Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nick {a birth story}

Fifteen years later...
I started this post last year and didn't finish it.
Bear with my crazy thought process and punctuation horrors as I write it now at
Sixteen years later...

Nick's pregnancy went on and on. He was (at least) two weeks overdue. His labor and delivery was wonderful but also the most frightening experience of my six births.

After Molly had dental surgery to remove her top four teeth, she went on a nursing strike.
Who could blame her? The gums had to feel so different.
She knew I brought her there, and didn't trust me the same. I had no choice, but still sad that it changed our relationship so drastically.
So around that time my fertility started back, with no signs to me. 

A few months later, my oldest sister had a miscarriage of her fourth child. We went to a mass at her home for the baby with her husband's uncle officiating. 
It was beautiful and we were all so filled with emotions related to loss and sadness of what and who could have been. Nick was born the following February so I was pregnant, didn't know it, at that time. I had felt in my heart another little one would be coming along for us. My sister did have another pregnancy and gave Nick a cousin/friend not too much younger. Soon after, I was surprised when I felt that distinct nausea, but since I had not missed cycle, I could only guess when I became pregnant.

After my first two hospital birth experiences I had decided I wanted a home birth. I heard the reputation of a midwife in my area back from my first encounter with La Leche with my oldest son.

I met with Mimi and her apprentice Christine and knew we had a good fit.
For the first part of the pregnancy we met at her office. Then things changed for her practice and we had home visits for the last half of the pregnancy. Easy for me!
This all might sound very unscientific and un-medical, which is what I wanted and sought. I didn't want unnecessary medical interventions. I wanted a lay nurse midwife to guide my labor slowly and naturally, using old wisdom at home.
But since she did not have access to the medical community expensive tools like an ultrasound machine to determine due date; we were operating on age old midwife techniques and some guessing.
I think I was due in January, but I couldn't be sure. I usually measured big and this one was measuring on the very big end.
At birth, Nick was 10 pounds 12 ounces, 24 inches long.
Yep, a full two feet!

He started measuring real big, I started feeling as if his foot should come out my mouth. Baby all over.

Finally, on St. Valentine's, 
we went to bed
I woke up
excited, nervous!
Woke Craig.
He called midwife.
I labored.
Craig prepared.
A knock at the door,
A moan from me,
Time to catch!
Everything went lightning fast.
I started to push and push and push,
As not to tear.
Finally a head!
Man, that was hard!!
What? I'm not done yet?
Only the head!! 
A toddler cry from bedroom 
took Craig from my side.
Mimi encouraged me with new strength to push the rest of my baby out 
slowly, slowly, slowly, gently,
As not to tear.
(First born's fourth degree tear memories still fresh).

In those moments Craig had returned to my side,
to his post and duty of holding my hand.
He has strong, gentle, patient hands.
I find comfort in holding and squeezing while pains of labor grab me.
He gives me confidence.
Or helps me find it in myself.
Deep down.

He returned,
also came a little toddler girl with long messy blonde hair. 
No use telling her to go back to sleep.
She stood at my shoulder, 
and never left her new brother's side.
She had always been there with me anyway.

And I'm holding this beautiful perfect baby in my arms..
Only us two in the world..
From a distance I hear Mimi telling me to talk to my baby and encourage him to breathe, 
Then ...
Yelling at me to talk to my baby and tell him to breathe.
I felt I was in a fog...
Or a tunnel...
On a cloud...
In heaven...?
Far away voice getting more and more insistent:  Mary, tell your baby to BREATHE!!

Oh! Wow!

Something's wrong?
I start rubbing and talking to this beautiful, perfect baby in my arms.
He finally took a breath and all was fine.
I don't know how much time passed.
Probably moments..hopefully not minutes.

When Nick didn't talk until after he was three, I remembered and wondered at how long were those moments? 
Could this time have caused problems for him that lead to speech delays and dyslexia? 
Mommy guilt overwhelmed me for years.

But that day,
those moments were all joy. 
No fear, no guilt, 
all joy!

Mimi and Christine were midwife doulas all in one. They had an herbal bath ready for me and brought Nick in to me. Took care of everything!
I enjoyed every minute. 

Molly was still at my side.
At his side.

Once settled and clean and relaxing in my recliner, Molly on the arm next to me,
Mimi put the little hat on his head and told Molly her job was to make sure that hat stayed on his head because he needed the warmth. 
It was February.
Molly did. 
Constantly checking the hat. 
For days.
She stayed next to him.

They are my closest in age,
at two and half years.
And have been close friends.
I told myself he didn't talk because she talked for him.
She always understood everything he said even when every one else, 
...even me...
didn't understand his words.

Those moments after birth thankfully didn't hurt his brain as I had feared.
Dyslexia is hard, no one knows why some have it, maybe genetic. 
It makes his heart stronger and his will more resolved.
I wish I never wasted a moment in worry. 

I'm very thankful and proud to be the mother of this young man! 
Happy birthday, Nick!


  1. Happy Birthday Nick! We are proud to call you our friend!

  2. Happy Birthday to your son. He seems like a great young man. Thanks for sharing your story.