Since my free time seems to come mostly during nights at the dance studio, and I seem to be snapping a lot of pictures on my handy-dandy iPhone, it seems to make sense that I buy a blogger app and make good use of this technology... Doesn't it?
After each child (except the last, of course) I sat down to put into words the events that took place during each birth. Here is the *edited* version on Jonah's birth story:
They say that every pregnancy and birth is different. I know in the general scheme of things that both my pregnancy and birth were relatively easy, but let’s just say I’m a planner - and I planned things a lot better than they actually occurred. I would have never planned to be due on the day after Christmas, that’s for sure!
At my 36 week checkup - after a couple week s of Braxton Hicks contractions were already under my belt, I experienced the most horrific new experience of a first time mom’s life - the cervical check. Now, it’s not just that you are butt-naked, legs in the air, it’s the feeling around that’s not so much fun. After what seemed like an eternity, the doctor snapped off her glove and announced knowingly “you are 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. You may not make it full term!!”
What? All my plans may work out? I had decided that my daughter would be born on December 12th at 38 weeks and I would have a short period of time to adjust to motherhood and get my figure back before I attended all the Christmas parties I wanted, precious new baby in tow. (Insert maniacal laughter here)
For the next 4 weeks I was lied to in much the same manner. “You will have this baby any day now.” I began to loathe those words. And even more - I hated those exams - now they included a new surprise - stripping membranes. Every appointment I became more uncomfortable, and at every appointment I was promised they would schedule my induction. Lies, all horrible, evil, lies!
I’ll never forget my elation on Christmas day. My contractions were about 6 minutes apart and Dh and I decided to walk, walk, walk, until they were a little closer - then we would call my OB and have a wonderful Christmas surprise. And then they stopped. For no reason at all. My body betrayed me. I was heart-broken.
My next appointment was New Year’s Eve. I was now 5 days overdue. I had been promised yet again that if I had not begun labor on my own I would be induced. My bags were packed and in the car, the carseat was installed. I was ready to have my baby. And then the disappointment yet again. No one would induce me on a holiday. NO. My induction was finally set for January 3rd. What? No tax deduction? I carried this baby most of the year and no freakin’ payout?? You have to be kidding me? Fine. Sure, you can strip my membranes again. I have no dignity left. Jason was witness to the act for the first time. He shrunk down in the corner of the office in horror. He was a shell of the man I married.
We proceeded home to let everyone know that finally, we would have a baby. Not in the year we expected, but it would at long last happen. I sat on the couch and the most incredibly strange feeling occurred. I knew I had to get to the bathroom immediately. I went into the bathroom just outside the kitchen where Jason was getting dinner together and whoosh! No less than 3 gallons of fluid poured out of me into the toilet bowl. Jason ran to the bathroom door yelling “what was that?” I knew immediately “My water broke!”
I cleaned myself up and walked into the kitchen where Jason was laughing at me. I felt like I had a grapefruit in my crotch, and that’s just how I was walking. I began to laugh, too, only, to my surprise, water ran down my legs. Which made both of us laugh even harder and water just kept pouring out. I laughed and leaked until my first contraction. My first REAL contraction. And then reality set in. I was in labor - we would have a baby very soon. At least that’s what I thought.
Twelve minutes later, the next contraction came. And then another in 6, then 5, then 5, then 4. This must be it. Jason had already called the doctor and she told us to go straight to the hospital. It was only 5 minutes from our house. My water broke at 4:30 and somehow it took me until 6:30 to get there. Having to change an overnight maxi pad a dozen times and waiting for Jason to “waterproof” the front seat of the car didn’t help.
We walked up to the door of the L&D and buzzed the desk. A nurse came back asking who we were. “My name is Lisa, my water broke and my doctor told me to...” Oh, we have your room ready, come on in.
Excuse me? You have my room ready? No, that’s not how the lady on the tour told us it would happen. First I go to that room and you make sure I’m really in labor and then I get a room. You’re doing it wrong!! I broke down in tears saying “no, I’m not ready for a real room yet!”
I got a hug from the nurse and she showed me to my room. I was shaking. This was not according to plan!
They asked if I wanted the epidural yet. No, no epidural, thanks. I’m going natural. Laughter. Screaming from next door. The nurse explained that the woman in the next room was going natural, too. There’s that panicky feeling again...
So they got in an IV and that blasted cervical check. But I had to be a good 4 or 5 cm by now. Nothing could hurt this bad and be ineffective, right? “You’re 70% effaced and 2 cm.” Son of a gun!!
So we tried walking again. Soon to find out the entire population of northeast Florida had been alerted of my impending delivery and was in the waiting room. I was expected to make an appearance. Leaking fluid down my leg, in a backless gown and hospital issued grippy socks. Sure, let’s go for it! So I walk out and there are my friends, family, and my pastor. I stood next to the pastor’s chair and just then the mother of all contractions hits. I squat right next to him and am holding on for dear life to the arm of the chair grunting. I will never look at him the same again. I think to myself "I’m going back to walk the floors of the L&D again." At least there, I am with my own kind. Not you people with your coffee and donuts and well proportioned waistlines.
My back is really starting to bother me now, not that it wasn’t bad before, but I almost can’t breathe. Jason suggested a shower. He put on his swim trunks and joined me in the stall. He rubbed my back and kept the warm water on my back. It worked for a while. But I couldn’t sit there much longer. I had to move.
Once we got dried off and I was back in my huge pad and backless gown, they put me in the bed on monitors and checked me again. It was almost midnight. Almost a new year. I was ready to hear it was time to push...and...2 cm. Impossible. And who is that man pacing outside.
It was the angel of mercy - the anesthesiologist. But, no. I was not giving in. I would have this baby naturally. For no reason other than that I was told I wouldn’t make it. This was a matter of pride. I would regain some of my dignity!!
I walked a little more after they removed the monitors. And then my doctor said the unthinkable. Pitocin. What terror lurks in that tiny bottle I would have never guessed. I caved. And my body soon felt as though it were ripping in half.
Where was that pusher with my drugs - and how much could I have??
A dose of stadol and a needle in the back later, and I was fast asleep. I don’t even remember what happened. I awoke around 6 AM to another cervical check. Ah. I was ready to hear the bad news. But...I was now fully dilated and effaced. It was time to push the baby down.
I turned to see my husband laying on the couch asleep. “GET UP” I yelled. “It’s time!”
Now here’s where things get fuzzy. For some reason Jason decides not to plug in the video camera and just to set it on the tripod and let it tape my mother’s backside for 5 minutes before the battery gave out. She did move just long enough to get one unsightly shot of me on my side pushing. I looked like death. Yet, I cannot bring myself to destroy the tape.
After 2 hours of pushing, I am informed there is a woman in the next room at the same stage of labor I am in, and the first baby of the new year has yet to be born. What? Is that a challenge?? I am suddenly transformed into a pushing machine. I have Jason, 3 nurses and my doctor cheering me on. And finally, at 8:20 AM, January 1st, 2002, I win. My little girl is born with apgar scores of 9 and 10. I was able to pull her out and up to my chest. She was beautiful.
A nurse asks if we want a picture because somehow, my mother and mother in law have managed to leave the room in the 2 hours of pushing and miss the birth. They went for coffee. Amazing. The nurse grabs the camera off the table and clicks some pictures. Not the $350 camera purchased specifically for this occasion, mind you, but the mini polaroid camera someone left in the room. Son of a... Can I not have one decent picture or video of this? And worse yet, she stands at the foot of the bed and manages to capture a picture of the new family - and my crotch. I how have a microscopic picture of my new daughter’s head framed by the unspeakable.
They take my baby, clean her up and put her on the scale - just as my mother walks in and screams “it’s a baby” Apparently she expected a puppy? 7 ½ lbs, 20 1/4 inches long is the report.
They hand her back to me and she immediately latches on to eat. She’s a natural. And hungry.
Two days after her birth, and many visitors later, we left the hospital to begin our new lives as a family.