Friday, April 27, 2012
John Paul's Birth Story, Final Installment
How ridiculous...this is like triple overtime and so obnoxious and for anyone out there still reading...sorry.
I mean, he hardly sleeps and he nurses like a newly-married woman fresh off her bridal diet and lounging in an all-inclusive resort. We are talking a reckless abandonment when it comes to consumption here.
(And for anyone just tuning in, this one has all the juicy details...but if you're looking for character and plot development, feel free to hop over here, here and here ... oh, sorry, I think I just put myself to sleep.
So back to the epic tome.
5 cm. Fully effaced. Bulging bag of waters (ew ew EW I loathe birth lingo). I was quickly escorted up to the long-sought L&D floor and assigned a glorious birthing suite complete with sunken, jetted tub (which I actually used this time. Sort of.) and a nurse named Heather who fell from Heaven above, glamorous highlights and stylish glasses included. She was quite possibly my favorite person ever (next to Dr. Anesthesia, of course) and was totally covered by our health insurance. (Note to future self: doulas are expensive. Nurses are included.)
Things picked up preeeetty quickly once we hit the labor suite, but I was still totally confused by the normalcy between contractions. I kept asking our doula Jessica (who'd arrived by then, toting her crockpot full of ginger compresses, electric candles and iPad full of T Swift and DMB) what was 'wrong' with this labor...and she kept smiling and saying 'this is what a second labor feels like.'
Except then something caraaazy happened. I'd like to call it 'transition' to be as medically accurate as possible, but what actually went down was something like ohholyshitholyshitwhatishappeningtomybackCOWNOISESCOWNOISESomgmybackmyspinemypelvis
Something along those lines.
So for the first 90 minutes in Hotel Delivery...totally under 'control.' I was breathing/vocalizing (code for really embarrassing moaning noises) in a controlled fashion and laboring very effectively either leaning over the bed, sitting in the bathroom (ew), and, eventually, standing in the shower completely devoid of all modesty and/or dignity and telling myself over and over again 'wet epidural...the water is a wet epidural'
Well, somewhere between 7 and 8 cm, my body called my BS and little man began his agonizing OP (translation: sunnyside up) descent from stubborn zero station to whereverthehelltheyneedtobetopush.
And that's when things got real.
I mean, I went from mostly calm and naturally-laboring birth diva to drug-seeking inpatient in like 45 seconds. The moment I felt the first twinge of 'back labor' this time around, I think I had a full blown PTSD episode and was suddenly back in September, 2010, 4 hours into the pushing stage and performing a general examination of conscience as I prepared to meet Jesus.
Just a leedle bit dramatic here.
Heather clasped my hands across the bed and, looking straight into my frantic, hunted animal eyes and answered my cry of 'WHAT THE HEEEEEELL IS HAPPENING?!' by calmly informing me that baby was OP.
As my brain cracked open to absorb this new tidbit of info, I suddenly realized that my window for obtaining an epidural would be slamming shut soonish, and so I began sounding the alarm, shouting our code word at the top of my lungs.
Dave: 'Honey are you sure?'
His perfectly reasonable inquiry, along with those voiced by nurse Heather and Jessica the doula, were sufficient to convince me that there was a coercive and secretive effort afoot to deny me medication and that they were allllll plotting to put me off to the point of no return, after which time no epidural on earth could rescue me.
So I did what any reasonable laboring woman would do, faced with this problem. I slowed my labor down.
That's right, I jedi-mind tricked my body into actually slowing the contractions down to maybe 3 minutes apart as we waited for Dr. Crackdrip to make his grand entrance. All the while, the room was full of incredulity and exclamations like 'wow Jenny, you actually are slowing down your own labor...that is amazing!'
To which I replied
Uuuunnnhhhhh, where are the drugs? Where ARE THEY?!!!! Is the anesthesiologist even on duty right now? Did you call him? YOU DIDN'T CALL HIM YET, DID YOU???? DID YOUUUUUUU???
In other words, I was perfectly pleasant and rational, and it was indeed a well-thought out and informed decision.
Honestly, I would have settled for street-purchased heroin it I'd thought it would arrive sooner.
Eventually Dr. McDreamy made his way into the room and started explaining the risks and procedures and blahblahblah I very nearly reached around behind my massive self and jammed that needle in my own back.
It was quite possibly the world's most perfect epidural. I could move my legs, I could feel my contractions, and when it came time to push, I could do that pretty well too. But I could no longer feel the shovel dragging down the inside of my spinal column.
Thank you Jesus.
Strangely enough, the moment the epidural kicked in, somebody casually informed me that I'd need to clear the 'antibiotic window' of which 2 hours remained before my water broke. Why this information was revealed this late in the game, I couldn't really say, but I was instructed to lie as still as possible to let the antibiotics work their Group-B-Strep fighting magic. In other words, what in the heezy would they have done if I hadn't become crazed and drug seeking?
Pumped the newborn full of penicillin, I suppose. But anywho, my very obedient second born kindly waited until the allotted time had passed and them 'pop' went his little water world, at his own doing, exactly as the 2 hour mark arrived.
After impressing one and all with my 'practice pushes' I was encouraged to go ahead and try the real thing. Fully expecting to take 2 or more hours to get this kiddo out, I allowed myself to be coached along for 20 minutes or so until suddenly,
"Okay STOP. Just hold it right there."
Um, excuse me?
"Jenny just stop for a second, just relax."
Not pushing here.
Nurse Heather looked up and announces to the room 'It's true, she's not pushing! This kiddo is pushing him or herself out!'
A flurry of activity and one very funny page later ('Attention L&D break room can we get a doc or resident or anyone to room 201 stat'...pause...audible omgs coming over intercom)
Nurse Heather assessed the situation, marshaled her troops and announced to her fellow nurses:
"Get ready to catch, girls"
At the very last moment possible, two doctors or residents or simply people in blue scrubs wearing gloves (who I'd never seen before or since) skidded into the room, latex snapping around their wrists juuuuust in time to catch.
I think they handed him to Dave, or at least presented his business parts for inspection, which immediately set off a rare public display of emotion as my usually stoic husband choked out 'It's a ... boy!' (He had been so sure of a girl all along, I think the drama of another teeny weenie heightened the moment's intensity for him.
As we both cried and marveled over our tiny son, my crack team of medical experts proceeded to pummel, inject and generally violate my nether regions whilst I, blissfully unawares thanks to a potent cocktail of hormones and narcotics, cuddled this sweet and perfectly round-headed little man to my chest.
He didn't cry, much to the dismay of one pediatric nurse in particular. She kept rubbing his back while he laid on my chest, wide-eyed and peering around the room. He squeaked a few times and blinked at us all and slowly turned pink, but my boy was not about to publicly display his emotions for the room, back thumping notwithstanding.
He latched on immediately, kind of without my even offering (little ballsy there, fella), and he nursed for 70 straight minutes. Seriously. They came back like 3 separate times to try to get his vitals, but were turned away each time by his voracious appetite.
And for the past 8 days, I can't say much has changed.
Except my heart is gradually enlarging. And my body weight is melting away under the assault of his eager little mouth. And I may never sleep again.
But we're doing oh so well. Two sweet little boys. 19 months apart.
Craziness, be ours.