The grand entrance

Today the new one is eight days old. Jesus that went fast. She’s already gained like 5-6oz in three days; she’s gon’ be a fatty. I helped Marika give the baby her first bath in the Swova bowl, much like we used to bathe Zephyra when she was tiny, and later today we’re doing a newborn session.
She’s a natural mother: she breastfeeds beautifully, she sleeps beautifully, her body looks like she didn’t even have a baby, she’s not even tired. Her milk came in on the eve of day two, which is insane for a first timer, and other than an overactive letdown she’s got no issues and baby nurses like a champ. She has no tears, no injuries, nothing to recover from, and she’s still glowing that beautiful pregnant glow. Every time Jill comes over for a home visit she remarks on how incredible she’s doing. I wish her mother could see and appreciate it the way we do: this is not a mistake, this is exactly how things were supposed to happen, and it’s very clear by watching her with her brand new little person that they were made for each other. She’s out walking around with her rainbow Girasol wrap, nursing hands-free and shopping for baby clothes at the mall four days after giving birth and staying calm when baby fusses. She’s a pro at the bikini twist with newborn prefolds and has already mastered nursing while lying down so she doesn’t have to fully wake up at night. I mean seriously, she’s putting the rest of us to shame with how naturally it comes to her. She’s gliding through young, single motherhood like she was born for it. It never ceases to amaze me how well Marika can bend to life without breaking. No matter what happens, she’s always graceful. I never had that kind of awareness and strength at her age; it took me years to gain even half of her self-confidence.

I’ve been working on her birth story from my PoV for the last few days, and I think it’s finally done. I didn’t take any photos while she was in labour, because I needed to be there for her emotionally. You cannot do both of those jobs at once and expect to do either very well: either you’re a birth photographer, or a support person. Not both. It drives me crazy when doulas advertise birth photography as part of the “package”. Both of these things require your absolute and complete attention to do well, and if you’re splitting yourself between them you will never, ever be able to give that mother your best. Never. If I had left Marika’s side to take pictures of baby crowning, I would not be focusing on giving her my strength to get through that last, difficult stretch and she would have felt alone. Even ‘holding up the camera’ while talking to her would be shifting my focus to the point where I would not be giving her what she needed. Birth is not an event to practice your multi-tasking, and mamas need real, honest support.
It was a no-brainer to choose which role was the most important, and I took photos of her baby after birth instead.

 

With that in mind, here’s her birth story from my point of view :

Marika had been dealing with prodromal labour cramps on and off for about two days, and by the afternoon of the 16th they were beginning to become uncomfortable. She’d been over at a friend’s house the night before, and when she came home that day she told me that she may have lost part of her mucous plug. I asked her some questions about it’s appearance and we agreed that it was a bit small to be the whole thing and was probably just a small part of it. I advised her she’d probably see bits and pieces coming out over the next couple of days as her cervix changes, and maybe even feel those strange “electric shock” sensations that come with dilation. The midwifery appointment she’d attended the week before had told her that her cervix was really ripe, 1cm dilated all the way through, short, soft and ready. Her baby was firmly posterior and all attempts to get her to turn into a favourable position had failed miserably: she’d been in the same position since week 25.
Anticipating a few more days of uncomfortable prodromal labour, I made her up a jug of red raspberry leaf tea, a protein shake and told her to take a walk if she was feeling restless. By early evening she was getting antsy and decided to take my advice; she left the house just after supper to head down to the beach for some quiet time.
Curtis and I went upstairs to watch some TV shows and relax. It was his “Saturday”, which we usually spend catching up on anime and having a drink after the kids are in bed. Around 9pm Marika came home and knocked on my door. I was nursing Zephyra to sleep, so Curtis got up to answer it. I heard him talking quietly, and his tone sounded a little worried. After a moment he closed the door and gestured for me to get up.
“Marika needs you, she’s hurting. I’ll watch the baby,” he said. I switched places with Curtis so he could cuddle Z back to sleep and headed downstairs. I found Marika crawling on all fours over the stairs. As soon as she saw me she began crying.
“It hurts really bad, I don’t know what to do.”
“Let’s get you in the shower, okay?”
She nodded and I helped her into the bathroom. She told me she never made it to the beach and went up to a nearby school instead, deciding to sit on the field to be with her thoughts. She was there almost an hour and a half when something started to feel off about her cramps and she suddenly felt like she needed to come home. As soon as she stood up the little annoying cramps she’d been experiencing for days became big, strong cramps that hit her so hard and came so frequently that she could barely walk home. The five minute trek took her over half an hour, and she almost called us to have us pick her up… but said she felt too silly having us drive her half a block.

I got her into the shower, gave her some Rescue Remedy and asked if she wanted to call the midwife for support. We paged her around 9:30 and she came over fifteen minutes later. Marika was feeling really unprepared: we had not expected her to go into labour at 39+1 and she didn’t feel like she had a lot of control. The contractions were incredibly intense and she was having very difficult back labour.  Julia and I tried to get her to calm down and stay in her body through the pain, and while she was coping alright, she was having a very hard time getting into her zone and as the contractions intensified so did her difficulty staying focused.
Julia checked her at 2cm and had her take some Gravol and Tylenol to see if it might help her calm down a bit since she was still in very early labour. The Gravol was probably a good idea, because just over half an hour later she started throwing up, and didn’t stop. And that’s after a double dose of Gravol.

Once the baby was asleep Curtis went out to the store and got Marika some Gatorade and protein drinks to keep her strength up, but she couldn’t keep those down either. The throwing up didn’t stop, and with all the trouble she was having staying calm, she made the decision to go to the hospital at around 12:30am for some more support. After some confusion about whose car to take, we piled into Julia’s back seat with some towels and a bowl and drove out.

We arrived just a bit before 1am, and after the initial admitting procedures an IV was started to rehydrate her (she was still throwing up). That seemed to help a lot, and the frequency of her nausea attacks spaced out. Other than the vomiting, she and the baby were doing great: perfect heart rate, perfect blood pressure, no fever, great iron and vitamin levels, no issues at all… but the intensity was really messing with her ability to stay calm and focus.
Julia offered her Entonox (gas and air) and we explained that it doesn’t truly provide pain relief as much as it just sort of helps you calm down. Marika accepted that, and decided she wanted to lay on her side. Once she had the ability to breathe through the contractions and focus she was able to cope rather well. That went on for about an hour before the intensity of her labour very  suddenly shifted and she found herself screaming through the contractions, and pushing. Her water broke (clear) followed by a considerable amount of bloody show.  Baby was doing perfect through all of this, so Julia got everything prepared for an imminent birth. She reminded Marika that she’d had to check her before she could really start pushing hard, just in case, and much to Marika’s dismay she was forced to move onto her back over the course of several contractions so that her cervix could be checked.
It wasn’t great news: she was only 4cm and her cervix was swelling up quite badly. The baby was in a rotten position with her head deflexed and her body posterior, and was putting a lot of pressure on her cervix in the wrong area. Marika needed to calm down, relax her pelvis, and try and get the baby moved. Obviously this is much easier said than done; she was having hard core pushing contractions every 3 minutes that lasted about 120 seconds and the intensity was so strong that she was shaking and throwing up. All the throwing up she’d done earlier had negated any food intake, and by this point she was starting to spill keytones. We got her some ginger ale and granola bars and had her take some bites between contractions.  Fortunately, she managed to keep those down just long enough for her sugars to return to normal.
By that point she was having contractions one on top of the other, all with a strong urge to push, though they seemed a little random. A 120 second one, then a 30 second break followed by a 60 second contraction, then a 2 minute break followed by another 120 second one, and so on. Posterior and deflexed babies tend to do that: it’s your body trying to turn the baby. She tried everything she could to get that baby turned and she absolutely would not move. I mean really, not even a little budge. Marika was still screaming through the peaks and not calming down, and at that point Julia took me aside and said that if she can’t get into a zone and get her cervical swelling to go down, they would end up sectioning her. She really felt like this situation warranted an epidural as preventative medicine. I asked if I could talk to Marika about it, and she politely left the room for 15 minutes.

In-between contractions I told Marika what was happening, gave her all her options and reminded her that she was in complete control of everything. She was iffy about the epidural. She obviously wanted the pain to stop, but she didn’t want a cesarean or intervention that she wasn’t completely comfortable with. Eventually she decided on trying to start with small helpers rather than to bring out the big guns right now. The end result was to avoid the cesarean unless necessary, but if she needed to try different routes to get her pelvis relaxed and her cervix “unswelled” then she was okay with that.
Julia returned and I updated her with Marika’s thoughts on the situation, and after some discussion of the options available to her she decided to try going with a mild pain relief shot. It’ll last about two hours, and if it takes the edge off it might help her get into her zone and that may be what makes the difference.
So Julia prepared the shot, and I helped Marika move on all fours with her head and chest up over the edge of the bed in hopes that this position would encourage the baby to move. The Entonox mask was providing a good focal point for breaths, though the actual Entonox wasn’t helping all that much, so she decided to switch out with an empty mask that she could just hold against her face and use a focus.

The shot began working quickly, and while it didn’t really take any of the pain away, it took just enough of the edge off the peaks that she could sort of trill her breath through her lips to get through the pushing urge. We turned off all the lights and closed the door with instructions for no one to enter. It was like magic: immediately Marika was able to slow her breathing, quiet her noises, sway her hips and start getting into her labour zone. It was as though time slowed down as she breathed herself into a meditative state. Humming and breathing and quietly moaning through the peaks of her contractions, somehow managing not to push, and staying calm within her body. She kept her eyes closed, her fingers relaxed, her throat open and her hips moving and even managed to sleep between contractions. Julia and I lost track of time as we stood on either side of her, holding her hands and whispering encouragements through the waves.
As the sun came up, and the effects of the helper shot having worn off many hours before, Marika had managed to stay in that zone for over four hours. It was incredible. All she needed was that little help to catch her breath, and she was there in her labour land doing amazing. She was doing all the positions and movements to get her baby turned, staying calm, her heart rate low and steady and the baby so peaceful she was even falling asleep. Even though these were all pushing contractions. It was amazing to watch.

Then, at around 6:30am everything shifted again and the contractions got harder and faster. Marika reported that the pushing sensation was getting to be too much to bear and she couldn’t keep it in her lips any longer. Julia got her turned on her back for another cervical check. After about five hours of complete zen labour and good positions she’d done everything right to get her body to relax and her cervix favourable… and in spite of it all the outcome was worse. Her cervix was so swollen it was diamond shaped, starting to touch the walls of her birth canal, and closing up. After some discussion, she agreed to try the epidural as a last resort.

The anesthesiologist was called and while we waited she tried the Entonox again to get through the more intense stuff and help her get back into her zone. She had only just managed to get to that place again when the doctor entered.
He flipped on all the lights, slapped Marika on the thigh and announced, “Why is she making that noise? She’ll have a sore throat tomorrow! She needs to stop that and shut up. Okay sweet cheeks, you need to actually WORK WITH ME right now, hmm? Turn over and get rid of that mask now.”
I talked into her ear to drown out his bullshit, and offered her the ‘fake mask’ as a focal point during this since it had worked before. She nodded her head, and we switched them. The anesthesiologist hated this idea and complained about it throughout his preparation. During contractions he yelled at her for using her voice, between contractions he berated her for not “complying” fast enough, he called her by the wrong name repeatedly in spite of my correcting him more than a dozen times. It was a nightmare. When he finally left I flipped him off behind his back. We called him “Dr. Douchebag” for the rest of the day. When Julia came in close I quietly asked her if he was always like this. She looked around to make sure no one would see her before nodding her head slowly. Ugh.

Marika’s epidural went in just after 7am, and she was checked a half hour later: the swelling was already going down. Baby was reacting favourably, Marika’s nausea had died down, and so she decided to try and get some rest.
I texted Curtis to let him know he could bring baby by for a nurse in the waiting room while Marika was napping, and went downstairs to meet up with him after she’d drifted off. He reported that Z had slept through the night from 9pm to 7am – the first time she’d ever done so – while he’d awakened every few hours worried about her. My mom came over to watch the elders at the house and Curtis and packed up my knitting, computer, and some of Marika’s stuff in case she wanted anything. After a short visit and some much-needed breastfeeding, he went back home and I sneaked into Marika’s room to have a nap in the chair next to her.
The next time I woke up, it was to Marika complaining of some serious discomfort and Julia telling her that it was time to start pushing. I leapt from the chair so fast it made my head spin.

Epidurals are done differently from how I remember, so they don’t “turn them down” during the pushing phase or anything. It’s been a long time since I was researching these options, and I haven’t been with anyone who had an epidural before, so I was a little out of touch with the rules. Marika was completely numb from the chest down and couldn’t even move her legs back and forth, so we had to coach her through learning to push properly into the weird sensations she’d have when the urge came. Initially this was difficult, but once she managed to push the baby down a bit she started feeling A LOT. Not only could she feel the pushing urge very clearly, but she was yelling, screaming, moaning, sweating and working hard through every very painful and intense contraction. She could feel it before they hit and would warn us before the monitor started showing her contraction building. The nurse kept checking to make sure the epidural was working, and it was, the pushing contractions were just so intense that she was still feeling them through it.
The baby still had not turned: she was still crooked, and posterior with a deflexed head. Marika had a lot of work to do to get this baby out. Over the next two hours of pushing she’d be sitting up on the edge of the bed, squatting, using the bar, using towels, using our bodies, getting into McRoberts, up on her knees… I’ve never in my life seen a woman with a full epidural, completely unable to even move her floppy legs around, work so hard to get into so many positions to get a baby out. It was incredible. She was a birthing warrior and I am so proud of her.

All those position changes were exhausting, but she was making great progress. She finally settled into McRoberts (on her back while holding her knees nearly flat to her sides) as a comfortable and progressive position for her, and we started seeing the baby’s head and feeling her get underneath the pubic bone. As soon as a marble-sized bit of head was showing a big, black, loop of curl popped out like the top of a Kewpie doll.
“I can see her hair! She’s hairy!” my voice was cracking. I didn’t even tear up at my own births. I asked Marika if she’d like to feel, and she shook her head no. The intensity was getting really extreme again, and the shaking and nausea was returning. She was trying to find her way back into that zone to get through it, and later told me that she wanted nothing to disturb her focus.
It took roughly two and a half hours to get from a bit of head showing, all the way to the forehead, and about six seconds to get from the forehead to completely out. During the last stretch we could see the baby inching her way out a little bit more with every push, and more and more hair pouring out all the while. As her head crowned the biggest the intensity got to be too much and Marika started vomiting again. As horrible as it was, we were telling her that every heave into the bowl would push her baby out another centimeter or so. She was literally puking her baby out. When she finally got a break in her nausea she mustered all the strength she could find, grabbed her knees and screamed hard. And finally, finally, her baby came flying out with a gush of waters and blood. I cried so hard I aspirated and choked.

Baby’s cord was so short that Julia had to push her head into Marika’s thigh and somersault her out, and in a blatant disregard of the birth plan, the attending physician immediately cut the cord and brought the baby over to the table for suction. The discussion was that if she wasn’t very mobile or active they’d have to stimulate her (due to the presence of meconium at the very end), but if she was active and screaming then they’d put her on Marika’s chest. The doctor apparently had other ideas. He had her over there for about two minutes before we were able to take her back and put her on Marika’s chest, then Julia kicked everyone out of the room as soon as they finished getting her placenta out.
Marika’s water had burst with such force that it left little tiny strings of membrane all over the place, which was causing her uterus to not clamp down properly. Julia gave her a shot of pitocin and hung out down there getting all the tiny strings out for a while before everything was sorted. It wasn’t an emergency or anything, it was just highly irritating. Fortunately she managed to clear the room during that time and give Marika some much-needed bonding time with her baby.

Because she was taken away immediately after birth, I asked Marika if she wanted to let her try the breast crawl as a way to help regain some of that time, and she agreed. I moved baby down onto her tummy and let her go. It was incredible to watch. I’ve never witnessed a breast crawl before. I whispered to Marika all the things she was doing, explaining as she went.
“See how she’s reaching out to feel your nipple? She’s looking for those little bumps: the Montgomery glands, and they help her locate it. If she loses track she sucks on her hand – it tastes and smells like your colostrum – and that helps her find your milk faster.”
It took her about 10 minutes to make her way up, and once she did she latched on beautifully and nursed for a good twenty minutes. She was wide awake, alert, staring at Marika’s face and taking it all in.

Julia let her get some privacy and some nursing time. Marika asked that I stay to help her nurse and get comfortable. Curtis, Z, Dad and his partner Beth were all in the waiting room patiently awaiting an invitation to come in. I took some pictures with my phone to send to them, and after 45 minutes of quiet bonding time, Marika invited dad to come in and meet his new granddaughter.
As soon as he entered and saw her nursing, he burst into tears.
“It’s my baby, with a baby. Look at my babies. Oh I love you, I love you so much.”
And then everyone was crying again.

Marika wanted to go home right away, but the nurses told her she had to stay the night. Not because anything was wrong with her, or the baby, but because of her mother’s bogus CPS call earlier they were required to test the baby’s urine for drugs even though the midwives had signed off on her saying there were no concerns and no dangerous behavior. It was frustrating and violating, and Marika was rightfully angry.
I stayed until she was moved over to Mother/Babe for recovery, and was getting sleepy. I left to give her time to nap, and promised to return in the morning to get her out and home.

As soon as we got home the calls started coming in. First from Tom, the baby’s father, and then from his mom. Curtis and I weren’t sure what Tom was allowed to know so we gave him very little information and simply let him know that Marika would call him when she could. He didn’t like that, so he called his mom to harass Curtis for more information. She was more polite, at least, but she pushed hard for Marika’s room number so she could “send her flowers”. Curtis refused to give her that information (or to anyone, for that matter).
“If you want to send her something, you can send it here”. She made him give her our mailing address twice, but never did end up sending a thing.

The next morning I went up to the hospital and arrived just as Jill was in giving her the day-one check up. Jill was upset because apparently she’d told them all not to hold the baby for drug testing, and they had explicit orders to let her go. They pulled that shit for absolutely no reason. Marika was furious. Jill put a stop to all further harassment and drug shit as soon as she got there, meaning Marika was free to go as soon as she got a visit from the social worker (once again, due to her mother’s bogus calls) and a Rhogam shot.
While we were discussing the plan of dealing with the social worker, my phone rang: it was Krazy. I left the room quickly so Marika wouldn’t overhear.
“Are you going to tell me what happened?” she yelled.
“Marika had a baby yesterday afternoon. She’s very healthy and they’re doing beautifully. They’re resting and–“
“What hospital? What room? Where?”
“There’s only one hospital that delivers babies here, Krazy–” I start to say, but she cuts me off.
“Yeah well that’s not helpful. Where is she? What room?”
I take a breath, “We are not comfortable with you visiting right now, and–“
“OH YOU FUCKING LITTLE… You’re children are fucked because of you! You’re a–” I hung up, calmed myself, and returned to Marika. I didn’t want her to know her mother had already started her assault.
Jill finished up her exam and I followed her out to talk to her about what was going on. I was so stressed from the business with her mother that I started crying at the nurse’s station. Right around that point, the phone on their station rang: it was Krazy. She was trying a different route. Both Jill and I looked at the nurse and just sort of shook our heads.
“She’s here, but we cannot give you any information at this time. Thanks!” the nurse hung up. “I have to tell Marika that she called. Poor woman, she was crying! She just wants to see her daughter.”
“DON’T,” I said, “Do not feed into it. Please. That’s what she wants.” The nurse pouted playfully.
“Aw. She was just so sad. She was saying that she loved her and she’s a minor and-“
“She only loves her if it gives her what she wants. Don’t play into it. Please. Don’t. She doesn’t need this right now.”
“Okay,” answered the nurse. She seemed reluctant, but at least she finally relented. At that point I was terrified that Krazy might reach a sympathetic nurse and get information out of them, then come to the hospital. I completely freaked, and it took both Jill and another nurse to sit with me for ten minutes before I calmed down enough to return to Marika’s side.

The social worker arrived a few minutes after that. I knew her well, which was good. She was really nice, and understanding, and knew that this whole deal was bullshit right from the start. I let her know my concerns about Krazy’s antics, and told her that I was extremely worried that she’d be allowed into the hospital and into Marika’s room. The worker admitted that they could not call a privacy code since Krazy already knew she was here, and that due to that they would likely let her in. Right around that time Curtis came to visit, walked into her room and immediately freaked out.
“They let me right in! The didn’t even stop me!” He was really worried. He immediately turned back around and sat on the bench by the elevators. He literally sat down in front of them and did not move for the next two hours to make sure Krazy didn’t show up.

I told the social worker that I believed Marika would be safer at home, and to my surprise she readily agreed with me. She immediately petitioned for Marika’s release, and called for the Rhogam shot to be given ASAP so she could be discharged. While we were waiting Tom showed up. Marika wanted him to come up and meet his baby, though I was really worried about his habit of manipulating the situation… but it isn’t my call, and I told Marika I’d respect and support her choices throughout. He was well behaved and only pulled an attitude once or twice. Him and Marika seemed to get along okay, and she invited him back to the house for a short visit.

We left about an hour later, and on the drive there we got a call from another social worker saying that she was required to come and do a meeting at our house right fucking now. I told her that’s just not possible: Marika is only just coming home, we’re still in the car, we haven’t had any time to even let her adjust or relax or anything. She was firm, and assured me the visit would “Only be 15 minutes! I just have to inspect her room and then I’m done!”. What the fuck? We had no choice. I hate her mom so much for this. So much. She’s ruining her babymoon.
I managed to push her visit for 45 minutes later, so we’d at least have time to tidy up. As soon as we got home I escorted Marika to her bed with the baby, gave her some food and water, and everyone set to work on cleaning. Tom helped too, and together we managed to get everything spotless by the time this woman arrived. She came in wearing strong perfume, a very fancy black cocktail dress and stiletto heels. She just walked right into the house that way, right over a spot where I was mopping. As she stepped onto the wet floor she paused, looked down at her feet, then at me, sucked her teeth and asked, “Should I, like, take these off?”
“Uh, yeah. You should.”
She slipped her stilettos off, left them in the middle of the floor, and walked away. What the fuck? How is this even remotely appropriate to wear to someone’s home for a newborn baby visit? She looked like she was going out to some sort of black tie event, and she came off as extremely unprofessional.

It took her 35 minutes to get through her “15 minute meeting”, and when she was done she let us know there was a mandatory meeting with the board, at their office, the following morning at 10am. No delays, no options, no nothing.

Thanks, Krazy. You’re fucking amazing.

Marika cried for a long time: she felt like her babymoon was ruined. She couldn’t relax, she couldn’t settle in, she couldn’t rest at all: instead she had to take her day old baby to an HOUR AND A HALF LONG meeting across town because her mother accused her of being a crack-addled prostitute. It was humiliating, dehumanizing and horrible.
The one good part of the day was when Jill came over for a home visit immediately after the worker left and stayed for an hour to sit with Marika, calm her down, talk about how amazing she and her baby were and generally provide a bit of light to an otherwise stressful afternoon. So, at least we had that.

The next morning we were off at 9:30am to make the morning meeting at 10. Jill the midwife was coming, Marika’s youth advocate was coming, Tom was coming, and the social worker who had been so wonderful to us at the hospital was coming – all to support her and attest to the fact that she was a healthy, independent, intelligent, wonderful new mom.

The meeting was stupid. Violating, embarrassing and stupid. The first half was about “Addressing the concerns”, which included a run down of Marika’s private emails. Apparently her mother had access to an old email account of Marika’s (she had no idea about this, obviously) where she printed off and forward several “Suspicious emails” to CPS as proof that she was a prostitute. The evidence against her? Flirtatious and sexual emails that she’d sent to a local love interest while she was recent single and feeling unattractive and lonely (and was a perfectly healthy young woman over 18, I might add). Marika had even talked to me briefly about this just after she moved here (obviously not every single detail: as she deserves her privacy) and I’d told her that whatever she wants to do as a consenting adult, with another consenting adult, is her goddamn business and she owes no explanation to her ex, or to anyone. If she wants to have a relationship, if she wants to have a booty call, if she wants to sit and cuddle, if she wants to have nothing, she can do all of that and more. So she briefly pursued someone she liked for some company, but it didn’t end up going anywhere, and she was cool with that.

I’m furious that they thought to even HAVE this shit. I get that it was her mother that sent it to them, but the attitude was, “this isn’t appropriate behavior for a young mom” and I hate that. Her choosing to have a romantic relationship with someone is perfectly fucking appropriate. My sister’s moral compass does not lie between her legs. It’s private, it’s her business, and there’s nothing fucking wrong with it. I was so angry I couldn’t even speak. I tried to put a supportive hand on Marika’s shoulder and she shrugged me away. “Not right now,” she whispered. She was humiliated.

At least they didn’t read it out word for word, but the fact remains that half the people in that room and read her personal, private emails with a love interest several months ago. Fucking awful.

Thankfully that was the worst of it, and once they talked with her a bit more the consensus was that it’s clear all of this was bullshit and the focus became not on protecting her baby from her, but from protecting her and her baby from certain other people.
At that point the social worker from the hospital spoke up: apparently she was there for other reasons as well. Her mother had continued to call the hospital after that first time. She called multiple times, multiple stations, trying different nurses on different shifts. They reported that she was sweet at first, and it all seemed very innocent… but upon realizing that she didn’t actually want to talk to Marika and just wanted information about her location, the staff became nervous and started shutting her out. Once she realized she was being stonewalled, she became angry, rude, malicious and manipulative. The staff got scared. She got worse. By the end of the night they apparently called child welfare services all on their own and reported that this woman was a threat to Marika and her baby.
We had no idea any of this had happened until it was revealed at the meeting, and apparently this was 90% of the reason they’d called this meeting.

The workers made up a “plan of action” that included Tom (baby’s father) getting counseling and going to AA meetings, and us pursuing a restraining order against her mother and having numbers and papers near by in case she shows up at the house and we need to call the cops. That was the end of it. As far as Marika was concerned: she was doing fine and their only recommendation was for her to think about finding a counselor to talk to regarding all this horribleness that’s gone on the last few years with her mom (which, obviously, she was planning on doing anyway). They even offered to pay for it if it might help ease her stress, because they felt the counselors they could provide would suck by comparison to ones she could find on her own.

We all left and went home, glad it was over, and Marika finally got to settle in for real. She showered and slept for hours after we got back, ate a good meal, and then slept some more. We put a sign up on the door to keep any potential visitors away and let everyone know to give her time. Dad waited until the next afternoon to come by (with permission) and give her a big jar of Nutella as a gift, and that night I presented her with the gift that so many of you guys contributed to.

For those not on my Facebook page who may have been unaware of this plan: last month I organized a fundraiser to give Marika a gift certificate to a local high-end baby boutique, and any extra would be given in cash to spend any way she wished. Along with donations, people were asked to send positive messages to be written in a big card so she’d have something tangible to hold onto full of happiness, love, and support to see how many people believe in her. A total of $725 was raised, culminating in a $250 gift certificate and $475 cash. She cried when she read the card. It was wonderful to have after that fucking mess with the government and her mother.

I took a picture of the ‘love card’ before I gave it to her. In addition to this there were also three pages of letters that were included separately, as they could not fit anywhere on the card. This was the largest blank card I could find in the entire city, and I looked everywhere. It’s about the size of a manila envelope, so maybe 8.5×11? I found a bunch of different colour pens, bought at least one extra colour, and then went to town transcribing all the lovely, supportive messages you all left for her on Facebook, ChipIn and Paypal. It took me approximately 2.5 hours to write it all down, and when I was done I wrapped up the gift certificate, an envelope full of money, an organic chocolate bar and a ticket to the upcoming Baby Expo and put them in a little cloth gift bag ready to give to her when the moment was right. It was so exciting. My heart was just pounding as I watched her read over the card and figure out what it was. She cried a lot, we hugged, and she sends her utmost thanks to everyone who participated. Thank you all for helping me give her a wonderful gift of love and light. It was absolutely perfect.

 

And along with it, all this shit with the ministry is finally over – and they’re on her side. Not only that, but her mother is on record as making a false and malicious claim. She finally showed her crazy to the rest of the world, and so it’s finally more than just our word against hers. This is bittersweet… because it also means Marika is losing her last hopes of her relationship with her mother ever returning to normal. Even now she’s kept hope alive for a reunification over the birth of her daughter. Regardless of what happens, Krazy is still her mother, and she still loves her. She deserves so much more than this, and I hate that the triumphant birth of her first child and her peaceful homecoming was marred by this incredible, abusive, manipulative bullshit.
But at least it’s over, and she can finally take some much-needed deep breaths and enjoy her new little life.

… who still doesn’t have a name. 😉

Look at all that HAIR!

*A few people have expressed interest in sending along a gift. I have a PO box open for another month, and if you’d like to send something to her or the new baby. PM me for the address, or ask on the [ Facebook page ].

Comments

comments

11 Comments

  • Rachel says:

    ugh! i didn’t tear up until the pics with your dad, he seems so sweet and loving!

    tell marika that her story gives me hope and strength that when i have children (i live in north carolina, and work at the hospital with the highest section rate), i will be strong enough to stick to my birth plan as much as humanly possible. she is a beautiful, strong, intelligent woman and i commend her for that. what an amazing story and surrounded with such intense love!

    congrats on being an auntie and i hope that Krazy stops being so krazy so that you can all enjoy that chubby new little life. 🙂

  • Angela says:

    Wow, that was quite a read, from the agony and then joy of childbirth, to the agony of Krazy,. I’m so sorry Marika had to endure the intrusions during her babymoon. I think it’s awesome how everyone banded together around her, from Curtis watching the elevator, to the social workers and her youth advocate and then the nurses. Too bad you didn’t know the main purpose of the meeting until after the invasion of privacy.

    I hope you and Marika are getting what you need to replenish yourselves. What a darling baby – and the baby is blessed to have Marika as her mom, and an extended family there to nurture and protect her.

  • suzanne sharry says:

    Awww.. As much drama as she has had to go through, She is doing so amazing. I loved to read this. I am glad she is doing well and that bay girl is so beautiful. I can’t wait to hear the name. The card came out so beautiful. You are an amazing sister and friend. I saw my note on the card it was great. This did bring tears to my eyes and made me hold my daughter tight. Thanks for sharing.

  • Colleen says:

    I read your Facebook announcement of Little One’s birth while I was in the hospital being induced with my second child. It gave me hope 🙂 It was not at all what I had planned, but runaway oligohydramnios got the best of me (I was prepared and armed with information but even I couldn’t find a good argument to keep her in there with an AFI of 2.49–and the ultrasound tech had been seeing me for a week, and she knew how important spontaneous labor was to me. She couldn’t even find enough to do multiple measurements for an average).

    Anyhow, I teared up reading this post. Lillian was also posterior (though the doctor was able to grab her head and turn her at 5 cm.), I could still feel the pressure of her descent through an unplanned epidural (by the time they even turned the pitocin on, I’d slept 1.5 hours in the last 24, and after a few hours I just couldn’t take the augmented contractions anymore). I screamed through the final few pushes even though I knew that it was working against me (at one point somebody said “don’t scream!” and I screamed back “I KNOW IT’S NOT HELPING BUT I CAN’T STOP!”). I’m so jealous she didn’t tear at all!

    Sorry this ended up being a lot more of a self-centered reply than I had intended. At any rate, she’s beautiful, and it feels special that our labors overlapped a bit. Enjoy having a new baby in the house again 🙂

  • Beth says:

    First of all, I just want to say that Marika is my hero. The way she handled labour – a posterior first baby! – incredible! You must be proud as hell. I know that I feel proud as hell that she is a member of the sisterhood. What a strong, powerful, dedicated womyn! A fierce mama like that? It doesn’t matter what Life throws at her – she is going to be a parenting role model for so many. I’m thirty-two and I don’t know that I have the kind of courage and strength that Marika does!

    Of course, Baby is beautiful. She picked her mama well – that little girl is going to have a lovely life. She is surrounded by so much love and support.

    I am shocked by how much garbage the hospital put up with when it came to Krazy. I’ve worked some pretty sketchy cases as a doula in my city, and I’ve witnessed nurses and security working together to protect patient privacy. Why would they let someone harass them for so long? The clerks on the L&D floor at my local hospital are so busy that they have so little patience for anything, but especially intrusive, abusive nutjobs. Gah. I’m really disappointed in how they handled Krazy. You didn’t need that added stress and I think it shows a level of unprofessionalism – I thank the G-ddess that Marikia had you, Curtis, the midwife and the social worker on her side.

    I’m so glad that CAS is dealt with. It drives me batty that they made Marika leave her house so soon after birthing for a bullshit meeting like that. I mean, she was staying with two capable adults and is a capable adult herself. While I understand they have a duty to make sure the baby is safe, they had already seen how good you and Curtis are at supporting Marika and how active you are in parenting your own children. CAS is a frustrating entity and I’m not sure that it always does a good job of helping kids or supporting families.

    You, my friend, are a force to be reckoned with. I am so touched by your love for Marika and her baby, your generosity, your unfailing support, your level-headedness, your kindness, and your dedication to your sister. You are this young person’s touchstone, and you have stepped up and gone above and beyond every single time. You truly are a compassionate person and I wish more people in the world were like you. I wish families were more like yours. Thank you for being such an inspiring person. Thank you for your dedication.

    • Babyslime says:

      This was a wonderful comment; thank you so much for the kind words. 🙂

      I too am very frustrated with not only the way the hospital handled the privacy/safety issue, but the CAS thing. We had multiple sources (including social workers) report that she was in a safe environment with supportive adults present and there was ZERO history of drugs or alcohol abuse, as well as recent blood tests showing she was not a user and had never had an STI… so I do not understand why they absolutely had to have this 1.5-2hour meeting THE DAY AFTER her birth. 🙁 I mean, they couldn’t even wait like three days?… even THAT would have been better!

  • Jenrose says:

    Bright blessings for the new babe. I’m hoping the box gets to you guys soon!

    I’m so, so sorry she had to deal with all that shit when her baby was new, and so very glad she has you.

    Tell her from someone who’s been through three labors, two natural, one with an epidural… it’s not a copout, and she didn’t fail. The labor I had with Miles where I needed the epidural to force my bottom to relax to let his head down into the pelvis was orders of magnitude more difficult and longer than my natural labors where the babies were low and well aligned.

    I worked like CRAZY to get that baby into a good position before birth, and it just didn’t happen until I had help. The fact that she, and I both managed to give birth vaginally with the *help* of the epidural is medical technology doing what it is supposed to do and being used as it should be used.

    I wish she’d had more respectful people caring for her, and am delighted she got to have that breast crawl, if she couldn’t have those first undisturbed minutes.

    Short cord is such a frustration… I couldn’t do anything with Miles until we got the placenta out, he was just too low, and it was so frustrating to hear him cry and not be able to get him up high enough to reach the breast.

    To step gracefully from being treated the way she was treated (by the less kind medical people, the social workers, her mother) into being a loving and gentle mother is a testament to her fundamental good nature and an utter contradiction of every bad thing her mother ever said about her or to her. She needs to know that. I hope she also knows that it is possible to move beyond her upbringing… in our family every generation is better at parenting than the last, because we have decided to be more than we were shown.

    And she has you to thank for the good example, for the lessons in how not to be Krazy.

    • Babyslime says:

      She doesn’t see her birth as failing; she’s really happy with how it went. 🙂

      The cord was so short, I’ve never seen one that short before. About six inches at best. Totally nuts!

      • Jenrose says:

        Laura’s cord was that short… she didn’t tolerate labor at all, not even a tiny bit, though, so a section was done. Shortest cord I’d ever seen. Miles was a foot or so long, just not the long loops of cord Shiny had that let me bring her up. If he’d been born in water I would have had to get out right away to bring him up.

    • Babyslime says:

      OH! And we got the box!! She LOVES LOVES LOVES the wrap so hard!! And I’ve been wearing the Chalyx and love it too. Thank you so much!

      • Jenrose says:

        YAY! SO glad! The Calyx is bar none my favorite carrier ever, anywhere, and I am devastated that they are so hard to find because everyone everywhere should have them. And Wrapsody… I have a terrible problem with Wrapsody wraps, sort of pokemon, she keeps sending them more and I have a terrible time letting them go to anyone else. That one got to leave because I have another rainbow one…

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