Summer Solstice

When it was time to go to bed on the evening of June 20, 2010, I changed out of the old t-shirt I had been wearing all day and looked for another big t-shirt to wear but they were all in the laundry. I rummaged around in my closet and found a white cotton nightgown that had belonged to one of my grandmothers. I had never worn it before and I pulled it on quickly. It was loose and cool, perfect for a steamy night, and the cotton was so soft and crisp. Just feeling the nightgown on my skin transported me to my grandmothers homes, and they felt near.

I woke up a few hours later, around 3:00, very uncomfortable. I got up, went to the bathroom, tried to ignore all the blood in the toilet, got back into bed, tried to settle down, but I just couldn't get comfortable. It seemed like I was having more contractions than usual. I had been told not to worry about the contractions unless they lasted a full minute. Mine never did, they were much shorter, so I tried to ignore them, but this night something felt different. Something felt wrong. We decided to call the doctor.

 

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The answering service said we would get a call back soon, but we waited and waited and still no call. Meanwhile, I got more and more uncomfortable and felt more and more uneasy. I wasn't sure if I was having a digestive problem or cramping or what. I didn't think they were contractions because they were so short and close together, almost continuous. James tried to sleep. G was sleeping in the bedroom across the hall.

We called the answering service again, wondering why we hadn't heard from the doctor. They usually were quite prompt in returning calls. We were reassured that we would hear from someone soon. 

After a while, I could no longer rest in bed so I moved around the room, shifting position to try to find something comfortable. I withdrew into myself, no longer aware of anything else going on in the room or about trying to reach the doctor. I just focused on managing the pain, on doing whatever I needed to do to get through each minute. 

James got up to go to the bathroom, and suddenly I found that I could no longer handle the pain. I cried out, "You have to come, now! I need help!" I squatted on the floor in agony, and suddenly I could feel something coming out. I yelled again, "There's something coming out!" At first, I had no idea what it was. I was completely shocked to feel something there.

But out it slid, and there I was, crouched on the floor with my baby in my hands. She came out with the amniotic sack intact and the placenta attached. The abruption was complete.

   Birth June 21, 2010,  5.16.11

 Birth June 21, 2010, 5.16.11

 

Everything got very still for me, and I sat there feeling the weight of this bundle in my hands, holding, holding, holding. James came over, at first not understanding what had happened, and then when he did, weeping loudly, with his full body.

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G, mercifully, continued to sleep. 

Finally, I was ready to let go. I put the sac down on the floor and stood up. Amazingly, the mess was quite contained. My pure white nightgown only had one small drop of blood on it, and our bedclothes, just inches away, were clean. The whole birth was in a small puddle on the wood floor.

 

Suddenly, our quiet moment was interrupted by the ringing phone. The doctor at last, now that it was all over. James spoke to him and told him that we would get to the hospital as soon as we could. 


James went to get a pot in the kitchen to put the sac in, and I went into the bathroom to clean up. I stepped into the shower, and stood there a long time, numb. All I remember is watching the blood run all the way down my leg and down the drain. 

 

   After birth,  8.13.10

 After birth, 8.13.10

I got dressed, and James tried to reach my parents to come to be with G. They didn't answer the phone, so we decided he would have to drive to their house (10 minutes away) to get them. I sat on my grandparents' loveseat in the growing dawn light with the pot on the floor beside me. For the next half hour, I sat and listened to the birds singing with the dawn, watched the light get brighter, and felt my body settle. It was the morning of the summer solstice, and even though a cataclysm had just occurred, I felt completely at peace.

   Sunrise,  8.12.10

 Sunrise, 8.12.10

Day 23 of 31, 19 Cheshvan 5774