4/16/06 This was started a few weeks ago, published only now. This is a hard time of year for me - birthdays and death anniversaries really take it out of me.
We spent Elijah's birthday on Kauai, one of his favorite places on earth, and easily his mama's.
Three years ago I had just come out of a six week stint in the hospital...I had what appeared to be preterm labor and it was decided, after a helicopter ride to another hospital in San Jose, that I would be put on some tocos - drugs to help slow or stop labor. And there I was, a captive audience, for SIX WHOLE WEEKS. I felt very very sick on one of the drugs in the cocktail chosen for me - magnesium sulfate - and constantly asked if it was poisoning my baby, as I felt so toxic on it. I was constantly reassured that it was 'fine, fine' and would they want me to take something dangerous to my baby? Really? And then they took me on tours of the NICU just in case I didn't believe them....they wanted me to see all the micropreemies with heads the size of tangerines so I would clam up and do what they wanted me to do. Take the drugs and stop asking questions.
So I told myself that if I just stayed put, just stopped complaining, just realized it was all for the best for my baby....then it would all work out okay. So I tried. I tried really hard. Meanwhile, my then 18 month old attachment-parenting-raised supergirl spent SIX WEEKS AWAY FROM ME. I do not need to point out how heartwrenching this was.
I stayed put until my baby was 34 gestational weeks old, and was taken off all the drugs. After failing to deliver on the predictions that I would, in fact deliver a baby, I was released.
Three weeks later, Dh and I packed up the jog stroller and Supergirl and headed off for a luxurious lunch and hike in Point Lobos. We had to drive halfway there for the routine prenatal appointment with OBfriend, so why not? I mentioned that it would be our last chance to take just one child out for a lunch and we should do it while we could (I was 37 weeks pregnant). When we got to the hospital for the visit with OBfriend, she said that I was going upstairs to have a baby - she was going to induce labor. I didn't question why at the time because everything about the pregnancy had been so atypical that I took it in stride (not my usual MO by a longshot). I said that was great, but we were on our way to Carmel and the beach, so could we come back after lunch? She said nope.
I was started on pitocin at 3:00 pm. We called my friend Suzy-the-doula and I felt fine. I had been having contractions for nine weeks, so I really didn't start to feel anything until the membranes ruptured, around 5:30. Then I just wanted to go into the bathroom to pee. I had just been checked - 6 cm. Once I was in there, it was dark and nice and nobody else was in there. I refused to come out, and politely informed dh and Suzy-the-doula that I had changed my mind, I would in fact like a spinal. Then I started complaining that I could not do this, helphelphelp...and still refusing to come out of the bathroom. After about 10 minutes of this, and some really intense contractions, doula-friend asked me if I wouldn't like to come out now, just for a short minute, and I answered with a surprisingly guttural, "nnno."
Which was interpreted by Suzy-the-doula as a pushing sound, and in one swift motion I found myself being yanked out of the bathroom and onto the bed, as she paged the nurse and screamed, "she's PUSHING" and was met with a nasally intercom response, "but I just checked her..." and as she heard me in the background came bustling down the hall 'anyway'.
Suzy-the-doula had interpreted correctly - I was 10 cm and pushing. I had never had that sensation with Supergirl's birth so it was news to me, and then, remembering what lay ahead of me (the pushing OUT of a baby's HEAD), I shouted to the bustling roomful of nurses and doctors, "WHERE'S MY SPINAL?????"
OBfriend walked in at that moment and smiled. "It's time to push!" she said just a little too cheerily.
"Oh yes, really - he's right there!"
"NO! Want. Spinal."
"Oh no! He's really right there! Just one push, come on!"
OBfriend feels for head. "Okay, don't push."
"FINE!" I angrily reply.
Then, "Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" as much as I wanted to hold out for the drugs, my body would not comply.
"There he is!"
"That's it? It's over?" (this was me)
And there, on my belly, was a tiny little doll-faced baby boy.
He had the most perfect little heart shaped face, with curiously bright blue eyes and a tiny mouth, and the most beautiful head of curly white hair I have ever seen. And he smelled like cedar.
Happy Birthday, my dear tiny boy.
Happy Birthday Elijah.
If you were here today I would be putting three candles on your cake.
These kisses I've blown to the clouds will have to do.