Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Molly's entrance {a birth story}

Molly is turning 18 in a few short months, and big mile stones make me think of beginnings. Molly's birth story is still fresh and vivid in my mind. Are all births that way?

Way back when, we decided to do something crazy and follow an opportunity, we up and moved to Alabama. Just Craig, Max and me. We found our dream house out hidden on ten acres in the woods overlooking our own serene lake. It was peaceful, private, heavenly.

The house itself was 25 years old and needed a lot of refreshing. Pretty much nothing had been done since it was built. Dingy white walls screamed for color.  Once green, now brown, shag carpets had to go. Actually the carpets went before we spent the first night: Craig pulled them up, rolled them into logs, tossed over his shoulder and took to the street creating a huge cloud of dust as he dropped it on the ground.

My view out the sunroom
The old couple who carved this place out of the woods wanted to build it to sustain their lives and diet on this property. Picture early 1970's preppers. Wild turkey, deer, a well, an acre garden, fruit trees and for their spiritual life: a few peaceful prayer areas. The best part was flowers planted all over the property for their church. 

One of the prayer areas.
 on our last day before moving back to Texas
Our first spring we were to receive a daily gift of new flowers opening and enriching our lives. Iris was the popular choice, with so many varieties. I now wish I took more pictures. There were more flowers blooming in May than any other time.

What does this have to do with Molly? Everything. She is my artist who loves nature and beauty. She creates a variety of art out of many different mediums. She's always inspired and inspiring.

I could think two things:
My sudden artistic inspiration at that time in my life needed and outlet and my constant enjoyment of bettering and appreciating that home influenced who she was...
her little being was influencing me from her start. 
I like to think the latter.

Pretty much as soon as we moved in, I found out I was pregnant, proving for me the old wives tale: New house, new baby! 

The pregnancy went well. I was able to keep up with a busy three year old Max, settle in our home, change everything in the house: painted cabinets, walls, floors, made big plans for kitchen remodel, worked on clearing and burning trees and repaired other neglected features in and out of our home.

Early on I joined a La Leche group and was surrounded with instant friends. Lisa was the leader and the most welcoming and kind person I had ever met. She introduced me to her circle of friends who welcomed us with a tea party and friendship. Gigi was another special friend. Finding a good friend there living less than a mile from me was the best gift I had in our Alabama sojourn. Gigi had a son a little older than Max, and had a daughter just as I found out I was expecting. Her husband Stan was instant friends with Craig, being both outdoorsy and innovative about their properties.

Through these women I found a doctors group that was known for natural and unmedicated births. I found one in particular I clicked with. They also helped me find a pediatrician who respected my views and choices.

On my birthday (which was Molly's due date) this sweet group of women surprised me with a baby shower tea party with the trick that one was to come teach me how to make Spanish rice and have a quiet lunch. But then another knock on the door after another, we were having a party! What fun! I love these woman! Beautiful memory.

Gigi and Lisa and their girls
A week later I woke with the sun, and went for a walk out in the beautiful May morning. Everything was blooming, the yellow daffodils and purple and white irises were abundant. Abundant. There were enough flowers to fill many churches. I would gather as many as I could carry, arm loads! As I gathered bouquets for the house, my water broke, but just a little. Just enough to get my attention and know I didn't control that. 
Molly playing with the daffodils at ten months

Ya' know how hind sight is 20/20, well, I look back at this day with a lot of  "Mary, what were you thinking?" Labor had taken over my brain but I didn't know that at the time. I was not having contractions. Sometimes we can't accept what comes next during labor, I think we're designed that way.

This day was a Saturday, the day of Craig's company picnic. "Sure, honey, we should go." A day like any other.
We set off down the long bumpy country roads in Alabama with a bag for the hospital of just in case,  I was a week overdue.

The company picnic was at a beautiful Alabama lake offering every kind of water activity imaginable. Water, water, oh, must stop by the bathroom, my water broke more. Leaking .. not quite the word. Gotta leave this place now. We called the doctor, and he said stop by the hospital, since no office hours on Saturday, and he'll give me check. 

We left Max with Craig's friend Mark (Max's choice of who he was to spend this time with) and they spend the day swimming, eating ice cream and having a great time.

So of course, I didn't realize once at the hospital, you are admitted, and what are you thinking lady, your water broke, you have 24 hours to delivery this baby or you'll have a c-section. I still had not had one contraction, and I was worried that now a clock had started to countdown time. We gotta get serious.

So I checked in and changed, we started walking the halls. Occasionally I would have a small contraction, but not regular to even time them, so we walked, we chatted, we laughed. It must have been a full moon, because the labor and delivery rooms were all full. Once while walking the rounds,  I noticed the board: by every other name was a dosage of medications. By mine: just  "walking". The staff was all so busy, every once in a while someone stop me and ask if I was ok. Finally one contraction suddenly got hard, and it wasn't fun and games anymore. This was serious. I was excited that labor had begun, but wanted to be back in the room to labor in private.

So again, the contractions were long apart and sporadic. Craig to distract me, so he sang to me and we danced to Asleep at the Wheel songs. It was very nice to have him all to myself. But trying to two step in labor was tricky. Wow, another contraction!  I didn't have many contractions, but the ones I had were very effective (read very painful).

Once a nurse popped in and said Oh, you're close. I thought no way, I haven't had steady contractions.

A few more minutes she was in there being busy and seriously bothering me. Then she yelled down the hall for the doctor. I thought she was crazy and this was premature. Then OUCH another hard crazy contraction and she said , "You ready to push?" Again, crazy nurse lady, noooo--hell...yes I am!
Funny, thankfully, she saw it coming. I pushed few contractions but since they were so sporadic it took (a mere) twenty minutes. Then I head Craig yell at my shoulder "It;s a girl!" He was sooo happy, I just looked at his face in disbelief there was a baby to be talking about.

Then they placed her in my arms mmmm...heaven. She squiggled in my arms and nothing felt better. I delivered the placenta holding her, and then there were calls and yells from down the hall, nurses ran out and  suddenly my room was silent.  I wanted to sleep; this sweet baby I was holding had fallen asleep. A few quite pictures. Craig turned down the lights and said he was off to pick up Max. What a blur.

Suddenly I was alone in the darkened room, with a new baby sleeping on my chest. We were tucked in and I fell asleep.

Not sure how much later, Molly squiggled, and squeaked, and POOPED! Oh, what a way to wake up. I realized I needed help, I had the post birth shakes and a baby with meconium on her. How do I reach the button...?!

The heavenly peace of the room was broken. The room swarmed with nursing staff, took my sweet baby to clean her up; one led me to the shower to get cleaned up. Being clean was very good, don't get me wrong. We had a perfect time of undisturbed love and snuggle between mom and baby. I am so grateful for the busy night so we had time to ourselves. It made me think, why not home birth, next time?

I had asked the nurse tend to Molly's newborn needs in my room, which apparently was not requested often,  but so glad I had prearranged this to watch her first bath, nail trimmings, dressing and get her back in my arms as quick as possible.

At 4 am the doctor signed my release, but I wasn't planning on leaving until morning. My pediatrician was out of town, and the stand in one didn't agree to my views on issues I discussed with  my doc. So a stand off began. Maybe because we lived "in the woods" in Alabama, I was thoroughly questioned about our home:  did we have running water, indoor plumbing, ...what? They were busy and got tired of me and gave me her release.  Craig brought Max to meet his new baby sister,  more excited than I had seen him.

My recovery was as easy as the pregnancy and labor, and thankfully, no tears, just normal after birth killer pains than subsided after a few days.

Molly was a peculiar baby who loved routines, not a trait of others in this house. She liked a regular bedtime and nap time. She wanted to be in bed at 8 p.m., or she would scream about it until I got lucky or I actually realized that's what she wanted. Some nights before I realized her routine needs, I would sit outside with the cicadas screaming their night songs and she would quite down and look and listen in awe. I'd holler and they'd quiet down and one would start it all up again. I loved that place in the woods!

I have so many good memories of our time in Alabama. We moved back to Texas just before Molly's second birthday. I look at this time as Molly's, her entrance, a special time of all her firsts. Craig's company had a major house cleaning and forced him to look for work back "home." The old house I loved took about a year for the new owners to find it. The property had a character that just couldn't be appreciated by just anyone. I was so happy (and thankful, of course) for the buyers, I couldn't think of another couple that would enjoy it as much as we did. When we go back and visit Gigi, we always have to make time to drive by and take a peek down memory lane.

Adding to Grace's birth story link up 


  1. I love birth stories. My first one came so fast, not an easy labor, just fast.....that we could not make it to our midwife at her hospital. We stayed home for the next three births. :) And by the a nurse who works in OB....we still ask, here in northern California, if they have running water, electricity, etc..... :) Congrats on your new 18 year old! (almost)

    1. Thank you, Chari.
      I always worried and wondered what happened if the answer was no.
      OB nurse delivering at home...? I bet you have a great perspective on the whole range of birth experiences!
      I think I would love a job like that but might end up wanting just to hold all the new babies. :)