~~~~Go ahead and skip this if you're not all that interested in hearing about the birth of my bouncing baby boy. There's not all that much funny in here.~~~~~
My son was due to be born on May 15th. It was the longest, most miserable, most emotional and dramatic pregnancy ever. I won't repeat what I've surely written before. But it sucked! It sucked so much that I tied my tubes the next day, and only regretted it for a minute in a purely philosophical way.
This is the story of the day and a half that was the culmination of the previous 9 months.
So he was due on May 15th. On April 30th, my water broke in a series of events that I can't even believe....go ahead and read that post here....I'll wait....
So as I'm alternating between the shower and the toilet waiting for my mom to get there with pillow sized maxi pads, I called my midwife.
I was all excited, and a little breathless. I didn't want to be pregnant for another 2 weeks. I'd also started contracting while I was in the shower. Not painfully, but it was there. I'd timed it.
So I told my midwife that the contractions were 4 or 5 minutes apart and lasting about 15 to 30 seconds....etc etc.
She told me to take a nap and call them when I was closer to the 5-1-1 rule.
My mother took my daughter home with her, much to the kid's distress. She wanted to be there when her brother was born. I explained that this could be a long process. I wasn't even going to the hospital yet. When it got close I would call her in.
A couple of hours go by. The contractions were starting to be a bit uncomfortable. They were also about 45 seconds long and 2 to 3 minutes apart. The hospital was 45 minutes away. So I pulled the plug on my planned long period of laboring in the comfort of my own home, and we decided to go to the hospital.
To his credit, husband was very calm. I didn't expect that. I thought he'd be freaking out a little. He calmly packed his bag while I finished packing mine. The baby's bag had been packed for a month.
As we were driving to the hospital the contractions were getting stronger. It was harder to focus on the conversation I was having with my husband, and every time a contraction came more water leaked out of me. (on to the two towels on top of a plastic garbage bag that covered the seat....he was pretty grossed out by the chance that my fluids might touch his upholstery)
We arrived at the hospital at like 11:00pm on Tuesday night.
I keep calling it a hospital. Actually, it was a birthing center. I think this is a noteworthy distinction. It was a birthing center. I had a midwife, not a doctor. I had a one page birth plan, that started out as a 2 page birth plan but I pared it down to one to be less obnoxious.
I was going to do this naturally. No drugs. No Pitocin. No unnecessary procedures. No interference. I seriously considered doing a home birth.
So, back to the story. We arrived at the birthing center at like 11:00pm on Tuesday night.
They were expecting me, so they take me back to their triage area so they can determine whether I'm actually in labor or not. I was wearing a wrap skirt and a comfy black tank top and flip flops. I was determined to remain in this outfit.
So a rather bitchy nurse takes all of my vitals and then hands me this belly band type thing. She asks me to put it on so they can keep the baby monitors under it so as to not have to mess with straps. I agree and go into the bathroom to squeeze into it.
The very next contraction after I put that damned thing on was the worst one yet. All of a sudden there was a pain in my left side, just beneath my ribs, to go along with the already uncomfortable contractions. The pain was worse than the contractions. I said something about it to several nurses over the course of my labor, and they all said that it was probably just the position of the baby and there was nothing they could do about it.
So they admitted me and brought us to a room and what not. I handed everyone in the world my birth plan. Then they left us alone. They came back often, and strapped that monitor to me. It wasn't long before I ditched the stupid belly band. I also ditched the wrap skirt once I ditched the underwear for easy of hoohah access. Ditching the underwear meant I ditched the pad keeping all of those lovely fluids from soaking everything within 2 feet of my vag. One contraction and my skirt was soaked.
So rocking a hospital gown and slipper socks I walked around the maternity floor. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. I sat on a birthing ball. I took a shower. I ate and drank and once we got into the wee hours of the morning I tried to sleep.
By morning, my contractions had dropped down from every 2 to 3 minutes, to every 5 to 6 minutes. By lunch time they were every 8 to 10 minutes. I had been one centimeter dilated for 2 weeks already, and I hadn't progressed beyond that.
My midwife came in at some point on Wednesday. She suggested that we go home and come back when the contractions got going again. We talked about it and decided to stay. We were already there and the room was actually pretty comfortable and the 45 minute drive wasn't something I wanted to make if it got hairy. So we stayed.
Although my contractions were getting farther apart, they were growing in intensity. Every time I had a contraction, I tensed up, bracing myself for the pain. This was the problem as it turned out. Instead of relaxing into my contractions and letting my body work, I was fighting it. Hence, I wasn't dilating.
Every time they laid me on the bed and strapped that monitor to me, it was so much worse. They wanted me to stay there like that for 20 minutes every hour. It was the longest 20 minutes ever.
By midnight on Wednesday the 1st (or maybe it was Thursday the 2nd.....yeah I guess it was since it was midnight) I was a mess. I was tired. I was in pain. My husband, though supportive and helpful if I asked for something, had no clue what to do for me if I didn't ask for it. He mostly slept and watched TV.
He was sleeping when the nurse came in at around midnight. I asked her to check my cervix. They had been staying out of there since my water had broken to keep from transferring bacteria from hands to snatch. But I begged. So she did.
I was only 3 centimeters dilated. I had been contracting for 28 hours and I was only 3 fucking cm???
I started crying like a little sissy girl.
Part of my birthing plan was for no one to offer me drugs, so I wouldn't be tempted. Its easier to say yes when offered something you don't believe in than it is to ask for it outright.
This nurse asked. She told me that I needed to sleep. That it was ok. She could give me something that would help me sleep and just take a little edge off the pain. I cried harder. I told her I would think about it.
I got off the bed and walked over to the bed/chair that my husband was sprawled out on. I sat down next to him and sobbed.
He woke up after a minute and panicked a little.
I told him that she offered me drugs, and that I wanted to take them. That after all of this pain and time I was only 3 cm. and I didn't think I could go on like this without some sleep.
An emotional discussion later and I was pushing the nurse button.
I took the drugs. She came in and gave me a shot and I fell into sweet, sweet sleep.
I could still kinda feel the contractions. My drug fogged brain was alerted to some pain for a minute, then I was out again.
Around 3:00 am I woke up. I had a horrible contraction, and had to go to the bathroom. I was instructed not to get out of bed without help, but I really had to go and I was sure I could do it.
I managed to haul my foggy self out of bed and shuffle to the bathroom.
The "I have to go" sensation had been a long standing thing. The last day and then some had been a non-stop feeling of having to go to the bathroom. Part of it was that I really did have to pee. A lot. But several times a day I thought I had to poop. I never did poop, and the nurses all said it was just pressure from the baby's head, which had been pressed right up against my cervix for a week anyway.
So I sit on the toilet to attempt to go to the bathroom for the 20th time that day.
And everything changed. I started to use the muscles we all use to go potty, and I felt the unmistakable urge to push. Which turned into a need to push. Which changed to my body doing it's damndest to push that baby out. If you've never had a vaginal birth I can't actually explain this to you. If you have....you know exactly what I'm talking about.
I said "Holy shit, I'm pushing" and pulled the string in the bathroom without hesitation.
The little voice came over the speaker "what's wrong?". Because the strings are for emergencies. I said "I'm pushing". And 12 people came rushing into my room.
They ushered me back to the bed. The rest is a vague memory.
They asked questions. They strapped the monitor to me again. They had me turn on my side. On my other side. On my hands and knees....this one was tough because the sensation to push became 10 times stronger and they kept telling me not to push. I actually said "I don't know how you expect me not to push like this". (I was really rude because I was still foggy from the drugs. I apologized later.) They put an oxygen mask on my face.
Finally they announced that they couldn't find the baby's heartbeat and I was going to have to push this baby out right now.
They called my midwife.
Through all of this my husband slept on the chair that was a bed, or the bed that was a chair...whatever. I said "Honey, wake up!! I'm having a baby." And he did.
They rolled me on to my back and told me to push. They wanted me to just continuously push. At once point the nurse between my legs said "no, keep pushing" and I said "but I'm not having a contraction" and she told me to keep pushing anyway. Which I didn't, because I couldn't.
When I pushed, I made noise. Loud noise. Xena Warrior Princess kinds of grunts and yells. They told me to be quiet. I ignored them.
At least twice my husband tried to leave the room to go call my mother. Yes...really. The 2nd time (I think) I lost my shit.
H: I'm going to go call your mother.
Me: The hell you are. She can't even get here in time and I'm having a baby and you are going to fucking stand here and hold my hand!!
So finally the nurse said, "there he is, push hard honey". And I did. She told me to push through the burn and get him out of there. So I did.
Out came my son. I pushed him out in less than 20 minutes. They cut the cord, which was wrapped around his neck, and had him across the room so fast I didn't even see it happen. There were nurses in between my legs, in my face and all around me, asking me questions and doing things. All I could hear was the nurse (the same one that offered me the drugs) saying over and over again "come on baby, come on little guy, come on". And he didn't cry. For like 2 minutes. Two minutes is a very long time. I kept asking "Is he ok? Is he ok? Is he ok?"
Finally he cried. It was honestly the best sound I've ever heard and I honestly thanked a god, that I've never been too interested in, for that cry.
They finally brought my son over to me and laid him on my chest. I looked at his little, gooey, bruised face and said "Hi baby". My husband took a picture. Then almost immediately they took him away. Off to the place where they keep babies they are worried about.
So the "burn" I was told to push through was actually me tearing. Part of my birth plan was that I didn't want an episiotomy. So even if there had been an individual around that was qualified to do it, they wouldn't have cut me. It sucked. Ripping is worse, don't let them tell you different. Several stitches. My midwife showed up just after all the excitement was over and assisted in the delivery of my placenta and stitched me up.
It was hours before they brought my son back to me. He was small and pink and had a stupid IV in his little arm. Apparently he took a dump on his way out and they wanted to be sure he didn't breathe in any of it. Good call, right?
He had bruises around his mouth and a nearly black eye from the effort I expended on pushing him out.
My husband was sure I was going to be in labor for another day or so. I was too. Apparently it was the drugs that did it. I was fighting my body so hard that it took a drug induced sleep to allow my cervix to dilate. So I literally dilated like 7 cm. in like 2 hours while sleeping.
My daughter showed up a few hours later. My husband had called my mother shortly after the boy had been taken away by the birthing center staff and filled her in.
The girl loved her little brother on sight, and I have the most beautiful picture of her holding him for the first time with this adoring look in her eyes.
My mother said that if I hadn't had that baby soon, she would've had to hit my daughter over the head with a large frying pan. She was restless and worried and just couldn't stop asking about me, and wondering various things about her brother. It was cute. Glad it was her, not me.
Two days later we finally left the birthing center. The sun was shining and I spent the next fucking week in my bed with the baby, recovering from the episiotomy and having my tubes tied.
But that's another story all together.