I am so happy to bring you a new installment in my Birth Story of the Week series, which has been on hiatus for a good long while. I look forward to sharing my own recent birth story eventually, but the time is not right yet, as I'm still gathering my thoughts and words for the proper telling of it. Meanwhile, there could not be a better story to re-start this series, brought to you by my friend Nancy, of The Great Skedaddle. Long-time Marvelous Kiddo readers will remember when Nancy shared the story of the birth of her son, Oscar, who turns three this week. For Olympia's birth, Nancy and her husband Dan had been planning a pilgrimage from Brooklyn to The Farm, but as you will read, things didn't quite go as they had expected. As Nancy wrote on her blog days after the birth,
"Olympia's first gift to us was a profound realization that the Park-Hansens can do anything. At Oskar's birth, I had my midwife, my mother, a priestess/acupuncturist/massage therapist, and a doula on the way, as well as a gigantic cushy birth pool filled with warm water in the living room, an altar and lit candles, Grimladi's pizza, strawberries, chocolate, and red raspberry/nettle infusion, in short: everything and everyone a laboring woman could want. So, when it became clear I was having this baby a full month earlier than Oskar's 41 weeks with nothing, not even breakfast in my belly, just Dan and Oskar around, I panicked. And then I told myself to let it all go. And Dan delivered the baby, while Oskar bellowed and yelled with me from the dining room table. Oskar's birth was a spiritual peak for me, Olympia's birth was a passage into primal independence. An awesome wave bore me into an ocean of tranquility I had never before experienced."Thanks for sharing this surprising, powerful, totally awesome story, Nancy!
Well, what could possibly be more exciting than a birth on the Farm?
How about a free birth?
That's how Olympia decided to begin this life.
I woke up Monday, April 16th, prepared to go to the DMV in White Plains and bring our newly purchased big blue '95 Chevy leisure van home, and in the middle of having an Almondine chocolate croissant for breakfast, Olympia incarnated, three weeks before she was expected. Then Dan found the other half of the croissant, and I finished it.
It sounds ludicrous that it happened that fast, but that's the way it went. I woke up at 8:30 feeling menstrual crampy, alternated between denial, resistance, and trying to prepare for about two hours, and started to feel seriously in labor around 10:30. Olympia was born shortly after 11. There was a big showy, tear-splashy breakdown right before breakfast when I had to face the letting go of all my plans of birth on the Farm and managing how pissed off I was about being so unprepared for this. After that catharsis, I bucked up and started in on the chocolate croissant. I would need my strength. Dan, in the middle of cooking hard boiled eggs, an herbal infusion, and seaweed soup, ran up and down the stairs a few times to give me the double hip squeeze during the more intense contractions. It wasn't long before he wisely decided to just turn the stove off and stay with me. Oskar sat at the kitchen table, and I could hear him moaning and groaning in solidarity with me. Kristen, our NYC midwife, was on her way with a birth pool for us, when I asked Dan to call her and tell her I was feeling pushy. She was on the phone when I made a first, big push, and POP, my water broke like a thick balloon and splashed to the floor like it does in the movies. Apparently, she either started running red lights or stopped running them at this point. On the next contraction, Dan says I yelled, "SHE'S COMING!" and pushed her head out in one go. Dan said, "Okay, one more!" and I rested until another wave began to crest, and Dan caught Olympia like an expertly hiked football. I eased onto the bed, and Dan put Olympia on my chest. That's when Dan found the other half of my croissant, and I ate it.
Kristen came soon thereafter and gave us the best, most gentle and considerate postpartum care. She spent several hours taking care of us and creating a homey nest for us out of the chaos, generously giving us a good start with the new baby.
Despite all the chaos and nonstop action, we're doing all doing well.
Olympia is a sweet wild rose. She's so divinely feminine. Her feet are slender and ladylike and turn up like lotus leaves, and her nail beds are long. Her cheeks have the sweetest pink flush, as does the rest of her skin. She looks more white than Asian. Her mouth is a rosebud. She has three funny whorls in her hair and long sideburns like me. She does a lot of mesmerizing eye gazing. We're all in love. Well, Oskar's not, but we're hopeful he will come around some day. It's okay, because we're still in love with him.