Schmoopy and I were outside on Wednesday night (aka the day after my last post!) and I joked that we’d be 39 weeks in a few hours, “ok, full moon… Do your thing.”
Within about 10 mins, I felt a pretty decent contraction. We laughed. A few mins later, another. We laughed again. When the next one came, not so funny anymore. I decided to lie down for a bit and then we’d decide whether or not to call mom and dad. One more contraction and Bryan was on the phone.
My parents arrived to take care of the Bean and the Duck. While I was relieved to have them here, I really despised having extra people watching me, especially as I repeatedly vomited. Our midwives were concerned that the baby’s position wasn’t optimal, so they asked us to come in right away even though I knew we weren’t “there” yet.
We got to L&D at midnight or so, dilated to a 3, with regular contractions. Our midwives were all off call (except for Lia, the student) so we met with Andy who was doing her best to catch up. Mom and Dad arrived in no time, wearing the most amazing “this is all our fault” shirts. I just about died! Being that baby was still breech and I was gbs+ and had to have the big gun antibiotics, we were admitted immediately by the OB on call and got all that going even though it was still very much early labour. Luckily, he was willing to try a breech delivery and so everything was still ok.
I got vanco’d and it sucked worse than the first time. I was tearing my skin off from the itching, and 11 days later I’m still dealing with some of the self-inflicted wounds, and tummy issues. At this point, I gave a flat out no way to another dose whether at 12 hours as recommended if labour didn’t pick up. I was worried that labour wasn’t progressing and that we’d done the antibiotic too early. My vote was that we just call it a day and induce. The day OB, Dr. M, agreed that baby and I were well-protected and that inducing to push things along was an ok idea. He was more willing and optimistic about a breech delivery and had done many! Bonus! The boys went to “sleep” in their shitty hospital chairs and mom and I stayed up laboring lightly-ish and chatting.
Late morning, my intended OB came in to visit and we added some pitocin to the party. Even though I wasn’t in active labour, I was still scared that we’d miss our window and have to be nuked a second time – no. Fucking. Way. Just as we were about to go to my safe place in the tub, anesthesia called to do my unwanted epidural. Our nurse had pushed them off a couple times but they were worried about timelines and csection risks. I will own that the epi was kind of a nice treat… I was having some major performance anxiety knowing that mom and dad would be watching and this kind of took away the risk of a lot of the grunting and moaning that make me feel self-conscious.
By early afternoon, not much change. My OB, Dr. F came in between surgeries and broke my water… Not a huge gush, so we assumed that baby was acting as a cork. A couple hours later, still no change but we discovered that the initial break was forewaters when my water ACTUALLY broke on poor Dr. M. The whole mood of the room changed! At this point, we’d been kind of stalled out, at the maximum dose of Pitocin, but every time I’d have a contraction, Squiggle would launch herself back up and into my ribs. Without a head (or in this case a bum!) putting pressure, dilation was slooooow and I was getting frustrated – and worrying about being pressured into a c-section.
As soon as my water was legitimately broken, early labour kicked into active and we were off and running. We went from 4cm to 8 in about 20 mins, and I suggested that we consider expediting our move to the OR. Luckily, the nurses believed me when I said that things had a tendency to move quickly for me once we crossed 5cm and off we went. Evidently, the surgical bed had been loaded into the room backwards, which didn’t occur to the nurses, and they were incessantly fucking with it. I’d asked several times that we keep the chatter to a minimum and one nurse just wouldn’t quit bitching about the damn bed… While I was trying to take directions from the OB and desperately trying not to push. Finally I told everyone to shut the hell up, and the whiner was banned to the corner. A win for the fat lady! Schmoopy was at my left, Mom and Dad at my right and I was on my back, legs in stirrups, announcing that this was the “worst possible angle.” It couldn’t be changed, so we dealt with it and got ready to rock. Unfortunately, at the angle I was stuck in, and without the assistance of gravity… I had to work! Luckily, I’d let the epidural run down, so at this point, I felt almost everything. Had I left it cranked, I don’t know how this would have been doable. I was vaguely aware of Schmoopy rubbing my head and of Mom and Dad’s breathing but I was so focused on what I was doing, and on the nurse who wouldn’t shut her trap that there wasn’t room for much else in my head. At this point, the contractions seemed unbelievably weak and I was working harder than I ever have. Then, from out of nowhere, an oxygen mask appeared between contractions. I found out later that baby was having some decelerations and apparently I wasn’t breathing enough. We had a bit of a laugh when our OB applied some lubricant, and I suggested a spray of Pam instead, but otherwise it was pretty much all business. Suddenly, I was being asked to push when I didn’t have contractions, which was brutal! I felt like I was achieving nothing! My own kids took almost no effort, but this was INTENSE, and then… There she was. Thursday, November 26th 2015, 8:06pm, one week before her due date. As she was born, Mom (who’d changed into nothing but a hospital robe up top to make skin to skin bonding easier) came to the business end and threw open her top to welcome her baby. Dad cut the cord a minute or two later to allow it to stop pulsing and also collect some cord blood for banking and they retreated while I got to work on delivering the placenta. After a baby, it’s delivered rather unceremoniously with a big fat blop, but a relieving blop! I thought I’d delivered it at one point but it turned out to be a fair amount of blood… I warned the docs, and they were able to move thankfully, before getting showered. Yikes, mortifying! Mercifully, the placenta followed about a minute later.
While I was focused on this task, Mom and Dad announced that they were not going to keep Squiggle as baby’s permanent name, but rather Firstname MYname Lastname. Yep, they named this poor child after…me. Every time she gets in trouble and gets full named, they’re going to be reminded that this is MY fault! Awesome. The tears in that OR were flowing. Everyone except for the OB and little Miss was somewhere between crying, ugly crying and openly sobbing… and despite the tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of medical equipment, there was not one box of Kleenex in that damn room. Someone asked how big I thought she was, and despite not having seen her yet, I threw out 7lbs 7oz. She was 3373 grams, which is? 7lbs 7oz. I wasn’t allowed to walk out of the OR and back to our room, but I could have! I felt great!
At some point in the day, I’d realized that baby would recognize my voice, so as soon as she was born, I stopped talking unless it was absolutely necessary. In the end, this was probably an overreaction because Little Miss KNEW her mama and daddy right away and was keyed right into her, staring and bonding. She didn’t see anyone else – and I don’t think Mom did either. I’m not religious, but this was probably as close to a miracle as I will probably ever see. The world around the three of them simply stopped existing as we watched them become a family. About 40 minutes after she was born, after my (glorious!) postpartum shower, and as the midwives did the newborn exam, I finally wandered over to take a closer look at my wombmate. There are simply no words to describe the feeling. She was beautiful, and perfect and she was theirs. I held one hand and Mom the other, but Little Miss had no idea that I was even there, as fixated as she was on Mom. It didn’t even feel as though I’d just given birth, but more as though I was visiting a friend who just had.
My role was over, my job complete and while I had worried that I’d feel empty and unimportant, I felt loving and loved and appreciated. I also felt exhilarated and exhausted having not slept in 40+ hours, nor eaten in about 30. Schmoopy grabbed me a meatball sub, which was arguably the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I remember at one point realizing that “I should probably try to chew this,” as I wolfed it down and could have probably eaten 6 or 7 more of them! Once we took care of the bare necessities for release, about 3 hours after baby was born, I walked my ass out of that hospital (while the nurses applauded!) and Schmoop took me home where I slept for 5 straight hours. Amazing!
In the morning, I got up with my mother and my littles and sent them off to school/daycare. Then Schmoopy needed to head to the chiropractor and for a haircut so… I joined him. The chiropractic adjustment was JUST what I needed – until I had my hair washed. I’d clawed my head raw thanks to the antibiotics, and having a scrub with peppermint shampoo made me feel superhuman!
After getting snap/crackle/popped and cleaned up, we went back to the hospital to visit and for our 1 day old midwife appointment. Both baby and I got gold stars on our progress, and I held her for the first time. As we had our first snuggle, I realized that I felt no bond whatsoever with this perfect little baby. I felt full of love for her and her amazing parents, but she just… wasn’t mine. I was grateful to not feel sad, but rather elated, to see her with them! We brought our littles back that evening to say hello and goodbye, and to bring cupcakes for Little Miss’ “birthday party,” and they did great! They knew that she was Mom and Dad’s and weren’t confused at all. Frankly, they were probably more interested in the cupcakes, and that’s totally cool with me!
When it was time to go, I had a little cry while I held LM. I wanted so badly to tell her something profound, but all I could squeak out was, “be good to them.” Mom and Dad offered us a moment alone, but we didn’t need it. It was so overwhelming realizing that we’d done it. We’d navigated the legal waters, gotten pregnant, delivered a BREECH baby and now she was going home. We did it, and they were a beautiful, happy family of three. Dad kept thanking me and said that trying to find the words to express how they felt was almost impossible. I get it. There ARE no words on either side, so I told him the only thing that I could think of, which hasn’t changed or evolved to anything more than 3 words:
Go, be happy.