Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Saturday, December 30

The best thing about waking up on Saturday, December 30 was that no one was bugging me to get up and walk the hallways to bring on labor. Instead, I got to lie in bed and not feel a thing, and remarkably, feel quite alright with that.

The other thing that was remarkable about the day was the announcement that the midwife made that this day would be Cricket's birth day one way or another. On one hand this struck the fear of God into me, yet on the other, it was relief.

On the fear God: It was easy for me to believe, on some level, that this (birth) wasn't really happening, and it became even easier after the epidural. Yes, it's true that my water broke with a colossal swosh, but maybe I just wet my pants? The few contractions I felt on my own were like intermittent menstrual cramps. The contractions brought on by the Pit were almost academic in nature-- There's the drip, there's the contraction. They were artificial; that's not saying I didn't feel them-- Oh Lord, I felt them (especially when that Pit drip was at it's max), but still, they were manufactured. But now they were telling me I was really going to have the kid? I was going to have to push it out? No one was guess how big the Cricket was at this point, just reassuring me he'd be smaller than if he came at 40 weeks. And while I had prepared myself for a natural birth, I was still scared.

The relief: I was pretty sick of the hospital. I was getting worried about the extended length of my labor. I was ready to do something other than walk around, get antibiotic drips, and joke with nurses. With the epidural, the bath was (obviously) history. I was anxious to meet Cricket. I also felt fairly well rested after a night with the epidural. Just like I said above, I had prepared myself for a natural birth, and I was also excited to actually and finally get to do something.

Well, we spent all day with the epidural. Around 1:00 I started feeling more pressure, which we referred to as "RP": Rectal pressure. Partner spun many jokes about "RP" delighting nurses, midwives, and techs alike. We came up with scripts for television commercials about "RP" and we generally had a jolly time. RP was a positive sign! The baby was perhaps finally making it's way down!

We had minimized internal checks, obviously because of the ruptured membranes and we wanted to keep the risk of infection down. I can't remember when the last check had been, but I know at the last inspection, I was dilated to a 3, 70% effaced, and Cricket was at -1 station. As the afternoon wore on, and I felt more and more RP, I was almost elated: For sure I was progressing.

I ignored that the intra-uterine catheter showed all my contractions at the same strength, no matter the level of the Pit. I think I willing ignored the midwife when she explained to my mom that she'd like to see the level of contractions be much higher. I was having RP! Medical equipment be damned! I even opted to push the button for more "goods" with the epidural at the urging of the nurses. It was best to keep the pain under control for when I got to push.... When I got to push!

My parents came again, along with my brother N and his girlfriend. About 3:30 I'd say, maybe a little before that, I decided that I was feeling a significant amount of RP, enough that I was trying to relax through the contractions again. The nurse asked if I'd like to get the midwife to check me, and I said yes, heartily. I can't even tell you how positive I was that I was dilated to at least an 8, 100% effaced, and didn't have much time to go.

So the midwife came in, checked me, sat down on the end of the bed and told me I was still only dilated to a 3, 70% effaced and at -1 station. She didn't need to say the next sentence, because I knew it was coming. "I think we need to consider a C-section at this point." Unlike our decisions about using Cytotec, starting Pit, getting the intra-uterine catheter, doing an epidural, this one felt easier. We both knew she was right. I was at the 42 hour mark of labor. I felt lucky that during the whole thing, Cricket's heartbeat was strong and unfaltering, but how much longer could we both do this? We agreed, and the midwife went to consult with the ob/gyn on duty (who we were actually thrilled about, since she also was a lesbian, and had just had a baby 7 weeks before. Also, our nurse at this point was also a lesbian, and had started her family the exact same way we had, with her Partner's eggs! It was like a little lesbian kismet!)

No surprise, the ob/gyn was ready to go. Our Bradley instructor had called us several times in the L&D room, and at one point she noted how much pressure our midwife must have been getting to section me much earlier in the process. I feel like the medical staff must have been hovering outside my door because of the speed with which they arrived. Even though it was emphasized that this section was not an emergency, it felt that way. We were apprised of the risks, asked questions, Partner got changed, I got shaved (!), my parents returned for a kiss, and suddenly I was being wheeled down the hallway.

This was a new level of terror. I know that thousands of women have sections, but I was really terrified. As we went into the OR and the cold air hit me, I started shaking and couldn't stop. My teeth were chattering as they strapped my arms down. They put some warm air blanket thing on my, raised the curtain, let Partner into the room, and still, I couldn't stop shaking. They put the oxygen on me and told me it wasn't for me, it was for Cricket. Everyone was calm. And yet I quivered. Everything they said to me was spot on. "You'll feel pressure now," they said, and I did. I remember feeling nausea, and thinking about what would happen if I threw up. I was strapped down and my insides were open.

"Here's the head," they said. And I heard him cry. Crying, and only his head was out! Surely this was a great sign! "Partner!" they called out, "Get down here so you can call the sex," and then I couldn't see Partner, and could hear only crying, and then Partner's voice, "Oh my God! Oh my God! We have a son! We have a son! And he's perfect!" Everyone told me about how beautiful he was, and pink, and crying. He was six pounds, eleven ounces.

And then they wrapped him up and showed him to me, and oh, how I wanted to touch him, his little face, but they were gone, Partner with him, because that's what we agreed-- Cricket would not be left alone. They told us they were going to take him to the NICU because he was having some problems breathing. But, I thought, he was pink! He was crying! His Apgar scores were 9 and 9! Surely the doctors were being over cautious and the NICU was temporary.

When I was in recovery, it was as if I wasn't really there. Did I have a baby? My mom and dad and brother came to be with me, left to see the baby, came back. Everyone was seeing my kid but me. And finally they were taking me to the NICU, and Partner was telling me what he'd look like when I saw him, but nothing could have prepared me. Every parent who has had a child who has been sick knows the feeling. I couldn't hold him, I could barely turn on my side to touch him, and it was just the beginning. But he was beautiful. And he is beautiful.

He's crying now, so I promise pictures right after this-- I think you'll agree with my assessment of his beauty!


Blogger J said...

This story is great so far, and with the added bonus of pictures.

Hope you and partner and the baby are doing great!

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Liza said...

Wait--does that mean that he's home now? Oh, HURRY with the pictures, LOL! I don't care about your incision and your boobie-schedule, I want to SEE this kid I've been worrying about since before he was conceived! I posted a little something on my blog about the Cricket...I'm so sorry you had the "happyendus interruptus" and hope that all is well now. XOX

2:06 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Oh, you totally made me cry with your story - how wonderful that he is here and doing well. 6lb 11 oz for 5 weeks early? That is a strapping lad! Maybe he'll grow up to play rugby like his mommy! I'm glad you all are doing well and I wish your little family the very best. Looking forward to pictures, too! xoxoxoxo

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm crying too and can't wait to see a picture!

4:32 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

He's so big for five weeks early! Congratulations to you and partner! I know what you mean, I saw mine for the first time in the NICU and it was scary. But he sounds fine...great, fine, and beautiful.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I didn't know you used Partner's eggs! We did, too! And, like Cricket, my two were big for 32 weekers! Seriously, our stories are so very similar, it's eerie. I love it :)

And, yes, pictures please!!

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Portlairge here Katie-Bloody blogger won't let me log in. Is he home? I'm dying to meet him via the ole internet. I'm crying with happiness for you. Please post pictures soon.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Ooooh I can't wait for pics! I'm assuming he's home now, I wannnnnnnnnnnnnnna see :-)

Lots of hugs for all three of you!


12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear you on the throwing up part. I had a c-section 2 weeks ago and I did throw up when they were showing me my daughter for the first time. HORRIBLE feeling to be totally numb and trying to be sick while strapped to a table, stomache wide open. Glad you made it through without that happening!!

1:49 AM  
Blogger Michko said...

I love this story! I am crying with joy for you and Partner. Can't wait to see pictures of Cricket.

10:52 AM  
Blogger fisher queen said...

Does this mean he's home?! I hope so!

What a story. I cried before my c section too. It is terrifying.

1:06 PM  

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