Wednesday, September 27, 2006




My daughter turns Nine on Saturday.

And amongst the chaos, of preparing for her party under the stars, with her twenty most intimate friends, I want to take the time to reflect on her miraculous birth. It is a time to be thankful for her. It is a time to think how I am blessed by the everyday joys of having her in my life and it is also time to remember how she splashed into my life. Her entry into the world was a cue for wonders and to believe in everyday miracles for they happen everyday sometimes you just need a reminder.

My pregnancy was unique as all pregnancies are. I had a menstrual cycle through the first trimester. I only went to the doctor because I thought I had mono. But while in the doctor's office, waiting to seen, I thought... Just maybe, I could be pregnant.

And pregnant I was. I kept my miraculous secret, a secret for two days as I wanted to tell my husband on Valentine's Day, with baby clothes.I wanted his first Valentine to be from our little Scooter. His first Valentine from his wee baby.

I named my wee zygote Scooter as she scooted past the radar of us. She just scooted into our lives and well into our hearts. When we first heard that beautiful cacophony over the monitor, that whhhhaahhhh whaahhhwhaaa whhaahhh heartbeat and saw her flicker on the monitor, our hearts could not contain our joy. The miracle of a life is something to behold. It certainly had my husband and I star struck as we watched the ultrasound. We could not breath as watched her dance on the monitor before our eyes and with the back drop of the heartbeat had the two of us were riveted to the screen.

We had minor and major hiccups with the pregnancy. At 29 weeks, we had a scare during a full moon when our wee little Scooter wanted to come out. Our midwife met us at the crowded hospital where she called in advance so that I may have a bed. I remember being whisked in and forced to lie in a bed, they attached me to a fetal monitor, and while there was panic all around, I was trying to sing a calming lullaby to my wee Scooter I was trying to coax her to stay in for just a few more weeks. A few more weeks and she would have lungs to help her breath and she would not be torn away from us.
And somehow, through no medical intervention, she decided to stay inside until the day she was due. No rhyme or reason, she opted to stay in.

On September 30th at 6a.m. I had my first contraction.

Actually, that's a lie.

My first contraction happened the day before when I was running to catch the bus in the middle of a downtown intersection. I was tying up loose ends at work as my baby was due on September 30th, I had back to back meetings. I was running late when I saw the offending bus.
I ran,
and Owwww!!!
Whoa!!!!!! THE PAIN !
I remember just stopping on the street.
I remember holding the side of a skyscraper with my right hand and my left hand was on my belly. Just one sharp hit and it had me breathless, and I was holding myself up.

It was such a shock that I am certain I howled. I am certain I must have grunted.

Somehow I was not heard or noticed, as I had my first contraction. People kept walking with purpose all around me and there I was motionless and for a brief moment without air.
This contraction that was so unexpected that it did feel like a kick through my spleen.
I breathed in, I breathed out. I breathed in and ooooooout.
And the pain past, just as the people around me did. They fluttered about their business, while I stayed for a brief moment in suspended animation. When oxygen came back to my head and I could find my legs, I continued on my way.
I gingerly walked to the bus stop and waited for the next bus and my composure to return so that I could finish my meetings for the day.

After, tidying all my loose ends at the office, you find me on September 30th at 6am feeling my second contraction while lying in bed. It is a mild taste of yesterday and I am able to function as a normal human being.

I go to use the loo and there is the bloody show. The time has come. My baby is coming. I go back and lie in bed and listen to the birds chirping and the warm autumn air drifting through my open bedroom window. I am going to meet my baby today. I am going to be able to smell her, to hold her, to see her eyes, feel her skin, I am going to be able to nurse her in my arms.

I am talking myself through the day. I am envisioning a bath, I am envisioning a back rub from my husband and while I am 'dreaming' of the activities the pain begins to mount.

At 7:30am the alarm clock goes off. My husband, Boy Wonder wakes up. I tell him I am in labor. He smiles, kisses my belly and goes downstairs to take a SHOWER????

He is whistling in the shower, he is listening to the news, he is having a normal day.

Meanwhile, I rise from our bed descend to our second floor and begin pacing the halls. Walking back and forth. Millions of thoughts of self doubt are swarming through my mind in a flurry of contractions.

Boy Wonder turns on the radio in the bathroom. Boy Wonder shaves. Boy Wonder brushes his teeth. Boy Wonder tests the water. Boy Wonder takes a shower. Boy Wonder combs his hair. Boy Wonder gets ready for WORK?

I have opted to lie in our prepared birthing bed on the second floor, I am in the fetal position, he walks in and plops himself down in the rocking chair in the corner of the room.I look up. He begins to rock himself, his eyes meet mine. He looks at what he is wearing and then cautiously says'I guuuuueeess,I'mmNNNOOOOOOTgoingtowooork?'

I drag myself up from the birthing bed and pass the smiling, the freshly showered, the humorous, the 'non working ',clean man, rocking contently in our rocking chair, in our birthing room.

I start to walk the hall again. I go to one end of the long narrow hall then when I reach the end I return. Back and forth, back and forth. And all the while thoughts are zooming through my head as the contractions build. I am transported to an open field in sixty five years ago to where my grandmother is giving birth alone, I am in the hospital wing where my mother is in her 24th hour of labor on the hottest day of the year with no ventalation. I am thinking of my paternal grandmother giving birth to my father who was her first and weighed in at twelve pounds thirteen ounces. I think of all the birth stories that I have been told to me. I wince through then all and I think I am so unworthy of THIS club. This club, this club of endurance. What made me think I could be a mother?

I then talk myself through the fact that I can not walk away from pain I have to walk through it.

I re-enter my birthing room. My Boy Wonder has now changed into his birthing clothes. He slides himself down on the rocking chair and asks if I have seen his book.
He finds his book and proudly shows me the cover triumphantly, 'The Birth Partner' says he... HE cracks it open and reads aloud 'Chapter One... '

Now, Dear Reader, do not hate him. Boy Wonder went to every appointment with me to see my midwife. He went to the birthing classes. Heck, he even took a parenting class. He just did not do the last bit of homework and now he is cramming.

It is around 9:50 am.

I haul myself up again and walk down the hall to reevaluate my inadequacies in the birthing department.

When, what do I hear from down the hall?
Power tools?
Yes, that is exactly what I heard POWER TOOLS!

I walk towards the noise, towards the birthing room and there, there, in the birthing room is my Boy Wonder installing a new light fixture. I scowl at him as I slink back in the bed.
He then proudly points to a chart that he has made while I was 'away'.

He then says 'Oh, you should be having a contraction!' he says with enthusiasm,
and with that it came...
he timed it... as well as a many others.

and then the phone rings...
He answers it????What tha???? Yes, Dear Reader, he answered the phone.
it is one of my clients... I had a contraction, while Boy Wonder was on the phone with my client. My client then informs him that it would be in his best interest NOT to pick up another call.

Anyway back to us...
Back to the ' uncommunicative wife' and the Birth Partner. The Birth Partner has decided that I am not communicating appropriately, so he calls our midwife at 10:30 am. She tells him, that I have a longway to go and that I have to remain focused. She will arrive at our house at 1pm to help. She then asks to speak to me.

One thing about me Dear Reader, I have a very high pain threshold. And Dear Reader, I was able to 'talk' during a contraction. Our midwife had no idea about how far along I could be. Apparently women should not be able to talk while in full labor and who would have thought that I could have defied what the norm was.

Now, as I mentioned our midwife gave my husband instructions. She told him that I had to remain 'focused'. But focused to a woman in labor and focused to a man that is freshly showered and with power tools mean entirely different things. He took this cue or me needing to remain 'focused' as a perfect time to install a baby mobile above the birthing bed. I took this as a 'cue' to take a walk down the hall and think of ways to distract me from killing him.

When I slunk back the room holding my belly, I saw him smiling in the rockingchair, the showered face, the brushed teeth, the power drill in his left hand, the chart on the table, the Winnie the Pooh baby mobile above the bed...I just said,quite calmly 'You turn that thing and you die!'

I lay there for about a half an hour and then I started pacing again.

And then Dear Reader it all unfolded.
I wanted to relieve the pressure. My water had not broken. I knew it was going to be a long arduous day. But if the sac would just break.

I am focused and think if I just go to the washroom.

At this point my husband has had all he could bare with me. He tries to call the midwife's pager again and this time he reaches a pizza delivery place. He hangs up and calls again. Again it goes not to our midwife's pager but to a corporate switchboard. I should mention, that he did call the proper numbers. But while he was calling, a satellite crashed to earth and took down all paging systems from around the world for ten minutes.

10 minutes of not reaching vital number.

Boy Wonder after one minute of not getting through begins to panic. He makes an executive decision to call the landline of the midwives. He gets a hold of the receptionist and informs her that he needs to talk to a midwife. He thinks that things are really beginning to happen as he says this, I push.
I scream.
He comes running into our bathroom with our portable phone and places the phone on the counter as he yells 'Oh My Gawd,It's the Baby!'

And I yell back that ' IT IS NOT!!!!'
I stand up and everything goes back in.
My husband screams back 'If it is not the baby you are in BIG TROUBLE!!!!'

Now, in Celtic folklore, being born in the cull/sac is one of the luckiest thing that can happen to a person. There is a belief that very few are and it is very special. To be born in the cull is looked upon as a miracle. Well, that was certainly the case with us, as I sat on the loo and pushed to relieve the pressure. Three strong guttural pushes and the baby came out in the cull.
The sac broke my baby's fall as she hit the toilet.

The cull exploded.
The umbilical chord snapped.
The chord snapped, in the right place.

I get up. My legs are shaking and I am hemorrhaging.
I try to get my baby out of the toilet. I can not stand. My husband, pushes me aside and knows from years of experience to move the seat UP, and he picks up our beautiful daughter who has not cried at all. She is just looking all around her like a sage, ole creature.

One thing I have not mentioned through this story has been the fact that I had a dream months before giving birth. I had a dream about my daughter's birth. In my dream I was all alone upstairs in my bathroom and the windows were closed and I could not call for help. In my dream, there was 'a voice 'that kept saying everything was going to be okay. In my dream, it told me to go to the tub to deliver.
And so I followed my dream. And I trusted the voice. I went to the tub, our great Victorian tub which supported my back and my legs and helped me deliver the placenta. I would never have thought of that on my own. It was a perfect place for me to squat. A perfect place to sit and breath.In and out, in and out.

And then the world came hurdling back to us.

We could hear the midwives screaming from the portable phone on the counter'PICK UP PICK UP!PICK UP!'

My Boy Wonder, my hero, picks up the phone, the midwives tell him to give me the baby or I will go into shock if I am not physically responsible for the baby. They also tell them that they have called emergency services and he better get down stairs and open up or they will break down our door to get to us.

They also instruct him to give me the phone.

They start telling me to hold the where the umbilical chord broke, they tell me that Iam the strongest woman alive, they tell me that help is on its way and to stay with them...
And all they while I am holding the umbilical chord, and my daughter and I are just looking at each other.

The paramedics arrive in a matter of minutes.
They take my baby from me and give her to my husband, they also give him a list of things they need from him from our house and then they start ot work on me.
I know that the situation is not good because they will not look in my eyes. They are just focused on trying to stabiize me. I want them to notice me. I want them to hear the voice too.
I want them to stop panicking.
I read one of the guy's names from his badge. 'Jim.'
'Jim!' he stops 'Jim, do you have any kids?'
'Yes'
'How many, Jim?'
'Three.'
'Jim, after each one, everything was all right, right?'
'Right.'
'Well, Jim, everything is going to be okay.Everything is going to be okay' and with that he looked into my eyes and I had him repeat after me.' Everything is going to be okay.'
He nodded and he paused. He looked at me in my eyes. I knew he saw me then. I knew that he saw me as a human. I knew that I was there and he saw me, not just a body that was bleeding away.
I had an IV, I was on a heart monitor and then my 'back up' midwife arrived.

She flashes a badge and said that she is legally allowed to give me these drugs.
And with that she injects me in my left thigh.
She then injects my right thigh.
With the help of the paramedics I get out of the bathtub and I am walked to my birthing room.

The midwife goes to work on stopping the clotts from traveling to my brain.
This basically means that the midwife sits on my chest and beats my stomach for close to twenty minutes.

No one EVER told me about the beating!

The paramedics are not allowed to leave me with the IV. The midwife is not allowed to take it out. Nor is she allowed to touch the heart monitor. The paramedics can not touch the drugs, nor can they touch the baby's med pac.
Very strange as it is all legal mumbo jumbo... But the paramedics and the midwife have to work as a team as the hospitals were in a crisis mode and not taking on any new patients.So this emergency team must work together so they can stabilize me as there is nowhere to go. I will die if the bleeding does not stop.
The drugs start to take affect. I am stabilizing but will need a bit more medical attention from the midwife and I certainly need the IV for another hour or so.

As the midwife works on my body, the paramedics clean up my bathroom. There was blood through out the bathroom and being the compassionate, caring people that they were, they took it upon themselves to clean my bathroom ceilings, floors and walls. They believed that I should never see it.

Our main midwife arrived when all the chaos had passed and my Boy Wonder had to talk the midwife out of the shock of missing the birth of Scooter. She had been a midwife for 20 years and this thing just does not happen. She has never missed a birth. She cries about all that could have happened. Boy Wonder consoles her.

The rest seems so inconsequential as the midwives took an hour to knit me back together, how they ensured that I had enough fluids in my body, how the administered Vitamin K into my baby, how they took all the vitals of Scooter, how the midwives gave my husband some drugs for him to cope with the shock. (He claims that he was just fine, but I do not think that if he was complete control of his faculties as he would have given me the phone to talk to my father when the midwives were knitting me back together...)

This story has been told a great deal of times by us. It is a story of my daughter's birth and my near demise. It is a story that still causes my husband to be overwhelmed with emotion when he gets to the part with the paramedics. The paramedics were taking control when he realized how out of control it all became. The paramedics allowed him to take in the whole story.

It is the story of how we became a family and when my daughter splashed onto the scene at 11:45pm and when the midwives left us at 6pm.

I do not know if I can say with a certainty that fate helped my wee family. I do not know if I would think of us as special as aren't we all? I would say that I do think of most days as having some kind of miracle in them, and sometimes we need to take the time to find it.

I can say that within my heart I am so eternally thankful for having each day.I am so grateful that I am watching my beautiful, wonderful, daughter, flourish. I am beholden with her laughter, her sense of being and her love of song.I am grateful that I can witness her endless compassion. I am grateful that I have the strength to stand by her as she makes mistakes. I am grateful for when I am there to watch her succeed. I am grateful to be there for when she struggles. I am so fortunate that I have experienced nine years of her. I am so fortunate to be part of her cognitive memory. And that she has filled my soul with wonders as she has been growing up.

And while her birth is just part of her story. It was only her entry. I know that someday she will ask for the whole story. The story of her birth. The story that may have her envisioning me walking down the hall and her dad with power tools.

I rarely think of what could have been lost that day. I only think of what I have. And what I have is a great story for my daughter to envision. What I have is a most wonderful husband that could never bare to think of me in pain, much less dying and not spending the rest of his life with me and power tools. What I have is truly a wonderful life with endless moments of miracles in being. And on my daughter's birthday it is just nice to have the reminder.

57 comments:

Kristin said...

Such a beautiful birth story... amazing and powerful and full of hope and miracles...

You are right to focus on the gift because the alternatives are unthinkable.

Mel said...

Oh, Pendullum... make me cry, why don'tcha?
That is an AMAZING story.
Wow. Wow wow wow.

crazymumma said...

Happy Birth Day!...it seems to get a little bloodier every time I hear it...

Panda said...

Oh.My.God.

He used power tools while you were in labour.

Brave man. Brave brave man.

Thankyou for sharing that amazing story.

Oh, The Joys said...

Thank you for that dear one. I am so glad you are you and that you made it through.
Sending internet love...OTJ

chichimama said...

What an amazing story. Every birth story is miraculous, this one is particularly so.

Belated birthday wishes to your daughter. May her year be filled with joy and wonder and love.

Lawyer Mama said...

Wow, what an amazing story!

chelle said...

That is an amazing birth story. WOW! How sweet that they cleaned it all up ... I would have been horrified to see blood.

Teri M. said...

A pretty spectacular entry into the world! And so wonderfully told.

Hope she had a lovely day. :)

Catch said...

That is a wonderful story told in the true amazing "Pendullum" way! And I am just truly amazed at you!! You are such a strong person and you never cease to write the most wonderful stories. If I told you my birth stories you would think it was a comedy...lol. I was always so scared of the pain. I always just wanted them to knock me out...lol. I would have never been brave enough to have one at home. The whole neighborhood would have heard me! Bless you Sweety and bless that little 9 year old miracle you have. (and boy wonder too). I hope she had a wonderful birthday. Shes a lucky girl, she has a great Mommy and Daddy.

Ruth Dynamite said...

RIVETING! Seriously, that was the most understated high drama I've read in a long, long time. And beautiful.

Congratulations on your daughter's 9th birthday, and you? Wow. I'm humbled by your strength.

JLee said...

oh my God, you have me crying here! My daughter turns 10 this month and I too had a midwife. They ALMOST didn't arrive in time either! lol
I almost had the same experience, but held off until they got there, she was born minutes later. Your husband seems like such a rock. What an amazing story. Also coincidentally, my daughter's dad calls her "Scooter" Happy birthday to your wonderful gift from God. :))

Christina_the_wench said...

Oh Pend. This touched me deeply. You are very blessed! 9 years ago. Wow.

Hopefully you print this out and save it for her for when she is older and can understand.

*big hug*

Babaloo said...

Happy birthday to your sweet daughter. Hope the whole family had a wonderful celebration! I loved your amazing story.

Andrea said...

That is the scariest, most gut wrenching, fantastically beautiful and breathtakingly miraculous birth story I've ever heard or read.

Plain Jane Mom said...

WOW, what a powerful story!

hautemama said...

Wow that was such an emotional read--thank you for bearing it all. And a very happy birthday to your angel!!

Kevin Charnas said...

and I am humbled...yet, somehow not surprised.

My Best, Best, Birthday Wishes to your miracle.
And of course, My Best to you, Pend...

With Love and Admiration,
Kevin

sunshinedaily4me_wuz_here said...

You are such a masterful storyteller. I am so glad it all turned out good. That was an amazing story and I felt like I lived through it WITH you. Happy Birthday to your precious daughter.

Wendy said...

Wow, what a story. Amazing experience!

kim said...

Wow, Im speechless... that was quite the story Pen.
Happy Birthday to Scooter and all of you get really *big hugs*

Nikki said...

You had me weeping like a great big baby and laughing hilariously.

Happy birthday to your girl.

I hope she has many, many more.

bananas62 said...

As always a wonderful story!!! My baby, turned 19 on the 28th!! her birth seems so... boring compared to yours.. the most excitement we had, was I locked my self out of the car (while running) and out of the house, so when hubby drove up there I sat on the front porch wincing with pain... she came out in 6 hours. Hope she had a fabulous day!!!!

mothergoosemouse said...

What an incredible story!!

Are you serious about the light fixture? That made me snort coffee. Boy Wonder is a wonder indeed.

And doesn't it mean that your child has the gift of second sight if she's born in the sac? I remember reading that somewhere.

Happy birthday and congratulations. Blown away by your storytelling, as always.

Waya said...

That was just an incredible story! What a strong woman you are! Your daughter is one lucky girl to have such a fighter for a Mom.

Happy belated b-day to your daughter! I was told that I also came out in my sac and in Asian myth, it's supposed to be lucky too.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Wow. What an amazing story. I'm stunned by your courage and strength. Happy birthday to you both.

gandhi rules said...

Damn that made me cry. How intense and that moment with the paramedic. And the moment, you in the tub with baby. Damn girl, still crying.

Thank you

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

My goodness, what a story. Your little baby was truly a miracle..You are a miracle too...Happy birthday Scooter. And congratulations to you strong woman! Enjoy your daughter...give her a hug for me too...

Jodi said...

"That is the scariest, most gut wrenching, fantastically beautiful and breathtakingly miraculous birth story I've ever heard or read."

Amen, that goes ditto for me too! HolyCOW. I was wondering while I was reading if you were upset at the midwives for not coming in time? If you had it to do over again would you go to the hospital?

My Mom had my brother and sister at home too. I would have never considered it in 100 million years as a choice for myself. I suppose that makes me a wimp! :) My Mom and you are both incredibly strong women,I gotta say.

I'm so glad your story had a happy ending. Kiss the daughter and Boy Wonder for us, won't ya?

Mom / Ma'am / Me said...

WOW. What Ruth Dynamite said -- understated high drama. You told it so calmly and matter-of-factly, yet I was riveted by your words and just waiting to see how it all would turn out.

I am glad all turned out OK with you and little Scooter. Happy belated birthday to her!

Pattie said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter! I am certain it is a day none of you will ever forget. I must say, that was one of my fears...having my baby in the house or in the car....wow...you amaze me :)

jen said...

i love hearing birth stories. and i love that we all have the ability to reflect. happiest to you.

Shopping Diva said...

damn!

I had to pick up my jaw and throw it over my shoulder so I could type this! Amazing! That has to be one of the best blog posts ever. and ever.

I hope your darling girl's birthday was fabulous! I'm glad you recovered so well to enjoy her. And thanks so much for stopping by!

Mommy off the Record said...

Wow, my jaw has been hanging open for 5 minutes as I read your story. Wow. I am speechless!

You are so strong to have gone through that and to tell it with such grace.

Happy birthday to your daughter.

IzzyMom said...

I love love love these kind of stories! Everyone should write their children's birth stories.

And yor story...my God! It should be made into a movie or something. I was literally holding my breath as I read it! I'm so glad you both were okay.

Happy Birthday to "Scooter"!

Rhonda said...

Our daughters share a birthday! Though her birth story is not as dramatic, all births are miraculous, aren't they?

You had me laughing and crying - and your strength is amazing.

Beth said...

Wow! What an amazing story! I went from laughter (your hubby installing a new light!) to tears. You are an amazing woman!

Andie D. said...

Wow. Incredible birth, and amazing story. I was so frightened during the birth of my first that I lost a lot of the memories.

Happy birthday to your daughter! I'm sure there will be many more amazing stories to tell throughout her life.

mad muthas said...

oooooh - what a story. i could hardly breath! what a day! what a baby! what a woman! ooooooo!
happy birthday to scooter
xxxxxxxxxxxx

Wendy said...

What a beautiful story, and happy birthday to your daughter.

Mrs. T said...

I am a complete sucker for birth stories. Oh, the tears! Every. Single. ONe.
They each have their own journey, don't they? And the journey is yours and hers together, and you will always have that, and so will she.

Maritza said...

Whoah! I have to read this a couple of times to fully grasp all that happened..

Rock the Cradle said...

I'm going to say Happy UNbirthday at this point.

I'm so glad you are here to share it with us! Yours is the kind of story all others are measured by. Just wondrous.

Crankmama said...

That is such a beautiful story... and such a gorgeous picture of you and your baby daughter.

BV said...

You always leave me so effing speechless. What a story?

Catherine said...

You've rendered me speechless. Anything I was planning on commenting about completely evades me now that I'm all done reading! Color me amazed, Pendullum. And thanks for sharing.
Oh, and happy birthday to Scooter!!

shpprgrl said...

Wow!

Thanks for sharing!

(I can understand the power tool thing, it could happen at my house at any given time too!)

sunshine scribe said...

WOW. Just Wow. That was such an incredbly powerful story. Thank you so much for sharing it and your amazing perspective about it all.

Sheila said...

While I was reading your story I kept thinking about the birth of my twins. You have an amazing gift at bringing someone right to the moment. What an honor it has been reading what you have to say.

pinknest said...

that is so lovely, and i absolutely ADORE that photo!!

Lisa said...

Wow. That gave me goosebumps on top of goosebumps. That was a very powerful story.

marsha_tm said...

What an amazing story.

Happy Birthday to your daughter!

MommyWithAttitude said...

Wonderful story!!!! Happy Birthday to your daughter... how blessed you both are!

Kevin Charnas said...

Hey...you're okay, right? I've just been thinking about you (as usual) and just hope that everything is alright. :)

Nikki said...

Hey Bella,

What's the scoop?

You're never gone this long.

You okay?

I'm worried about you and yours.

Shoot me an email or something.

Nikki

Awesome Mom said...

Wow what an amazing and touching story. I am so glad that you found my blog because now I have found your blog.

Jenifer said...

July 2007
Oh my. I just don't know what to say other than I am so glad you are all fine. That is one scary story.

A miracle indeed.