November 13, 2010 - the last day I had all the answers.
And then I had a baby. That was 15 weeks ago today. The midwife said I was one of the most well-researched and prepared mommas she had ever attended. This was supposed to make me feel better about going to the hospital when my home water birth just wasn't happening. And it did.
Note to the hopeful home birthers out there: Please have a back-up hospital CLOSE by. Luckily, I did, just 4 miles away, but those are loooong miles while having contractions and every bump brings on another one. You can't sit while having contractions and you just have to go to your happy zen place in your mind at the stoplights because every single one of them will be red on the way...
So there I was, at stoplight after stoplight holding myself up on all fours awkwardly in the car on the way to the hospital, feeling better that at least I had done everything possible to avoid this very situation. I guess it was therefore entirely unavoidable. And so were my loud low-pitched vocalizations with every pain. You can't help it. There's no point keeping it in. I know those guys in the truck next us can hear me, probably wondering who's killing that poor disheveled girl. It's an 8 pounder named Parker, thank you very much. We're about to be introduced.
Inside I'm going through my checklist. Don't let them do the eyedrops, or the Hep B vaccine, or the Vit K shot, and for God's sake, make sure they don't circ him as a matter of routine when we're not looking. But if I have to have pitocin, God help me, I will have that epidural. I can't take this plus pitocin. It's not happening.
They drop me in the carport with DH and my father while my mom goes to park. I can't read at this point. I'm in the lobby and two men are trying to figure out where to take me, asking the desk guy who seems very clueless and as I realize we don't know where we are going, I have a huge contraction and start howling. Maybe that will help the desk guy figure it out... Finally a wheelchair appears and we end up in an elevator, down a hallway, through the glass doors and in a hospital room with tubes and machines. And nice people with kind faces.
21 hours? poor thing. the anaesthetist is on his way and dr m will be here shortly let me just take her vitals and sign this paperwork. I can't read. you want me to write? just do the best you can. where's my attorney? wait, don't say that... you're about to either die or get an epidural, shut about about reading the fine print. i scribble, they proceed. the anaesthetist walks in and he is the most beautiful human being on the planet. I know the epidural placement can be uncomfortable, but who cares? It will ease the contractions which are k.i.l.l.i.n.g me. It's a minor prick. then cold. then relief, sweet relief. then uncontrollable shaking, then the heartrate on the baby dips. We all hear it. The OB says your baby is not doing well, we need to get him out now. My doula says you can always ask for more time. I ask for more time. my midwife gets in my face and tells me the decels are serious and if we had heard decels like that at home, it would have been an ambulance ride. I can see in her face that its time to consent and get the c-section.
I had had a feeling if I stepped through the doors of a hospital, it was likely to be a c-section. The pain eventually made the decision to go to the hospital more palatable. After 21 hours and all the midwives tricks to strengthen contractions and only dilating 1 inch. 1 inch. She said it was time to go. My first thought - epidural. And the mad dash to pack up and go began.
I had to take a second tho to cry for my mother in the most pitiful way. I literally said "I want my mommy" and she ran over to me, and we cried. I heard one of the midwives stifle a cry too. They all said I was so brave.
By the time they wheeled me into the OR I was very zen and accepting about the whole situation. DH, however. I had never seen him so pale. I was telling him, from the gurney, that everything was going to be OK. And I knew it would be. Baby was doing fine at home, until just a few minutes ago, right when I got the epidural. They do csections every day. Baby will be out in five minutes. Oh gosh can I still have my placenta encapsulated? The OB tells me she is giving me the best kind of csection for a vbac if I want one later. I can't believe she just said that. I instantly trust her more. She must be a really good person to say that to me when she was obviously so annoyed that I went to 42 weeks and tried a homebirth, then showed up on her shift to possibly end her career. She doesn't know my dad would practically disown me if I sued.
I hear her say something about thick thick meconium. That makes me sad. That means the baby was stressed. But again, not for long. I think that rules out the placenta eating. That makes me sad again. Can they let the cord pulse? No. Again, sad. Just another advantage I can't give this baby. I hear him cry. DH and I look at eachother and smile. He seems extraordinarily relieved. I learned later it was because he interpreted something the doctor said to mean that I or the baby were going to die. I didn't hear it that way...
They bring the baby over to me and I crane my head to see him. He had a lot of hair. I barely glimpsed his face. As per our agreed upon arrangement, DH stays with the baby and leaves me. I'm ok tho.
In a few hours they bring the baby to me to hold and I don't feel ready. He's a fragile little person. I'm a fragile little person. Somehow it doesn't feel safe to hold him, but they insist and I do and he really is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. But I'm tired and tender and in a lot of pain. I'm happy to have his daddy or his grandparents hold him for now.
In spite of my paranoia, the hospital staff really are kind and supportive. We keep telling them not to circ him, and they keep agreeing not to. We get a pass on the Hep B and the eye ointment, but they insist about the Vitamin K. We are convinced to allow it.
The nurses are helpful about breastfeeding. It seems to take 6 hands and as many pillows at first, but his latch is good. It starts to hurt after just a few tries.
My mom shows me all her cute Parker pics on her camera. I thumb through them and get to the pic she took of the birth pool at home and I start to cry uncontrollably. I make a prima donna request for them to please have it gone when I get home. I can't see it there. I can't take it.
It's good not to have any pride or modesty when you have a csection in the hospital. There are a lot of strangers who will change your dressings, change your massive chux pads, walk in on you breastfeeding, etc.
The worst day is the next day, painwise. They want you to get up and walk so soon. They are very interested in your farting.
So that's where I'm coming from, basically. Crunchy dreams, soggy reality. And if you've read this far, welcome to my blog.