Saturday, July 23, 2011

about a boy

I spent months repeating the same phrase: "No, I'm not going to have him early. My babies don't come early. I just get huge. I have large babies". (Insert patient smile).

When I was pregnant with what is now my middle child, it started at 4 months. "No, I'm not having twins. No I'm not almost due, in fact I'm only about 4 months. No, I'm not having a pony, thanks."

This time it at least held out until about 6 months.

My due date was 7/2. And so I very confidently assumed I had until right around or on 7/2. Unlike me, my babies are fairly punctual. My oldest I went into labor a day late (and had him two days 'late'), my next was born exactly on his due date with labor beginning as soon as I woke up.

This was how I ended up in my kitchen the afternoon of 6/21 (having just gone out of work, "early" I thought, 4 days before) processing about 15 pounds of strawberries. I had bread batter behind me, strawberries waiting to be added, and jam just beginning to boil on the stove. The Husband was on the phone with a friend he hadn't seen in a while, making plans for a happy hour drink. Then it happened. I turned to add the strawberries to the batter when I felt a trickle. I dashed to the bathroom. Another trickle. And then the gush.

Yup. Right there, a week and a half 'early' in a kitchen that looked like a strawberry field exploded in it, my water broke.

Because I had my second child only 5 hours after my water broke, I called my midwife. I told her I had no contractions but that my water broke and she suggested I come on in. So we called the in laws. I cleaned up what I could in the kitchen, but it isn't easy when you feel like you're flooding your kitchen every time you move. We waited about 3 hours before heading into the hospital.

Here's where I tell you how I really, really, really wanted a homebirth - but for several reasons it just didn't work out. Which The Husband was just as happy with as he was maybe a little traumatized from the birth of my second child (10lbs 12 oz, shoulder dystocia). Of course, I insisted that was a fluke. I mean, what are the chances of another child being almost 11 lbs and also getting stuck. I think I can handle a home birth after pushin' out an 11 lb kid, yeah? Anyway, it didn't pan out so off to the hospital we went. With both my midwife and husband under strict instruction that there was to be no talk of induction, drugs or any other interventions. I was to labor how I wished with little interference.

So, on to the hospital. Where we paced and waited. Sat in the tub. Paced some more. Rocked. Paced. No contractions. Not a one. Ok. So he's in no rush to come out. Of course, now I can't go home, because my water is broke. I'm getting antsy. We sleep through the night. No contractions. I start to feel like my body is failing me.

At about 8am, I am not at all pushed into, but recommended to begin pitocin. I don't want pitocin. But, because the outcome of the birth is more important to me (holding him, rooming in, nursing immediately after) than the labor, my husband and I agree to give it a start. The closer I get to 24 hours after my water breaking - the closer they are going to want to watch me and the baby.

So we begin at the lowest dose, upping every half hour. An hour goes by - nothing. 3 hours. 5 hours. Nothing. Almost 8 hours into it, a light bulb goes off. I bet that he's posterior, like my second. I ask the nurse if that can delay/slow labor. Apparently it can. So I get to rocking some more. And instantly, I feel it all in my back - excruciating pain radiating down my tailbone. And then the contractions start. I walk. I get in the tub. The damn pitocin still going. The pitocin aided contractions are like nothing I have ever felt before. The pain is blinding. It is no where near what my previous labors felt like. It isn't long before I am a quivering, crying mess asking for narcotics. I know my limits, and I hit it.

I'm 5cm when the epidural doctor comes in. My husband steps up. No epidurals. But I'm the epidural doctor he says. No, we didn't consent to an epidural. I want something lighter. They suggest interfecal, which I have never heard of. It's more like a spinal shot instead of a spinal catheter. As we're discussing this, another contraction rips through me. I want the interfecal or anything NOW.

A soon as it hits, it's like a dream. I can feel it warming through my body. Relaxing limb by limb. I recall mumbling something about how wonderful it is and I don't know why I ever wanted to do this without drugs.

That was 7pm. By 8pm, I was fully dilated and ready to push. Only I refused to. I fought against it. My body was ready but my head was not. After the 4th contraction and urge to bear down, I did. I remember little else except the screaming. I know how ineffective that is. I know it goes against everything you are supposed to do. But I was irrational. I was primal. I was screaming with each push, and I couldn't control it. This lasted (I later found out) a mere 7 minutes. I also found out later that during that time, several doctors rushed in, included one for an emergency C- section, that one of the nurses couldn't handle it and tried leaving, that The Husband did in fact leave. I was also told later by the nurse who tried leaving that it was the scariest minute of her life. The minute during which this lovely boy also got stuck, just like the brother before him. Just like I said he wouldn't.

He came with a final scream/roar/agonizing push into the world - not quietly, not in my bed, in my home, with my husband at my side. But he came. All 10 pounds 7 ounces, 23 beautiful inches of him.

He was perfect and pink and healthy. He nursed almost right away (after a quick check) and stayed in my room until I went home, where he has stayed with me ever since.

It was not the birth I imagined. It is not the birth I wanted. But it is the birth I had, and I am not sorry. Maybe it was the birth meant for us. I do not regret the pitocin. I do not regret the pain relief. I do not regret a thing, because the very end result is what I wanted. A beautiful, healthy baby boy.

A lovely boy who just turned a month old already. He's wonderful in so very many ways, and we are all so very glad he's ours.