Saturday, January 14, 2006

A birth(day) story, Part II

And then I did a possible bad thing. I lied. When my midwife, whom I’d sworn to be 100% honest with, asked me if I felt the “urge to push,” I lied like a rug. “Oh yes!” I said. I never ONCE felt the urge, but I didn’t care. I’d fake this baby outta my abdomen if I had to.

So they did the magic bed-o-matic thing and I suddenly had this place to kneel so my butt was about eye-level with the midwife’s face. I kept telling myself “this is her job; she’s seen worse,” but it still seemed wrong to me. So I pushed a few times before I figured out that I was supposed to be pushing DURING the contractions and not just kinda randomly. Ooooh. I said, “If I push during contractions, I might poop.” She said, “That’s how ya know you’re doing it right.” Another eureka moment.

Finally, after some minutes of pushing, I complained that I wasn’t feeling anything to, ah, bear down on, as it were. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I felt raw-ther like I was trying to birth a jello mold. The midwife noted that my “bag of waters” hadn’t broken yet and that that might be the problem. She offered to break them for me. I accepted her offer. I am sure she would love for me to make some kind of Noah joke here, but I won’t. I’ll just say there was lotsa water. Apparently some with meconium in it, but I wasn’t to learn that—or that it meant the kid was drinking his own poo—until later. Finally I was able to really push, and I did. Daddymatic said it was excruciating to watch (to watch!) because he’d see the head and then when I’d stop pushing, it would turtle back up in there. Finally, they were able to see the head all the time, and the midwife asked if I wanted to touch it. “I’ll touch it,” I remember saying through clenched teeth, “when the baby is out HERE.” I remember several things about the last five minutes happening all at once:
  1. My cell phone rang. The midwife looked up and said dryly, “You wanna get that?”

  2. The head of L&D nursing came in and asked if I minded if, say, five of her best students observed the head protruding out of my vagina. Heavens, no.

  3. I felt the baby’s body coming out of mine and it felt really, really small. Like a Barbie-doll small. He turned out to be pretty big, so I’m thinking I wouldn’t use my birth-canal sensations as weight estimates for anything legal or binding.

  4. The midwife warned me that she’d need to suction the baby while he was only half-way out, so I didn’t need to freak.
Sure enough, that little bugger got halfway out and started wiggling when she suctioned 11 ccs of meconium-laced fluid from his tiny gut. Daddymatic started to cry. It was 1:50 PM. Laurie helped me sit up, the midwife put my hands under Heavy D’s arms and I pulled him out onto my chest. I was awed at how big he was (22 ½ inches, 8 lbs 15 ½ oz.), since he’d felt so little and scrawny in the birth canal. And there he was, literally big as life. It was amazing and slippery and messy and the baby was all grey, but all I could say was “Hey, little guy. You’re here, you’re finally here.”

It didn’t really hit me that he was HERE until I heard a lullaby playing on the PA system in the hospital. We’d been hearing them all day, since the L&D folks play one whenever a baby’s born. When I heard it, I said to Daddymatic, “Hey, another baby was born just now.” The midwife looked up from stitching me, stared at me fixedly and said, “Sweetie, that’s YOUR baby.” Oh. I mean OH! Oh MY! That’s when it finally hit me, and I cried. Laurie helped the little fella latch on and we had our first nursing at about 10 minutes old. It was such an amazing thing. Then Daddymatic took him to the nursery for his first real bath and stats-session, and I ate like a PIG. I wasn’t at all sure what to do with myself, or, for Pete’s sake, this BABY, but I’ll tell ya, I have never been the same since. I’m a MOTHER.

Here we are: he's 15 minutes old.

And here's the whole familymatic:

And today, my baby is a year old. Just like that.