Tuli LOVE FUND at VARGA Gallery & Studio

This is the STORY of my BIRTHING EXPERIENCE - NOT AT ALL how I planned, yet EXACTLY what I planned. THANK YOU for helping me Raise Funds!  

As most of you know I was planning on having a Home Birth. On a Thursday, 4 days before my due date, my midwife told me I could not have a safe Home Birth because my blood pressure was all wonky - I had to have it in a birthing center with docs about. I had to go back the next day, Friday, to the office I had run away from in the *first* place because they told me they would induce me at 39 weeks. 

They put me on a fetal monitor and checked everything out and told me to come back on Monday, March 17th - my actual due date. I did, and in that visit the doctor said that he would like to induce me that day and have me have the baby while she was still healthy and everything was groovy.

This I did not like for 2 reasons - 1) I did not want to be induced - certainly not in the sign of Pisces. 2) I was planning on having an Equinox Baby and would be good and ready to have my baby on the 20th and what was the problem with another 3 days, for crying out loud.

This was met with a "I've been delivering babies for 30 years, how many babies have you had?" which I followed up with logical, intuition laced protestations as he cut me off with "It's a Yes/No Question." He asked if I wanted my membranes swept and when I said "No, Thank you," he let go of them with a flourish and popped off his rubber gloves telling me he was off to do 2 c-sections and to let the receptionist know what I wanted to do. I liked him a lot.

The WHOLE REASON I had planned to do a home birth was that I was SURE I would have to have a c-section. I was VERY worried all the time about having a c-section and it was the main reason I had decided to have the baby at home. I was in a HUGE tizzy, crying, sweating, heading to the receptionist to give them my insurance card to cover the visit only to find out they don't accept that particular brand. Hoy. Super Upset, I call my baby daddy to share all the good news as my doula sails in because she had another mommy in the throes.

Everyone's trying to convince me that it is best to have the baby that night and to let them induce the baby and it will all be fine. I'm of the mind that NOT ONLY will it NOT be fine to induce the baby that night, but that it is a full 3 days early and I also want to sleep at home that night because I'm upset. I slip away from all the convincing to tell the receptionist that I'd love to postpone the whole induction thing to the next day if at all possible - IF the doctor thought it would be OK. She said she would tell him and call me on my friend's cell phone. We went to the diner to wait for a response of WHEN exactly I would be coming to have my baby prodded out.

Now, If you don't know me that well, you might not know that I am very serious about things that are, say, peak events, like an Equinox. The equinox being a few days away meant I'd have to start seriously dragging my feet.

We're waiting at the diner and everyone is aflutter wanting to shove me along before I was ready when my man comes charging in with accusations of my scheduling it for the next night at the very same moment that my friend called the office and found out the same info. I was so relieved I didn't care that everyone was upset it was gonna be tomorrow. Yay, me.

The next day, the 18th of March, we go back to the Birthing Center at 5pm and I got into a room by 7pm. By 8pm I'm in a robe with a lovely lady doctor tucking a prostaglandin paper up against my cervix. This is to help things along, soften the cervix and bring on labor. Whatever it was was better than Pitocin which I was seriously avoiding because it can send you straight towards a c-section. I'm getting myself all hyped for having a baby, Honeypie is there, and then I found out my friend had camped out for the afternoon in the guest area and it's a tidal pool of babies and wrappers and snacks. HOW EXCITING.

I'm zipping through the halls, jazzed, checking out the place, looking at the birthing tub, talking to my pal about being in a birthing center instead of my house and just generally psyching myself up for having a water birth in Not My House. But on some level I was REALLY relieved to be in a medical setting, just in case. As long as I didn't have a c-section. I'm deathly afraid of things that alter my body in any way including needles, scalpels and other invasive tools.

The WHOLE TIME I am there a cadre of nurses and techs are measuring my blood pressure which I am WELL AWARE has to be stable or everyone will be hyper cautious and I run the danger of having a c-section - remembering this is my MAIN fear and the reason I was gonna have a home birth. I kept telling every single person that I had "White Coat Syndrome" and that my pressure went up around doctors and medical people and was constantly laying on my left side because then my BP measurements were OK. And, thankfully, they were. The ONE time it was elevated was just after I had 4 vials of the red stuff drawn from me in what seemed like the thousandth bloodletting I had suffered during my pregnancy, and as I mentioned I HATE anything that pierces or alters my physical form in any way. Thusly no tattoos, piercings, doctors, vaccinations, tetanus shots, razors and the like for at least 20 years.

I sleep through the night and in the morning one of the midwives comes in and asks how I am feeling. And takes out the Cervadil. I feel great - like things are happening, moving, pressure, slight ache - and she asks if I would like to do another round of the Cervadil or if I want to try some Pitocin. Naturally, I go for more Cervadil as Pitocin involves IVs and needles and the like. THANK GOD because I could not have handled that.

It's the 19th now, one day before the Equinox, and I am doing a GRAND job of dragging my feet. I had already told everyone at the birthing center that I was having the baby around 1pm on Thursday, the 20th, and everyone already thought I was nuts. Which is fine with me. And I get the second dose of Cervadil that day - this time with the midwife putting it in.

The time spent waiting around at the birthing center was very interesting. I was constantly being fed and so was Honeypie. He got sandwiches - I got meals, but the snacks were universal. Drinks, too. And granola bars and yogurts and coffee. It was not bad. Also, plenty of CNN. And lounging. And about 8pm or 9pm I went from lounging to INTENSE CONTRACTIONS. So intense I was telling Honeypie that I think I would need an epidural. So intense that I asked them to please remove the cervadil. So intense that they put me on the fetal monitor to SEE how intense and see how far the contractions were apart. They said it showed as about 2 or 3 minutes. I was pretty sure they were constant and Honeypie timed them at 1 minute apart. Whatever. I was writhing in pain.

I tried to relax in the shower and my friend who works at the birthing center had given me an exercise ball to use as a tool during labor. I tried to employ this ball in the shower but could only slip around and had visions of myself delivering a baby with a broken leg. Resting was no better and I could only flop around on the bed like a fish out of water. HOW did it get SO INTENSE in such a short period of time? From Zero to 1000 in what seemed an instant. My doula had been there that afternoon and the midwife had told me she was thinking about going home and everyone was sorta kinda expecting me to have the baby the next day around 1pm, as I had repeated said it would be.

Well, my doula had said that she was going to dinner that night, but to CALL if ANYTHING was happening or changed. No one had anticipated calling and the midwife was practically out the door for the night when I DEMANDED my doula be called and told that my contractions were 1 minute apart and that I wanted an epidural. In no uncertain terms. I was STILL thinking I would be having the baby the next day, but I was excruciating pain and let me tell you Contractions are NO JOKE.

Somehow, and I will forever bless her for this, my doula convinced the nurse over the phone to put me in the tub. They didn't want to because I was only 1 centimeter dilated and that's not enough to go in the tub, but she, being well known to them, was able to convince them that this is what I needed. The nurse came in to tell me that I was going in the tub and they were filling it for me and I went from Naked to Hospital robed with the open side in front within 2 seconds saying just how much I liked to be in a tub as it was filling.

Down the hall I probably ran - I can't say I recall - and I remember getting into the tub which was warm, welcoming and wet and deep. Honeypie was there, so was the midwife and the nurse and the tech who was my friend who got the exercise ball at the chair and all the cool stuff and made me feel at home and I was finally in water and started swishing around like a fish. I was moving my hips back and forth and making some noise and the contractions were FINALLY slowing down or at least not feeling like there were every 5 seconds. And so I tried to relax, because, as I imagined and planned, I was gonna have that baby around 1pm the next day.

It is somewhere after 10pm when I get in the tub, I don't know how much after, probably close to 11pm and Honeypie is being counseled to rub my back, drip water on me here, hold my neck and so on. He's glad my contractions are settling down because he's looking forward to taking a break to smoke a cigarette outside, I'm telling everyone I just want to go to sleep and rest up for having the baby. Honeypie tells me to go to sleep and he's holding my head up and I feel like I actually GET to sleep for a few winks in between contractions. The midwife checks my cervix. Somehow, MIRACULOUSLY, I have gone from 1cm dilated to 5 cm dilated within half an hour. She asks me if I realize what is happening which is to say the baby is being born NOW. My doula arrives. It is quite apparent that the baby is ready to be born and by the time the doula is situated I am already 6cm dilated.

Now everyone is seriously aflutter and I am making some NOISE. I'm hollering like AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH and everyone's telling me to go MMMMMMMMMMMMMM so it turns into MAAAAAAAAAAAA over and over which, to myself I reflect as I am in the throes of birth that this sounds pretty weird because it would appear to anyone observing that I am calling my mother over and over again, but I'm in no frame of mind to argue and compliantly start my hollers with the MMMM and end them on my AAAAAAAAH. LOUDLY. I'm swishing about like a fishy and watching the clock. I was very grateful upon getting in the tub to halfway notice that there was a nice big clock right in front of me and as I was laboring from time to time I would take a peep at the clock to see what time it was - remembering that I was seeking to have an Equinox Baby.

As the clock hit midnight I inquired between contractions about the accuracy of the clock. I was told it was accurate. I waited a good 5 minutes after midnight, just in case, for it to be the 20th - the Day of the Equinox - and THEN set to pushing. Until then I had simply been trying to relax my body and float through some contractions and perhaps catch a few winks. After midnight I announced that I would commence pushing. It had been pretty hard to NOT push and I am not completely sure I wasn't, but now I was GONNA. And so I did. The MAAAAAs got MUCH louder and everyone was still telling me to MMMMMM and not be so loud (ha!) and the midwife was telling me I was rocketing through my labor like a warrior and the doula was telling me I was doing a GREAT JOB.

I remembered I was gonna squat for my birth and asked them to please add water to the tub because I wanted to get up and squat to push the baby out. They did add some and I moved to the door end of the tub. My friend, the tech, had brought her camera and she had been taking pictures the whole time I was in the tub - again - bless her, too. I squatted at the end of the tub, pressing my hand up against what felt like my entire insides coming out to slow things down, not tear asunder, keep myself together and the midwife scooched my hand aside to take over. She told me to slow down and breathe and wait and pause and I am pretty sure I bit her neck as she was holding me up and by 12:28 I had pushed out a tiny, 6 pound 14 ounce wee baby lass who was slippery and grey and quiet and small and she was put upon my belly and her daddy said she came out just like a little guppy.

She was placed upon my belly and I asked why she wasn't crying so she did and suddenly I was a mommy and daddy snipped the cord which I asked to wait until it was done doing whatever cords do and they did wait and then they told me I would also have to birth the placenta. I was a little dismayed at that because I was hoping it was not as painful and as I was wondering about it it just slipped right out, no problem, and we were done.

Suddenly I was wide awake. In a fog. My baby was taken to a warmer to be weighed and measured and I was led to my room where I promptly started cleaning til about 3am. And learned how to nurse. And was amazed. And a Mom. And I gave birth on Thursday, March 20th at 12:28 AM - the Day of the Equinox and ALSO the International Day of Happiness to Beautiful Tuli Rose Melitta who was born with a little tiny red bindi on her third eye.    Her name "Tuli" means "Mighty People" and "At Peace with God" in Ancient Gaelic and "A Fine Paintbrush" in Sanskrit.  It also happens to be short for Tulip in Turkish and Kitten in Hebrw - both perfectly appropriate. Melitta was my Grandmother's name, my mother's name and is my middle name and means Honeybee. 

The Beginning. I am FOREVER indebted to Mary Riley who championed a BATH for me at the VERY MOMENT I needed it MOST and who helped me to Fully Experience the BIRTH that I intended to Manifest, yet did it in the Way of the Great Multiverse's fashioning. We never are in control. Good Lesson.

Thank you for ALL your SUPPORT!

Christina Varga
VARGA Gallery & Studio
Woodstock, New York

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