Friday, May 2, 2008

Z1's Birth Story

Z1 was born on Wednesday, August 17, 2005, at 2:29 AM. For some reason, I always want to say that he was born on Tuesday—time and space was so fluid when I was in that world of giving birth. The previous weekend was a weekend when The hubby was on to work. One of my gnawing fears throughout the pregnancy was that he’d be at work when I went into labor and I’d have to take a cab or something all the way to Sleepy Hollow where I was going to give birth. So, on that Sunday when I felt my first labor pains, I was very worried. The first pain didn’t feel any worse than maybe a pre-period cramp. It made me take pause for a moment but it didn’t incapacitate me. I thought they were maybe some Braxton Hicks. I had lost my mucous plug a whole week ago so I knew that wouldn’t be any kind of sign that I was in labor. I continued to watch t.v. and crochet as normal although my sister-in-law wanted to take me to the hospital. I was determined to labor as much at home anyway so I knew I wouldn’t be going right then. The pains would come and go. I wasn’t able to sleep very much really and I was just extremely uncomfortable. It was the middle of summer and hot, hot, hot. My feet were so swollen they looked like they would pop. Z1’s head was sitting so low in my pelvis it ached. I could not wait to give birth. Monday came and went and my labor didn’t really intensify at all. Tuesday rolled around and I was still feeling okay. I was still blaming the cramps on Braxton Hicks and re-reading all my pregnancy books which had me convinced that I was not really in labor.

We decided to go do our grocery shopping for the week but before that, I thought we’d try to get me into labor by knowing each other in the Biblical sense. I was more than ready to have Z1 make his grand entrance. Well, as were about to get acquainted, I noticed that I was dripping wet . . . I was mortified. I thought I’d peed my pants. A few weeks before I had taken my strep B test and it came back positive so I had been on the lookout for when my water broke. It terrified me that I’d miss it and then Z1 would get infected or something. I don’t know why my water breaking wasn’t the first thing I thought about but The hubby suggested that and I thought that was probably what it was. I called my midwife and she told me to come in to the office. She did a test with litmus paper and I learned that the bag of waters was an alkaline substance (as opposed to the acidity urine or the general vaginal area). So, indeed, I was in labor but I felt great. I still wanted to go grocery shopping but since they were thinking about the Strep B, they sent us to the hospital but not before making me take a little nap in the room to energize me for labor. I had my bags packed and in the trunk. Z1’s car seat was already installed. I was ready to have me a baby!

We arrived at the hospital and the first thing that happened was that they made me get in a wheelchair. I had been saying for the longest time that I didn’t want to get in a wheelchair, that I wasn’t sick or dying and that I could walk my behind up to the room. But . . . it was policy so I got in the blasted wheelchair and was wheeled upstairs. It was embarrassing. J I got to the delivery and it was really nice. I had hoped to come and take a tour for the longest of times but every time we called to arrange an appointment, they were super busy. So I was relieved that it was nice. There was a lovely birthing pool and a birthing stool. It was what I had imagined it would look like.

By the time we arrived at the hospital I was still having pretty mild contractions. I was 4 centimeters dilated and walking around like it was cool. These contractions were not even close to the pain I felt during my periods so I was actually getting a little cocky. I think Jah gave me this little burst of confidence so that that I could. I was more upset than I let on that I had to have an IV to deliver antibiotics for the Strep B. This was standard procedure and I didn’t really want to rock the boat. The IV was very annoying but I had a heparin lock and after I was on it for about an hour, they took it off and let me walk around while intermittently monitoring the baby. Z1’s heartbeat was nice and strong and it stayed that way throughout all the labor. Around 9:30, my midwife saw that I really wasn’t getting any further in the labor so she broke my bag of waters (it was only dripping before) and there was a huge, I mean huge gush of water that came out. I was so surprised. Then . . . it hit me: unbelievable pain. I couldn’t believe how much pain I was in. I was trying to remember all of the coping techniques but the pain was so much, I could hardly think straight. I labored standing up and holding on to The hubby (for dear life). I did this for a while until it looked like it wasn’t really helping. Then my midwife suggested we move into the pool and that was such a relief. It didn’t eliminate the pain (like I had hoped) but it did relax me and help me to regroup. I labored in there for what seemed like an eternity. I remember feeling like I couldn’t do it—that I needed some relief. I looked into The hubby’s eyes for help and he just kept telling me I could do it and I would do it. I did not have any urges to push and I was not yet fully dilated. It was happening rather slowly my dilation but the pain was intense. I got very angry at one point and wanted them to just take the baby out using suction or forceps or something. My midwife calmly explained to me that that was not possible and kept giving me juice and water to keep my hydrated. At some point, my heparin lock fell out. There was a nurse there who told me it was almost over. I barked at her, “What the hell do you know?” I was in a totally different zone where the labor had taken over. There was nothing else I could think of or do beside labor and my mind is usually very good at wandering. I was unbelievably focused. I had to get Z1 out.

After laboring in the pool for what seemed like an eternity, my midwife suggested I move to the toilet to labor. The pain almost quadrupled while sitting on the toilet so The hubby and my midwife helped me move to the bed. I had all these ideas of what I wanted to do, all the empowered laboring positions but in the heat of the moment, all I wanted to do was lay down. Finally I was ready to push and I couldn’t stop the feeling. I had to get the baby out. I would push, push, push then turn to my side and wait for another contraction. I couldn’t believe how close they were. I thought that you got more of a break between contractions to catch yourself. I was so angry that I didn’t get more of a break. I just turned to my side and held on until another contraction came and the overwhelming urge to push took over. I pushed and pushed and pushed with no result. The hubby had this worried look on his face. The midwife left a few times. One of the times she left, I had the overwhelming sense of abandonment and screamed, “Where did Robin go?” The Filipino nurse told me not to worry about Robin just to keep doing what I was doing. When Robin came back, I was relieved. I kept working. A cesarean section was my absolute worst fear. I would do whatever to keep it from happening. But in the heat of the moment, it felt like I could no longer bear it so I asked for the “guy who does the C-sections.” I don’t know why I remember so clearly what I asked for. The nurse was like the best thing that happened. She was so no nonsense. She told me to close my mouth and push. That was I was groaning not screaming. That helped tremendously but I thought that I would surely break some blood vessels. I pushed pushed pushed and I’d feel Z1 come down a little the go back. I pushed some more and the same thing happened. Finally, thankfully, The hubby said, I see the head. I couldn’t believe it. My midwife had said she had seen the head a long time ago but for some reason The hubby saying it made me know that I could do it. I could deliver this baby. So I gave it everything I had, every fiber within my being and pushed. I felt his head coming down and out and it was screaming, burning down there. I couldn’t believe it. My midwife kept telling me to push past the burning. I felt the arnica oil she was putting on and I was very grateful for it. I pushed and pushed and pushed until finally his head and shoulders were out. I had wanted to have a mirror so I could actually see him being born. I had wanted to pull him out myself. I forgot all of these things and when my midwife made the suggestion I said no. All I wanted was Z1 out. One last push and the rest of him came out. I could not believe it. All I kept saying was that I could not believe it. I could not believe I had done and that Z1 was really here. They cleaned him up and laid him in my arms. Time stood still. I couldn’t believe how beautiful he was. His head was covered in this downy fur and his face was all swollen but he was gorgeous. I asked if he was a boy or a girl and to my surprise, it was a boy! I was convinced all throughout my pregnancy that it was a girl. I could not believe he was here. I hardly noticed the delivery of the placenta or when my midwife gave me two stitches (I didn’t need any anesthetic). They wanted to give me pitocin to make sure everything came out but since the heparin lock had fallen out, they said forget it. I was very grateful because I didn’t want any drugs. The antibiotics were enough.

The hubby tells me I spent one or two hours with him before they moved us but it felt like time had stopped. This was the hardest thing I had ever done. I don’t remember if I nursed him during that time. I don’t think he was hungry. I was too out of it to remember. I got out of the bed and my legs were like jello and stuff was running out. It was crazy. The nurse showed me how to use the peri bottle to rinse while I peed and showed me how to place the witch hazel pad on a sanitary napkin to reduce the swelling. So at maybe 4 in the morning, I was wheeled to another room where I fell asleep. The hubby’ job was to follow and protect Z1 which he did superbly. The first time I tried to nurse him, I realized it would be hard but I was prepared to do the work.

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I never finished writing Z1's birth story.

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