Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Birth, Part Two

When we left off I was floating in a sea of drugged bliss, unaware at the rapid progression of my labor and the imminent arrival of our baby.

I've never been on drugs other than two pathetic attempts at smoking marijuana that lead to wondering what all the fuss was about and one sliver of a shroom at a concert once that only made me burp earth for four hours. My migraine meds are about as heavy as I get and those simply knock me out for a few hours. It was amazing to go from a whole lotta pain to nothing. Charming told me he had watched the monitor before I got the epidural and seen the contractions spike up to 30 or 40 the highest hitting 45 as I writhed and moaned and rolled from side to side. Once I got the drugs I was sitting up chatting like nothing was wrong and those babies were hitting 80 to 100 and off the charts and I couldn't feel a thing. Other than the lead legs, which I could still move and feel but they were heavy heavy heavy, I didn't have any side effects of the epidural. Something I was very happy about.

Baby's heartbeat had been hard to pick up through my massive mound of a belly, so intent was this kid on being a pain even before it was born, so the nurses ditched the belly monitor and poked a needle into my baby's head. Yes, I freaked out a bit about that too. Apparently they only just barely break the skin and it's in the soft spot where you can see their pulse go until their skulls fuse together after two years old or something, but holy crap! A needle in my baby while it's in me. So glad I didn't need an ammnio, not sure I could have handled that one.

Before I got the epidural I was at 6 centimeters and it was 5AM. I spent the next few hours drowsily flipping through TV channels, trying my best to not watch my station's morning news but there's not much else on at 5AM. Charming and my MIL slept in the two chairs in the room, but I couldn't sleep. My legs felt funky, heavy but I could still feel them. Also, I was paranoid about peeing the bed since I could no longer get up to use the bathroom. Logically I knew I had a catheter in, but my tired brain didn't compute that to mean I could pee and not wet the bed. I didn't even consider the fact I couldn't feel if I went or not until Charming held up my almost full catheter bag. I had been going all along and never knew it. Modern Medicine is amazing! No pain and peeing without regrets. Awesome!

Around 8 AM Charming and my MIL woke up and I sent them to the cafeteria to get some real breakfast because someone had to eat for me. They couldn't have been gone for more than twenty minutes but in that time the nurse informed me I was fully dilated and if I felt a lot of pressure and the need to push I needed to let her know. Minor freak out because when she left I was ALONE, convinced I was going to have this baby all by myself. But she was barely out of the room when Charming walked back in and was by my side. Before long I was saying I need to push NOW! In a flurry of activity my doctor was called, the room was prepared and everyone was manning their battle stations. Dr. F popped his head in as I was getting into the stirrups and I gleefully called out to him that I was right, I had told him yesterday I was having this baby. He informed me the timing couldn't have been more perfect because that night he was on a plane to San Francisco. I missed having my baby delivered by a stranger (okay, another doctor in the practice but a stranger to me. I hadn't met any other the other doctors and Dr. F had been with me every step of the way) by a few hours. Big relief! Dr. F said he was going to get a coffee, page him when it got interesting, and the rest of us got down to work.

Getting into position to give birth is a strangely surreal experience. You place you feet in these metal foot holders and have two people under your thighs to help prop you up. I had Charming on one side and the poor nursing student on my other. I apologized to her that that had to be her job for the day. Then you scoot all the way down to the edge of the table and your business is out there for a whole roomful to people to see not to mention the entire hospital because, of course, my bed faced the door. So if the curtain was not pulled, hello hallway, this is my cooch! What is surreal though is that you don't care. You could have marched the entire population of that hospital through that room and I am not sure I could have told you I noticed. I certainly didn't realize one of the other nurses that taken our camera and started snapping pictures of the whole process. Something we discovered a week later when going through pictures we had taken of our baby and then suddenly, there was my bloody special place live and in color in digital form. We were shocked but also thankful because none of us thought to grab the camera, we were busy trying to get the baby out, so it was nice to get those moments on film. Not sure I would have taken some of the more gnarly shots but hey, all part of the experience.

With my lower back securely planted into the bed (which later turned out to bruise my tailbone something fierce) it was now time to push. The head nurse stood between my legs, Charming under one knee, the student under the other, one nurse by my head helping me get up and down and one by the monitor watching everything. It took me a few times before I really got the hang of things. Wait for the pressure to build build build and then sit up, hold my breath and PUSH like you're having the biggest poo ever for ten whole seconds. Except it never was just ten whole seconds, the head nurse always wanted "just five more." Soon, I began to resent the head nurse. I got exhausted around seven seconds and barely made it to ten and then this b*tch wanted five more. Screw that. In fact I think I said that out loud. But I did it. Every time. And I didn't curse...much. I think one swear slipped out once. When they told me to stop pushing.

Stop pushing?? Were they insane? Everyone in that room had been cheering me on, pushing me to push and now they wanted me to NOT push when every single molecule in my body was straining to do just that! My body screamed PUSH and my worn out brain sent weak signals down to hold on, these idiots changed their mind. They don't want this baby to come out. They want me to hold it in forever. My body wasn't listening very well. But they had to get Dr. F in there to catch so I couldn't push. I had to stop. And that I think was the hardest thing to do out of everything I had done that day so far. To not do what every body part was forcing me to do beyond my will. That is the closest I had to an out of body experience. And the longest three minutes of my life.

After an eternity, Dr. F showed up for the grand finale. Two pushes later the head popped out. One more big push and the baby slipped out and all that pressure vanished so suddenly I gasped. For one second I forgot what all the work was for because the relief was so acute. A baby. Our baby. I heard a cry and everyone was asking what is it, what is it? Dr F, always the jokester, held the baby up butt first to us and said "It's a baby!"

When he said it's a girl, I had a tiny moment where I said in my head "It's a girl? But I wanted a boy." And then I heard her cry again and it didn't matter. We had a beautiful baby girl. Charming cut the cord and followed her over to the incubator where they did all her tests and weights and everything. Allow me to take a moment to comment on how incredible my husband was for me during this whole process. He wasn't sure he would be okay with all the messy stuff (a previous incident during a  horse procedure on the farm lead to him passing out) but he was amazing. He was my coach through the whole thing and him cheering me on got me through all the pushing. I focused on his words of encouragement and found the strength to continue on when I was so so tired. And his exclamation of "I can see the head! It has hair!" is something I will remember always. The joy in his voice was so warming for me. Him cutting the cord was the perfect moment in an incredible experience for both of us, one we will always share together. The birth of our first child. And neither one of us passed out or puked!

After only twenty minutes of pushing at 9:57AM on January 23rd, we received the greatest gift ever, what we had tried so hard for all those years to get. At six pounds, 15 ounces and 19 inches long, our Baby Girl was perfect in every way. In fact, everyone in the room said she was the prettiest newborn they'd ever seen. Not old man looking like so many new babies are. And maybe they were just saying that but we thought she was the most beautiful thing in the world. And as I held her I couldn't believe that a few hours ago she had been inside me and now she was here in my arms. The human body is really an amazing thing. We had a baby. We were parents at last.

Now the real fun could begin.

To Be Continued...

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