My Birth Story

February 12, 2013 Candace Morris 4 Comments

It is finally finished! It's taken me 7.25 months to write the story of my birthing Bowie, but I am happy to say I've completed it today.

A few things you should know before you commit to the reading of this:

  1. It's roughly 9 pages long, 5000 words. (if you would prefer a pdf to read, let me know and I'll send it on).
  2. It contains expletives. Be ye warned. 
That's all.  Enjoy!

Bowie Andromeda: A Birth Story

The Beginning
June 21, 2012:
 I had just passed the 34-week mark, thinking to myself that I would never adjust to the woes of the 3rd trimester. My body and my spirit were giving out.  I felt increasingly self-conscious of my dependency on Joel and my inability to contribute to the household as before.  Would things ever go back to feeling normal again, or had we embarked upon such a new path that although we were convinced we’d find the landscape breathtaking, would we also find it completely and utterly foreign?

I wrote in an email to my sister, “I feel like I'm being forced to the edge of a high precipice overlooking a deep, black water and being told "okay, here is your life going forward" and it's not so much that the future looks black as much as it is completely hidden and I have no idea what to expect or if we will be happy.”

I was very uncomfortable and unable to sit at my desk very long. My contractions, though relatively painless, were constant and uncomfortable.

June 25, 2012: Four days later, I woke up to get ready for work, but felt a bit odd, and realized that I had begun to bleed.  The internet said could have been a great many things, showing a any number of signs...but mainly, it indicates pre-term labor.  I immediately got into a hot bath, called Joel, and called Sally - our certified nurse midwife.  She agreed these were not great signs, and wanted to see me that day.

Hooked up to the fetal monitor at Sally's home office

Once Joel and I arrived at Sally’s home office, she attached me to the fetal monitor.  For the next 20 minutes, we listened to our baby girl’s heart beat.  Aside from one slightly concerning reading where her heart rate went down as I contracted, she was great.  I was not effaced or dilated.  My contractions remained painless and sporadic.  However, to be cautious, Sally sent Joel and I for an ultrasound.  We drove from her office in Lake City to Swedish Hospital on Capitol Hill and waited for what felt like an eternity to be admitted.  I was quite anxious at this point.

The ultrasound tech said everything looked great!  In fact, our girl was already a healthy 6.5lbs, and I had plenty of amniotic fluid.  The placenta was in the correct place and didn’t appear ruptured, which ruled out another cause of the bleeding.  Despite such a positive outcome, Sally wanted to have us hooked up to a monitor at Group Health Hospital on North Capitol Hill.  If we delivered before the 37-week mark, we would have to be at Group Health Hospital as opposed to Swedish Ballard, as we had planned.  We then drove over to the hospital and I sat on a fetal monitor for 1.5 hours in the triage room.  Again, there was only one concerning dip in the baby’s blood pressure, but the nurses and Sally all agreed that they were confident in sending us home, but to take it super easy all week.  Sally said cheerfully as I left, “These are all great, favorable signs to have, IN TWO WEEKS!”

So, easy I took it.   I stayed home all week. The contractions kept coming, but were again painless.  The spotting continued intermittently, but constantly.   I took many naps and felt like I was in one long hot bath all week.  I spent Tuesday timing my contractions vigilantly, but realized how anxiety-producing that was for me.  Instead, I decided to stop reading books about labor and begin a fiction novel to distract and comfort me, and take one hour here and there to time my contractions.  Things seemed steady for a few days, aside from my paralyzing fatigue and SI joint pain.  I was getting discouraged because if the next 5 weeks of pregnancy were going to be as debilitating as this last week, I wasn’t sure I could manage it.  I saw myself cresting the steepest mountain, the kind of steep where your knees come to your chest with each step and each labored breath feels like knives as it enters and exits your lungs.  What’s worse is that I couldn’t see over it.  I knew that I wouldn’t be pregnant anymore, that the other side meant I’d get my body back, but then I would have a newborn and be exhausted and, and, and... from there, I digressed into the BLACK HOLE OF UNKNOWING.  

June 28, 2013: I woke early Thursday morning to a different kind of contraction.  Previously, the Braxton-Hicks contractions were centralized around my upper abdomen and made only one section of the uterus hard.  These sensations felt low and very achy, like a bad menstrual cramp.  Many women explain labor exactly as that.  Despite discomfort, they did remain a dull pain, nothing sharp or surprising, and I could certainly still go about my normal day.  However, looking back,  I think this is where I truly began my labor.

I think what surprised me most about this stage was how foreign my body was to me.  For first time Moms, labor pains are so unknown.  Doctors and books give advice to keep vigilant watch of pre-term labor.  I would feel an itch in my left foot and wonder, “Is this is it?! Am I going into labor?!”  or surely when the baby would kick down low into my pelvis it was a portentous sign!  I didn’t expect to spend these last weeks so ‘on’ all the time.  

Moving Right Along
June 20, 2012:  By Friday, I was so sick of sitting around at home that I went into the office for a few hours. My coworkers were surprised I came in, and one admonished me to go home!  I thought for sure I was just being a baby and should suck it up.   Afterward, I had this sudden NEED to go shopping for lounge-wear, laboring clothing, and nursing attire. 

Waiting for my cervical exam.  Sigh.

Hooked up to the fetal monitor at Sally's home office, for the second time.

The top line is the baby's heart rate.  The bottom measures my contractions.
We don't want her rate to dip when my contractions rise.
The first large contraction showed a small dip, which was concerning.

Later that afternoon, we had a regularly-scheduled appointment with Sally for my GroupB test.  I reported the new sensation of contractions and after a cervical exam, she reported that everything looked fine; again,  I was not effaced and my cervix had not softened.  The baby performed like a champ when hooked to the fetal monitor.  She tested my blood to see if any of it contained amniotic fluid, but it was clear.  All signs, aside from the spotting and contractions, indicated I was just fine.  On the way out, she joked that I might have this baby this weekend.  I laughed at the inconceivability of it all.  In my mind, there was no way I was going into labor early.  Hell, we didn’t even have a hospital bag packed yet.

Afterward, Joel and I went for Mexican food at Rositas.  As we walked in from the parking lot,  I distinctly remember having to stop what I was doing to bear down with the contraction’s pain; a first.  I had several achey and uncomfortable contractions there and throughout the evening.  Stuffed, we came home utterly exhausted  from all the exertion and uncertainty.  I promptly ran a bath.  I then took a nap from 7-9pm, wondering at my exhaustion.  When I woke and joined Joel on the couch to watch an episode of Star Trek: TNG, I fell asleep again for a few hours.  Afterward, we went to bed, joking that we had better pack the hospital bag just in case.  That night,  I actually clocked 8 hours of sleep. No doubt, my body knew what was ahead.

At this point, we didn’t own even one receiving blanket, and all the hand-me-down baby clothing was unwashed. There was no changing table, the bassinet wasn’t assembled, and I didn’t even have diapers.  We did, however, manage to have installed the car seat several weeks earlier.  Turns out, that’s really the only thing you need.

Active Labor
June 30, 2012: At 3am, I woke with painful sharp contractions.  Although it was certainly a progressing pain from previous contractions, it was nothing truly horrifying, just enough to make me wonder.  I didn’t wake Joel, just in case he would need this sleep later.  I ran another hot bath and soaked for roughly 15 minutes before I realized I was in immense pain and these contractions were not slowing down or easing up. I got dressed and waddled into the bedroom to wake Joel.  I don’t even know what I said, maybe “It’s time” or “Joel, I think I’m in labor.”  He jumped out of bed and began to pack our hospital bag.  I remember kneeling on the side of the bed, telling him what to pack, having to stop every 2-3 minutes to bear down in the contraction.  I had read something somewhere that said if you couldn’t carry on a conversation, you were in active labor.  Yes. I had no doubt, but it was still so surreal.  During this time, my waters had broken, but not in one swift gush.  Instead, I had the pleasure of enjoying a slow, steady leak over a period of an hour.  Before we even left for the hospital, my yoga pants were completely soaked, but since I was still leaking, there was no point in changing.  We walked out to the car, and while I stood leaning on the passenger side with a contraction, Joel put a towel down on the seat.  We laughed at the ridiculousness of the whole situation.  Was this really happening?  Why weren’t we panicked?  We were moving fast, but we were not afraid.

Oh.Goddess.of.pains. That car ride was the most torturous thing I had endured in my relatively painless life (as yet).  Every bump made me bear down, each turn tilted my pelvis into an agonizing position. We remarked on the serendipity of a clear freeway, since there is always a huge backup on I-5 between Wallingford and Capitol Hill.  I guess a 4am trip to the hospital has its advantages.

Now bear with me.  Here is where I begin to lose time.

Note on Time:  I usually cannot shake it.  At any given moment, Joel can ask me what time it is and I always guess within 15 minutes of the answer.  I am also a keen, almost obsessive noticer.  I notice people’s faces and expressions and the comings and goings of just about everything I see.  Therefore, when birthing classes warned that I’d lose time and most of my noticing abilities, I scoffed and snarkily commented to Joel, “I’m still going to be me.”


It’s not so much that I subsisted being Candace, per say...but I was a different version of myself.  One I have never known, since I do not live my life actively seeking pain like some masochistic runners I know.

At The Hospital
I remember the parking lot - where I stopped and contracted leaning on Joel.  I remember the waiting for the elevator, where I stopped and contracted leaning on Joel.  I remember the feel of the formica against my head as I leaned over in agony at the registration desk.  Thankfully we already filled out paperwork from the visit the day before.  We were admitted to triage so the nurse could determine the progress and stage of my labor.

As far as I know, we stayed in triage all of 10 minutes.  I remember that they wanted me to get on the bed and hook me up to a monitor, but I was contracting so hard and so fast at this point that I believe they admitted me to a labor and delivery room right away.  Joel says this whole process was more like an hour.  Let’s see, that then puts us at roughly 6:00am.  

Once admitted, we walked into the room and I was asked if I wanted to get into the tub right away.  Boy did I.  Aside from the sports bra I delivered in, my clothes came off (another thing I was sure I would be concerned about, despite all mothers saying they lost their modesty during delivery, but it’s true- I barely even knew I was naked) and I was lowered into this space-age contraption called a birthing tub.  It had a door and once you sat on the seat, it leaned way far back and filled up.  To be honest, though the hot water felt divine, the position wasn’t necessarily very favorable.  I wanted to lean against the side of the tub with my hands dangling over, but this contraption of a tub made it impossible.   

I stayed in water for what felt like 6 hours.  At one point, the nurses changed shifts and I noticed that someone new was there holding my hand, coaching me gently, and asking me if I needed ice...but I had no idea of her visage or name.  It was such an odd sensation to be given the gift of oblivion.

Ouch. That Hurts a Bit.
At this point, my contractions were hard and fast and ruthlessly close together.  I was not getting the break in between that birthing classes promised me, DAMNIT.  This felt very unfair, and all of the nurses agreed with me.  I could barely catch my breath to reset and prepare for the next contraction, which were blinding and all consuming and lasting 60-90 seconds.  The nurses were convinced it would be a very fast labor since the contractions were now 1 minute apart.   At one point, I vomited rather suddenly.  I was very inside myself now.  I don’t even think I opened my eyes for several hours.

The tub.  I have zero recollection of this photo being taken.

Where was our midwife?  I still hadn't had a cervical exam, so I wasn't sure of the progression.  The nurse kept wondering where Sally was.  Had someone called her?  Was she on her way?  By this nameless plump nurse’s heightened tone of voice, I was preparing to deliver in the next few hours.

In the bathroom was this strange red heat light.  It gave a sort of darkroom feel.  I writhed around in the tub, pounding on the side with either my foot or my hand or my head, or all three in this rhythmic pattern that somehow made the 60 seconds of indescribable pain easier to manage.  I remember biting the bathtub ridge.  Joel’s presence was always felt, though rarely seen since my eyes were closed for half of the day.  It felt strange to not care for him, I don’t even know if he was anxious or tired or excited.  At one point he must have stepped out, because I felt his absence keenly in my being.  I grasped his hand the entire time and would often bury my nose in his forearm.  His smell and touch was a major source of comfort.  

Despite the misery of pain, I was functioning and proud of myself.  Neither of us were visibly anxious or panicked, which was one of my biggest fears..that I would lose all sense of logic and go stark raving mad - that I would lose control.  It wasn’t happening! I was still logical and sane.  Since my contractions were so close together, I was encouraged repeatedly that labor was nearing the end. I could do it!  Surely, I had endured the worst of it!

Oh you false sense of hope.  How you crush and bruise and murder my soul.

A Complicated Birth
9:00am: Sally arrived to check my cervix.  I had been in the bathtub for 3+hours.  I was starving and no one would give me any food; I was wrinkly and tired of being wet.  I knew this couldn’t last forever, but boy was I wishing tomorrow would come faster.

She checked me and I was only two centimeters dilated.  TWO.Fucking.Centimeters.  That couldn’t be right.  Though the exam was excruciating, I thought she had better check again.

I was discouraged.  I remember looking at Sally so pathetically and quizzically.  Suddenly thoughts entered my head that I would be in labor for the next 10 years.  The pain would never end.  I would never sleep again.  I would never eat again.  Surely I would perish.

In addition to slow progress, Sally seemed confused as to the baby’s position.  She managed to locate what she thought was an ear, but even so, she couldn’t identify if she was anterior, posterior, or otherwise.  This could explain why she wasn’t lowering into and therefore dilating the cervix.  

Sally left to do paperwork, and I think a nurse suggested I get out of the tub and use the restroom.  Afterward, I must have returned to the tub for more laboring.  My spirits were getting lower and lower. I wanted to cry and give up.  I was done, but there was no choice.  My body pressed on, leaving behind my withering mind.  

10:00am: Sally came back for another dilation check.  I had been walking around now, holding Joel’s hands and facing him as if at a junior high dance.  I could not find a way to be comfortable or endure these contractions, which were still so close together.  I tried to sit on a birthing ball and that was excruciating. I tried to sit on the bed - nope.  Nothing helped.

I was now 5cm dilated.  This was concerning only because my body was contracting so fast and so hard, but baby just wasn’t descending as she should.  Sally again tried to assess the baby’s position, and due to her confusion, we ruled out that baby was positioned favorably, which explained the slow progress.  We knew at the very least that she was sunny-side-up, or posterior which we knew would make things more complicated.  Though concerning, babies are birthed in unfavorable positions every day.  I wasn’t sure what Sally was worried about.

A Decision.
It was here that I began to consider pain medication.  Throughout pregnancy, I had pursued the idea of a medication-free birth, but I could never truly pinpoint why it was important to me.  I never had the strong convictions that other mothers in my birthing class possessed.  I just figured it was the most natural thing for a woman, no need to intervene in Mother Nature’s process.  However, looking back, I can now see that the only reason I didn’t want an epidural was pride.  I wanted the bragging rights.  I wanted to be proud of myself, to feel tough, to do something I didn’t think I could do.  My weak reasons quickly crumbled in the face of pain. I began to ask Joel:

Me: “Wait, why didn’t I want an epidural, again?”
He: “I have no fucking clue.  I thought you were crazy.”

Sidenote: I will not go into the debate about medicated births versus non medicated births (I take offense at the term ‘natural’ birth.  It’s ALL NATURAL).  Suffice it to say that the alternative birth class we took taught us to find a safe word that would indicate to the spouse that despite not initially wanting an epidural, this word would be used to trump that plan and get numbed!  We never came up with one, but always joked that it would be something disdainful to me “like Clive Cussler” Joel joked.

Clive fucking Cussler it was.

But I wasn’t quite ready to call in the big guns.  The nurse first suggested a narcotic as a means of coping.  This was explained to me that it wouldn’t remove the pain at all, but it would help me care less about it and to rest during the small inbetweens my contractions grudgingly bequeathed me.  I wish I would have just opted for the epidural at this point, but I was still really resisting extreme measures.  And, I really did want to exhaust all options - try new positions, walk around, do whatever it took.  But when I realized that her unfavorable position would make this ordeal much, much longer and harder than expected, I knew I didn’t have the mental stamina to remain in a good place. This is the benefit of knowing oneself.

Drugs. How I Love Thee.
I got hooked up with a narcotic.  I don’t even know what it was or how they administered it, as I was pretty damn delirious with fatigue and pain.  It was exactly as they described it.  The pain was still searing and present, but in the 15-20 second breaks I had between contractions, I completely forgot about it.  Hell, I forgot my own name.  Those were some delicious drugs.

A quick little summary: now we are at 12 hours of labor with hard and fast contractions lasting 1-2 minutes each with a 15-20 second break in between.  I must have been on the hospital bed now, where I would stay until delivery - one of the downsides of drugs.  However, all of the various upright positions were distressing my body anyway, and I found it extremely comforting to bed myself.

I remember sitting on the side of the bed and realizing that even with this great manufactured oblivion pumping into my bloodstream, I was quickly losing my will to go on.

I asked out loud again, “Why didn’t I want an epidural?”
Sally answered, “To have an unmedicated birth.”  

Joel and I looked at each other in agreement and almost laughed, “Yeah, that’s not enough.”  We discussed it and both did not feel any self-compromise by the decision and began to let everyone know to prepare for an epidural.  I was so surprised at how much better I felt, even before the procedure. I was so mentally relieved, so emotionally rejuvenated that I was going to get help, and I think that was the lesson from all the books, the classes, the meditations.  All of it was to empower me to do what I felt was right in the moment, and that even if it looked like the “easy way out,” I could still trust myself.  

Side-note: I still pushed a baby out of my vagina. It wasn't exactly 'the easy way out.' Just sayin.

Sally again said, “It will be nice, but you don’t need it.  You’re doing fine.”  

Side-note: She completely reneged on that opinion and later agreed that having an epidural was a good choice in my case.  A few weeks later, at my 6-week postpartum checkup, she referred to my birth as a complicated birth.  News to me.  Apparently it was more serious than I realized.

12:15pm: I received the epidural. (When I originally wrote this, I thought it was 5:00pm.  When I compared my notes to Joel’s time-stamps, I had apparently lost 5 whole hours). I think my favorite doctor in this whole episode was the anesthesiologist. I was really worried about keeping still during the procedure, since my contractions were so close together, but he only asked me to hold still during one contraction. I really had to move around a lot to cope with these, so I was so grateful to have such an expert.  He arrived quickly and 15 minutes later, I was resting comfortably on my bed.  It must have hurt to have the epidural, but I have absolutely zero memory of the pain.

This is me looking particularly doped.

Holding Joel's hand.

Poor Joel looked visibly relieved.  I started noticing him and his fatigue, thankful for this time to connect with him.  For the first time, I saw the room and observed the people surrounding me.  It wasn’t until this point that I began to really enjoy my birthing experience.  For me, the goal was never specifically to have a medicated-free birth, per say.  It was just to enjoy the experience if I could, to maybe extract something spiritual from it if I could (I didn’t) and learn something about myself in the process.
In a way, I believe my birth experience prepared me for motherhood.  I had lofty, romantic ideals about birthing calmly, looking beautiful, and feeling close to the universal mother - the voice of all mothers before me who had endured and enjoyed the practice of carrying human progeny.  Though I did experience a type of calm, my birth was nothing like my mental picture, even though I had prepared for the unexpected. Motherhood has proven to hold a similar lesson.  It is a continued battle of weighing idealistic expectations against the practical realities of raising a human.  
Push.  Push it Good. 2:15pm:  The next 8 hours feel like 2 in retrospect.  My contractions remained on a 4-minute cycle, each lasting roughly 70 seconds.  Pain for 1.5 minutes, rest for 2.5 minutes.  I was happy to be resting and let my body do its work without the use of my overactive and often prohibitive mind.
Sally wanted to wait an hour post-epidural before I began pushing.  I napped and relaxed.  Turns out, I would really need this reprieve.  

3:20pm:  I was dilated to 9.5cm.  Finally!  I could begin the final stage of bringing my girl into the world.  I was so encouraged and figured we were certainly close now.  What Sally didn’t mention was that even as she checked that last time, the baby was still at zero station.  This means that although my cervix was open enough for the baby, the uterus had not begun to push it down into the birthing canal. Sally said she wanted to wait a bit longer before I began to push.  I’m sure she was hoping my body would progress on its own in that time.
5:09pm:  I was still at zero station.  Sally began the pushing exercises anyway, perhaps just to see what might happen and to get me accustomed to pushing while still a bit numb.  I would push with (what felt like) all my might, until my face felt like exploding and my eyes felt like they were about to jump out of their sockets. And that was just practice.

5:30pm:  All that pushing was ineffective.  Was I doing it wrong?  Sally seemed increasingly concerned, or maybe irritated.  I couldn’t tell. I just knew it wasn’t going as planned. Sally still couldn’t entirely determine baby’s position, but we knew without doubt that her position was the obstruction to labor.  Sally could feel an ear, so she determined that the baby was either posterior (read: BACK LABOR) or had a fist up by its hand, preventing descent.  She began a low drip of pitocin to assist progress.
7:48pm:  Still pushing.
8:49pm: Still pushing.
Sally tried to re-position me several times, I think in an effort to make me more comfortable and therefore more effective at pushing.  But I was so out of it in pain and shock that I couldn’t take instruction well, who am I kidding?  I NEVER take instruction well.  Therefore, all these hours of pushing were performed in the traditional position, which means I spent almost five hours rocking back and forth on my tailbone every two minutes.  Now, as I write this seven months later, my tailbone still aches. Somewhere in the midst of all this pushing, I had to wear an oxygen mask, which stayed on until the very end.  I didn’t know this until several weeks later, but my blood pressure was also a bit low.
Sometimes it Takes a Threat.
9:30pm: I was barely progressed.  This concerned Sally and she went to consult the on-call OB.  The woman came in and was very kind, very understanding.  She explained to me (in between insane pushing and contractions - why do people try to talk to you?!) that we could not use forceps to assist baby because she was too young, her head was too soft.  The OB then said the hateful words: C-Section.  I looked at Joel and through one small tear, I resolved to accept my fate and get this baby out of me anyway I could.  She was going to be in distress if this lasted much longer.

Then, quite suddenly, almost as if the baby and my uterus heard the word C-Section, and quite unbeknownst to me, the little lady began to reveal a bit of her (fore)head.  The OB looked at Sally in surprise;
OB:  “Has this been happening?”
Sally: “Not at all. This is the first I’ve seen of the baby.”
OB:  “Well that is very encouraging.  I’ll make a deal with you.  I’ll give you until 10:00pm to push and see if we can’t get that little one out on her own.”

So, after 5.5 hours of pushing with all my might, I then rallied - found some unknown strength, for the next half hour I pushed even harder.  My brain was surely about to explode; all my capillaries about to burst. The baby would present herself, then hide, present then hide. There were so many effective pushes, but then she would just go back inside of me.
The sensations were unconscionable, and I couldn’t imagine “pushing into the pain” as they coached had I not been medicated.  As it was, I found myself attempting to retreat from it.  I am convinced that without an epidural, my labor would have ended in a C-Section.  
Well this little dance eventually riled up the troops.  A pediatrician, a pediatric nurse, the Midwife, the OB, my nurse..and many more.  There must have been 8 people suddenly arriving with sterile kits and warming lamps.  This fluster of activity was encouraging, so encouraging.  I knew in a place I’ve never known anything before that this child was coming.
The Moment I Was Looking For
This is the one spiritual moment in my birth story: I entered my never-before accessed self, embraced the blackness behind my tightly shut eyes, and as I rose for the last time into that crunch position, legs at my sides, Denise appeared in a vision.
Denise passed away quite quickly only a month before I would be in labor.  Jessica’s mother was more than a mother, she had a larger than life-ness about her, and her death had a profound impact upon me and my pregnancy.  She and I are quite similar not only in personality, but in the role we play in Jessica’s life.  The tragedy of her untimely death was unfair and unbearable.
Denise reached out to me in that darkness.  In a flash, I had the realization of the circle of life...this crazy earth where we are born and where we die, and how delightful and absurd it all can be.  I believe that a small part of Denise’s essence was breathed into Bowie’s soul, giving her courage to emerge...almost as if Denise was bequeathing her own existence, willing it to another.  I saw her feeble hand relinquishing her life gladly, somehow giving me permission to bring this human into existence - unfair and unbearable though it will most certainly be - and as violent as this whole birthing process had been.  But she reminded me that life will also bring joy immeasurable and this child will bring fulfillment beyond comprehension.  
10:23pm:  The baby finally flew out of me in one last push.  Because she was so early, she was taken quickly to be examined by the pediatricians present.  All was declared well and healthy and she was promptly placed on my chest for the next two hours.  A healthy baby girl of 6.6oz and 17.17inches long.  She had the worst looking forehead, bruised and swollen, because as it turns out, she presented forehead first - which means it was remarkable that she was delivered vaginally at all.   Technical terms: She was occiput posterior (back of baby’s head against the mother’s back).  But even in that difficult position, she had managed to wriggle her little forehead to present first.  What a rock-star.
"Let the children lose it,  let the children use it,  let all the children boogie."
Getting the chord cut.  Joel had no interest in performing this act.
A little lady, but healthy!

Note that inflamed forehead!  It was so bruised!

We had not yet decided on a name.  We had a few in mind, but I really did want to meet her and spend a few moments letting her soul’s dust settle.
Late Pre-term Baby
After I delivered the placenta, Sally sent it to pathology to see if perhaps a rupture was the reason I went into early labor.  Six weeks later, when we examined the results, her suspicions were confirmed.  My placenta had begun to rupture, and so my body knew that it was time to get the baby out before it would become fatal.
There were a few minor issues with her being so early, the most important of which was that she would be delinquent in sucking.  Apparently, the baby develops the sucking reflex at 35-40 weeks in utero.  She wasn’t getting enough calories from nursing as we wanted her to, so Joel began to supplementally feed her my colostrum via small syringe tubes.  It was such a sweet sight, and I love that from the very beginning, she was used to feeding both from me and from a bottle.

Daddy/Daughter bonding.

The other issue was her temperature.  She would have a hard time keeping warm.  We therefore had to spend the next 48-hours in the hospital for observation.  She actually seemed to do well, despite some concerning fluctuations in temperature.  She never had to go under a heat lamp, but we were advised to keep her warm at home.  Thankfully, it was June and 80 degrees in our house.

Naming a Human
Within a few hours of her birth, we had a list of 4 names ready.  At this point, I was pushing back on Joel to get her named since I would have been happy with any of them.  He had to take a walk with Brian and as they sat at Coastal Kitchen, sipping a beer, Joel finally decided on Bowie Andromeda.
Bowie was in part because of her Aunt Teresa, my sister.  She loves David Bowie and she and I are quite close.  I wanted a namesake of sorts.  Plus, Bowie is basically our fashion icon. Additionally, though we didn’t know it at first, it means ‘blond’ or ‘yellow’ and ‘victorious.’  
Andromeda had significant meaning for Joel.  Not only is it a cosmic entity, but it has a rich mythological history.  More importantly, the name means ‘ruler of man’ or more figuratively, ‘courageous thinker.’  Courage is an important theme in the soul of our household, the courage to doubt, to reach beyond, to evolve, to use the mind towards personal progress, despite fears of rejection or alienation from those you are in relationship with.

The Three Musketeers together for the first time
Oh those tiny feet
The Kangaroo hold.  Skin to skin is the best remedy for a preemie.
My daughter.

Ready for her ride home.

My victorious ruler of men, you made quite an entrance.

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