Saturday, November 6, 2010

a birth story

I have a few minutes to myself - baby girl is currently sleeping on her daddy's chest (one of her favorite spots, and where she sleeps best) and I actually got a few hours sleep last night, so it may be possible for me to string a few sentences together. We'll see.

At any rate, I know if I don't write down this story soon, much of it will disappear from my mind, lost in a haze of "how many times has she pooped today?" (general answer: A LOT) and "how much more can my nipples hurt?" (general answer: A LOT).

Last Saturday, I woke up at 2:00am with what felt like really strong menstrual cramps. I was two days overdue and had decided, that night before bed, that I was possibly the first woman in the history of the world who would stay pregnant the rest of her life and never actually give birth. It sounds silly now, to be so impatient after only two days (well, nine months and two days) (four years, nine months and two days), but seriously: this pregnancy felt like it would never end.

We'd had more sex that last week than in the previous nine months combined, and yes, we did on Friday night - maybe that did it, or maybe she was just ready, but by 2:30am I had woken up my husband and told him it might be time to pay attention. I got up then and started walking around during the contractions, which were surprisingly (to me) strong and painful. That whole, "early labor is characterized by contractions which are generally painless" thing? Crock. Of. Shit.

By 6:00am, I was facing two problems: one, the contractions were PAINFUL and no longer the kind I could talk through; and two, I was throwing up absolutely everything which hit my stomach, including water. Given that "nausea" has been the hallmark of this pregnancy, it seemed appropriate to go out with a vomiting bang, but I was worried about being dehydrated. And, throwing up while having a contraction is every bit as unpleasant as you'd imagine.

My worst fear was getting to the hospital and having them tell me, after all that pain and vomiting, that I was only 2cm dilated. We got there. They examined me. I was 2cm dilated. SONOFABITCH. So, they sent me to walk around the hospital for an hour. I came back. I was "slightly over" 2 cm dilated (and I have a feeling she put in the "slightly over" to keep me from bursting into tears). So, they recommended we go home until the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, or my water broke. They gave me a shot of morphine to take the edge off, which also had an anti-nausea component, and thankfully, that did end the vomiting.

We got home at 9:00am. The morphine was having no effect whatsoever, but I decided to lay in bed and try to rest between contractions (HAHAHAHAHA). At 9:24am, while my husband was making himself breakfast, my water broke. So, back to the hospital - where they admitted me, and where, at 11:00am, the anesthesiologist gave me the blessed epidural. That man must hear, "I love you," more than any other staff at the hospital.

After that, things progressed well. I was about 5cm dilated when I got the epidural, and although I could feel some sensations now and then - and every once in awhile the epidural started to wear off a bit on my right side - the pain was gone. We had two scares with her heartbeat; one in particular got 6 labor nurses in the room to quickly flip me onto my hands and knees until everything went back to normal. A scary few moments, but thankfully, all it required was that I laid on my side from then on.

By 5:30pm, I was completely dilated on one side, but not quite on the other. (Weird. Never heard of that.) We tried a few other positions, but finally, the doctor decided I would just have to start pushing and she would try to maneuever the baby around the very small lip of cervix remaining. By then, I could definitely feel the need to push - no pain, but a lot of pressure. One big push and she was past the cervix, and then another 45 minutes of pushing!

Because we didn't know the gender, the nurses had told my husband they would hold the baby up to him and let him announce it. Keep in mind that this is a man who gets lightheaded when discussing blood (and who has to keep his eyes shut during certain portions of Grey's Anatomy), so we were a little concerned about his ability to hang in there, but he was amazing. He held my right leg and watched the whole thing - and, when she was born, he cried, "it's a girl!" paused, and then said quizically, "isn't it?" because, let's face it, there's a lot of stuff going on there - cord, blood, nurses' hands, tears, relief. But he was right. She was here. Finally.

She cried at first, but they laid her on my chest immediately and then she stopped crying and stared at her parents, who were crying enough for everyone anyway. It was, as everyone says, the most amazing moment of my life so far. I know the doctor kept working down there, but I didn't pay any attention. I had two small tears, so I have a few stitches - but she could have been tattooing her name on my hoo-ha and I wouldn't have cared. All we could look at was this little girl. Haven't stopped staring at her since.

She is one week old today. At this time last Saturday, we were eagerly awaiting the anesthesiologist. And the week has been something of a blur - but wonderful. She eats every few hours, and mostly sleeps inbetween. When she's awake, she makes funny faces and stares at us as if she is trying to memorize our features (this could be because we stare right back). Apart from some bumps in the road regarding breastfeeding (separate post on that later), we are doing remarkably well.

For those who are still on the waiting end of infertility, all I know is that I will pray until the end of my days that a child enters your life - through adoption, or birth, or fostering, or however - in just the right way. The privilege of being here is so enormous. Her first name will remain private, but her middle name is Grace - and that she is, a gift we don't deserve, and could never earn.

For all those who followed our journey to and through pregnancy, thank you. I'm sure my posting here will continue, though less frequently. I keep getting interrupted, you see.

But that was the only thing I ever wanted anyway.


  1. The last line has me in tears. Lovely. Just lovely.

  2. Such a wonderful story! We didn't know what we were having either and my husband was confused by the genitalia because everything was a bit swollen... Congrats on your little girl!!!

  3. Congratulations! Excelent news, so glad for you! xx

  4. Lovely! So happy for you, my friend!

  5. Cue tears on my part too. And you're absolutely right; the interruptions are the whole reason we persevere, aren't they? Congratulations to you all and much love as baby is the happiest, most joyous interruption of all!

  6. Thanks for sharing. What a beautiful story!

  7. The best thing ever! I'm so glad that everything went well!

  8. Congratulations! This is wonderful news!
    I have been following your story for some time and I am very happy for you and your little one.
    I hope breastfeeding gets easier, I know it can be difficult in the beginning, but it can get quite a pleasant experience afterwards. I hope it will be so for you too.
    Take your time and enjoy this exquisite newborn phase - it is truly miraculous.

  9. Smiling big with tears blurring my vision, such a wonderful story :)

  10. *sigh* It seems like there are IF miracle babies all over the place these days, all so loved, all so lucky. Grace sounds like an absolute gem. Congratulations again.

  11. OMG, you completely cracked me up and completely made me cry! I'm so glad you posted your birth story!! I can't tell you congrats enough. I'm so happy for your little family!!

  12. love this post -- and SO very happy for you and your husband. Praying that these early days will be easy and enjoyable for you, and that she will continue to bring blessings to every day of your life from now on.
    I echo your sentiments about prayin for all others still dealing with IF! Thanks for your compassionate heart~

  13. Your post made me cry! In a good way. ;)

    Congratulations on your beautiful girl. (I love that your husband wasn't sure.) And hang in there with the breastfeeding -- it does get better, although it seems like forever until it does.....

  14. That is wonderful. Congratulations!

  15. been totally out of the blog loop... but have been saying prayers of thanks and blessings for the transition to parenthood frequently.

    so, so, so happy for you.