Monday, February 06, 2006

Labor and Delivery

Halloween 2005, 2:00pm
I knew all along I was going to go into labor on Halloween. All the way down the mountain to Supergirl and her buddy's gymnastics class I bitched to Heidi about one thing or another, then I hauled my giant belly (ass) over to costco to return moldy cheese. Unopened. That I had bought two days before. Two pounds of it. And I had an annoying backache.
On the way back (1/2 block + large parking lot) I had 3 contractions. And more with the annoying backache. And when I got back to the gym I mentioned that I was feeling more irritable than usual and thought perhaps I would go into labor soon.
"I'm cranky." I said.
"Ya think so?" my dear friend and soon to be labor helper boldly replied.
"More than usual." I added.
"I noticed." Again with the sarcasm.
I was getting edgy. And that damn backache!
4:00pm
Back home, I told dh that I felt like I felt the day before going into labor the first time (the second time I was induced). Then I started getting worried that maybe this wasn't really labor after all, but more of those nasty teaser contractions, and my back is killing me and I feel so cranky and what if this lasts for DAYS until I am induced and ohgod I can't take it!!!!!
So I took measures to make sure - the tried and true method of asking your loving partner and father of your soon to be born child to overlook the fact that you look like a snake digesting a fresh hippopotamus dinner and show you a good time. Make that a great time.
And then I took some herbs that dear Jen gave me. I had prepared ahead in case I decided to try and avoid the pitocin induction scheduled for Thursday. She said to try the tincture every four hours. So I took some, and - this is how pregnant I really was - actually enjoyed the bitter taste!
I was having regular contractions, perhaps 6-7 minutes apart, for almost two hours. But I thought that wasn't quite definitive enough. So I had some more tincture. It definitely hadn't been 4 hours, but I was devoted to the end result being a baby, (although still doubtful).
When the big event comes, you really are afraid to believe it.
So because I really didn't believe it, I had made plans with Heidi to take our children trick-or-treating down in Boulder Creek. Dh made dinner, I watched the clock and smiled stupidly so as not to alarm anyone, and I refused to eat. Part of the reason for this was that I was truly not hungry. The other part was that I was afraid that if- IF - I was really in labor, then I for sure didn't want to poop on OBfriend.
7:00pm
I cancelled my part in the trick-or-treating and told Heidi to plan on hearing from me later...as things seemed to be moving slowly and she should get her pregnant little self some sleep before I commanded her presence at the hospital later.
At one point during all this quiet frenzy, Dh (Definitely horrible) put on a clip from this movie and it opens with Johnny Cash singing 'Ring of Fire'. I was in the bathroom and shouted out that he was the most insensitive person on earth and turn that goddam song off right now because that is so not funny I will KILL HIM if he doesn't turn it off NOW!! It took him a minute to get the connection, but those of you familiar with childbirth should need no further explanation.
8:00pm
I took more tincture. mmm.....yummy.
The contractions were 5-6 minutes apart, consistent now for 3 hours, so I was pretty sure this thing was on, but I didn't feel right heading out to the hospital while things were still relatively mild, aka: NON-painful contractions. So I paged OBfriend who was out trick-or-treating. She told me that I was being a bit silly to be waiting for pain with my third child.
Oh.
And to head in the direction of the hospital soon, no rush, but get things in order, etc...
Okay.
Note: If you are in labor and your
OB tells you this (no rush), DO NOT, under any circumstances, share this information with your Dh, significant other, ride to the hospital, etc. He or she will most likely then proceed to cook things,look for the cat, pack more things into the bags that have been packed for a month, unplug things, look for the cat, have philosophical discussions with a four year old, plug things in, look for the cat, lock doors, unplug things again, complain about not finding the cat, and generally drive you crazy.
10:00pm
We were able to drop Supergirl off at her designated destination by
9:30pm, at the hospital by about 10. They were waiting for me. Most of these nurses had seen me through some scares, plus there was nobody else in labor. So I had a nice welcome and we requested the room in which Supergirl was born, which is what we got. I love that hospital!
I was still not in pain and a bit giddy with all the anticipation, so much giggling and joking ensued. The nurse (who had been my nurse when I had the preterm labor scares) reminded me that I had told her we were going to name the baby Braxton-Hicks, hahaha, and then I handed her my printed birthplan (EXCERPT: #5 WHEN I throw up, give me a BIG basin and offer me some mouthwash afterward. #6 I apologize in advance for any nasty remarks I may make to anyone while in transition or pushing. I HATE that part) , and there was much more hahaha and then they tried to get the IV started (you have to be pre-hydrated should you decide on a spinal, and I was keeping my options open!) and five tries later there was a little less hahaha....but finally a direct line to my vein, which certainly came in handy, which I will cover later.
1:00am, Nov 1st
So everything was just plodding along; when I got to the hospital I was about 3 centimeters, and by
1am I was only at 4, then stalled out there for a while. Dear sweet wonderful OBfriend came in around 1, not because we thought I was going to be popping a baby out any moment, but because she is indeed a dear, sweet, wonderful friend! She has experienced every joyous and every psycho moment of this pregnancy with me. She was a rock for me when Elijah died. She said she wasn't going to miss this event and was there for the duration.
Around
3:30am (4 hours after being on IV fluids and antibiotic for the GBS) I agreed to having the membranes broken (water popped, whatever). With baby #1, we were Bradley brainwashed and wouldn't allow any interventions. I had natural childbirth with extremely painful back labor. With baby #2, I was induced and we wanted Elijah out fast, and after my membranes were broken, labor progressed MUCH faster (think runaway train) and he came very soon after that. Also without drugs. As I previously touched on, I was not sure I needed to experience all that reality again.
I wanted to get this show on the road, so I was very glad to have my membranes popped. And everything looked good. Except for that damn towel between my legs that was most certainly was acting as a diaper. That didn't look so attractive. OBfriend suggested we take a walk, and I covered up my bare ass, gathered up Dh and my IV pole and off we all went for a walk. It was about halfway around the loop that I realized with relief just what exactly that handrail running the length of the wall is for. Wow. Dh and OBfriend took turns massaging my back as I leaned against those blessed railings and said things like, "Oh. Wow. Ohmygod. Whoa. Holyshit," and so forth. When we got back to my room I was no longer feeling giddy and joyful. Dh suggested that I take a shower, since laboring in water is always easier for me. As the nurse was wrapping my IV'd arm in plastic I started feeling irritable and impatient. She took these (correctly) as signs of progressing towards transition, and suggested that they check my cervix before getting in the shower. I snarled that I would be just fine, thank you, if she would just get out my way now since I have done this THREE times now, and let me in the hot water. NOW. PLEASE.
She raised her eyebrows at Dh, gave him orders to stay in the bathroom, and left me alone.
Almost as soon as I got into the shower, the trembling started. This was definitely transition, and I didn't like it one bit. I was shaking and moaning "Owowowowowowowow. Nonononononono. Owowowowowowow." I gripped the shower handrail (oh I was beginning to have fantasies of gratitude involving the architect of that hospital) and said through gritted teeth, "Okay. I OWOWowowowowwant drugs. I w-w-w-want a spinal and I want it nowOWOWowowowow. Now would be a good OWOWOWOWOwowow time to call that anesthesiowowowOWOWowologist. And tell him to hurry. And call OWowoOWowowfuckingow Heidi. And tell her to hurry. Owshitshitshitowowow."
Of course by this time OBfriend and nurse had come in and were suggesting I get out of the tub. I was reassured that the anesthesiologist (aka the candyman) lived nearby and would be there ohsoveryverysoon. Twenty minutes tops.
(20 minutes? is she fucking crazy to OW think that i can LIVE through the next OW twenty fucking minutes?OW)
The nurse offered and I accepted pain meds in the direct route to my vein and they were quite pleasant - in the midst of all this unpleasantness. Then Heidi showed up -hooray- after driving down the mountain 30 miles, considerably farther than the absent anesthesiologist had to go. She looked well rested, beautiful, glowing, cheerful, energetic and sympathetic. All at once I wanted to cry on her shoulder and smack her for looking so great. She asked how I was doing and I remember muttering something about how the nurse had good drugs and right then the good drugs wore off and WHAM-O! the next contraction hit and then I very clearly remember saying this in a pleading and guttural voice: "Oooooooooooooooooohhhhhfuuuuuuuuuckkkkkk."

I was at about 8-9 centimeters when I had gotten out of the shower, and I knew I was going fast at that point. The fentanyl high lasted but a few minutes before I was demanding to know the whereabouts of the GODDAMNEDANESTHESIOLOGIST??? I WANT MY CANDY, CANDYMAN!! who finally breezed in around
6am - almost an hour after being called at home. And when he did come in he started smalltalking to Dh and Heidi. And asking me if I liked surfing or some dumb shit like that and I said, "Howabout you stop talking and give me some drugs."
As I sat up for the spinal I felt Bubbles just speed his way down the birth canal and tried to hide it so they would still give me the good numbing drugs for the pushing part, which I was dreading and getting more panicky about as he plowed his way downdowndown. Unfortunately, me trying to hide it became me panting and whining "ohno-ohno-ohno-ohno-ohno."
Heidi later told me that the nurse I was leaning on thought I was going to throw up on her with all the ohnos, but really I was just afraid the baby was going to demand then and there to come out before doctor talkalot got the needle in, and I wanted to be NUMB. Ring of Fire played tauntingly in my head.
I got the spinal, and waited for relief. However, since my baby was an inch from meeting oxygen and my pelvis was cracked open within a millimeter of permanent damage, the next few contractions were still felt and they were MAMMOTH m-f-ing contractions. I panicked. I panicked because I was expecting the spinal to work immediately, and it didn't. They handed me an oxygen mask. My legs were numb but my back, ass, and vagina were all WAY too present and living in the moment. I started whining to OBfriend to HELP ME PLEASE WHY ISN'T THIS WORKING I THOUGHT THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO WORK WHY ISN'T IT WORKING HELP ME PLEASE!!!! I felt really panicky.
There was some discussion about giving me another dose of the spinal and higher up, and the candyman said he could do that but that I would be as numb as a c-section patient, unable to move my legs at all or feel anything. That sounded divine. Yeah baby, bring it on.

7:00am
Ten minutes later I was numbnumbnumb, mmmmmmm, lovely. Great little cocktail they put in that spinal, I thought. OBfriend said, "Well, you can push anytime you are ready."
I blinked at her gloved hand.
"The baby's head is right there!" she added.
"You just checked me???" I asked incredulously,"I had no idea you were even near my vagina!"
Things were looking up.
I told her I was too tired to push and I would like to take a little rest please.
She surprised me by saying why didn't I take a little nap? The baby's heartrate was fine, the nurse and Heidi were both watching the monitors like hawks, and we were all pretty damn tired. So Dh, OBfriend, and I all took naps. I am not kidding. My baby was knocking on the door, and we all took a little nap. In retrospect it seems pretty ridiculous, but in the moment I was totally exhausted and incapable of extracting another ounce of energy from my being.
8:00am
After drifting in and out of sleep, I opened my eyes feeling much more ready, and also starting to regain a little bit of feeling in my hip. "Let's do this thing," I said to Heidi, who went to get OBfriend who was psychicly right at the door, and then woke Dh, who was snoring on the uncomfortable daddy-chairbed.
Since I couldn't really feel a thing, I was worried about whether or not I could push effectively. OBfriend said to give it a try.
I did. She and Heidi got big eyes and OBfriend said,"well, I'm going to gown up!" and Heidi, grinning wildly, said,"Ohmygod there's his head, it was RIGHT THERE!" And then I got all bossy and demanded a mirror and told Dh and Heidi to grab my legs (one for each of them) and scooted up and took in a big breath and PUSHED REALLYREALLY hard and yes, there was his head, it was RIGHT THERE!!! I know, because I saw it in the mirror aimed at my crotch, which normally would have bothered me. And for the first time in three birthing experiences, I was NOT moaning ring of fire, ring of fire, i can't do this.....and I was NOT shouting GET IT OUT OF ME RIGHT NOW, I DON'T CARE JUST GET. THIS. BABY. OUT. OF. ME. RIGHT. NOOOOOOOOOW.
Nope, none of that. I was blissfully medicated.
aaaaahhhhhhhh.
I couldn't feel a thing, and was amazed to see this head squeezing his way through my hooha with no accompanying discomfort whatsoever.
Now this, surely, was a beautiful thing.
I got to enjoy the moment my child entered the world in a way that I had not yet done: calmly. It was a perfect moment for me.
8:13
I was very excited to see my pushing work right before my very eyes (which were surprisingly open instead of squinted in agony), and so I pushed REALLY HARD again, and then watched my baby literally
8:14
pop out.
That was it. Just three big pushes, and there he was.
ON MY BELLY!!!
Bubbles came out with his right hand pressed against his cheek, which I saw right away. What I had somehow (and gratefully) missed was the cord wrapped around his hand and neck - just once, and loosely, but his hand was protecting his neck. I didn't need to see any of that, and it was unlooped so fast by OBfriend that I didn't have to.
And then, the most beautiful sound I had ever heard, the sound that neither Mozart or Vivaldi could have topped with a mere musical masterpiece:
The unequivocally, indisputably, absolutely healthy cry of my baby boy, as he at once protested and accepted the oxygen-rich world.

2 comments:

jess said...

Wow! Great birth story.... huge congratulations and glad to see you back again!

Mary Tsao said...

"The unequivocally, indisputably, absolutely healthy cry of my baby boy, as he at once protested and accepted the oxygen-rich world."

Love this line and the picture. Where are you? I hope you can find the time to post soon. I know your hands are full...