July 2, 2010
It’s night time, but I can’t sleep. LoveBug is spending the night at her grandparents’ house since we’re scheduled to be induced tomorrow morning. My body desperately craves sleep, but instead, I find myself laying on the couch feeling Monkey staying awake with me all night long. This has been an easy pregnancy in one sense–my symptoms have been very minimal compared to my pregnancy with LoveBug. It’s been more difficult in the past weeks since I’ve had an increasing number of contractions and low iron.
Part of me is very excited to know I’ll be having my baby tomorrow and only three days overdue. The other part of me feels weird to “choose” the day he should be born. I remind myself that the inducing method–Cytotech, will only cause my body to release its own prostaglandin and if my body doesn’t want to continue on into labor, it won’t. My midwife has assured me that nothing will be different from a natural birth with this induction and I can expect the time line to remain the same. We’re guessing about two hours from the first real contraction to my son being born. After all, my daughter’s birth took four hours total.
July 3, 2010
Dawn comes, Monkey finally goes to sleep for the day, and I prepare myself to give birth to my first son. It’s a beautiful day.
Ron and I load the car and stop at McDonald’s for his coffee and a fruit smoothie for me. I mention during the ride that I never fell asleep last night.
We arrive at the hospital’s birthing suite and I am hooked up to a monitor to check the baby and my uterus’ activity for twenty minutes before my midwife arrives to give me the Cytotech. The machine tells us that I’m having regular contractions every 5 minutes even without the medicine and I let the nurse know that I was contracting regularly all night long. Since these aren’t painful contractions, I didn’t think anything of them. I’m told that my cervix is 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. The staff suggest that I may give birth tomorrow even with the induction and I inform them that I’m only going to be doing this for two hours once things start. They laugh.
My midwife, Deb, gives me half a pill of Cytotech and I try to sleep while they monitor me for an hour. I never fall asleep since the bed I’m on won’t remain in a sitting position and keeps flattening out—not comfortable for an overly pregnant woman! Ron is watching some show on DIY that involves table saws and hammering, so I resign myself to the fact that this child is coming to a mother who won’t have slept in many, many long hours.
My contractions increase in frequency and decrease in intensity, according to the monitor.
We are released for an hour and so Ron and I decide to walk around outside in the 90+ degree weather. The hospital overlooks a lake and is built into the side of a hill, so we enjoy the view as my husband drags me up and down stairs and seemingly mountainous hills.
I rock on a birthing ball in an attempt to help things along. I wonder if this is really going to work and am feeling disappointed.
The hospital staff switch my bed out to one that works, and so I’m able to get comfortable for the next half an hour of monitoring. My mother arrives and we tell Ron’s mom over the phone that she will probably make the birth even though she can’t get here until 3:00pm. My contractions are increasing, but still aren’t painful and I work on falling asleep.
With the monitoring done, my midwife leaves to get some groceries into her fridge. Ron leaves to find some lunch. To my relief, I start to doze in the peaceful atmosphere.
Never having made it to dream land, I hear a “pop! Pop!” that comes from some where in my abdomen. I think to myself that a popping noise within me can not be a good thing, so I lift up my eye mask to tell my mom, but she isn’t in my room. Somewhere in the recess of my mind, I remember hearing that some women audibly experience a “popping” noise when their water breaks. Since my water broke in the tub (or so we assume) with LoveBug, this is a new thing to me. I stand up and there’s the warm fluid. I press the nurse’s button before heading into the bathroom.
Within minutes, the first real contraction hits. I know I don’t have much time to go, so we quickly move me from the monitoring room to the birthing suite. The suite is complete with a gorgeous, huge tub, private bathroom, queen sized bed instead of a hospital bed, flat screen TV, rocking and other chairs, and all of the amenities for a baby tucked nicely into an oak armoire. My mom calls Ron and tells him that he might want to hurry up and the nurse calls my midwife. The nurse checks me and says that I’m 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced.
I manage to change into my birthing attire (swimsuit top and open swim skirt) and get into the tub. My body isn’t pushing yet, but I know it won’t be long. I’m so emotional this time that I want to cry. My son is coming.
Ron arrives and tries to verbally reassure me near my head. After a few sentences, I have to nicely ask him to go find a mint. He smells like food and I can’t handle that at the moment. Someone laughs and I want to throw something at her. I just want everyone to be quiet as my body attempts to turn itself inside out.
Deb arrives and my body is pushing. I’m emotional and it feels like I’m in transition the whole time. I have no relief between contractions—they just intensify and then decrease but don’t actually go away before the next one hits. I want to bite the tub’s side but remind myself that I also want to leave this experience with my teeth in tact. This is the most intense thing I’ve ever experienced and not having slept doesn’t help matters any.
With the contractions not letting up, I can see that Deb is a little concerned. The baby’s heart rate starts to drop as I feel him crowning. Thank God you’re crowning, I think to my son. It’s at this point when things get easier. The contractions ease and I’m able to focus so much better when it’s actually time for the baby to birth. I’m really not wanting to tear, but really wanting this baby out. My body did all of its own pushing with my first child, but Deb suggests that I push between surges this time since his heart rate was going down and I’ve not had relief from contractions. I try this suggestion and it turns out to be the most brilliant idea ever. I am able to control things entirely, and I am able to use my hands to put pressure exactly where I feel it needs to be as his head emerges.
I love it when my child’s head emerges. Feeling his head in my hands as it smoothly enters the world. I rub off the slimy stuff, and note the feeling of a tiny nose, chin, and ears. Ears! It is his ears that impact me so greatly. This is my son and I love him. He is my baby.
I have to give a good push for his shoulders, but I guide him and lift him out of me easily and without tearing at all. I place him on my chest and realize how gray he looks. He isn’t crying, which isn’t bothersome in itself, but…he’s so dark. Everyone notices and we’re trying to stimulate him, but he still doesn’t cry. He’s already been suctioned. I hear Deb say that he had meconium on the way out.
I’m a paramedic. I know that a dropping heart rate, such dark skin, and meconium are very bad–especially if it’s my kid. A nurse places blow by oxygen next to his face. He’s breathing fine on his own, but he doesn’t cry and my son is gray. Deb senses that I’m concerned and reminds me that he’s still getting blood from the umbilical cord.
Finally, he cries and starts moving around more. In reality, it was probably only a few seconds. To me, it was an eternity. I hold him extra close to me as they place a hat on his head and a blanket over him even though we’re still in the water.
I ask what time it is and realize I only labored for one hour.
He is beautiful. Six pounds, 15 ounces, and 20 inches long.