My official due date was the following day, Sunday, October 10th, a date that I always questioned as being too early according to my calculations, but who am I to argue with the "magic wheel"? So I took a deep breath and tried to explain that Shine was 10 days past due and my midwife at the time said we would "talk" about induction if I made it to day 14. My midwife also said that any subsequent pregnancies would most likely go past due as well as that is the nature of these things. My doctor agreed that that was the common pattern. Then she asked a few questions about Shine's birth weight, Apgar score and labor. I explained that all went well although labor was long (28 hours to be precise!!) but that his heartbeat never wavered, he never went into distress and was born weighing an average 7lbs 4oz and swept the Apgar test with 10's. When I questioned her about the reasons for inducing labor only 2 days past what the magic wheel said was Baby Q's birthday, her only response was, "I don't like when women go past their due date." That's it??!! I asked for more time. It didn't seem fair to me or Baby Q to force an issue. She asked me to come to a second appointment on Wednesday and then said she would hold off on induction until the following Sunday, October 17th. I agreed to come in on Wednesday and revisit the topic.
At home, I was fuming. I didn't understand how this could be happening. I've never heard a happy ending to a birth story with induced labor. I got out my copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves and poured over the natural birth section. When I finished with that, I took Yoga and Meditation for Pregnancy by Theresa Jamieson off the shelf and studied the labor meditations and the creative visualizations used leading up to labor. I called my mom and sister and found comfort in their support. Then I decided I would just focus on trying to communicate with Baby Q, telling the baby that it was up to us to have the kind of natural delivery we would both appreciate. I visualized Baby Q preparing for the journey. I rubbed my belly and encouraged the baby to come out and meet us. I saw myself sitting on my giant exercise ball doing the breathing pranayamas recommended for labor. I did all of this in the hopes that I would encourage Baby Q out before Wednesday's appointment.
Needless to say, it worked!! It was late afternoon on Sunday, October 10th (10-10-10), when I started to feel regular contractions. I told Mo that we should probably call his Aunt L who volunteered to come stay with us during labor and for the first week to help out with Shine. He made the call and also phoned his friend who lived in our neighborhood who said he would come stay with Shine until Aunt L arrived. He told them not to rush, that things were just getting started and it would be hours before we were ready to leave for the hospital. In the meantime, he took a shower and got himself ready while I sat on the exercise ball and watched Scooby Doo cartoons with Shine. When Mo was ready, he called Shine into the bathroom to give him a bath and get him ready for the night. By this time it was 6pm and the contractions were getting more frequent and stronger. I told him we might have to go sooner rather than later. He made some more calls and we both realized that neither Milo nor Aunt L were going to get here in time so Mo took Shine upstairs to our neighbor's house. When he got back, he called my doctor and then a cab. I remember glancing at the clock on my way out the door and noticed it was 7pm.
Thank goodness for the understanding (and fast driving!!) cab driver!! We arrived at the hospital (which is only 10 minutes from our apartment) just in time. The nurses scurried me into a delivery room, quickly checked Baby Q's heartbeat and then my doctor was there telling me to push. I remember saying, "Really? It's time for the baby to come out?"
At 7:54pm we said hello to our new baby girl! Song was perfect! She weighed 6lbs 6oz and measured just under 20 inches in length. She also aced the Apgar with a 9 and 10. They placed her in my arms and I thanked her for working with me to have the best natural delivery ever!
When we were both cleaned up, we settled into our room. I was brought some tea and crackers and Song, wrapped tight and cozy in her blanket rested in her bed by the window. After some time, Mo said good night to each of us with promises to call in the morning. The next morning, I awoke to the dawn light coming in through the window. More tea and crackers arrived and Song opened her eyes to say good morning. As day broke, I noticed the gorgeous view of the mountains. They were so green and beautiful. Breakfast came and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a vegetarian version of the national dish, ackee and saltfish. Instead of the saltfish, it was peppered seitan. There was also cornmeal porridge, a roll, more crackers and tea, juice and fruit. A wonderful feast! I devoured it! I felt like I was at a mountain retreat. The nurses were wonderful, the food was plentiful, fantastic and 100% vegetarian and Song was just beautiful! It was a really pleasant experience.
When we got home on Tuesday morning, after another lovely breakfast, I thought about how different the experience could have been if I allowed my doctor to have her way. It just reinforces that when you believe in something so strongly, you must stand up and fight for it. It is always worth it in the end!
Rae and Song
Adoring Mommy and Daddy