Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Little Dude's Birth Story

The dude abides
I'm sitting at my mother's computer. The little dude went to sleep an hour ago and the husband just finished reading stories to the Spitfire. I can hear my niece watching Cars on our tablet and the dishwasher whirring in the background. My teacup is empty and I finished reading another blogger's latest post about her birth story, when I realize: my little dude is almost 11 months old and I've not written down his birth story yet! (Not surprising, as I also forgot to take his 9 month and 10 month old pictures with those cute little stickers I bought off of Etsy...)

Clearly, I'm not winning any blogging mom awards over here tonight. ;)

So, 11 months down the line, what do I remember? Let's see...

Little John was due February 6th - a date that I was happy for him to have as his birthday... a date that I was fully expecting him to have as his birthday. So much so, that at his baby shower - the weekend before he was born - I was still half-joking/half-fretting about how much I still needed to do to prepare for his arrival. (Like wash his clothes, make his bed, put his clothes somewhere, pack the bag for the birth center, buy personal supplies for myself, etc...) I was fully aware that second children often come earlier and faster than firstborns - but since our first was born exactly 2 weeks past her due date - I figured him coming "earlier" just meant that he would be on-time. Ho ho. Hee hee. I was counting on this a little too much.

So two days before he was born, when I started to have the mucous-y signs that labor was coming, I completely panicked. I called one of my friends in tears and sobbed about how I didn't even have diapers for the baby and could she take care of little girl while I went to Target and do a load of laundry? She graciously agreed and I threw the Spitfire in the back of the car and drove straight to my friend's house pronto. I dropped her off and then spent a mad half-hour (or so) buying all the disposable products that I could buy: nursing pads, newborn diapers, um... other pads *ahem*, Q-tips, kleenex... I joked later that I had something for pretty much any hole that I could possibly leak out of.

And if that's not TMI for you - then you *must* be a birth story junkie. (Welcome!! It gets worse better!)

Thankfully, the contractions I felt that day remained in the realm of Braxton-Hicks and never progressed. I was able to get little dude's clothes washed, folded and put away (if a Rubbermaid tub in our bedroom counts as "put away") and our bag got packed. God and little dude mercifully were giving me a big fat kick in the pants to get things ready, I guess. Because the next day, things started to change.

The morning started off normal but I was feeling like things could change as the day went on, so I put my husband and sister on stand-by - telling them to go to work, but to keep their phones close. That they did and the wee girl and I got on with our day too. After breakfast, I decided to take her to the park - a normal activity - but as we walked there I started to feel some pressure. We were only at the park for 15 minutes or so when I called it quits and loaded her back into the stroller to bring her home. Once there, I called the hubs and asked if he could come home early, and blessedly, he said he could. Contractions were about 7-10 minutes apart, and all I could think was, "Great. This is exactly like the little girl's labor." I gave my doula a call as well and she said she would come and visit after dinner. She and I went for a walk in the evening and the contractions stayed constant - and we both agreed that this labor was shaping up to be a lot like my first one. This was not exactly what I wanted to hear - as my labor with her was almost 2 days long - but if that's what it was going to be, then at least I knew what I could do that night: have a glass of wine and a long shower! And now this is where my memory fails me... I don't think I did either. But at 3 in the morning I did email the high school students that I was tutoring, to cancel my sessions with them and send their monthly bill! I felt proud of myself to tie up those loose ends. :)

The next morning, I was mentally preparing myself for a long day because if it was going to go down anything like the first time, then I was still going to have nearly 20 more hours of labor ahead of me. But my doula had a different plan: she made the observation that the last time we had tried all sorts of things to make labor progress and it didn't really seem to do much. She even thought that it may have irritated things and interfered with my body's processes. So this time around she recommended that I rest as much as possible. We both thought that resting may not work so well with a toddler running around, so I asked my husband if he could stay home from work again and he agreed. I then plonked myself down on the couch and let the contractions continue to wash over me as they had all night long. But somewhere around 10 or 11 I noticed they were coming faster and that, to cope, I was using my heel to dig out the cushion of the sofa. I texted the change to my doula. And then I began to fixate on my daughter's nap time: once she goes down for a nap, I'll get to work I kept thinking. My doula said she would come over then too.

Before she arrived though, I needed to move myself to the back room. I didn't feel I could hold it together in the front room anymore and I wanted to seclude myself. I started making some "working noises" and felt like the only place where I could work and feel comfortable was practically hiding behind the bed. Writing these things down now, I see that I really should have put it together that things were *not* going the way they did the first time around, but my mind was just totally stuck on the thought that they were.

When my doula arrived, I was starting to lose the ability to stay on top of my contractions. I'd have a few that I could work through, and then one would come that would just knock me off my "pedestal" (if you will). She suggested I move to the bathroom and it took a lot of mental energy to get myself there. I was now making a lot of "working noises" and if my daughter wasn't already awake, then I'm sure I woke her up from her nap. Either way, once she was up, I knew I couldn't stay. I just couldn't work with her in the house. I had to get away. So I asked my husband to get my sister to come and watch the wee girl, so we could head to the birth center.

Unbeknownst to us, my doula was beginning to think that we wouldn't make it to the birth center, but she wisely let us keep on our path...

My sister was at Costco when she received the call from my husband. And in his typical, uber-considerate fashion, he told her to just come as soon as she was done... but thankfully she heard something in my doula's voice in the background that made her drop all her shopping and high-tail it to our house. Thank goodness for womanly intuition!

I was now working completely on holding it together, so we could get to the birth center. Somehow in the midst of contractions that were totally rocking me, I managed to give a kiss to my daughter and go get in the car. The whole way there I was praying that I would be far enough along to be admitted, because I was still thinking things were going like "last time". Hee hee. Ho ho. When we got to the birth center and the midwife checked me I was 9 cm. Fully dilated.  We all cheered! And then I doubled-over with another contraction.

One might think that at this point, things should have gone pretty quickly. And I guess they did... but it was still another 3 hours before John was born. In that time everyone was so wonderful and doing their best to make me comfortable, but I was not to be comforted. I was hot - they turned on a fan - I snapped at them to turn it off. I needed to hang on my husband, I needed him to absolutely not touch me. I needed to stand. I needed to sit. I needed to be on all fours. I needed to lie down. And then... in one fell swoop, as I was lying on my side, the whopper of all contractions smashed into me and I vomited and contracted with such force that my water broke... and shot all the way across the room, hitting the wall opposite the bed. This may be a sick wish, but I really do wish we could have videotaped the birth, just so I could have seen what that looked like! My midwife was totally awesome and just commented, "The water is clear - just what we want to see." What. A. Boss.

After that I tried using the birthing stool - which was Great. I FINALLY felt like I was doing something good! But the midwife didn't want me to give birth there, so with great reluctance and many tears, I moved to the bed. But true to her word, not ten minutes later, John was born into the world at 7:37 pm with much shouts and rejoicing!

Holding him, all I could say was, "I love you John. Mommy loves you!" over and over again. And I did! (And I do) The aftermath of his birth was much quieter than his sister's - which was a nice counterpoint to the excitement just prior to his arrival. We were the only couple in the center that night, so there was no rushing about, or nurses coming in and out of our room. They just quietly cleaned me up while I held my little boy. At 7 lbs 8 oz, he was actually smaller than his sister - which surprised me, given the pain I felt on his exit! But in an odd twist, even though the pain I felt was considerably more intense than what I felt with his sister, I didn't tear nearly as much. Also, because he came quicker than his sister, I was able to order dinner! Veggie korma with rice and naan... so much yum. I ate. I napped. And sometime after midnight we were discharged and sent home. Our little girl went to bed an only child, and woke up a big sister!

We've been in love ever since.

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