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing. When I reflect now all I can remember is the amazement and joy of holding our daughter for the first time.
Immediately after Saige was born I sprung into life. Fortunately I didn't have any tearing or complications so I felt great -it was a euphoric high. Within an hour I was up, showered, and focused on nothing but our daughter. Saige immediately consumed my heart and soul and still does.
We are in love. Pure and simple.