Monday, April 20, 2009
Our child is born!
In my determination to have an intervention-free childbirth, it escaped me that it might actually happen. We set a date to induce with the hope that I would go into labor on my own before the countdown would finish. It had occurred to me many times that I would most likely be plopping myself yet again, into a hospital bed and opening my veins to Pitocin and other yummy fluids to bring on another stubborn labor. While I knew of the possibility of Jack making his way out earlier, I really never considered it a true reality. Maybe that's why I waited so long to go in to the hospital. Maybe that's why I couldn't have known how it would take hold of me and run me over like a train.
The first clue was at 8:00 on Friday night when I sat down with the fam for our weekly movie night. I was having the typical night-time contractions that had been haunting me nightly for weeks. I decided to time them and was surprised they were about 8 minutes apart. "But I feel fine" I would tell myself. However, I could not wrap myself around the movie and I felt very distant from Nick and the kids; like they were in another room. My sister called at about 8:30 and I retreated to the bedroom to talk. She lives in New Zealand, so when she calls I answer. About 10 minutes in I felt a whole new kind of contraction, a whip on my back and a bolt of lightning in my guts. My conversation with her after that was brief as I had another one less than ten minutes later. I called the midwife and she suggested I take a shower, lie down and time them. I was familiar with this phone call. I had this conversation with another midwife on-call only the night before, and a few days before that. I followed orders, showered and rested. It seemed like even though the contractions were more intense, they were choppy in their presentation; some climbed my back like the claws of kittens and others were only glorified Braxton Hicks. But at 11:00 they started to get regular and more intense. I had had my hopes dashed so many times before I decided I would lie down and attempt to sleep through them. Nonsense! I called the midwife at midnight and she talked me through a contraction and suggested we come in. I called my mom to let her know we were bringing the kids over and arrived at the hospital at 1:10 am. By this point I couldn't go three minutes without a gripping contraction. The new hospital looks like a giant ski lodge, adorned with random sculptures and wrought iron details in the lobby. If you are in labor, this is where you enter. Needless to say, I felt very out of place when we made our way up to the receiving desk to check in. The man at the desk asked me if I was in labor and I was afraid if I said yes I would jinx the whole thing, so I said, "I think so..."
Did I still doubt I was in labor? Yes. Was I prepared to go ahead and have a baby? No. In all my anxiety to get things moving, I was still scared shitless! We passed labor and delivery triage, which was my second clue; we were not stopping to "check", we were going straight to a delivery room. I passed my midwife, Patricia (who is awesome, by the way) and she said, "You're a bit smiley for someone in labor", I told her yes, because this is what I wanted and then in the back of my mind I said to myself, "Are you sure?"
My body reacted to the delivery room like a cat to a can of tuna; labor hit hard before I had my hospital issued socks on. This is where it all blurs together. At some point she checked me and I was dilated 6 centimeters! Soon after that I was leaning on Nick, who was also not entirely convinced until now that this was it. We both "danced" in the room, he rubbed my back while I buried my face in him and moaned. Then the moaning turned into groaning and soon I was in a bed and I was wailing. My mom arrived shortly after and while Nick prepared to catch the baby, he supported me in every position possible. My mom was on fan duty (damn that room was hot!) and keeping the wash cloth cool and wet. We tried squatting, tried lying sideways and finally I was on my hands and knees. My hair was dripping with sweat and stuck to my face while I pushed with every ounce in me. My cheering section assured me I could do it, so I pushed continuously for what ended up just under an hour before his head was clear. It was then that we learned he was a big baby; a baby with the shoulders of a line-backer. Jack arrived like toothpaste from a tube, his shoulders pressed together under his chin. And he of course couldn't leave the womb without offering a parting gift and took a giant dump upon his arrival. There was meconium in the water and who knew what condition his shoulders were in, so he was taken to the NICU station just behind me and Nick was right by his side while they suctioned him and checked his joints. It took some work to get him to cry a good cry, but despite his dramatic entrance, he is in ship shape (although a little red and scaly from being late) and his shoulders are intact. I had a bit of a tear and required a few stitches, so that way I'd have something to bitch about for a few days. He latched on very nicely, but I am afraid it has been hard to tear him away from Nick for very long ever since. Daddy has a serious case of perma-grin!
Jack was born on April 18th at 4:10 am weighing in at 9 pounds, 12 ounces and stretching out at 21 inches. Who knows what he would have weighed in induction day!