Saturday, November 24, 2007

Not quite a trifecta*

At some point during my third trimester, I asked one of the midwives about when I should head to the hospital when labor begins. She said to give them a call when contractions became regular. “You’ve been through this before,” she remarked, “so you remember what real contractions feel like.” I nodded because I thought I did.

I had stomach cramps most of the day on Friday, nasty gas cramps. Constipation has been a major problem for me throughout this pregnancy, so having gas cramps was nothing new. I did note to myself that they were stronger and more uncomfortable than usual.

The cramps woke me up around 1 a.m. I was starting to get a back ache, too. At 4:30, I woke up again. As I tossed and turned, trying to get back to sleep, I kept glancing at my clock radio and soon realized that these “gas cramps” had a certain pattern to them. It was then that it occurred to me that perhaps these were not gas cramps after all but real contractions. I tried timing the duration of them, but that was not easy to do with the digital clock. I got up and went downstairs, turning on my computer and feverishly trying to finish up some last-minute work. At 5:30, I woke up Husband and called the hospital. The contractions were 7-8 minutes apart lasting about 50-60 seconds. They were uncomfortable, but I could still easily talk through them. The doctor told me to take a shower and call back when the contractions got closer to 5 minutes apart.

At 7 a.m., we were on our way to the hospital. My back was killing me, and I could not talk through the contractions anymore. I remarked to Husband that I didn’t remember having this much pain with Child. At 7:40, the midwife who checked me happily announced, “You are at 7 cm!” Holy shit, I thought, no wonder the pain was so much stronger—I got epidural when I was 4 cm with Child. “I need epidural now,” I said (screamed?). Another midwife piped in, “You are so close, you can do it without the drugs.” “I know I can,” I said (snapped back?), “but I don’t want to.” They were happy to oblige, but they warned me that if my water broke or if I dilated much further, it would be too late for the epidural. Talk about sending this girl into a panic mode: having to give birth without drugs was one of my biggest fears about labor this time around. It felt like it took forever for the anesthesiologist to show up, and the pain was intense. Back labor is no walk in the park, I tell ya. Husband was a rock star, applying pressure to my lower back during the contractions per midwife’s directions. It made the world of difference. L&D nurse, Kate, was amazing too—what a wonderful, calming influence. While we were waiting for the anesthesiologist, I got hooked up to antibiotics for group B strep. The midwife mentioned she was glad I was asking for epidural because they needed to stall my labor—I needed at least four hours of antibiotics before delivery.

9 a.m. Epidural. Sweet relief. ‘Nuf said.

At 11:20, the midwife checked me. “We better set up for delivery now.”

They broke my bag of water. I thought about how odd it was that with Child, having my water break was the first sign of labor, but with this one, the water never broke, even though I was fully dilated and effaced.

I pushed once. “Whoa, hold on, stop pushing,” the midwife said. “Dad, do you want to deliver your son?” Husband looked stunned and a little uncomfortable. “I won’t be offended if you don’t want to do it,” I said. He thought about it for a second and ran to the bathroom to wash his hands.

A minute later I pushed again. And the most amazing thing happened. My husband, the love of my life, pulled out our son, the newest love of my life, from my body and placed him on my belly. 11:38 a.m.

I can not find words right now (doubt if I ever will) to describe what a miraculous moment it was. The struggles, the tests, the interventions, the heartbreaks—they were worth it to have THIS moment.

*Suppose I should explain the title of this post. My birthday is October 24. Husband’s is October 25. Baby was born on October 27. Had he come a day earlier, we would have had a birthday trifecta. Welcome to the Scorpio family, babe.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Can blogging induce labor?

It happened to A and a few other pregnant bloggers. An unsuspecting blogger writes a post to say that she doesn’t think labor is anywhere near—and BAM! out comes the baby a few hours later.

Less than 24 hours after my last update, Baby made his appearance into the world. He was 8 lbs 15 oz and 20 inches and came exactly a week early (bless his little heart; if he would have stayed in another week or more, he definitely would have outgrown his 9 lbs 5 oz older brother). He is absolutely lovely, and we are completely smitten with him.

And while I had full intentions to write a little more about his birth, he is starting to make those grumpy grunts that mean “get me out of this bouncy chair,” so I better leave that story for another post.