Monday, March 24, 2008

Birth Story Carnival #1: Nick

LONG POSTS ALERT! (ya been warned!)
As previously mentioned, today I'll be telling the stories of how my boys were born. So if this sort of thing bothers you, come back tomorrow. But honestly, this won't contain any gross details. I just don't see the point in that.

So, son #1. Dream pregnancy. No problems. No morning sickness, really, just queasiness and the inability to finish ANY meal I started. I can handle that. He was due Nov 29, the Monday after Thanksgiving that year. I used my floating holiday at work for the Wednesday before, and with Thursday/Friday being holiday days, I had plans to not return to work the next week, regardless as to whether or not the little buggar had made his presense.

So, that Wednesday afternoon I went out running errands, picking up photos and running through the grocery store, and picked up soda for our Thanksgiving get-together (because there was no way in hell I was actually cooking anything at nine months pregnant). There were more errands than that, though I don't remember what else they all entailed. I just remember
that I had been feeling uncomfortable, and around 4 p.m. I realized I had been having contractions!

That evening, my hubby had invited friends over to play Halo 2, and I played with them on and off, not mentioning to anyone the contractions, knowing they could stop and not amount to anything. They continued through the evening, and at 10 p.m., I lay down for a "nap" and got up at midnight. I finally got the hubster's friends out the door and at 2 a.m. we went to bed. It was at that time that I realized neither of us owned a watch with a second hand, but remembered my cell phone had a stopwatch feature on it. I was laying there, timing my contractions, when hubby came in.

"What are you DOING?"

Instead of answering, I just turned the face of the phone toward him so he could see the timer.

"So? What IS that?"

"Its a stopwatch."

"Yeah? And what are you DOING with it?"

"Timing contractions."

"Timing - wha--?" Then I could see in his face he got it. "Oh. Really?"

No I'm lying. "Yes, really."

Then there were more questions about how far apart they were, and was I really sure. I told him to go to sleep and that I'd wake him when we needed to go to the hospital. Somehow, I floated in and out of a very unrestful sleep for the next three hours, and at 5 a.m., I went to the baby's room to rock in the rocking chair. (Somehow that just seemed soothing to me.)

At 5:30, I woke the hubby. My contractions were less than five minutes apart. We hung out at home a bit longer, and left for the hospital around 7. I wanted to be really sure this was the real deal and didn't want to spend more time in the hospital than I needed to. My contractions were less than three minutes apart.

Let's fast forward through the rest of the day - anyone a fan of Friends? We'll just say I was Rachel. The rooms at the hospital where I had both boys are equipped to be for both labor & delivery AND recovery, so Moms never need leave their room, except when they force you to walk about. (Blast them!) It was Thanksgiving Day - plenty of parades and football to watch on TV. Then after all the parades and football, there were Christmas specials. Somewhere in the midst of all this, I had two separate shots of narcotics, which really helped, but made my nose itch. Hubby went downstairs for the crappy cafeteria feast in the late afternoon and apologized profusely for eating it in front of me. I sat in the whirlpool tub in my room twice, which helped, but through it all I saw new women walk past my door and heard nurses talk about their babies. (Edited to note: I chose this hospital because of all I list above. They'll let you labor in any way you want - birthing ball, whirlpool tub, walking, standing, rocking, you name it. All the docs/nurses I encountered were very respectful to my birthing plan (which I'll admit, was "go with the flow"), plus the lights are dimmed, all of which makes for a very pleasant birthing experience, while knowing that medical staff is there if/when you need them. It is not at all like traditional hospitals. Most of the rooms have queen size beds in them, so that Daddy can sleep there, too. My hubby lost out on that because I ended up having C-sections. For those deliveries they keep Mom in a regular hospital bed. Its just easier on the incision.)

Around 7 p.m., the main nurse said, "Let's get the doc in here and break your water." Well, it being Thanksgiving, she was meeting with her family downstairs for dinner. Finally, at about eight, she sauntered in and took all of 12 seconds to poke me with a long knitting needle. After that, I got an epidural - I was just too tired to be very effective with the pain much longer! By ten or 10:30, it was pushing time. I was exhausted, needless to say, but I was ready for this to be over!

The baby had other ideas. He wasn't dropping the way he should. Finally, around 12:30/12:45, they determined he must be stuck or otherwise not progressing, so they mentioned a C-section. I tried not to jump for joy. In fact, I pretended to consider it, when really I think I heard angels sing.

So into the OR I went. For some reason, it took a really long time for the drugs to kick in, because the anesthesiologist kept rubbing a cotton ball doused in alcohol over my belly, going, "Can you feel that?" Uh, yeah.

Only now I was FREEZING! Operating rooms are cold, and with doc rubbing alcohol over my belly I was shivering to the point that I felt I was shaking the whole table! (Another doc explained later that some of this shivering was also the result of so many hours of exertion.) Finally hubby came in, dressed in his scrubs, and sat by my head while the operation started. He stood up once, to see what was happening on the other side of the blue sheet they had set up across my chest. He quickly sat down again, and tried not to show me how horrified he was by the look on his face. (It didn't exactly work.) My arms were strapped down and I would have been freaking out more if I hadn't been so tired.

Once the docs got "in", they realized the reason for the trouble - the baby had turned his head to the side while in the birth canal and had basically gotten himself wedged in my pelvis. Now for the real fun part. In order to get the baby out, they had to PUSH HIM BACK UP. If I didn't feel like my shaking was going to cause me to fall off the operating table before, now there were three or four full grown nurses and/or doctors pushing on my belly. I was being rocked back and forth -- violently. And the doc? Well, her arm was...well, she was doing the "pushing back up".

Finally, at 3:22 a.m., Nicholas Alan was born. I heard his cries and cried myself. The anesthesiologist became really concerned, "Oh my God, are you all right?!?" Well, yes, just going through a little emotional thing right now. Its no biggie. Just had a baby, really. I'm good. 7 1/2 lbs, 19" long.

C-sections suck. The recovery was awful. It was a good thing the kid had lots of dark hair when he was born - the huge bruise on his tiny delicate skull was a little harder to see. While lots of people are shuttled out of the hospital within hours of their baby's birth, the hospital I was in didn't count that first day as a "day", given that he was born at 3 a.m. So they kept me for four MORE days, during which I laughed at folks out shopping on Black Friday, watched gossip news on Julia Roberts' twins being born and infomercials for the Magic Bullet, which to this day I may just buy - quantities ARE limited, after all. I finally got my Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday when they let me eat again. That and a LOVELY chocolate shake from this great custard place down the street. Mmmm... But Nick was a very easy baby and life pretty much went on in a haze after that.


Marie said...

That sounds like the hospital where I had my son in Oregon. I never got in the tub though, it looked like it was so very far down, I didn't think I'd be able to get out again. The dim lights were great. When Max was delivered, they turned off every light except for one spotlight pointed at the crucial area.

Jacki said...

I especially like the part about having a wonderful chocolate shake. Both my dad and husband kept me in supply of them after our daughter was born.

Thanks for sharing! And thanks for stopping by my blog.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

I have to say, after reading a few of these stories, I am so jealous of some of you American women and your wonderful birth centers.
I am sorry that your recovery was so difficult, I loved reading your story and am glad that it all turned out well, with healthy baby.

Kenna said...

Haha, that stopwatch thing made me chuckle. Ah, men. :) Thanks for sharing your story. I'm taking my time reading all NINETY birth stories from the carnival, so sorry I'm 4 days late in commenting.