Eggs, shots and rock n roll

Monday, February 20, 2006

The birth story

Thursday, Jan. 26, I went to the hospital to have some gel put on my cervix to help things move along. I was late and nothing was happening. After applying the gel, they told me to come back the next morning and we would see then what we would do. The gel did give me some contractions, but they did not hurt. I didn’t sleep well that night. My arms and hands were always getting numb because of my carpal tunnel syndrome, the contractions were unconfortable and I was anxious about the outcome of it all... I should have slept more because a big day was ahead.

So we went back to the hospital on Friday morning. Nothing had changed: 50% and not dilated at all. I was lucky, my dr was there. He knew I did not really want to get induced more than with the gel so he told me he would put some more gel and see me back at his office on Tuesday. We would then see what we would do... again... That was fine with me. He put the gel in, but in a very different way than the dr did the day before. It hurt a lot, took a long time... Which made me think once again that my dr is the only one who knows what he’s doing. Because it worked. As soon as the gel was in (9 am), I started having more powerful and painful contractions. They were still really bearable, but I could feel them a lot more than I did before. After an hour of monitoring, we headed back home.

We ate lunch. My contractions were still going strong. At 11:30, I timed them and they were 3 minutes apart. I took a nice hot bath, but it didn’t help. I laid on my left side, while listening to music. Still contracting. The nurse had told me it could be only gel induced and I had to wait at least 6 hours before the gel stopped acting and we could see if the contractions were real or if they stopped. So I waited. There had been some drops of blood and pinkish stuff on the toilet paper since the hospital, which didn’t happen the day before... Must be a good sign!

Around 2 pm, I got up and I felt something 'slide' down there, as if I just started my period. I went to the bathroom, but there was nothing in my panties and only a tiny bit of something sticky on the toilet paper. I was a bit disappointed, but told P that I was starting, maybe, to lose my mucus plug. Hurray! When I looked down in the toilet, I noticed something very weird and yucky: my mucus plug. It was there, whole and bloody and disgusting. I asked P to come and take a look. We were both excited and disgusted at the same time. Finally, something was happening! Even if it didn’t mean I would give birth right away, it still meant my contractions were doing something.

We decided to watch a movie, since we had time to kill. I laid on my left side once again, my head resting on P’s lap. About 15 minutes after the movie started, I feel my pants becoming suddenly wet and warm. I start to laugh and laugh, P doesn’t understand what’s happening... I tell him my water broke, he asks me what should he do, is the sofa wet? Do I want a towel? “Give me anything!!!” I tell him, still laughing. It feels so weird to have liquid gushing out of you and having absolutely no control over it. P looks around and finds a small carpet I had just cleaned. I put it under my butt, while he goes upstairs to get some bath towels. With a towel between my legs, I run to the bathroom, still leaking. Standing in the bath, I wait for the liquid to stop pouring out of me. P fetches my jeans and calls the hosptial. I go pee before leaving, but the water starts to pour again. Every time I have a contraction, liquid gushes out of me.

We finally leave. In the car, my jeans get more and more wet at every contraction. And the contractions are hurting now. A lot. But I’m too excited to mind. We’re gonna have a baby!!! It’s a beautiful day, very sunny but also very cold. When I get out of the car, my jeans are soaking wet and I look ridiculous. The chilly wind really freezes my wet legs and people are staring at me. I don’t mind, I’m having my baby!!!

At 3 pm, they check my cervix. 3 cm, alright! I put on the pretty blue gown and they asign me to my room where I will go through labor and delivery. My contractions are very long, very close and very painful now. They hurt mostly my lower back. I try to find a position I’m more confortable in. Laying down, sitting, crouching, walking... The best position for me is when I’m standing, my arms around P’s neck, his hands rubbing my back. I breathe in, breath out, deep relaxing breaths. But I feel as if I’m always contracting. As soon as one contraction ends, the other one begins. Or is it just in my head?

P is wonderful with me. He gives me water, holds me, rubs my back, talks smoothly to me. He is so patient and calm, it helps me a lot to stay focused.

Around 5 pm, I try taking a bath, but I hate it. The bath is too big, I’m too small, I float, I’m unconfortable and it doesn’t help one bit with the contractions. After 15 minutes, I get out. The nurse checks my cervix: still at 3 cm. So I try sitting on the big ball. It helps a lot, but the contractions are getting stronger and more painful by the minute. I rotate my hips, breathe deeply, P rubs my back... I tell him many times that I’m not sure I’ll be able to go on much longer like this. I wanted to try without an epidural. I wanted to breathe through the pain. But I always said I would have no regrets if I ever came to ask for drugs. I tell P I want drugs one minute, then the next I tell him I’m still able to endure the pain. I am beat, I don’t think I would be able to go on like this for hours and still have to go through the pushing. I want to throw up every time I have a contraction. I’m having a hard time keeping my eyes open. P talks me into trying the ball for an hour, until the nurse comes back. Then, we’ll see. I agree.

When it hurts like hell and I feel like giving up, I think about all it took us to get there. All the tests, all the meds, all the pain and sacrifices. I think about all those women still waiting for that chance. I am strong for all of us. I am living a dream we have in common, fellow infertiles. I have no right to give up. I think about our son and strength comes back to me.

When the nurse comes back at 6:30, I’m at 4 cm plus. Not a big progress... I sit on that big red ball, making circles with my hips, for about 1:30. My mind is set. I want an epidural. I want to be able to enjoy the rest of the birth of my son and I’m not gonna be able to do that if I’m hurting like that and if I have no energy left when it comes time to push. I’m a little disappointed, but hey, no regrets. We call the nurse and ask her how to procede. She tells me I have to decide now becasue the anesthesist is leaving soon. All right, let’s get it over with.

I sit on the bed, my back arched, holding my ankles firmly. I have to remain perfectly still. That’s the part that always freaked me out. How can I stay still when I’m having this huge contraction? The anesthesist is very nice, he explains everything to me. He asks me to tell him when I have a contraction, but not to move and breathe it out. There’s one coming now. Deep breaths... Long, deep breaths... The anesthesist and the nurse look at each other, baffled. Her contractions are long, I hear someone say. It’s hard not to move, but I can do it. Something stings my back, I’m contracting, I’m breathing, I can’t wait for this to be over... I’m squeezing P’s arm real hard. The epidural itself was a piece of cake, if it hadn't been for the contractions. I finally lay down. Two contractions later, I’m free. I still feel the pressure, but no more pain! The monitor tells us what I already knew: I’m having double contractions, which means I have two contractions with no pause in between, then a pause, then 2 more... And they are very long. So it wasn’t only in my head after all!

It’s 7:15. My dr comes in to check on me. I’m dilated at 5 cm. He tells us he’s very surprised to see me there. He was sure he would only be seeing us on Tuesday, at his office. Me too! He’s very happy for us.

I can rest for a while and drink some juice. I’m gathering my strength for the pushing. The nurse checks me again at 8:15. I’m at 8 cm! Wow! Going so fast and not hurting, that’s wonderful!

My dr comes back at 8:50 and to our surprise, I’m fully dilated! Time to push already! The nurse explains to me how to push. She says it’s like when you’re really constipated. Good, I say, cause I’ve been constipated my whole pregnancy! But then I ask her about, you know, stuff that could be coming out... How embarrassing... She assures me there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, it happens all the time and they really don’t mind (ok, but I do!), it just means I’m pushing the right way. There’s no place for humility when you give birth... Ok fine, I’ll try not to worry about that! So I start pushing. After a couple of pushes, my dr tells me the baby is still too high so we’ll wait another hour before pushing for real. They up my epidural and give me a warm blanket. It feels so good!

At 10 pm, it’s time to push for real. I say one last goodbye to my huge belly and get ready to push my baby out. P is right next to me, stroking my arm, encouraging me softly. I’m pushing hard, but my contractions are now far apart, so all the work I put in one is lost before the next one arrives. They put me on Pitocin to increase the contractions. I push and I push... The nurse tells me I’m doing a great job and I’m getting real nice hemorroids by the way... My dr comes back to check on me around 22:45. He tells me he has to leave and that I might be pushing for another hour or so. He congratulates us, shakes our hands. We thank him from the bottom of our hearts. After all, he’s been following us for 3 years. We were there partly (mostly) because of him.

I am very tired of pushing. My throat is very dry, I’m shivering, I’m not feeling well. My temperature is going up. The baby’s heartbeat is going up too. They put a little sensor on his head in my belly to follow his heart rate carefully. I ask P to talk to me while I’m pushing because his voice is helping me stay focused. I cling to the sound of his voice, I only listen to him. He is very calm and soothing and he makes me forget how bad I’m feeling. He puts a damp cloth on my lips between the pushes, gives me small sips of water, changes the cold cloth on my neck. He looks at me and helps me keep going.

The nurse stops the Pitocin because it’s only making things worse. Instead of giving me more contractions, it makes the ones I have last even longer. Now they’re lasting 4 minutes, with 5 minutes in between. When the new dr arrives, 30 minutes past midnight, I’m exhausted. I’ve been pushing for 2,5 hours and nothing has happened. He tells me the amniotic liquid is green and that my baby needs to get out. The baby is right there, very close, but he doesn’t seem to be able to get out on his own. The dr explains very gently to us what we now need to do. We have two choices: the first one is forceps, the second one is a c-section. I want nothing to do with a c-section and the dr tells me it would be stupid to do one anyway because the baby is so close to the exit. I’m still kind of afraid of the forceps, but he explains very well to me how they work. Are there any risks for the baby? Will he be pulling him out with the forceps? No, there are no risks and no, he won’t be pulling on the baby. He will simply be helping him get on his way out. Alright, let’s go with the forceps.

The dr places the first part of the forceps, which looks like a big spoon. I feel a big pressure in my pelvis area. He then places the second part of the forceps and I feel as if my lower body is about to explode from the pressure. He asks me to push, but all I can think about is to get rid of the pain, so I’m breathing in and out deeply. I’m hurting, I’m in a fog, I don’t see or hear anything. I just feel the pain. And then I hear P’s voice telling me to push, to hold my breath and push. I come out of the fog and push. And this time, I know it’s working, I can feel the baby coming out of me. It’s painful, it feels huge, but I’m doing it with all my heart and soul. The dr shows P the head of our baby. He then unwraps the ombilical cord from around his neck (twice). And Félix was born. I didn’t scream, I only sighed with relief. They put him on my belly. He was sort of brownish purple. I could only whisper a soft “finally...!” and I was out of words. The nurse told me to rub him to help him breathe. P cut the cord and the nurse took Félix away from us because he was not breathing right. P followed them. I continued pushing the placenta. I was looking at P looking at Félix, at the other side of the room. I could not see Félix, but I heard him cry and that made me happy. I silently asked P if he had all his parts. He said yes. Is he a boy? Yes. Is he beautiful? Yes, he is.

Félix was born on January 28, 46 minutes past midnight. He weighted 7 pounds 11 onces and measured 20,5 inches.

While the dr was sowing me back, the nurse took Félix away, to ‘observe’ him for a while. P followed them. I was left alone with the nurse and the dr who was doing some cross stitching on my who-ha. When he was done, he left and the nurse cleaned me up. I was still having a bit of fever, so I did not have a warm blanket this time. She gave me an orange juice and left. I was there, all alone in my bed, cold and lonely, no baby, no belly, no boyfriend. I felt so alone, so empty. I cried and cried. What was happening to my baby? Why wasn’t anybody giving me some news? I was worried, I imagined the worse scenarios. Where was my son? When will I get to see him? Was he ok? The tears were falling and I could not stop them. I wanted my baby!

The nurse came back to see me and found me in a puddle of tears. She asked me if I was sad because I missed my baby. Well, yeah! Would I like it if P came back to tell me what was going on? Hell, yeah! P arrived a couple of minutes later. He told me Félix was fine, he just had some trouble breathing at first, but it was all ok now. He took the camera and left. When he came back, he gave me the camera and told me there was something for me on it. He had filmed our little baby so I could watch him while I was waiting. How sweet was that! I cried even more. Félix looked so tiny on the small screen. He was so adorable! How I longed to hold him and kiss him!

About 1,5 hour after he was born, Félix came back to me with P. The longest 1,5 hour of my life! P put our son on me and I could finally hold him and look at him. He was beautiful! He was so small! I tried to breastfeed him, but it didn’t work. I couldn’t sit. I finally got my room and I breastfed him for the first time. What a moment, it gave me shivers! He was there, close to me, warm and soft and pink, drinking my milk. Our son is here. At last.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A new life

I am working on translating the (long) birthstory I wrote in French, but it takes a long time. I just wanted to let you all know we are doing good. Félix is such a good baby. He never cries, always sleeps... but, we're having a hard time breastfeeding. At the hospital, I had no trouble at all. But when we came back home, my breasts were hard as wood and as big as footballs and he did not want anything to do with them. So I pumped my milk for a couple of days and we fed him with a plastic seringe. Finally, on Friday, he took the breast again. Now, he has no trouble with the right one, but still struggles (or is it me?) with the left one, but we're getting there.

We are adapting to our new life. P is staying home with us for another 6 weeks, it makes a huge difference. I love it being here with my family. Wow, we are a family. P, Félix and me. My family.