April 10, 2011
Briar Hill Midwives

The Meconium Princess

It is Sunday April 10th at 8:00 pm and I have my new love laying across my chest with her head nuzzled in between my neck and shoulder. Little breaths and whimpers come from her as I stroke her full head of jet black hair.

To my side is my wife Yael, the first love of my life. She’s fast asleep. I have a newfound admiration, respect and over all sense that we were truly meant for each other. I have never witnessed a more courageous act of selflessness. My love for her is as powerful as her last contraction that gave birth to our 6 lb 11 ounce girl who goes by the name of Kennedy Rosalie Rand. Rosalie being my 93 year old Grandmother, the 3 rd love of my life.

This is the story of the last 40 hours leading up to the events as I see it, it’s probably less painful than my wife’s but just as memorable.

Before I get started I would like to thank Rhonda at Healthy Birth Choices in preparing me for the inevitable sequence events.

It’s Friday at 2:00 am when I am awakened by Yael. No Braxtons here, this seems to be more intense and lower than she has felt before. Are you serious? It’s 2 in the morning I think to myself, maybe they’ll go away and I can resume my slumber.

I grab for the binder of cheat sheets because with all the exhaustive days of reno’s I can’t for the life of me remember what stage she’s at and what my role is other than to offer water after every contraction, which I failed at most of the time. Oops!

We pace, we sit, we dance and we try to lay down. I downloaded a contraction app the previous week for my iphone and quickly learned how to use it. The contractions are coming around every 15 minutes or so, almost to the second!

It’s now around 7:00 am and I need a coffee badly so for the first time since we been together (5 and half years) it’s finally my turn to make some kick ass coffee! It’s just what the doctor ordered......literally! It’s 7:30 and I pass out on the couch with Yael next to me. So much for my brew!

I wake up feeling like I have a serious case of jet lag and try to come to my senses on how the hell am I going to get through this? That’s right. It’s not about mom right now! That thought changes with the next contraction. We seem to have consistency in the timing but they are still 12 to 14 mins apart. We phone the Midwives to give them the heads up that things are progressing and they thank us for the notice. Wendy who is on call lets us know to call her anytime if things get more uncomfortable. Uhh.... we are uncomfortable! We reassure each other that we are ready and prepared for this, perhaps Yael more than me. We labour in the first stage doing more of the birth ball exercises as well as trying to grab some nutrition while we can. The time seems to be dragging on without results. We have contractions coming in at every 6-7 mins and are so dog tired that we decide to lay down. I hear Rhonda asking the class, “ if you are progressing should you lay down or keep active”?. Of course I would have chimed in with a NO! On the contrary I just can’t go on! We lay down for a bit and will have to re-activate progression when we get up. We grabbed 45 mins and I feel pumped. So pumped I put together a circuit of 6 exercises that last 5 mins each with a 3 hour timeframe. I structure this with intent. If we can get the contractions to within 6-7 minutes again, I can see which exercise Yael will be best suited for the most relaxed state for any given contraction. The toilet with a pillow on the tank seems a favorite. Who would have thought?

We are getting into the evening with the contractions still not as quick as we’d like to see. All I can think of is 4-1-1!

The rest of the evening entailed a bath that the plumbers had just finished piping 4 days prior. I gave Yael heck for not letting me build the “nesting phase” into my already jam packed, stressed out reno schedule! She put her hand right into my newly caulked window as she got into the tub. She didn’t complain, contractions do come in handy!

We went to bed after a few more exercises to try and get some rest. We’d already been up for 20 hours and had hopes of seeing the birth center soon.

I think I had 4 hours of sleep when again at 2 am (what is up with waking me up at 2 am?) when I awoke to Yael informing me that the mucus plug passed. Wow, it was a mucus plug alright. You don’t have to see one to know what one is. The words say it all. It reminded me of getting a bloody nose in school yard fight when your boogers are congealed with blood. Which is more gross you ask? It kind of foreshadows you in preparation for the arrival of the placenta. Both of these I think I could do without having to bare witness to. I sucked it up and put the massive plug in a huge ziplock for the midwives. All this with no coffee and awake for 2 mins. It’s a good thing we don’t have bathroom doors yet or I would have walked right through it! (damn nesting schedule)

From here we were we totally assured that this would be short lived, it had to be, we’d been in labor for 24 hours! When I say we, I mean WE.

I had made my second pot of coffee in as many days and got my second wind. Yael was doing great. She had said that while I was asleep that she was not ruling out an epidural. The word made me think that I should not have passed out. Surely this would have not been said if I had been coaching the 4 hours that I was sleeping. Man it was an awesome 4 hour power nap. (not advisable to most husbands)

It was now 5 am and the contractions were getting worse....... huh? I decided to take a proactive approach and called the Midwives. Five am or not, we both figured we needed to know.

I woke Carol up to let her know the contractions were coming in harder and more frequent, Yael was becoming audible in her moans and she seemed to stare through her eyelids. It was kind of creepy and reminded me of a James Bond scene where Roger Moore is on an island where the witch doctor goes into this bizarre trance.......you may remember it? You’ll know it when you see it! I digress.......

Carol lets me know that she will be over soon so she can give us a baseline so we know just how much more of this we can take. She arrives at 7:00 and performs an exam. We wait with bated breath, we’re both thinking 1cm? 2cm’s?

6 cm’s and she can get to 7! I ask if she effaced and are we at a negative station? Where did those words come from? Apparently I did retain something from class, she was fully effaced with a paper thin cervix and at plus 1 station. “Lets go have a baby” as Carol put it. At this time I had no idea just what exactly I was to bring, so much for being a boy scout! I grabbed a gross fruit bar that I wished I had more of, my music player with 80 songs of pregnancy music, one candle with matches and the camera. Everything else was in Yael.

We arrived at the birthing center at 8:00 am and met Carol there who had informed us that through some bizarre circumstances, Penny would be delivering our baby girl. We were both over the moon with this news.

We have never felt anything but the greatest admiration for all of the midwives on our team. But Penny instilled confidence in us with her wisdom and experience by her thousands of deliveries, that we really wanted her to be part of this birth story.

The 2 exchanged notes and we were now in Penny’s care.

The next 2 hours had Yael laboring in the tub, changing position 3-4 times with some more extreme audible moaning through the contractions than previously, no doubt starting to stack. It was now time to move onto the bed and were informed that we had the option to labor and deliver in the tub or stay put. It was apparent that once in bed, she had no intentions of moving anywhere. I climbed between Yael and the head board and she laid her back on my chest as I leaned against the headboard.

Penny did one more exam and broke the membrane, not as much water as I had expected but it was clear, another good sign that things were healthy. We were asked at the time if either of us was were born with hair as she could feel it, and knowing that our baby was so close I started to tear up.

This is where Penny instructed to Yael to push and push she did! It was apparent right away that she wasn’t prepared to the full extent of my wife’s power. I informed her of Yael’s competitive nature and if you lay it down...........expect it! The power generated by her was so intense that I had to physically grab her shoulders and squeeze with all I had to try to relax her. Penny was scrambling to get the oxygen tank and other instruments required post delivery, It was apparent that back up was not going to arrive on time and it would all fall on her shoulders and I for one had confidence that we were in caring on competent hands. It all seemed to accelerate from here and long gone was the sleep deprivation I had felt for the previous 36 hours. It was go time! Within 5 more contractions a head appeared, she seemed to stall out and that’s when I noticed Penny unwrapping the umbilical cord from around little Kennedy’s head. Once that was done she pulled the rest of our new born out and placed it on Yael’s chest. It was such an emotional moment I couldn’t help but cry. The little whimpers coming from Kennedy were so pure, so innocent. Before I knew it I was handed a pair of scissors and had the dubious honor of cutting my daughters cord after around 5 mins, which gave Kennedy the benefits of delayed cord clamping. The whimpers quickly turned to a solid cry after the sinewy cord was cut.

My recollection of events was that I felt well prepared in all stages of our labor. The experience was the most amazing experience that I have been involved in and the newly found bond that I share with my daughter is a connection that only a father who has a daughter can understand.

The title of this story has everything to do with the amount of bitumen (tarsands oil) type of pooh encountered in the first 7 changes. I was under the impression that there was only to be one. It has a consistency of molasses and is just as difficult to get off of anything it encounters. This is the story of how the Meconium Princess came to be.

The End

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