When we arrived Nurse Brian asked if we would like a small, medium or large room since we’ll be here for awhile. Convinced he had us confused with another patient, I told him that it didn’t matter because we were only here for a non-stress test. He was a little more insistent and I told him we’re not staying. Adamantly, “we don’t have any of our things and the dog is home all alone”. Oh, okay then.
Hooked up to the EFM, Liza (the midwife) comes in around and informs us that the amniotic fluid levels are too low to let us leave. She would like to see me attached to the EFM from now on. Liza explains that Cerv1dil will ripen my cervix tonight, I will get a good night sleep and Pit0cin will be administered in the morning. Another midwife will deliver me tomorrow/tomorrow night/the next day. This could be a long process. I begin to realize my birth plan is out the window. C. calls Stacey, our friend/doula, who is on her way back from NH and then heads home to get our birthing things. Things are not going as planned….
At Cerv1dil is inserted, with a 2nd dose planned for . Liza notes that my cervix is high and hard, not at all ready for birthing. Not planning on delivering me, she fails to read the birthplan and cordblood things. Stacey, C. and I eat a pizza and plan to watch some Bravo, maybe play Dominoes. But cramps begin within a half hour. I start to feel yucky and wonky and tired.
By the cramps are bad and I am attempting to rock them away in the rocking chair. Stacey begins timing some things because they seem so repetitive. They are 4-6 minutes apart. But remember, these are just cramps that sometimes accompany the Cerv1dil. I say to C., “If the cramps are this bad, how will I ever be able to stand contractions?” Our new nurse, Tina, comes in and notices that I seem to be deteriorating and things are tough. She gets Liza, who offers Morphine for sleep. What? I refuse, because I hate the way I feel when medicated. She assures it is safe and will be out of my system before the baby comes. She really wants me to sleep. I don’t see how that will be possible.
Between and the painful cramping continues. When I throw up the pizza, Tina worries that we have over stimulated my uterus and gets Liza. Liza agrees and wants to remove the Cerv1dil. When she does that – surprise – I’m 5 centimeters dilated. Not cramps after all, contractions – and I’m half way there! She removes the Cerv1dil and my body continues on its own.
From to I labor in bed. I am very uncomfortable. In fact, that’s what I keep saying to everyone, “I’m very uncomfortable”- umm, understatement. Liza repeatedly offers an epidural even though my birth plan states “I will ask, please don’t offer.” Annoying, but tempting. I never commit. The next time she checks my cervix it’s 7 centimeters. The tub is contemplated, but I don’t think I can move to another room.
My water finally breaks in the bed, and things get really hard. I turn to my side, helping the cervix to fully dilate. Hard and tough and painful and constant. I can’t seem to get my body to stop convulsing, even as I realize this is the transition. I try to ride them out, but I feel like I’m just hanging on for the ride, clenching until it’s over. It’s like being under a giant wave, and not being able to reach the surface. And then you’re slammed onto the shore, take a breath and another wave overtakes you. This was definitely the worst for me. In fact, I relive it for the next day or two – shuddering each time.
The need to push comes sometime before , but Liza is not ready for me to push. My body is not ready so I have to hold them back. This is so difficult, impossible even. My body says “PUSH” and I feel powerless to stop it. Poop.
Around , true pushing beings. It’s better because there are longer breaks between the contractions. I’m trying to follow directions, but everyone seems irritated that I can’t do what they’re saying. Just because my eyes are closed (which they were for almost the entire birth), doesn’t mean I can’t hear you. I am so unbelievably hot. “Hot”, I keep repeating. Even with the A/C at full blast, I’m “hot.” C. and Stacey fan me with a Chinese handheld fan from Stacey’s doula bag that she got at Pearl River Mart. It was an invaluable tool! Between fanning, they are also holding my legs which are so tired and heavy.
Around , the baby is in the birth canal and Liza wants me to go slow. As the baby moves further down, I feel like my bottom is exploding. I know she’s trying to help me stretch slowly but I have to get the baby out. Like, right now. C. can see hair as the baby comes down. I feel like if I look or touch, I will lose focus – so I take her word for it. I’m taking the deep breaths, and bearing down times per contraction. I’m so thankful for the breaks between.
5:20, I feel the tearing/stinging, but I don’t care. I’ve got to push this baby out.
At the baby comes out and is placed straight onto my belly. I’m surprised by all the blood. I look to C., “What is it?” and she says, “I don’t know!” What? The baby’s body was turned away from her and she couldn’t see the parts. Taking a peek over, she says, “A boy, I think” and Liza nods. The nurse wipes him up and I hear little cries and moans and I realize – I did it. It’s over, and I did it. C. and I have our family.
It takes awhile for Liza and Tina to figure out the cordblood banking. The baby lays tired on my chest. Birthing the placenta is so relieving. We all take a look at what it was that sustained our son for so long. Really amazing.
Around Liza begins repairs on my third-degree tear while the baby is cleaned and weighed. I birthed an 8lb 10oz, 20 ¾ inch long, baby boy. Woh. Liza has Dr. Loebel, and ob/gyn surgeon, come in to take a look at the tear and do the stitches. The stitches are done from front to back – ow – but are superficial (no muscles), thank goodness. It takes awhile and I keep thinking about how I can’t wait to close my legs. They are so tired and shaky.
Around we are finished and I can breastfeed for the first time. He takes it easily. C. begins to call people, who are surprised - remember we weren’t even supposed to be put into labor until this morning? My mom and dad are here within a few hours. C.’s mom and sister come later in the day. It’s a whirlwind of a day as we introduce Theo to his new family.
I ended up with the Birth Story I wanted. Surprisingly. No one thought this is how it would go. I wouldn’t have done it without the support (and fanning) of C. and Stacey. And I trusted my instincts. I trusted my body. It was hard.