Oh, Baby (Week)
BlogHer is partnering with Discovery Health to share some amazing birth stories in honor of Baby Week. It's like Shark Week... except with babies! Baby Week runs Sunday, June 14th through Friday, June 19th at 8 pm, with an marathon on Saturday, June 20th from 10am to 5pm, so you can catch up on all the episodes you missed.
The lineup looks amazing:
Twins by Surprise; LIttle Parents, Big Pregnancy; Births Beyond Belief; Obese & Pregnant; I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant and the Deliver Me season 3 premiere, plus Freebirthing and Double Identical Twins: Four Years Later. That's a whole lot of red-hot Baby Week action for you.
The Births Beyond Belief preview really resonated with me - with my first child, I had every intention of doing everything as naturally as possible...until about two hours into labor, when an epidural suddenly sounded like a fantastic plan. My son's birth was also (blissfully) under control with an epidural. But all hell broke loose with the birth of my third child, now six years old...
After a relatively fast (6 hours, no ruptured membranes) labor with our second, I suspected that my third labor could be speedy. As usual, I was right on the money.
My official due date was December 14, 2002. I had joked on my favorite discussion boards that I would no doubt deliver on Friday, December 13th. The afternoon of December 12th, I had groceries delivered. Feeling lazy, I put away only the perishables, and left the boxes, bags, jars and cans piled on my kitchen island. My husband brought home dinner, and we got the kids to bed at around 8pm. I went to bed, watched some TV, and finally fell asleep.
I slept fitfully. My son joined us around 1am, and I clung to the outer 18 inches of our king size mattress, dodging the flailing limbs of my snoring two year old. Around 3 am, I had a contraction. It lasted a full minute. I watched the glowing numbers on our alarm clock, but it seemed to be an isolated event. I mounted my body pillow in Child's pose and snoozed.
At 3:30, another contraction, again lasting a minute. And again, that was all.
At 4am, things got rolling. I visited the bathroom repeatedly, checking for leaking, but since I was wearing a maxi-pad the size of Texas, I couldn't tell. Contractions were coming every 5 minutes, lasting a minute at a time. I didn't want to wake my husband and the kids yet, and since my parents would have to come and get the kids, I kept thinking it would be nice if I didn't wake them for another hour or two. I also experienced a moment of panic realizing that my neat-freak mother would be arriving to groceries stacked all over and a generally trashed home. I got over it.
I made some coffee for my husband, and then decided I should pack bags for the kids. The contractions were just too much, and I gave up, and sat in a semi-reclining position on our couch. Our Christmas tree lights were twinkling at me, and I breathed through the contractions. At 5 am, I figured I should wake my husband and get my parents moving, since I wanted pain meds, and things were starting to get intense.
Now, my husband's morning routine is the source of much hilarity in our circle of family and friends. He must drink coffee while reading the paper in an upright posture (preserving the line) so that he can proceed to the bathroom at the precise moment, sports section tucked neatly under his arm. A shower immediately follows. However, this whole business usually takes an hour, and I was in LABOR. I believe I made a few pithy comments along the lines of "Oh, just GO already!"
I called the hospital, and informed them that I was in labor and would be arriving soon. The receptionist was very perky and didn't seem to buy it that I meant business. She said, "okay, well, why doncha have some light breakfast, and take a nice shower, and then come on in and we'll check ya."
I then called my parents who asked "Are you REALLY in labor?" Um... shuddup and get over here, already!
I spent the next half hour watching Christmas lights and thinking of a special friend and her Christmas time birth experience. I felt connected to laboring women everywhere. Meanwhile, the contractions seemed to get longer and longer, and I couldn't wait to get me an epidural. Giddy-up, Husband!
At 6am, we shooed my parents out the door with both kids in weird outfits chosen by Grandpa from the laundry pile. My husband walked me out to the car, and I reclined the seat after clasping the belt around my copious belly. I was wearing a lovely blue velour dressy pantsuit, but still managed that je ne sais quoi that comes from rolling out of bed at 4am. I swear I was in one solid contraction from the time we pulled out of the driveway until we arrived at the hospital 20 minutes later.
I walked quickly with my husband trailing behind (men!) to the elevator, then into the L&D where Nurse Perky awaited. She was all "Okay, let's get your card and get your forms..." I gritted my teeth and said very clearly "I WOULD LIKE SOME PAIN MEDS NOW." She smiled and said "Okay, well, we've got your room all ready. Let's get you into your gown, and get a listen to that baby..."
She leads me into the room, hands me a gown and a cup for a urine sample and traipses off to her desk. My husband returns to the car to get my bag. I waddle into the bathroom, wondering how the heck I'm going to get a urine sample, when it dawns on me that the pressure I feel is not just another bowel movement waiting to happen.
I get into the gown as quickly as I can, and then open the door to my room and say to Perkybutt, "Uh, I feel the head coming"
She smiles and says, "Okay, let's get you up on the bed and see if we can check your progress, okay?" I heave myself up onto the bed, she snaps on some gloves, and performs a quick check. Her demeanor changes immediately. She throws back her head and bellows "SHE'S COMPLETE!" Suddenly my room fills with (apparently) every doctor and nurse on the L&D floor. It was very three stooges. They ripped the foot off the bed, turned things on, turned things off, told me to not push, to push, yelled names and titles at me.
All the while, I felt a sense of ease and complete control. Despite the whirl of action, I was very at peace. My husband moseyed back in just as I began to push. I grinned at him, told him to get the camera. He looked bemused, but also took it in stride. One push delivered the head, and the next our baby emerged with wide open eyes and a startled look. No doubt she was feeling rushed, too.
We arrived at 6:20. The baby arrived at 6:29. After my placenta delivered and my tears were repaired, it was determined that I was still bleeding problematically. Despite a round of Pitocin, a short nursing session and several brutal rounds of massage, it continued. The doctors suspected a tear in my cervix, and needed to take me to the OR to repair it.
And so I DID get my epidural, after the fact. My husband stayed with our baby as I was fixed up, and I was reunited with them 40 minutes later. I was cracking the corniest jokes imaginable the whole time this was going on. Interesting to learn that in times of stress, I become a raging dork. I could be dying, and I would be cracking one liners. Great.
It was a wonderful birth. It coincided with the biggest storms of the winter. As the baby and I relaxed in our room, my husband returned home to the big kids, who were sick as dogs. It was so peaceful to be snug and warm with my new baby as storms raged outside. The nurses spoiled us rotten, and I was grateful for the night of alone time with my wee one. I left the hospital in good health and spirits the next morning, with the baby nursing and sleeping like a champ.
Check out the rest of the fantastic birth stories from BlogHer Moms at the roundup page.