Monday, April 30, 2012
Watch out, you might get what you're after; Cool babies, strange but not a stranger
And please forgive me if birth stories are not your cup of tea. I know I was never interested in them until I had a kid. And now I'm all, "So your mucal plug was the size of a golf ball??"
Honest to God, a couple people told me that. I never saw mine. No clue.
Also, this is very long. Because I want to record it all for myself, for India. You won't hurt my feelings if you decide to wait and read another day, or just skip to the end where, you know (spoiler alert!), the baby comes out.
I trudged home from work Wednesday the 18th, exhausted, crabby, and having spent the day feeling like I was being stabbed in the vagina from the inside. I took Tylenol before I went to sleep because I was all, fuck the stabbity stabbing. I need some sleep.
Water Breaks and Contractions Hurt Like Holy Hell
And then at 2 am I felt this little twinge. And then I started to leak. But not gush, like in the movies. I had time to wake Nick up and be all, "I think my water broke. It's like I'm peeing but I'm not peeing."
Naturally, I dragged him into the bathroom so I could demonstrate the not-peeing on the toilet. It just kept going and going.
I called my doula, who confirmed that it did indeed sound like my water bag had broken, and told me to call the midwife and then to get some sleep. I called the midwife, who said it sounded like there was meconium in the fluid, but not to worry, and to come to the hospital at 6 am. And sleep in the meantime.
Which was when the contractions started. They were much like my midwife had demonstrated. Except like 50 times more painful.
My doula had said that they'd start, and they'd be far apart, and not to pay attention to the clock. Approach each contraction as an opportunity to move the baby down. And then rest in between.
Basically, I was prepared to rest, watch a movie, read, what-have-you in between contractions.
Except that these motherfuckers started 3-5 minutes apart (yes, I'm a clock watcher) and they hurt so much that I was on my hands and knees on the bed, squatting on the side of the bed, leaning over and clutching the bed...
I was all, "Breathe, breathe, this is an opportunity..."
I finally texted my doula all, "These hurt like holy hell and there's no way I can do this for 24 hours." At which point she called and while we were chatting she was all, "Hmm. Sounds like it's going a bit faster than anticipated."
Honestly, I would recommend her to anyone. She's very even and calm and soothing, and she handles both Nick and me and our varied styles extremely well.
And It Doesn't Hurt Less Just Because You're at the Hospital, Until...
We got to the hospital a little after 6 am. The midwife (a very sweet, gentle one - not the hardcore one who I respect but fear) checked my cervix around 7 and I was not at all dilated. She pushed, and she said most people's will open if that happens. Me? Zero.
They had both India and me hooked up to monitors, and she was doing fine and I was contracting like all hell and yet no dilation.
This continued for another couple hours. The nurse was wonderful, doula, and Nick were all there the whole time and were wonderful. They would rub my back, breathe with me, remind me to relax my shoulders, breathe into it, etc.
And then, about 9, the anesthesiologist came in, I think as a routine visit in case I wound up needing anesthesia. She asked me what meds I was taking, allergies, etc. And then she said, "If you want an epidural, you just need to ask. There's no shame in it."
At which point I burst into tears and said, "YES PLEASE I WANT ONE RIGHT NOW I CANNOT DO THIS IT HURTS IT HURTS PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CAN I HAVE ONE RIGHT NOW."
Nick reminded me that I'd worked so hard for all these months and was I sure? And since he wasn't within kicking range all I could say was "Please shut up, Nick."
The doula had suggested that I ask for the attending to perform the procedure, so I did. The resident left to get him, and the nurse said, "Actually, she is very good."
I looked at Nick and said, "GO GET HER BACK!" and, good man that he is, he sprinted.
Epidurals Are Magic And Then I Slept
As I dozed off (sleep! after days and days! finally!) Nick and the midwife had a little meeting. She was going to consult with the head of OB. Nick called family to tell them it looked like I'd be having another C-section.
My body kept contracting. India kept doing well. And my cervix, it turns out, decided to dilate. They would occasionally reposition me to help the baby work her way downward.
Somewhere around noon, as they were shifting me, they saw the bloody show.
And when the midwife came back in to check, she said, "I can't really feel..." I was sure she was going to say "any dilation" but instead she said, "much cervix. You're almost fully dilated."
Which made me burst into tears. My body works like it's supposed to after all. And I've spent the last three years thinking I was totally defective. Fuck you very much, OB.
So they said to hang out until I felt a tremendous urge to poop. Then I'd start pushing. This took another hour or so. I was worried I wouldn't recognize it.
And Then With Much Encouragement, Behold, I Squoze a Baby Out of My Vagina
Suddenly I was all, "Oh! I feel it!" This was right about 3 pm.
And then they all sprung into action. I was all worried I would poop. They told me I probably wouldn't but not to worry. If I did, I wouldn't know.
Oh, I did. And I knew.
Somehow, I had always envisioned women depositing a large turd on the table. I don't know why. But then my friend Jane said her husband said it was like a Play-Doh factory, if you remember extruding your Play Doh.
Nick started making fun of me, at which point they directed him up by my head. But then he settled down, and they assigned him leg holding duty. First they had me on my side. They'd have me take a breath and let it out, then take a breath and push for 10. The nurse was counting.
And then they asked if I'd like to try being on my back. Neither of these would have seemed like optimal pushing positions prior to this little exercise. But you have these contractions and then you just, well, push.
So there we all were: the midwife, the doula, the husband, the nurse, and me. All up close and personal. They were doing warm compresses, they were supporting my perineum, they were discreetly wiping away the poop. That just kept coming and coming and coming.
I know it did. Nick unnecessarily confirmed this fact.
You know how when people tell you you're doing a good job, it just makes you want to try harder? This is what was going on. They were complimenting my pushing abilities. Clearly Lisa, you are very fit and have great abs! Such fantastic pushing!
(Fortunately nobody was like, clearly you have a lot of huge poops!)
And then after a while her head was almost out, and my vagina cheerleading squad got all excited, and they were all, a few more pushes! and then it was out...and the midwife asked Nick if he'd like to catch the baby...
Personally, I was about to suggest that they leave it to a professional, but he was really excited about it.
So Nick caught the baby. And they put her on my belly, all gunky and red and what the hell just happened? She was there. Right there. My baby!
They left the cord connected until it turned white, so she could get all the blood, oxygen, whatever else from it. And then they offered for Nick to cut it, which he was also all thrilled about. They put her up to nurse.
I'm telling you, although my doula contends that I could have, and I just made a choice - the right choice for me - I don't believe I could've done it without the epidural. I have never, seriously never, been in pain like that.
But I will also say that as soon as it was over, I genuinely felt the urge to be all yee-haw yippeee naked backflips down the hallway! when it was over. I mean, if I had been able to move my legs.
Honestly and truly one of the best days of my entire life.