A year ago today, at 7:15 a.m. Girlio took this world by storm. Labour started the night before, around 8 p.m. while L. and I were watching a goofy and very funny Parker Posie movie. I laughed my ass off in between contractions - and wondered if this was really labour or just more of the practice contractions I'd been having for the better part of a week. After the movie, too revved up to try and sleep, we decided to walk to see if we could speed up the contractions and get a good rhythm going. Thank goodness for video monitors, which allowed L. and I to walk a half block radius from our house while watching Boy-o sleeping in his room safe and sound. After a half hour of walking, we knew it was time to call in the reinforcements, and the grandparents were called. Boy-o's Papa came to our house, and we headed out to their house (nearer to the hospital) to pick up Gramma. We walked and laboured for a bit longer at Gramma's, up and down their long driveway (their neighbours probably thought we were nuts!). The weather was warm, the night was still, and the stars were out in full force. Those moments of walking together, holding hands and stopping every few minutes for contractions, were so peaceful and calm. I remember thinking that it would be lovely to just walk around outside until I was really ready to get birthing!
Around 1 a.m., the contractions started hitting stronger and much more frequently, so we knew it was time to ditch the loveliness of the great outdoors and head off to the hospital. We gave our midwife a call to let her know we were on our way in. We set up a cozy cocoon in our birthing room (which was big, complete with a shower, birthing tub, rocking chair, birthing bed, and a full size murphy bed for post-birth rest!), and immediately got the IPOD going with my specially made birthing tunes. I walked and danced with L. for much of my labour, just as it was with Boy-o. Though I tried other positions (birthing ball, rocking, etc.) nothing else really felt right to me. I loved this part of labour - listening to music, dancing, swaying, walking through contractions with L. It was so mellow and calm. Our nurse and midwife (as well as two student midwives) kept remarking that our room felt so relaxing and chill. Apparently it was too chill, because after awhile our labour stalled a bit. I didn't mind too much, falling asleep on all fours on the birthing bed, in between contractions. Around 4 a.m., we decided with our midwife to break my waters and get things going again. Boy did that ever work! We walked and danced and swayed some more and before long, we were well on our way. It was painful, yes, but also exhilarating and empowering... my body was working so hard to bring our baby girl into the world! I really wanted a water birth, and just as we began to wonder if I should get into the tub, two things happened. Our midwife popped in to check on me and transition hit me like a ton of bricks. When the midwife asked me what I needed, all I could do was flop over on the bed moaning "I don't know. I don't know what I need" over and over again as I was slammed by wave after wave after wave of run on contraction. She sagely advised my caregivers that it was time to strip me down and put me in the tub. The water was running, I was undressed by my peeps, and as I took a step towards the tub I was hit by the uncontrollable urge to push. I grabbed the side of the tub, fell into a squatting position and began birthing our girl. L. popped down beside me, flanking me and whispering encouragement - at times the pain was so intense that I felt as if her voice was the only thing keeping me attached to this world. Girlio came so so quicky. I pushed for maybe 4 minutes before our midwife caught her, on her hands and knees beneath me on the floor. So while I didn't quite get the waterbirth I was hoping for, at least the tub came in handy for holding me up!
At 7:15 a.m. on June 15, 2009, our baby girl stole into this world and stole our hearts in the process. She was so wide-eyed, calm, watchful. She still is, a year later. She breastfed like a champ. She still does, a year later. As L. and I lay with her tiny, sweet, self, it would have been unfathomable to us that a year of her life would have passed so quicky. For those deliciously quiet, sequestered, few hours together after her birth time seemed to stand absolutely still, as we dozed and marvelled in each other's presence. And yet, here we are, on the day of our second child's first birthday. Girlio is always climbing, always laughing, into everything, totally in love with her big brother, and right on the verge on walking and making herself a bone fide toddler. Though she's pretty easy going thus far, she's working on honing a stubborn streak and a flair for finding trouble to give her big bro and her parents a good old run for their money. I can't wait to see what adventures she tackles as she heads into her second year of life with us.
Happy birthday sweet girl.