Determination- the act of achieving a goal set for oneself.
I recently learned a thing or two about determination with the birth of my fourth child. I decided to have an all-natural birth, at home, in a glorified kiddie pool in my living room. And while all of this certainly took some planning, the only determination required was refusing to go to the hospital once my labor started. Because dude, that stuff hurts.
So no, the determination I speak of had less to do with my birthing method and was focused more towards getting a very specific picture taken in the moments following my delivery.
See, in the months prior to my son’s birth a friend was recounting the details of his own wife’s labor when he told me about how the doctor handed him the scissors so he could cut his daughter’s umbilical cord and how unprepared he was for his big moment. He says he just looked at the doctor and said, “What, we’re not at a supermarket opening, you do it!” Right at that moment I knew. I knew I was going to force my husband to take a ribbon cutting picture with me and our new little bundle of sticky joy in the seconds following his birth, no. matter. what.
I had told my doula my plan and she laughed at me, saying there’s no way I would be thinking about posing for pictures once that special moment finally arrived, but that only made me all the more determined.
I had no idea how much my resolve would be tested though when the big day was eventually upon us...
It was the first electrical storm we’d had in 15 years and I don’t care how earth-momma-moon-sister-crazy that sounds, they’re legitimate. There was literally a gravitational pull yanking this kiddo out of me. My labor stated around 2, and by 7 when the midwife was finally on her way the torrential downpour of the century had begun. She got stuck behind a huge herd of semi’s just as my labor started progressing quite rapidly.
You can imagine my relief when she finally flew through the door about an hour later, drenched from head to toe. She checked my dilation, determined it was time for me to push and got me in the tub. Now while all this might sound a bit chaotic, it was actually quite peaceful. Candles where lit, the water was warm and the sound of the storm in the background trumped any music channel Pandora could offer.
I started to push. My water broke. The midwife went to check for the head and that’s when my nice, serene living room was suddenly transformed into a den of sheer terror. I was immediately ordered out of the tub and as my husband assisted me to the floor we were informed that she could not feel a head. “WHAT?!? I’m having a headless baby?!?!” I thought, but I was quickly told the lack of head was due to the presence of feet. This baby was coming out breech, and he was coming out NOW.
I was ordered to quit pushing as they called 911, which proved to be about as difficult as putting toothpaste back in the tube. I screamed, everyone prayed, and two involuntary pushes later my son came flying out just as the Richardson Fire Department came rushing through the door.
Once my little footling breech was here, the crisis was over, since the main fear was of him getting stuck on the way out. However, that did not stop the fine gentleman of the RFD from standing around in shock for a few minutes just to confirm that the baby and I were indeed ok.
I have to say, having a dozen firefighters watch you deliver your afterbirth is exactly as mortifying as you’d imagine, and probably even more so for them.
But you know what? Even after traumatizing a roomful of our most upstanding civil servants, while my dignity may have been lost along with whatever remnant of modest I once had, my resolve to get that darn picture was still as strong as ever.
As you can see my husband was absolutely elated to pose with me for our baby boy’s ribbon cutting…
rim shot). And second, my son’s baby book is going to be a real page-turner all thanks to his mom’s awesome determination. And the Richardson Fire Department.