Monday, June 16, 2008
A baby story
It's funny that my last post was about my last day of school....when I wrote it I (obviously) had no idea that in just a few hours I would be meeting my daughter. My plan to spend at least a few days relaxing and doing random house projects rather abruptly ended at midnight on Friday....
I stayed at school late on Friday. I'll admit, I had a hard time leaving. I found myself cleaning and organizing even more, stalling the inevitable saying goodbye and somewhat enjoying the peace and solitude of my classroom....I got home late and was so drained from the day that I fell asleep, on top of the covers, by 9:00. At 12:15 I woke to a weird sensation....it felt like I was going to the bathroom in my pants. Half asleep, I stumbled to the bathroom, confused as to what was going on. I thought for a minute that my water had broken, but recalled a neighbor who told a story about losing control of her bladder near the end of her pregnancy. Since I wasn't experiencing any contractions, I thought that perhaps I was doing the same thing....even started thinking how I could tell this story to family and friends. After changing my clothes, I went downstairs and got Russ, who had fallen asleep on the couch. I told him I thought that maybe my water had broken. I admit, I felt like an idiot. This is one of those things I thought I, as a woman, should just know. He asked me what I meant, how come I wasn't sure...I explained that it felt more like I was peeing my pants than anything and that I wasn't having any contractions. We decided to wait, and we both went upstairs to go to bed. As I stood in my bedroom, mopping up the slight mess I had left, another puddle appeared on the ground. I looked at my husband--mostly asleep on the bed and asked, "See this? What is going on?" I still didn't fully comprehend that my water had broken. Apparently I needed it spelled out for me a little more clearly.....Russ went to sleep while I stuck a towel between my legs and went downstairs to clean the kitchen.
Yes. It's true. I cleaned the kitchen at 12:30, with a towel stuck between my legs. It was while I was scrubbing out the bathroom sink around 1:00 that the thought grew....the thought that this was insane, and what the hell was I doing?!? I woke Russ up again and told him I was going to call the doctor, which I finally did at 1:15. She called me back fifteen minutes later and I explained what had happened. She instructed me to come to the hospital so we both threw on some clothes and headed out. Before I did, I opened the mail. (Clearly I was not in my right mind.) But I did find the pictures my brother had taken the week before of my pregnant belly. Russ and I were still thinking this might be a practice run, so we decided not to call anyone, hating the thought of setting off a false alarm within our respective families.
On the way to the hospital I finally started experiencing my first contractions, but, admittedly, they were not much stronger than the Braxton Hicks I had been experiencing the last several months. We got to the hospital and parked in the wrong place, much like my sister had done when she was in labor. Walking around the block in, yes, the rain, my contractions started to feel stronger and Russ finally started timing them. We went through admissions and it was while in the wheel chair that it finally hit me: I'm having a BABY.
Once we got to the hospital room--now it is around 2:15, we called our respective parents. I assured my mom that there was no need to rush, but she wouldn't hear it and practically hung up in mid-sentence so she could leave--without my Dad because he was at a conference in Ohio and his one instruction when he left was "remember, don't have the baby while I'm away." Russ' parents were in Boston, so they debated about when to come but had initially decided to wait a bit and asked us to call them after the doctor visited. I got changed and hooked up to the monitors and settled in for what I assumed would be a long labor. Contractions were still ten minutes apart and lasting a minute.The doctor came in, and I was happy that it was someone from my practice. She didn't want to examine me because of the GBS, and instead assured me that all looked good based on the read outs and let me know she'd be back in a little while. My mom and sister showed up when the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I desperately wanted to get out of bed, convinced that I'd feel better if I could sit on the birthing ball. I wasn't allowed to though because I still needed my antibiotics for the GBS. I was supposed to have antibiotics for four hours prior to delivery but the nurses were rather busy that night and assumed that, like all first labors, I'd be there for awhile. Needless to say, they weren't rushing to get to me--although I was in no way neglected. I finally got hooked up to an IV and out of bed. Contractions were now much closer together, about three minutes and lasting only 30 seconds. Right before getting out of bed, in the midst of a contraction, I started feeling a rather strong urge to PUSH. I was sure it was way too soon for such actions and even, in the midst of it all, said no a few times.
Sitting on the ball the feeling came again, even stronger. My sister asked me what was going on and I explained the urge. Thank goodness she was there because she immediately told a nurse, who, with a hint of skepticism, let us know she would tell the doctor. The doctor came in a few contractions later and asked me to get into bed so she could examine me. It was my first examination and upon finishing she looked up and said, "Oh my God." Which I think freaked my husband out just a bit. "You are fully dilated!" According to my sister, the look of utter panic on my face was almost comical and I informed the doctor, rather firmly, that I wanted an epidural. Like NOW. She told me it would be too late and I told her that I REALLY wanted that epidural. Apparently, by the time they even came up to administer it, the baby would be born. No epidural for me. And no time to panic about it because she was coming, drugs or not.
Now things were moving--the bed was transformed, my sister and mom left the room and the real work began. It was about 4:30 in the morning and the doctor gave me directions: tuck in your chin, hold your breath, elbows out and push through the contractions. One quick breath and push again. Being the good student that I am, I followed all of the directions. Again. And again. And again. And Oh. My. God. it hurt like nothing else I've ever experienced. There are no words, truly. But I kept going, and I'll tell you, I'm not sure how I did keep going. I think the only thought I had was that I will soon be meeting my daughter and I tried to hold that in my head through the pain.
Finally the doctor told me to do little pushes to minimize the tearing and even though, at that point, the head was crowning and my urge to push hard to just get her out was so incredibly strong, I again tried to follow directions. Actually, I thought the doctor was crazy to ask me to do little pushes, but, again, I follow directions well. This is when Russ, despite his earlier plans, decided to peek and this is when, after he did peek, I asked him if HE was OK. The nurses laughed at me then and told me that I'm crazy for worrying about him when I'm in the midst of delivery. I also got a mirror so I could see her head, and that might just have been what got me through the rest....knowing that she was so close....
A few contractions later and out she came, 5:51 a.m. Thank God it was a short labor because I honestly don't know if I could have done it without drugs if it were a long one. Did I mention it hurt? It happened so fast that Russ' family, who had decided to leave sooner rather than later, hadn't even made it into CT.
So, here she is, Aliza Maria, 6 lbs 9 oz, 21 inches long. Our little miracle.