Thursday, June 04, 2009

Well, Hell's Bells, Mel!!

That is in reference to a dear friend of ours, Melanie. I have all kinds of phrases and voices I use with her when we talk, and this one seemed fitting for the title.

Melanie and I were suite mates in college, and her husband Ben and Ryan are BFF's (how sweet - i'm just messin.' i love their man-friendship). Ben was Ryan's bestman, they were in a band together for a long time, and our two families seem to do a lot the same. It's a bit weird sometimes.

Here's a general rundown. We all went to Truett-McConnell. Ben and Ryan went to Belmont together (roomies). Finished with college...both got studio engineering jobs. AND they both left that business around the same time for technology jobs. We bought our 1st houses at the same the same neighborhood. Our dogs were even boyfriend/girlfriend for a while until things went sour at one of their spend the night parties. Well, the list could go on. Since we've moved back into town, we've still managed to keep the friendship very special. However, I do miss the days when we would drag our plastic-wheeled grill down the street to cook out. I can still hear the ruckus of it scraping the sidewalk. Good Times!

These people are more like family than anything else, so that's why the intro because I feel completely ok to share this story.

Moving On...this blog is about how Melanie blew us all away, especially me, a little over a week ago. Melanie was pregnant with their second daughter, Adalyn Ruth. One evening when I was still pregnant, and Mel was pretty early on in hers, they asked us some questions about our decisions to give birth - naturally, away from the hospital. Didn't think much about it. We got that a lot.

Melanie started to have warm up surges a few days before Baby Addie decided to show up here, and she would call me and we would talk about some ideas and things she could do to move things along. She called me Tuesday eve, the 26th, and she thought she was having real labor contractions this time. I was on my way to teach a childbirth class to a couple, and Mel and I talked over the phone. I went over some breathing techniques and gave her and Ben a quick to do, drink, rest, shower, pee every hour....and told her I would call her after my class was over.

Well, Mel called during class, so rude of me or not, I answered it. We talked a few minutes about things she could do or when she might need to go to the hospital. I started answering like I would for a woman going naturally. So, I stopped myself. Mel never said anything about wanting a natural birth, so I dropped part of what I was saying and apologized. I called after class, and they were headed to the hospital. We had several phone conversations over the course of the evening about breathing, updating, and encouragement, I hope. When she was in active labor, I offered to come to the hospital if she wanted. River was asleep for the night, and I was free to help. We got cut off a couple of times because of some contractions. So, I was about to retire for the evening, and I called to check in. Keep in mind - it was 11:52 p.m. at this point.

Kari: I'm about to lay down, so if you want me to come, just let me know.
Mel: I don't know if you'd make it.
Kari: Call me and let me know at any time if you want me to come down there. Remember to keep breathing like you're blowing out a candle.
Mel: Maybe you could come...I don't know. Here's Ben.
Ben: Kari, I don't really know what you could do at this point or if you'd make it.

I believe last time Mel was checked she was at a 6. In dilation, you need to get to a 10 to be complete. From what I understand later, she was thinking about the epidural, and the nurse said "Let's give you 15 more minutes and check you. It's never too late."

I got a text from Ben at 12:11 a.m. that said....She did it.

She did it. She did what????? Of course, I start texting...Did what? Is she here? What? We spoke on the phone, and I'll be.......if that wild woman, Melanie Sams, didn't just go into that hospital with an "open mind" to see what would happen, and flat out give birth NATURALLY!!! I was so amazed! A lot of women spend their entire pregnancy thinking about and planning to give birth with little or no interventions. Mel just told her doctor a day or so before that she was going to be open to see what happens and gave us all a run for our money. Now, that's a Birth Warrior!!!

It truly is so amazing what birth can be (hard work and painful -yes!), but without drugs and expectations...our bodies just do the work. No resisting, some privacy, and an open heart and mind to the experience, and you come out with a healthy baby and a totally empowered and accomplished mama.

Adalyn Ruth is a beauty, and Karis is going to be such a great big sister. And they have a Mama to be so proud of!!

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