Friday, January 10, 2014

after the birth story ends

Recently I've been thinking.   I have shared six birth stories with you over the years.  These stories are important to me, and powerful.   They remind me of the journey we've taken, the way my husband and  I have chosen to bring our children into the world.  They represent a certain rite of passage, and I have read them again and again.  They're not perfect by any means, but they are ours.

And yet, they're only part of the picture of what happens in our home on the day of a birth.  So for those who are curious, I've decided to share with you what happens after the birth story ends.  After the baby arrives, and we see who the Lord has sent to our family.  After we sing the special lullaby with our baby's name.  Without further ado, here's a look at what happens - next.

Nursing the wee one.  Usually this starts pretty soon after the baby is born, often while still in the birth tub.  The earlier the better, it seems to me.  Of course, I did have one baby who essentially yelled at us until I thought to offer him the breast.  I suppose such a thing colors one's perspective. Baby needs nourishment...

Daddy cuts the cord.   We prefer to wait until after the cord stops pulsing for that cut.  Then my husband takes the scissors and does the deed.  He's done it for each and every birth, it's sort of a tradition.

Birthing the placenta.   This is always a slightly annoying process for me, but it's never been too dramatic. The baby is handed off to Daddy, and I get to work with my midwife.  I often have to shift positions and try for a while to get the thing out.  Ella's birth was different, though - I think that placenta was born in record time! (A thousand yays!) I was even prepared this time around with clary sage essential oil, but there was no need for it.  The kids have enjoyed getting to see the placenta which nourished the baby for so many months.  Our second son still talks about how he got to touch it after Gabriel was born.  I don't know much about who studied or touched it this time, and we don't do anything special with it.   I take no issue with those who do, we just haven't bothered.
(Edit: Michele my doula tells me that she did indeed apply clary sage before the placenta was born.  Apparently I was too over-the-moon happy to notice!)

The Egyptian princess routine.  This is my nickname for the process which takes place when I get out of the tub.  Two women help me to stand up, while a third stands ready with a big towel.  They take off my wet clothes, dry me off, make sure I don't feel wobbly (I never do!) and fetch me something to wear.  I always feel like an Egyptian princess climbing out of the Nile, or maybe even a milk bath: pampered and well-attended.  After I'm enveloped in a big fluffy robe, my chux pad and I make our way to the bed, which is a mere few feet away.

The mama exam.  Slightly awkward but necessary.  'Nough said.

The baby exam.  This is much more fun, at least from my perspective.  While I recline on my pillow, dry and happy, I watch my baby get weighed, measured, and checked for a half a million things, from how soft (bendy) his or her ears are to those prized Apgar scores.  They check baby's reflexes and take measurements.  The little one doesn't always enjoy this process, but the ladies have enough experience and tenderness that the process is still fun to watch.  Then the baby is diapered and dressed (my midwife loves to do this personally) and given back to Mama, if I'm lucky.  If not, s/he makes the rounds to be photographed by and with Grandma, Grandpa, Daddy, and the siblings.

I am fed.  Labor makes this mama hungry!  Usually it's scrambled eggs and toast, though all through this last labor I was envisioning a lovely grilled cheese sandwich made with this gluten-free flatbread. I got my heart's desire, and it was absolutely delicious...but I was still hungry, so my doula brought me some warm potato soup.  Lovely and filling!

The kids get acquainted. There is oohing and aahing, holding and kissing.  It's a sweet, sweet time.  And then the kids go to bed.

Everyone goes home. I am given a set of instructions: things to look out for, when to call with concerns, etc.  Then, assuming I have already used the toilet (an important part of the recovery process!), everyone goes home.  Well...everyone except for my wonderful in-laws, who stay the night to wrangle the older kids and help feed us the next day.  They're fantastic, really - but I don't want to make you jealous, so I won't go into all they do for us during that time.  Let's just say, we are very blessed!

That's it.  We snuggle into bed and go to sleep, thankful and exhausted.

And if we're very, very lucky, the baby sleeps too.

*All photos are courtesy of Amanda at A.R.T. Photography.  Please visit her website for more gorgeous examples of her work. HERE is a link to her Facebook page.  More birth photos to come!

1 comment:

Mama said...

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing.