Monday, November 19, 2007

George #2 -- Back to the Beginning

Although I posted a little bit about George back when I was sporadically writing here about a year ago, this systematic trip through the brief biographies of my children sort of requires going back to the beginning.... so here goes.

The summer I was pregnant with George -- 1988 -- was the hottest summer I can recall. Temperatures were routinely in the mid nineties, and the humidity was fierce. And I was due in the middle of August. Arwen was about to turn six, Rosie was four and a half, and Maggie was pushing 18 months. We were hoping for a boy, but another girl would be just fine. What was not just fine was where this baby was hanging out: head up, in a breech position. We were planning another home birth, and although the midwives were OK with delivering breech babies, they are less than pleasant for Mom, and sometimes a little scary. So the prescription was: let's turn this baby. Which meant that I spent ten minutes of every hour with my hips higher than my head.

How this worked out in practice was simple. I made a nice pile of pillows for my head, aimed a fan to be blowing on me, (no air conditioning), and lay down with my head on the pillows and my hips on the couch. I say "lay down", but it really felt like I was hanging there. Hot and sweaty, upside down, and trying to take care of three little girls. I tried to minimize the disruption by doing two ten minute stints consecutively. I did odd hours at the end, and even hours at the beginning, so 20 minutes upside down and then 100 minutes to do everything else that needed doing, rinse and repeat.

After I'd been at this for about three weeks, I was taking a Sunday afternoon rest (not upside-down) when I felt what can only be described as the baby doing some major thrashing around. I was hopeful , and my next visit confirmed it -- the baby was now head down. Of course, being the non-compliant sort, he had chosen a posterior presentation, but that was still better than breech.

So I went back to doing my sweating in a more-or-less upright position, and waited. Our seventh anniversary was just around the corner (eight days before Arwen's birthday), and we thought we might go somewhere air-conditioned to celebrate. But on the morning of our anniversary, we woke up to temperatures only in the seventies -- which felt positively chilly -- and to the certainty that I was in labor.

It was early labor, and I tend to have slow ones, so I did a lot of walking, all over the neighborhood. Compared to both my last labor hike in a blizzard and the sweltering we'd just been doing, the whole thing was amazingly comfortable, contractions and all.

By early evening I was in active labor, and the midwives had arrived. Thing were moving right along. But George, being his own stubborn self, refused to add another to my string of birthday baby, Valentine baby, anniversary baby, NOT. He arrived 15 minutes after midnight, our first boy, on a day all his own.

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