Friday, January 13, 2006

A birth(day) story, Part I

Daddymatic has been making a DVD (we got a DVD-RW for Christmas—thanks, Gramma and Grandaddy!) of all the vid we’ve shot of D-Lovah over the last year to play at his party this Saturday—if I can bear it, I’ll post some here. I’m watching him have his very first bath at the hospital, so I thought I’d FINALLY write out his birth story in celebration.

As I recall, I had been in light labor for, oh, say, a month before the real thing finally happened. But late January 13, we’d gone to our favorite diner for sundaes (my mom’s recommended labor-bringer-onner) and I felt yucky and crampy all the way home. At about 3:30 AM, I woke up feeling like I had menstrual cramps. I thought “ah, it’s just the pre-labor fake ones” until they got pretty strong (it only took 15 minutes) so I woke Daddymatic and told him, “Rehearsal’s over.” I got in the tub and he started timing and we were barely able to wait till 5 to call the midwife. We were psyched because Ann—one of the three midwives in our practice—was still on call. We liked all of the midwives, but Ann was the one we saw at our first appointment and showed us a picture of our little bean-boy in my uter-house, so she had a special place in our hearts. She asked Daddymatic if I was able to talk through contractions, and when he asked me I—of course, mid-contraction—just gave him a nasty look. From my all-fours position, I attempted to gasp, “Dude, I can’t even STAND during contractions.” Ann, no doubt thinking we were melodramatic first-time parents, told us to come on ahead.

This is me right before we left for the hospital. My mother said, "You look deformed."


Anyhoo, by the time I got all checked in and decked out in my sexy L&D-wear, it was 6:30 AM and I was almost 3 cm. dilated.

Hard labor was, in many ways, full of surprises. It hurt, for one thing. For another, all the techniques we’d been taught in Bradley method courses to help deal with the pain would have worked had I gotten a splinter on my way to the hospital, but contractions spit in their faces. I hated having to be strapped down on my back every 5 minutes (okay, probably more like 30, but it felt like 5) to be hooked up to the *&^% fetal monitor which made the pain so bad that at one point, I actually puked on my husband.

Luckily, I had a.) the best husband/coach in the WORLD—he was great about being barfed on, among other things—I think he was just glad HE didn’t have to push the fetus out and b.) the best labor and delivery (L&D) nurse in the country. Her name was Laurie and she let me stay in the shower for 3 hours. I thought I’d rather be in a tub, but the one Jacuzzi suite was already occupied and the shower ended up being better anyway—lots of steamy white noise to accompany my scroaning (scream-moaning) and wonderful, beautiful Laurie to bring me warmed blankets to dry off with.

At about 11:30AM, which was right after the vomitorium visit, I told the midwife that we miiight need to revisit the whole “nonmedicated birthing thing” I had said I wanted. I was about 6 cm at the time. I was dilating about 1 cm per hour, and I knew I couldn’t do it for another 4 hours. She hemmed and hawed and said why didn’t we put me on an IV to help hydrate me, because being dehydrated can make the contractions feel worse. I actually bought this load of hooey and said okay. The IV did nothing but make it even more of a pain in the butt to get in and out of my shower, sweet shower, but I will forever be grateful for it, because it showed me my midwife knew I’d regret being medicated later and went as far as she could to make sure I really, really wanted it before giving it to me.

But what helped me most was that my sweet, wonderful husband dredged up the only nugget of useful info from our birthing class and recognized what the Bradley folks call “the third emotional signpost” or something silly like that. Basically it means that as the labor-er closes in on transition (ie, from first-stage to pushing stage), she will get tired and say she can’t do it. So his brilliant solution was to just ask me for one more contraction. “One more,” my addled brain said. “I can do ONE more. Just not five hundred. But one? Yeah. I can do that.” So for almost two hours, I did one more and one more and one more until I think the D-unit dropped into the birth canal and then all hell broke loose down there. Daddymatic said the noises coming from the shower were inhuman-sounding and there was lots of bloody looking birthy-goodness everywhere. I asked the midwife to check me when she came to put me on the cursed monitor again, and she all but rolled her eyes but did it anyway, and when she did, she said “Oh my gosh, your membranes are RIGHT THERE. This baby’s going to be born within the hour.” I was like “Yeah, duh, I told you. Let’s GO.”

This seems like a good place to leave you until next time. Tune in for the birth story part 2.