Friday, April 18, 2014

Abraham's birth story // Part two

(Read part one here.)

They couldn't get an IV started because I was dehydrated but finally got one after a few nurses and a few more sticks. They had it saline locked and were able to take the baby monitor off after a few minutes and just check his heart rate periodically per my request/midwife's orders. There's only so much I can say here about the next thirty minutes of contractions. I felt beyond all misery. The midwife hadn't gotten our message due to some answering service issues so she got late notice about my arrival. Before she arrived I remember saying, "Can we get a doctor or midwife or someone around here!?" I was so relieved to see her pleasant, familiar face and long blonde hair.

That time between when we got there and when I started pushing was intense, to say the least. I just wanted to have my baby so incredibly badly. I felt like since it all happened so fast and my doula wasn't there (although the back-up doula was) we weren't able to use the different tools and coping mechanisms we had planned on. And Hypnobabies didn't even cross my mind at this point! (In Hypnobabies defense, I had not done my preparations like I was supposed to.) I had Dan rub me with a cold (dripping wet) wash cloth. I was all but screaming at him about where and how to do it. Luckily my mom found her way to us and was able to be there the whole time. She was on camcorder duty. I remember feeling desperate for anyone to give me some relief. I rationally knew what the situation was and that no one could "help me" any more than they were (or than I would let them) but in that moment I just felt helpless. I don't really remember thinking about pain medication or being tempted by the option of it even though I was in the hospital. Probably because I wanted a natural birth so desperately and had deemed pain medication all but toxic in my mind and I knew I was close.

Before I knew it I was pushing. She told me she could see his head and that gave me the motivation I needed. The ring of fire they talk about wasn't bad to me. I was just relieved I was getting close. I pushed for thirty minutes and he was born at exactly 10:30 am. (We checked into the hospital at 9:30 am!) 

I felt utter shock when he was born. It was over. I did it. He's here. I just birthed this baby. He looked so big. And beautiful. And perfect. And he just came out of my body. I couldn't believe it. I grabbed him immediately and put him on my chest. I held him up so I could see his face and his little head just hung down. I could barely cry or do anything but hold him on me because I was slightly pooped. We delayed cutting the cord, and Dan cut it when the time came. I didn't feel that "high" some people who have natural births describe, mostly just relief! I really wanted Dan to hold him right away. He had told me not long ago that he didn't hold Jude until about an hour after he was born! I had no idea at the time but didn't want that to happen again. I wanted him to hold him skin to skin so I told Dan to take his shirt off and hold the baby. He told me he didn't want to take his shirt off (room full of women I guess) but I ever-so-kindly ordered him to and he obliged. Once his shirt was off, I handed him the baby and enjoyed watching him hold him. I took the baby back after a minute and just held him and we started nursing. He was a great nurser right away.

After a while (I don't remember how long), and at my consent, they got his measurements. When the nurses called out, NINE POUNDS FIFTEEN OUNCES!!" (they were all so excited) I felt so proud of my big baby and kind of relieved like, "Oh, good. At least I have a reason to feel so crummy!"

At that point I was getting Pitocin full speed ahead because I was hemorrhaging at a point of concern. This is the part of the story that definitely did not go as planned. Without getting into too many unnecessary details, I was loosing a lot of blood. Since the baby was so big, it was hard on my body. According to my midwife, my uterus just kind of "gave up" after he was born and was having a hard time continuing to contract to stop the bleeding. I don't care to remember all that happened, but there were a lot of excruciating bi-manual exams and fundal massages, Pitocin, Cytotec, and even a threat to go to the OR. They had to restart my IV so in the midst of getting stitched up, I got stuck about eight times! I was screaming out in pain and remember yelling, "This is unethical!" 

They were able to get the bleeding under control and after a few hours we were transferred to the mother-baby room. In the midst of all that Abraham had an impressive BM and had Dan and the nurse cracking up. We Skyped with my Dad in the midst of it all and he was, of course, just enamored with the little guy. Turns out some of my lab work results fell through the cracks upon all our changing care providers and we didn't know I was anemic. My Hemoglobin was 6.0 and my EBL was 600 mL, so now I know why I felt so rough! :)

Not quite ready to smile yet...

I was hesitant to share all this because I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but it's our story and it's real life. It wasn't particularly peaceful but I would not change a thing. I thought long and hard about how I wanted my baby to be born. It was incredibly important to me for him to be born on his own time and in his own way. And this was his way. With him being so "late," it was only a natural consequence that he was also going to be big. I chose not to think about that as it had no merit and would only scare me.  My baby came when he was ready and I am so grateful. Here's when the story gets good again... 

He was absolutely perfect (and still is). It was pretty hard on me, but I feel my reward was a literally perfect baby. He makes it all worth it and I'd do it again for him. His Apgar scores were perfect. He was incredibly alert from birth. He has never had the slightest difficult nursing. The lactation consultant who has been practicing for over twenty years commented on how unusually alert he was at just a few hours old. She said she can always tell the natural babies from the medicated ones because they nurse so much better and have a lot less difficulty overall. My doula also said he is the most alert/strongest baby she has ever seen. He has never had reflux. He has never been inconsolable. He is rarely fussy. He did not have jaundice. He has never had any issues in the slightest and I attribute that to him coming when he was ready. My birth was far from what I expected and it took me a few days and weeks to accept all that happened and wrap my head around it all. But I would not change one aspect or part of my story because it is his story too. He is a boy all his own and made quite an entrance into the world! He is incredible. He is calm and content and completely mine. I adore him every wit. More than I could ever express. He is incredibly special to me. He has taught me so many lessons about myself and life and love. He is a strong and mighty spirit and I am humbled and grateful to be his mother.

Giving birth to this breathtaking boy was a life-altering experience for me. I learned about myself and my strength. I learned about love and the things we do for it. I gained confidence in myself as a woman and a mother. I hold these feelings close to my heart and am grateful beyond words for everything he is to me.

No big deal. He's a model.