October 29, 2011

Finally. . .

When I celebrated successfully passing my black belt test, I had a cake made for the party. It had one word on it. . . finally. Once again, life has shown me that good things are definitely worth the wait.

On Thursday, October 20th, Mr. BBM and I arrived at the hospital. After waiting it out until 42 weeks, there was no sign that the baby was coming on his own. After an appointment on Wednesday revealed I was only 3 cm dilated and 50-60% effaced, an induction was the only option. I was encouraged that my midwife said the baby’s head was at 0 station. I was hoping that would speed labor along.

Clearly experienced parents, we arrived with only one bag and a bag of sandwiches for after the delivery. We were quickly escorted to our labor and delivery room and I was less than thrilled. The walls were this pale awful green and the bathroom had a big shower, but no tub. A water birth, this would not be.

I changed into the hospital gown I was given and they started the monitors. I was told that the induction would begin around 6 p.m., but nothing in the hospital is ever on time. Mr. BBM watched the contraction monitor and it was showing contractions every 7 to 10 minutes. It was nice to know that the many weeks of contractions I had been feeling were not just in my head.

Finally, my midwife arrived. She had been monitoring me from the desk. If my contractions had been any closer together, she would not have been able to induce me with “miso.” Pitocin would have been the drug of choice. I was so thankful they weren’t any closer together. Pitocin. . .been there, done that and never had a plan to revisit that. My midwife placed the miso behind my cervix. I was 3 cm dilated and about 50-60% effaced. I had a feeling it was going to be a long night.

It wasn’t long after the miso was put in place that I started having some serious contractions that were pretty close together, as in 2-4 minutes apart. I had to remain on the monitors for an hour and I spent that time trying to close my eyes and rest.  At one point, a  nurse came in and told me they could give me something to help me sleep. I asked what the options were and when she got to injected dilaudid, I got annoyed. They were all told I wanted to do things naturally. That would have made me unconscious and the baby groggy after birth. That’s the drug they gave to Mr. BBM after emergency abdominal surgery. I told her “no thanks.” After an hour or so I was finally able to get up and walk.

Mr. BBM and I started the first of many laps around the labor and delivery floor. Just like with Sassy’s birth, I was the only one doing laps. After a couple hours of laps, the contractions were getting wicked enough that walking was becoming really difficult. Still though, the breaks between contractions were nice and every once in a while I would get a 4 minute break. This, although a nice reprieve, also had me scared. I kept asking Mr. BBM to keep track of the contractions. I was afraid at several points, that they were slowing down and would just stop. Clearly, the weeks of contractions that went nowhere had me traumatized. Still though, there was much laughing as we did our laps. When I was in labor with Sassy, during a particularly wicked contraction, I had actually drooled/spit on the floor at one point. Mr. BBM was waiting for a repeat.

During one of our laps, a med student approached me and introduced herself. She asked if she could be present at the birth and I agreed. She was giddy with joy when I said, “yes.” During one of the many laps I walked, I heard my midwife talking to her about natural child birth. I’m sure some of those nurses thought I was a freak for going without the drugs; to others, I was a rockstar, same with Sassy.

For 15 minutes out of every hour, I had to be on the monitors and they showed a strong labor pattern almost from the start. I used those 15 minutes to refuel and ate lemon ice, jello and drank tons of water and juice. I knew I needed to do it early, because when things get rough, you don’t feel like doing anything except surviving.

My midwife suggested I get in the shower and try to relax. The nurses set it up for me and I spent a lot of time in the shower with the hot water focused on my back. Eventually I was feeling water-logged and like I just needed to sit down for a bit so I got out and was busy telling Mr. BBM how good it felt to just rinse off and feel nice and clean.

It was around midnight now and my midwife came in to check my progress. I was happy to hear that I was 80-90% effaced, but only being 5 cm was a huge disappointment. My midwife was encouraging, telling me that being that effaced would mean faster progress. I wasn’t buying it. She brought in a birthing ball and recommended I contort myself around the ball. It was tough. There I was on my bed, with my left knee on the bed, my body bent over the birthing ball and my right leg up around the right side of the ball. The baby needed to move into position with his back against the front of my belly and he wasn’t rotated there yet. During the rough contorted contractions, Mr. BBM rubbed my lower back and my midwife massaged my shoulders.

My midwife decided she would get everything ready for the baby’s arrival. She said she had a feeling that when it was time, it was going to be time quickly. She wanted to be ready. At the time, I was thinking that I hoped she was right but I wasn’t convinced myself.

After spending so much time in the shower and feeling all nice and clean, I weathered about two contractions leaning on the birthing ball before we all heard a pop and my water broke. I couldn’t help but feel a little happy that even though I was being induced, my water had broken on its own. I immediately asked if the fluid was clear or not. When you’re carrying around a 42 week gestation baby, you worry about meconium a lot. There wasn’t even a trace of it and the relief I felt was huge. Soon after my water broke, I began to feel kicks in different areas. My midwife confirmed that the baby had moved into position. I wanted to keep him there so I went back in the shower and spent the beginning of transition in there weathering the contractions with help from the wall hand rails. It felt good to rinse off again.

I came out after quite some time in the shower, and planted myself on the birthing ball. Mr. BBM moved the pillows to the edge of the bed for me and between nasty contractions, I rested my head and tried to sleep.  The shower and birthing ball were quickly becoming my best friends. My midwife had also shown Mr. BBM a wonderful little trick to do while I weathered contractions. Using the heel of his palm, he pushed it hard into my lower back/hip area and simultaneously pulled the knee on the same side back towards the pressure. It took the edge off the contractions. Between that, my breathing, and visualizing myself sitting on a warm beach, I was surviving. I just hoped it wasn’t going to be much longer.

I knew I was going to feel worse laying down in my bed, but I needed a break from being upright. I got into bed and settled in on my left side. I told Mr. BBM I was feeling nauseated. I was also starting to shake a lot. I knew this was a sign of transition; I had been shaking since I was in the shower, but I was still in denial about it.  I closed my eyes and tried to take each contraction, one at a time. I couldn’t allow myself to think about the next one before I could get through the one I was riding out. I heard Mr. BBM say, “well, we’re not going to have a 1 a.m. baby” (like our other two). I felt like I was getting close but I still had the 5 cm in the back of my head. I hoped it would be over soon. It was now 2 a.m.

At about 2:05 a.m., I had a wicked contraction and as it peaked, I felt the baby begin his journey out. It took me by surprise because with the other two, I had always felt such an urge to push. This baby just decided he was coming. I immediately started telling Mr. BBM that something had changed. They needed to come check me immediately. I hit the nurse call button and told them I was having a lot of pressure and that I needed to be checked now. I must have sounded pretty serious because my midwife and a bunch of nurses came running in seconds later.

My midwife arrived with her team of nurses and the med student. I could hear her telling everyone that she was glad she readied all the gowns and things she would need a couple hours earlier. In my head, I kept thinking, “why is she gowning up before checking to see if this is really it?” I guess I was still in denial. I heard her say something about pushing the lip of my cervix back and then she was telling me to push when I felt like it. I couldn’t believe I was already pushing. The next contraction came and I pushed as hard as I could. It felt different than with the girls. I felt like I was pushing out a boulder. I made a decision then and there, that I was getting this baby out as fast as possible. I couldn’t stand the pain anymore. With each push, I started throwing up too. They weren’t prepared for that so my midwife told me to just spit it out. A minute later, someone brought me a cup.  I was really glad I had been on my left side. If I had been on my back that would have been even nastier.

All my showers had been for nothing. I was turning into the girl from “The Exorcist.” After about five contractions, my midwife told me to reach down and feel my baby. I felt his head, which was finally out and knew the next contraction and push was going to be brutal. I pulled back on my legs, with help from the nurse and Mr. BBM and decided he was coming out with this contraction. Enough was enough. The shoulders were brutal, but after a lot of yelling, groaning, and some throwing up, he was out. I had pushed for only 8 minutes.

I sat up a little and grabbed my baby son and pulled him up onto my chest. I heard my midwife say something like “see, he’s about 7.5-8 lbs. He’s not too big.” His body was pink but his face was purple and he wasn’t making a lot of noise and didn’t seem to be breathing like he should. I kept asking if he was ok. My midwife assured me he was fine and allowed the cord to continue to pulse.  As they continued suctioning his mouth out, and as I rubbed his back, he started to pink up. He seemed to know right where to look and we spent the next 10 minutes or so just staring at each other and studying each other’s faces. He was so calm and adorable. His skin, completely free of vernix after cooking those extra 15 days, felt warm and like velvet. Within minutes, he was trying to nurse right through my hospital gown.

After delivering the placenta, they decided to weigh and measure him and get him swaddled. When they put him on the scale, everyone was shocked. 8 lbs. 15 oz. My midwife didn’t see that one coming. Neither did I. The nurse said something about needing to check his blood sugar since he was so big. If I hadn’t been so exhausted from the previous two hours, I would have told them to use common sense. He cooked for an extra two weeks; he’s fine. And of course, I was right. The baby’s temperature was also a bit elevated; but the midwife told them to hold off and wait a little while. I had spent an awful lot of time in the hot shower. His temperature came back to normal in no time.

Swaddled and content, they handed him back to me and I spent the next two hours just staring at him, nursing him and getting to know my son, the third baby that I had wanted but didn’t think was possible, the third baby that started as an “oops” had turned into a “meant to be.”

My son was born on the 50th anniversary of his grandmother’s death. My Dad lost his Mom when he was only 10 years old. This little man may have arrived “late” to me, but to my extended family, he arrived right on time. . . right in time to replace a bad memory with one so amazing, so very good.

I brought him home from the hospital one week ago today and we are already so completely in love with him. This is just the beginning of all the wonderful memories we’ll all be making together.

Welcome to the world, my baby meant-to-be.

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