Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The birth story - part 1.

I know, I know - it's super annoying to break a story into parts like this. But here's the thing - it's already been a week since my son was born. A week! If I keep going at the pace I've been going, there's no telling when I'll wrap this thing up. I'm hoping if I try to just tell one bit at a time, I might actually be able to hit "publish" some time soon. Besides - haven't you ever noticed that a lot of birth stories on blogs are written in parts? I always thought that was kind of stupid but now I understand completely: when you have a baby attached to one of your boobs 90% of the time and are unable to actually sit down on account of hemorrhoids or stitches or any combination of the two, your chances of camping out in front of the computer and banging out a story in one foul swoop are like, nonexistent. Add in a beautiful baby who needs to be stared at and kissed on the top of the head all day long and, well, you start to see why these things take time.

As with everything the second time around, I find it impossible to tell Finn's story without first telling Liam's. Although completely different, the two are inextricably linked in my mind. I could never have had the experience I had with Finn had it not been for Liam. In fact, everything about me today feels like a direct result of becoming Liam's mother. I am as far from the person I was on the day of his birth as he is. We've grown a lot in four and a half years.

(I should probably warn you - I woke up this morning on one of those emotional postpartum roller coasters that is completely normal from 3 days to 2 weeks after giving birth. I haven't been able to think about Liam without being completely overwhelmed with gratitude. And tears. And awe. And more tears. So...this could be interesting.)

Thursday, February 2, 2006: 8 pm - Sit down to watch Project Runway with a man-sized portion of my husband's homemade eggplant parmesan (chosen with the express intention of bringing on labor - I was a miserable 5 days past my due date). Before Heidi can say, "You're out," I'm having contractions.

Friday, February 3, 2006: 3 am - Wake to even stronger contractions. Get in the bath to relax and prepare for labor (i.e. shave my legs). 6 am - Call work and leave a message. Something along the lines of, "I won't be in to work today because I'M IN LABOR!!!" 7 am - Wake up Bill, tell him today's the day, e-mail or call everyone we love to tell them we're about to have our baby, promise to keep them updated and turn off our phones, sit around with a stop watch and wait for my contractions to be a minute long and less than five minutes apart for an hour (the magic 5-1-1 rule). 9 pm - We're so close! Get in the shower and start getting ready to go to the hospital. 9:15 pm - Bill gives me a little massage to help me relax. 9:20 pm - Realize I have no idea when my last contraction was. 9:30 pm - Still no contractions. 10:00 pm - WTF?!? 10:15 pm - In a last ditch effort to get things back on track, go to the nearest 24 hour Walmart and try to "walk the baby out". 10:30 pm - Forget the walking. Get ice cream and Gatorade, drive home and go to bed.

Saturday, February 4, 2006: All day - Basically it's Friday all over again. Only this time we're understandably skeptical. Continue having regular contractions and waiting for the magic 5-1-1. Watch a lot of movies and lay around checking the stopwatch. Wait. Debate whether or not we should make a pot of chili for the Superbowl Sunday chili cook-off the next day. Decide to err on the side of caution and make the chili. It's delicious. 9:30 pm - Could it be? 5-1-1!? Shower, get dressed, cry a little. 10:15 pm - Drive to the hospital. 10:30 pm - Triage nurse informs me I'm only 3.5 cm. I do the math: if I was 3 cm at my doctor's appointment 5 days ago and I've been having contractions for 2 days, then that means I will be in labor FOREVER. Feel nauseous. Hope they won't send me home. 11:00 pm - Get into our labor and deliver room. All hell breaks loose.

Sunday, February 5, 2006: Between midnight and 2 am - Progress to 6 cm (i.e. - scream, yell, have hot and cold flashes, projectile vomit chili, rotate head 360 degrees, scare the hell out of my husband, forget where I am, scare the hell out of myself). 2 am - Nurse grabs my face and yells at me nose-to-nose, "Maggie! You have got to get on top of this thing NOW if you're going to do it. You're only 6 cm. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better." 2:05 am - Request epidural. Lay quietly in bed while waiting for the anesthesiologist. Nurse asks me if I'm feeling better or if I can just see the light at the end of the tunnel. Have no idea how to respond. 2:15 am - Get the epidural, thank God for modern medicine, fall asleep. 6 am - Doctor on call arrives at hospital and checks me. Still 6 cm. 6 am until 11:30 am - I have no recollection of ever progressing past 6 cm. I know many attempts were made (i.e. - Pitocin, breaking my water, flipping me to one side, replenishing my water, flipping me to the other side, more Pitocin...) but it seems like every time they checked me, I was still 6 cm. 11:30 am - Laying on my right side, hoping the baby will rotate into a more ideal position (he was head down but facing left instead of toward my back), I suddenly notice my right side is completely dead while my left side is in excruciating pain. Nurse flips me onto my left side to try to even out the epidural and calls the anesthesiologist back for a booster. 11:45 am - Boost in epidural essentially kills me from the waist down. I could literally cut off my own leg without so much as a whimper. Noon - Doctor arrives and she and the nurse suggest I try pushing. They get me situated into a semi-seated position with my big dead legs in the air. Bill holds onto one, the nurse holds onto the other, and I pull back on both of them. The nurse puts pressure where she wants me to push and asks me to push with my next contraction. Do my best impression of "a woman pushing her baby out" and ask, "Am I pushing now?" Between noon and 2:20 pm - Continue pushing every time I have a contraction. Since I still can't feel anything from the waist down, we just wait until the baby's heart rate drops on the monitor (they said he was compressing the cord as he was descending) and then I "push" while everyone else counts to ten. Between pushing, I'm on oxygen (while I'm pushing, Bill uses it). Can't help but notice that even though the doctor and nurse are saying things like, "You're doing it, I can see the head, just a few more pushes and your baby will be here," they are also looking at each other like, "This baby is never coming out." Start to wonder if I should tell them they're right. There is no way in hell this baby is coming out. It feels like I am pushing against a brick wall. Like nothing is happening or changing. He feels humongous. Lay there wondering how they're ever going to get him out. Seriously consider telling them to push whatever part they see back in so they can prep me for a c-section. 2:20 pm - Liam is actually, miraculously born! My blood splattered doctor holds him up for me to see and says, "You just delivered a toddler!" Bill is crying, "He's purple and he has a cone head!" I always thought I would cry when my baby was born like I do when I watch A Baby Story but instead I am overcome with relief and exhaustion. And I'm so thirsty. After they weigh him (8 lbs, 13.5 oz; 22 inches long) and wrap him up and put the stuff in his eyes or whatever, I get to hold my baby.

It's amazing. He is so big and alert and calm. I breastfeed him a little but my arms are shaky from all the pulling on my legs and I'm afraid I might drop him. Bill takes him while they finish sewing me up and what not. By now I would happily kill for something to drink. At some point, Bill goes with Liam to the nursery for his bath while I wait for our recovery room to be ready. After a touch-and-go trip to the bathroom (my God I felt awful!), I am okayed for a room transfer. On our way, I ask to be wheeled past the nursery so I can lay eyes on my baby. We've stood outside the glass ogling the newborns several times over the past nine months and it is completely surreal and amazing that one of them is actually ours now. He looks so big and healthy compared to the others and it doesn't hurt that he's easily the cutest one in the bunch. This feels like it could be my Baby Story moment but the tears don't come.

I could go on and on but that pretty much sums it up. It's funny - writing about it now makes it seem so much less traumatic than I remembered it before. I think I have Finn to thank for that. Had it not been for his birth, I might have continued to be haunted by Liam's. But now I see it clearly for what it was: an absolute miracle. Looking back I am completely blown away that even though I didn't exactly pull my weight in getting him here (really, I felt more like a spectator than anything), he still came out. He came out! And boy is he amazing.

Continued here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for pushing out that wonderful baby! He is such a wonderful person!!!