We decided to take a walk, just Axel and I, to the store for some chocolate ice cream. The ice cream that would become my second castor oil shake. Just like the boy holding my hand as we walked down our street, this baby was taking his or her sweet time making an entrance, and I felt I had to do something. I was 41 weeks 5 days pregnant and hoping that the next morning drinking the castor oil shake would work as well as it did to bring on Axel's birth.
It was a special walk with Axel. I was aware it would probably be the last time I would hold his hand as my only child. Tomorrow he would be a big brother. I did my best to memorize that tiny hand in mine. Remembering the special time we had shared for the past 19 months, so much of it just me and him. Now, we would be expanding our family to four. Could we love the next one just as much?
As it turns out......yes we could......
October 20, 2010 I took a little longer in the morning to make and drink the shake than I had planned. Maybe it was my nerves, but I spent the morning resting and getting a couple of little things done. I ate a mild lunch and got out the blender. Chocolate ice cream, peanut butter and 4 ounces of castor oil. Axel was napping, so I sat down on the couch and started drinking. Yuck! It didn't help that the peanut butter I used was chunky. I drank about 3/4 of the shake and called it good. I told Ram that it had better be enough to work, because I couldn't drink any more without throwing it all back up. It was enough. In about two hours time, labor was in full swing. Most of it is a blur to me. My labors start off hard and don't let up, so there has never been any standing or walking during labor other than barely managing to get to the bed or the birthing stool or the tub. I spent a couple hours laboring on the bed with Ram next to me until Sheila, our midwife, arrived and gave the okay to get the tub full. Finally, water! I loved being in the tub. Since my first experience with Axel's birth in the tub was so great, I knew that is where I had to be this time too. The pain was still just as strong once I was in the water, but I was able to bear the pain so much easier. It provided just enough relief for me to make it to the pushing stage.
All during labor, Ram sat beside me reminding me to breath and giving me drinks of water. He has a t shirt that he wears for each labor that reads "This too will pass". I love that shirt. I focus on the words across the chest of my wonderful husband and know that I can do this, that I was created to do this and that it will be over soon. His support and presence gives me such a peace during the pain.
I began feeling like I was wearing out and was afraid to say out loud that I didn't know how much longer I could do this. I knew it had only been about 5 hours since labor began, so I was afraid that I had hours (and maybe more hours) until it was over. I expressed my concerns and Sheila reminded me that when you feel like you can't do it any more, it's probably because you're almost there. I thought I felt like pushing, but was just too afraid to get my hopes up only to be told I was dilated to a 5 or 6. We decided to check my cervix. To my relief, I was ready to go. Sheila told me I could feel the baby's head coming down the birth canal and get myself ready to push. The most amazing part of the birth experience for me was to be able to check my own cervix and feel the baby's head descending down and out of the birth canal. Like a little bowling ball with a little bit of hair, passing through like a slow, slow freight train. That's the picture I had in my head. The train part is because I knew there was no stopping it; it seemed to have all the force of a fully loaded freight train coming down the tracks. It was incredible. My first time touching my new child.
I stayed in the tub and pushed for about thirty minutes. The experience from Axel's birth helped me to make my pushing more effective. It was much easier the second time around. After about 6 hours of laboring, out came our new little baby. Just as the baby was about to come out, my mom was able to bring Axel into the room so he could watch his new sibling being born. After a little bit of confusion because of the umbillical cord being down between the baby's legs, Sheila helped Ram get a clear look at the baby to see that we had a baby girl. She was ours, and we could hold her in our arms and see her with our eyes. What a relief to finally have her in our family.
I had invited everyone who was at our house at the time to come in to watch the baby come out. It was so special for me to share the experience with my mom, sister April and brother Ben. Ben was in the room most of the labor, as he photographed the event.
After she was born, a couple people helped me out of the tub and took me to lay down in the bed to deliver the placenta and to rest with my new sweet heart. This little girl, the most beautiful I had ever seen, stole our hearts from the start. So sweet, so precious and so feminine, she was radiant from the first moment.
Autumn Rain Lukas
born at home
in the water
in her room
October 20, 2010