Fable's Story.

I finally got around to writing this last week but before I could post it, I got distracted by life...and a toddler with hand, foot and mouth disease...and mastitis...and a UTI...and forgot my login info for this blog (because, as you can see, I only log in once every 20ish months to write a birth story apparently). I think these are the types of things that the hip moms are calling #momlife. Without further ado, I bring you an unedited, non-spell checked , copy/pasted instagram photos version of Fable's story. It's a little bit messy, a little bit rushed but seeped in so much grace and beauty. Sort of like life lately. I wouldn't trade it.

Fable Grace Schallert
12 June 2016
9lbs 4oz 20in

Sitting here trying to recall every detail of the past eleven days since Fable’s arrival I am stopped in my tracks with gratitude for her life and the privilege of raising her. And for raising sisters. And for raising siblings. From the first time they met it was as if they were just waiting for each other, as if they had always belonged to each other. I expected toddler tantrums and a learning curve and hints of jealousy but so far, it’s been joy and adoration and the occasional fight about whose turn it is to snuggle her.

Piling peace offerings for baby sister high. And he's convinced that he is pushing this electric swing.

Sister love.

The plan this time was to give birth at a hospital attended by the midwives who were present for Margot’s delivery. Because Vera and Desmond were born at home and we had grandparents in town to care for our other children during labor and delivery, the plan this time around came with a tiny bit of anxiety. Our incredible friend, Alissa, had volunteered to be “on call” to watch our kids. Because Desmond’s labor was only about two hours long and because the hospital is about an hour drive from where we live, I spent the week before Fable arrived counting prodromal contractions all night long so that I would be sure to have time to call Alissa (who has two kids of her own!) and make it to the hospital in time. I have heard stories of women giving birth in their cars on the way to this particular hospital and I didn’t want to be one of those women (even though a friend who has eight kids gave me a pep talk about how a car birth could be “cozy”). 

I was convinced that the stop and go contractions were because the baby’s head wasn’t yet engaged. I went to the chiropractor and got adjusted. On the day after my “due date” I had some bloody show in the morning and some more intense contractions that didn’t have a consistent pattern. The closest ones were about 15 minutes apart. I told Steve that I wanted to rest and then changed my mind and decided to go for a walk with the whole family. We got coffee and walked around downtown by the pier. I still wasn’t feeling consistent contractions but was really uncomfortable and tired. At this point I was wondering if everything was OK with the baby. Probably because of my experience with a negative OB on the day that Desmond was born, but I sort of had it in my mind that there may be some complications. One of my friends texted me that she had contractions 15 minutes apart with her fourth baby. I decided to call my midwife just to talk to her. She said that it sounded to her like I was in labor and that I should come in.

It was around 3pm. We called Alissa and I did some cleaning, threw some last minute stuff into a bag for the hospital, played a bit with the kids…all while sweating profusely. “Sweating is a good sign!” Steve encouraged. He’s a good one. 

As we drove to the hospital, I still felt really normal. My mind was clear. My body felt fine. I was having occasional contractions but wasn’t convinced it was real labor. Steve and I talked about how it kind of felt like we were going on a date. When we arrived at the hospital it was starting to rain and I remember feeling so happy that I had the opportunity to wear a sweater I had brought. 

As we walked down the hallway to the birthing unit I had a contraction that felt “real”. I said to Steve jokingly, “I’m not leaving here until I have this baby, even if it takes a week”. We arrived at the birthing unit and were greeted by Akiko, an amazing nurse who was present at Margot’s delivery, and two other nurses. They didn’t have a lot of patients at the time so were all eager to help us. Around 4pm they started out with a non-stress test. Steve and I sort of expected them to do the NST and then send us home but as they were doing it, I soon was handed a hospital gown and a patient bracelet was put on my wrist. “Wait, are we staying here?” I asked Akiko. “Yeah, you’re gonna have a baby” she replied. Obviously it was going to be a long haul since I wasn’t even feeling laborish yet so I sent Steve out to get dinner for himself. In the 15 minutes he was gone I had a few contractions but they weren’t very intense so during the last two I did some squats to try to speed things up. On the third contraction while I was sumo squatting, I thought I peed on the floor. I wiped it up with a chucks pad and just keep walking around. Then I realized, oh, I’m in labor so maybe my water broke. I called the nurse and sure enough my water had broken. I texted Steve and he came back to the hospital. I was a little bit caught off guard because I still felt so clear-minded and even though I was having more contractions, they seemed slow and steady instead of getting closer together and increasing in intensity. I wanted to go home. Even though the birthing unit at the hospital is set up to feel “homey”, I wasn’t as relaxed as I wanted to be because of the monitors and the hospital bed and the fact that the sun was still shining. I wanted it dark and cozy. So, I basically just walked around twiddling my thumbs for a while. I told Steve I was bored. A few days later he told me that he was convinced (and a little scared) that it might be a few days before the baby was born because of how calm I was. Because I was squatting through contractions to try to move things along, Akiko asked if I would like to use a birthing stool. I had never used one but decided to give it a try. For those who aren’t familiar with a birthing stool, imagine sitting on a toilet without the bowl. The intensity of the contractions was increasing. Pat, the midwife who had also attended Margot’s delivery, showed up and that confused me also. It seemed a bit early for her to be there. As with all of my labors, I wanted to be standing, or upright on the birthing stool, not laying down. But because of the position that the baby was in, Pat had me lie on my left side through a few contractions so that the baby could spin into position for birth. As I was laying there, Pat said, “wow these contractions aren’t coming very quickly, huh?’ I started to feel like it was time to push exactly one minute before shift change. I apologized to the nurses for getting so active at shift change and they laughed at me. As the new nurses came in, Steve later told me that everyone thought I was dozing in and out of sleep but I really was just closing my eyes because I didn’t feel like meeting new people right then. After a little while the baby had turned into position and I got out of bed. I sat back on the birthing stool and was telling Pat a story about South Africa. I took a breath, put up a “wait a minute finger” and bore down and made a primal noise somewhere between a groan and a yell and pushed once. ONCE. Here’s my shock and denial moment. Pat said, “the baby’s head is born, exhale” I exhaled and reached down to catch Fable. As I brought her to my chest, I gave Steve the “what the heck” look, got up and walked over to the bed. Delivered the placenta with one more push and that was it. It was an incredible birth experience that I am so grateful for. Getting to know her has been a dream. And just like we prayed and friends assured me would happen, it's felt like she was here all along. It feels like our hearts have always known each other and our bodies and minds are just catching up. 

A bit shocked immediately after she was born.
Falling in love with his littlest daughter.

It was always you, little Fable Grace.

One week old.

© 2010 unless otherwise stated all photos are copyright diane schallert and may not be used without permission. thanks.

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