Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Kay's POV: Birth-day

Since my son’s first birthday, I’ve been thinking a lot about the day he was born. It’s cliche, but I can’t believe it’s been a year already, it seems like just yesterday Lefty was nervously driving us home from the hospital.

The following is a recollection of the day he was born, as remembered by me, so Lefty may have to fill in some holes. I am not as good of a writer as Lefty, so I apologize in advance for all the errors in grammar and/or punctuation!

At my last OB appointment, I was 4 days overdue, and not thrilled about it to say the least. Pregnancy had been pretty good to me till that point, and right up to my due date I was feeling mostly alright. But as soon as that due date passed, a whole bunch of stuff just got mighty unbearable; my bladder felt as though it had the capacity of a teaspoon, my Braxton Hicks were just a big mind fuck that never progressed into anything real, and sleeping was becoming impossible. The doctor and I had discussed not allowing me to go the full 2 weeks overdue that most women are allowed to, because we didn’t want to overcook the poor little munchkin and being that we knew exactly when baby went in, we knew exactly when baby could come out. We booked a day for induction, in case I didn’t go into labour first. Everything else looked good, so she sent me on my way.

Over the next few days we tried everything to get me into labour (well, almost everything … no way was I going to drink castor oil). I went on vigorous walks, ate spicy food, bounced on my bouncy ball, washed my floors on my hands and knees (like Cinderella, as per the instruction of my L&D nurse friend), and all the other “get the baby out” things. Nothing worked. I really didn’t want to be induced, but I also really didn’t want to be pregnant much longer. I was getting paranoid that something terrible would happen to the baby … well, my paranoia was increasing. I’m basically always paranoid and on high alert. Lefty calls it worrying too much, the world calls it anxiety, I call it - planning and risk mitigation.

We decided not to tell our family and friends when we were being induced - it just kind of took the surprise out of things yet again, and since I was adamant I wanted it to be just Lefty and I at the hospital, it seemed like the best way to keep the experience somewhat private and on our own terms, after sharing our whole pregnancy with what felt like the whole world.

So on the day before Lefty’s birthday (or 41 weeks 2 days pregnant for me), we headed off to the hospital with our bags packed, my own pillow in tow, and what we thought would be more than enough snacks for our stay (more on that later). We checked in, and I was wheeled up to the L&D ward, because apparently once inside a hospital and over 20 weeks pregnant, women become unable to walk. We were taken to a room where I was instructed to get changed by a really Nice Nurse, and my vitals were taken.

“Are you being induced for hypertension?” Nice Nurse asked.
“No, just overdue” I replied. This was met with a ‘hmmm’ from Nice Nurse, who then grilled me about my blood pressure history during my pregnancy. 
“It’s always been spot on perfect, the whole pregnancy, even up to my last OB appointment that was at 40 weeks 4 days. Maybe just try it again, I’m just nervous.” The EMT in me knew that being nervous or tensing my arm could produce a false reading. But 4 readings on both arms later, I was still hypertensive, to the tune of 150’s over high 90’s. Oh well, I thought, not much to do about it at this point except have the baby. Nice Nurse asked me if I would mind if her paramedic student attended the birth with her.
“I would LOVE it … if your student did NOT accompany you to see me today.” I said, and explained that I didn’t really want to run into anyone at work that had seen everrryythingg. Fair enough, I figured. I did know him, it turned out, but I did let him put in my IV at least. #spoilsport

They hooked my belly up to a monitor and wanted to get about 30 mins of readings on both baby and I before starting the Pitocin. I was lucky enough to be going into induction already at 4cm dilated, so I didn’t have to have any Cervadil to start the party. After about 45 minutes I was dying to use the washroom (remember my bladder = teaspoon), when FINALLY Nice Nurse came back and freed me from the contraptions. I got to stretch my legs and use the washroom, and then I hopped back in bed and they started the meds. Everything was super fine for about the first 30 minutes.They wanted to monitor baby and I during “takeoff” to make sure nothing went sideways right off the bat. Again, my bladder was screaming at me to be emptied. They came back after another eternity and let me up to pee. I had yet to feel anything from the meds, but on the way back to my bed my first contraction hit me. 

‘Ohhhhhhh’ I thought. That was interesting, definitely different than Braxton Hicks. I was now allowed to move around the room as I wanted, as long as I took my IV pole buddy with me. I sat on the bed. Got up again. Walked to the bathroom AGAIN because the urge to keep emptying my bladder was driving me insane (thanks for all the IV fluids Nice Nurse). I had another contraction on my way to the bathroom. It smarted a bit and was ‘interesting’ but no problem. On my way back to bed I was hit with another contraction. Stronger. Enough that I stopped in my tracks and scrunched up my face. It passed within about 20 seconds and I started back for the bed. Nope, just kidding here’s another. 

I finally made it back to the bed, only for another contraction to hit me, stronger still, and lasting about 45 seconds. Please keep in in your minds folks, that I’ve been in labour for about 5 mins at this point. I crawled up onto the bed and BOOM. Again. And thus this continued, contractions about every 1-3 minutes, lasting between 30 and 45 seconds, getting more intense with each one.

This was crazy, This was insane. This was fuuucked uuup. A new nurse came in with a blonde Ponytail. Between already VERY intense contractions, I asked her something to the effect of, how long should these be lasting? She told me that the goal was to be contracting for about a minute every 2 minutes. So many questions entered my mind, but primarily I wondered: When do they start doing that? You want me to do this for HOW long? That seemed like a LOT of contractions, if they kept up like they already were. Being that I was only 4cm dilated, I started to panic a bit inside. These hurt, A LOT. I had expected it to hurt. I had even expected it to hurt A LOT. But I really hadn’t prepared for what induction meant to the female body. No hormones working in sync with each other to move things along, no gradual ebb and flow, NO BREAKS right from the start. I hadn’t had any time to adjust or work out some coping method. They were just coming one after another what seemed like non stop.

“I can’t do this,” I thought. “I can’t do this for like 10 more hours.”

Going into the labour process, I had wanted to try as much as possible to “tough it out” and see how far I could go on my own. But after what seemed like 30 minutes of contractions to me, I was panicking inside. Lefty tells me it was closer to 2 hours, so that made me feel a little less like a wimp. Let me be clear, if you had an epidural at any point in your labour, you are not a wimp. I had a plan set in my mind of trying to see how tough I could be and was humbled AF by the whole process. When Ponytail came back to check on me, I immediately asked how long it would be for an epidural if I “put in my order” now. I knew that anesthesiologists were a hot commodity in L&D, and if they were busy you just had to wait. I decided then and there, I was taking the first chance I could get for an epidural.

“About half an hour, but it could be more because she’s in surgery right now” replied Ponytail.

“Oh. Well … I’ll be dead” I thought, not at all dramatically to myself. “Yes, I would like an epidural as soon as they’re available please.” Ponytail actually agreed with me and said she thought that it was a good idea. I have since learned, that not too many first time moms who are induced make it through induction without an epidural. Yay for status quo!

Blissfully what seemed like 5 minutes later, a really efficient doctor came in and started going over the epidural info with me. I remember none of it. She had me hunch over and hang on to Lefty, which had previously seemed like it would be the worst position ever, but actually turned out to be great. Except I become violently nauseous right as she was about to stick a needle into my spine.

“I might throw up on you.” I said to Lefty.
“That’s ok,” he said, “I brought extra clothes.”
“That is the RIGHT answer” said the anesthesiologist, laughing.

I felt a tiny prick on my back, which apparently was the numbing needle before the actual spine needle - which I did not feel because I was concentrating really hard on not throwing up on Lefty, and also on not moving because I really liked being able to walk and I didn’t want to end up paralyzed from a freak epidural accident.

“How long until this starts working?” I asked. Ponytail told me it would be about 30 minutes and left. I don’t know what was going on with the passage of time on this particular day, but I felt better after about 5 minutes, and I was in absolute heaven by the time I had reached the aforementioned 30 minute mark. #epiduralislife. At this point, Lefty was getting hungry. After all, he had been doing a lot of work almost getting thrown up on. He started to dig into our snacks. I laid blissfully in my bed and “cellphoned” (a term coined by my best friend for when you’re just surfing all the apps and doing nothing of value). Hang on though - a new nurse came in. I remember her name because she was my favourite one, and Katie told me that she was taking over and would be putting in my catheter. Having never had such a thing before, I was a bit nervous, but I was also completely numb from the waist down, so it was smooth sailing. I must admit, the prospect of a COMPLETELY empty bladder was very exciting to me, even if I couldn’t feel it.

Around this time I clued in to the fact that time was indeed passing, and it was now almost 6pm. Katie came back and checked me and told me I was about 6cm dilated. According to my calculations, it had taken me about 3 hours to go from 4cm to 6cm. I was starting to feel some pain on my left side, but it was very tolerable. All of a sudden a weird pop and gush happened and I thought my catheter had popped out. I panicked.

“BABE! Thing’s are happening! I think it fell out, I need you to check!” 
Why it is that I thought HE should check and not the dang hospital staff is beyond me, but my trooper husband checked and informed me, no everything was still in place. Then I realized it was my water breaking, which was hilarious because if I hadn’t been at the hospital, I would totally have been that lady who’s water breaks and goes sploosh all over the floor at the grocery store. We used the call bell thingy to let the desk know my water broke. This was apparently great, because the doc was coming back at 6pm to do it for me had it not.

At this point things started to get a bit intense again, and I was given a top up on my epidural. I could definitely feel pressure building now that my water had broken, but once the meds kicked in, thats all I could feel. They had me lay on my left side with a giant peanut shaped ball between my legs, so the epidural could affect my left side a bit better, and so my hips were open to allow the baby to get into optimal position.

More time passed, more cellphoning was done, more snacks were eaten by Lefty. To be fair, he didn’t leave me to get himself meals or anything, so I can imagine he legitimately was quite hungry. By this point, we had about 1/3 of our snacks left. Katie came back to check me a few times, and I was dilating steadily. I think I had another top up of my epidural at some point, but that exact sequence of events is lost to me. I do remember Katie coming back and saying she thought I was almost at 10cm, and had my doctor come and double check, who confirmed yes I was at 10cm and I got the go ahead to start pushing.

Now, I was pretty darn numb because my top up had happened fairly recently, and in hind sight, I don’t think anyone checked to see how dilated I was before I got it. I think I WAS checked before I got it, but because anesthesiologists kind of run around doing their own thing, it might have been a bit of time before I actually got the top up after being checked. I remember that I was always regaining feeling in my left side WAY faster than my right, which sucked a bit later.

So it was about 10pm and Katie was coaching me on how to push, but I was having to hold my belly to tell when I was having a contraction to know when to push because I was SUPER numb. I was doing an ok job for a while, with lots of encouragement from Lefty and Katie. Once my epidural started to wear off however, this got infinitely easier. At some point Katie left for the night, and Erin became my nurse (I remember her name because she was the last one). My contractions were coming so close together, not hurting obviously, but not giving me a chance to breathe between them. Erin told me to take a break through a few and just breathe. Ok sure … sounds good. NOPE. That was not a thing. My body said PUSH, and I just had to. At some point Lefty was putting a cold cloth on my head and said “hey babe, its my birthday”, to which I replied a breathless Happy Birthday, and kept pushing. This obviously must have been right after midnight, and shortly after that Erin called the desk to have the doctor come in because I guess the baby was just about ready to make it’s entrance into the world. I remember I could feel the baby turning it’s head back and forth as I was pushing and it was SO weird. My doctor came in and turned on the worlds largest, brightest lights - I’m not going to say they were as bright as the sun exactly - and pointed them where the sun doesn’t usually shine. A few more really good pushes and all hell broke loose for me. Everything was well in hand I’m sure, but all of a sudden I had NO control over my body. I was not pushing. I was sputtering and (I think) screaming a bit. The doctor said the baby was coming between pushes, whatever that means, and then the whole night reached a crescendo and BOOM. I FELT my belly empty as the doctor helped our baby out one shoulder at a time.

As previously agreed on, the doctor held up the baby for my husband to announce the gender.
“It’s … it’s a boy” choked out my teary eyed Lefty, and they put him on my belly.

Never. Never in my life have I loved something, someone, so instantly and completely. His little head was a bit coned and he was a bit purple in the face and upper body. He wasn’t crying right off the hop, which freaked Lefty out a bit, but I knew it was ok (#EMTlife). About 10 seconds of vigorous rubbing by Erin and he let out his first cry. 

I laid there, with my little pink naked brand-new baby against my skin and just stared at him. An entire choir of singing cats could have entered the room and I wouldn’t have noticed. I especially remember the way his little nose looked, and how much hair he had! So much and so dark! Lefty and I were both blonde blonde blonde as children so this was a huge surprise!

Some amount of time later, I was informed I needed an extra medication because I was bleeding quite a lot, and so I was given Ergot. Since then, I’ve learned I was probably bleeding more than normal because my uterus was so tired from contracting so much for so long. My epidural was removed completely (and painlessly, to my surprise) and I was able to take a few steps to a wheel chair. I kept my little man tucked close as they wheeled me to my recovery room, somehow surprised that I was being wheeled through a main hallway to reach my destination.

Once settled in we started trying to breastfeed (which admittedly I had wanted to do sooner, but with the bleeding and all it just hadn’t happened) and Grouchy Nurse asked me if I wanted some toast and juice.

Ummm. Hell. Yes….please. I hadn’t eaten in over 16 hours and had just done the biggest workout of my entire life. Those slices of toast and apple juice were the MOST DELICIOUS things I have EVER eaten, but they were not nearly enough to make a dent in my hunger. Luckily a few fruit gummies and granola bars had survived in our snack stash, so those helped tide me over until morning.

Lefty and I laid in the bed and stared at our miracle. I sniffed his head. A lot. I was addicted already. I knew from that moment on, no amount of time spent with him would ever be enough. That I would give my life to protect him. That I would fetch him the moon and stars if that’s what he wanted. I finally knew what true love was (sorry Lefty, but I know you feel the same way so it’s cool). I know I should have slept, but I just held him, and fed him, and stared at him. Lefty and I took turns asking the other if we could believe how amazing he was, and we both agreed, we could not.

My blood pressure continued to be high, and Grouchy Nurse kept asking me if I had a headache. No lady. I don’t. Please leave me alone with my miracle. Why are y’all so obsessed with my headache, or lack thereof? Unfortunately, my blood pressure was super alarming to everyone but me, and I had to stay in the hospital for 2 more days. This becomes important later, but I think that’s a story for another post.

I cannot believe what a miracle conceiving, carrying, and birthing a child is. We may not have gotten there the “usual” way, but none of that mattered as I held my sweet boy in my arms. I would do it all again, 100 thousand times over for him. You never really know just how full your heart can be, until you have a child - however you have that child. 

Happy Birthday to the most important men in my life, my Mini-Man and my Lefty.

TLDR: I had a baby and it hurt and he is amazing.

1 comment:

  1. LOL the toast and apple juice was like a gourmet meal!!!