Excellent! Lotus has provided some fodder for blogging on a day when I needed inspiration. It’s hard to get back into working after such a nice vacation. Fortunately, today is a professional development day for teachers, and it’s a bit quieter than usual around the district.
But, back to the topic…birth stories. While I haven’t been busy “birthin’ no babies” for the last eight years or so, it’s amazing how clear each experience still is. And unlike, Prissy in Gone With The Wind, I like to think I know a little bit about the whole process.
I’ve already shared Dancer Girl’s birth story, and even what I know of my own, so today I thought I’d focus on Soccer Boy’s birth story, one that should be read by expectant mothers everywhere who’ve been regaled with horror stories about the birth process. Why do women do that to one another anyway?
Soccer Boy’s birth story actually begins in late April of 1999, though he didn’t make his appearance in the world until May 6th. But, late in April, a bit shy of my 38th week, I began having regular, though not incredibly painful contractions. Now this being my third pregnancy, one would think I’d have a handle on the whole when to go to the hospital thing. However, I’d never actually gone into labor on my own. Both Dancer Girl and Gym Girl were induced, one for medical reasons and one to prevent her mother from having a nervous breakdown for fear of giving birth on a Houston freeway on the way to the hospital.
And I had good reason to be paranoid about the whole birthing during rush hour thing. Go ahead and hate me now, but I have fast labors. The OB I used with Soccer Boy had strict instructions in place for me to call L & D if I started having contractions ten minutes apart. And, low and behold, I did indeed. I timed the contractions, established that they were very regular, clocking in every ten minutes and called the hospital.
They instructed me to time things for another hour or so and then to come on in if the contractions continued. That gave us just enough time to pack a bag and arrange for coverage for the two little girls asleep upstairs. Then off we went, Adventure Guy a bit disappointed that his little boy would not be born in the same month he was.
But we found that was soon to be the least of his disappointments that evening. We arrived at the hospital and checked in to L & D where they promptly hooked me up to a monitor and established that yep, I was having contractions every ten minutes. By this time it was late, so they decided they’d just monitor and wait until things sped up on their own, especially since the doctor wasn’t around to do anything different.
And, then, nothing happened. By the time my doctor’s partner arrived for rounds the next morning–after a very uncomfortable night for Adventure Guy and me spent trying to get some sleep in labor and delivery–my contractions had completely stopped. I was all for inducing right then, after all I was there and plenty ready to not be pregnant anymore, but he declined saying he wouldn’t want to induce until at least 39 weeks, especially with a boy.
So, Adventure Guy and I did the walk of shame out of L & D, rolling our admittedly not-so-carefully-packed bag out of the hospital, me clearly still pregnant. We were not happy. Neither were the girls who fully expected to be presented with their new baby brother.
When I went in for my regularly-scheduled OB appointment, I’m sure my doctor thought I was more than a little close to the edge when I went on and on about how I couldn’t believe that I’d had a false alarm with my third pregnancy. He quickly assured me that I had done the right thing and that I must go to the hospital again if the same scenario presented itself. I told him I’d think about it.
Which landed me with a promise of an induction the next week and the statement, “If you make it that long, and I don’t think that you will.” But make it I did, setting the stage for Soccer Boy’s birth to happen not almost two weeks early but instead only two days prior to his due date.
Now here’s where the encouraging part starts. We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. and the nurse started the Pitocin at 7:00 a.m. sharp. When she did, I told her my goal was to have the baby without an epidural (I’ll explain why when I get around to Gym Girl’s birth story one of these days) but that I wanted to keep my options open. She agreed to let me know when I should ask for one if I wanted it and then left us to our own devices.
The contractions kicked in pretty quickly with the drugs, and I got into a good pattern of breathing through the pain. I found that laboring on my side felt best and stayed in that position except for when they needed to check my progress. And things progressed quite nicely, to the point that my friendly nurse told me it was time to make the call on the epidural–otherwise I might not have time once transition hit.
Okay, here’s the TMI part…I told the nice nurse that I needed to go to the bathroom and that I’d decide on the epidural when I got back. I then wheeled my lovely IV pole into the restroom and, upon getting into squatting position (no wonder women historically labored that way), had a massive contraction.
I returned and told the nurse she’d better check me again because I thought it was time to push. Yes, I had gone from a seven to a ten–transition in one contraction. No epidural, and it was indeed time to push.
At that point I learned personally why it was better for me not to be numbed for the pushing phase. In my other two births, I had the epidural so late, that they didn’t have time to back it off for pushing. As a result, I pushed for an hour each time and had some significant tearing.
But this time after three pushes the nurse went running down the hall to stop my doctor from going in to do a scheduled C-section. Instead, he came rushing in just in time to literally catch Soccer Boy during my fifth push. It was 9:17 a.m.
When people ask me about natural childbirth, I often tell them that I can do just about anything for two hours! People also ask me why I didn’t have more children since my pregnancies and labors were so uncomplicated. Well, unfortunately, there was an inverse relationship between the ease of labor and the tendency to sleep through the night for my children. After 13 months of Soccer Boy’s late-night wake-up calls, Adventure Guy said, somewhat groggily, “We can’t have any more. Each of them gets worse as far as sleeping. If we have another one we won’t sleep for years.”
So, I’ll have to settle for my memories, and when I think of Soccer Boy’s birth, those memories are just as sweet as he is!