A son is born
For the birth junkies and interested parties…I want to write it all out before I forget any details. So here’s Django’s full birth story. For some reason writing everything helps me process, and I feel like I have a lot to process! Stop reading here if “mucus plug” sends you dry heaving, ok?
Anyone who was present feel free to correct the details, because my memory is cloudy on many points.
So I figured out friday night that something was going down soon with the loss of that gory “mucus plug.” Within half an hour of that, I started having mild contractions. The kind that start in your back and work around to the front. So I monitored those all night, slept when I could, and called my mom over with a very certain “today’s the day!”
Soon as I got up and ate breakfast and stuff though, things ground to a halt. I went outside and walked til it got too hot, went to target and did laps with my sister-in-law Lily til my ankles hurt. Had only a few pitiful contractions pretty much the whole day.
Around 10pm during a netflix marathon of Saturday Night Live, I noticed FINALLY some more substantial contractions. Still pretty wimpy but at least consistent and gradually strengthening. Around 1am I got up and walked around to see if it changed anything…it slowed them down, but laying back down they came back. So I called my midwife and gave her an update of the situation. I was very hesitant to commit to going in to the birth center just yet, because it’s an hour drive and if it was still false labor I didn’t want to have to drive back and waste every bodies time, etc.
My midwife said take two tylenol PM and if things die down and you can sleep, great. If not, call me back and come on in. I hung up and then went to the bathroom, had a BM and took a quick shower. By the time I got out of the shower, approx. 15 min after hanging up with my midwife I was in REAL labor land…holding on to the bathroom counter, making the low moaning noises, swaying back and forth and stuff. I’d called my mom and she got there around that time, took one look at me and said “time to go.”
She woke up Shannon, they started putting stuff in the car. I was standing at the kitchen counter with increasingly strong contractions, swaying and moaning, the whole time thinking “How the heck did this happen SO FAST?!” and low and behold a fountain sprung forth…my water broke with quite a splash. I yelled for someone to come back in the house and help me. The next contraction I had I started to feel pushy and THAT freaked me out!!! Oh my goodness, no, no no…I’m not having a baby in the car. The thought of just staying home came to me, but I was pretty unprepared for that event so I looked my mom and Shannon and said “I’m not going to make it to the birth center. I can do 20 min in the car. I cannot do 60 min.” I pretty much decided there that my plan had to change.
So with my midwife’s approval we got in the car and headed to the nearest baby-friendly hospital. The whole car ride was gushing of amniotic fluid, and contractions that ended with some pushy feelings that scared me so bad! Lots of praying interspersed with swear words I didn’t know I had in my vocabulary.
Got to the hospital, got checked in, it turned out one of the good midwives on staff was available. That eased my mind at least by half about abandoning my birth center birth. They checked me, and I was shocked to know I was only 2cm dilated. But a check shortly after I was at 3, so the contractions I was having were working crazy hard.
I really didn’t expect everyone to come that I had originally planned to “be there”…strangely the only person who didn’t make it was my Aunt Jodi, and thats only cause I forgot to tell someone to call her. I guess the people who were there worked it out to trade off on who was in the room with me. obvious reason why birth center was my first choice…no “3 people at a time” rule. No wonder natural birth in hospitals is so rare…for most women they need the team players. in the end somehow everyone wound up with me…I’m so thankful.
It didnt take more than a few minutes to realize being in bed on my back was bad news. I tried some different positions, hands and knees, kneeling over the bed, etc. And could NOT find anything that made a difference in coping with the pain. I was going OUT OF MY MIND with how intense and fast things were…I broke down sobbing in between contractions if I got a break…most of the time I got a minute or two break between but I had many many “never really ended before the next one began” monsters. But the sobbing…yeah, I was an emotional wreck. Everything was going too fast. Nothing was going according to plan. My hopes for a simple quiet birth were gone. No birthing tub (which I feel probably would have helped at least some!) etc. And worst of all I was feeling like a total failure and hypocrite for being at a hospital which I had planned for 8 months to totally not do. I was supposed to be a strong primal birthing machine, with the wisdom of an experienced mother and the ability to let my body do it’s job. NOT this big sobbing puddle of fear and pain. Everyone kept saying “you’re doing fine, you’re doing great” and I’d snap back “NO, I’m NOT! I’m NOT fine, I’m NOT OK!”
I cried. I swore. I begged for reprieve. I kept saying “I can’t do this” and “I need help” and all manner of transition talk. My doula, Cherie, Lily and my mom kept trying to help me focus and think and visualize, but honestly? I couldn’t think about ANYTHING. When a contraction hit, all my mind saw was black. just thick heavy overwhelming blackness – no color, no imagery, no anything remotely resembling thoughts or reasoning.
I asked…no, begged…for help with the pain. They gave me two doses of nubain, which (and I realized it almost immediately) was a mistake. The pain did not diminish AT ALL. It didn’t touch it, no “edge off” nothing of the sort. All it did was make me immensely sleepy. Pretty much from then on I fell dead asleep in between contractions. A contraction would start and I’d startle back awake feeling disoriented and then my mind would go right back to the black pain.
With every contraction I got gradually louder and louder with my moaning/groaning/grunting/yelling/every non-lady like noise in the book. It didn’t take long before I’d pretty much lost my voice.
I don’t know how long it was…maybe an hour and a half, I was 6cm, then a short while later 9, then suddenly 10 and the urge to bear down hit like a semi truck.
For all those women who say pushing was a relief for you, felt better than the contractions, etc….I envy you. The pushing phase I can only describe as an out-of-body traumatic event.
I’m not sure, but I think pushing lasted 20 or 30 minutes. I’ll have to ask someone…I was still falling asleep in between pushing and it was all so disorienting and intensely crazy. I had asked in my “emergency only” birth plan for no coached pushing and the midwife was so cool about all that stuff…she was very laid back and hands off which somehow registered in my brain even though almost nothing else was. She just casually was there and it was really Shannon, my sister, sister in laws and doula who “managed” me and held my hands and made me do whatever I couldn’t. And I, the mental/internal “I” couldn’t do anything!!! My body really did the work. I couldn’t stop it, couldn’t fight it or even help it along…almost all of the pushing was completely involuntary, and only the last two or three “get his head out and then body” pushes was I even mentally present enough to actually put mental and physical extra “oomph” behind them. Those last pushes were so crazy intense that I didn’t fall asleep in between…I had my eyes closed but I was there. And I remember being able to think “I can’t die, this is almost over” and “I have to get him out so the pain stops. the pain will stop the second he’s out.”
Sure enough, his head came, his body came, the midwife made me reach down and catch him. I remember hearing her say as his head came out “oh, that’s why” or something like that. Apparently his hand was up by his head, holding onto the umbilical cord by his neck. I think She said that’s the only reason probably that I tore. (a small tear.) That’s crazy to me, when they told me how big he was that I probably wouldn’t have at all if it hadn’t been for his hand.
He latched on almost right away. Such a good boy…no learning to nurse for him. I was shaking like a rabid animal for a good 45-60 mins, I could NOT stop shaking. When all the hullabaloo died down they brought me some breakfast that I scarfed (mostly) down. I handed the baby to Shannon, and as I was eating I fell asleep with food still in my mouth. Shannon said I was snoring before my eyes were even closed! Stupid nubain.
From the time my water broke to his birth, it was just under 5 hours. 9lbs 4ozs. I couldn’t believe it. When I hold him I remember how tiny Ella was, and he is so much heavier! He’s as big as she was at almost 3 months. And he is so round and chubby, and so far very sleepy and happy. Since we are in a hospital, they can’t help but poke and prod him. So they’ve made a big deal about his size, and monitoring his blood glucose. It fell pretty low this morning and they freaked out but he hadn’t really eaten anything yet. So I kind of ignored their commands to supplement with formula (gave him like half an ounce while they were watching then tossed the bottle) and have just been nursing him more than I probably would normally. And his glucose numbers are stable and normal now. My breasts aren’t empty, they work just fine thanks.
They were worried about jaundice too, since he tested positive for coombs, which means he and I have different blood types that don’t like each other if they get mixed. Not really a high risk situation, more of a medium risk. I think he’d have been fine if we’d gone home and I just nursed him and gave him lots of sunlight…but I don’t feel like fighting that battle so they have had him under a blue lamp all day. He’s here by my bed and I’ve held his hand the whole time which has kept him calm. And there is no risk with him being under there…it’s just not snuggling with me so it’s no one’s preference.
He’s fine. Healthy. Bigger than I anticipated, I worked much harder than I anticipated. In fact…none of this other than “healthy happy baby in the end” is what I anticipated. But I made my choices, and worked through them.
So in the end, I guess this is what I worked for, and earned…one amazing baby that I love so much his cries break my heart. And I’m thanking God for letting me be his mommy. It’s a gift I don’t take for granted.
And I can tell you what…I’m never again going to pray for a “fast” labor and delivery for a baby. An easy one? Yes! fast….no. I’ll take a gradual build up with a reasonable transition over fast and furious any day.