Well, I don’t even know how to begin. My Bubbalooshki Bear is here. What a trip. I think I may need to change the name of my blog…after meeting my little enigma, I am no longer incredulous. I suppose the only incredulity I have left is that I ever felt any at all. Allow me to explain. And please stick with me, this may be loooong. With subtitles. Here we go…
So, what are the odds? My doctor. Out of town. The week my baby is likely to arrive. She sets me up with one of her partners, Dr. Haley, and ensures that I meet with him face-to-face and we set next week’s appointment with him. At this point, I’m not overdue, but only days until the due date. I pray to go into labor in the meantime when my doctor will still be here but, alas, the efforts I mentioned in the previous post, including the full moon, believing in fairies and all that…didn’t work. Is it sad that I really thought it might?
I see Dr. Haley when I’m 4 days past due. “Boy, you are all baby.” He says, feeling my stomach. “I think you’re going to have an above average baby. He’ll probably be over eight pounds.”
I figured. My guess was going to be 8 pounds 6 ounces. Nick’s was seven-something. Little did we know…
Anyways, as Nick and I leave the appointment, Dr. Haley makes a suggestion. I’m already 3 centimeters dilated and 9o percent effaced. He offers to induce me on Thursday the 9th (two days from now) or I can schedule for the following Tuesday when my doctor, Dr. Fouts, returns.
I think about it and ask several questions, of course. I want to make sure I make the right choice. There are so many “what ifs” when you consider being induced, and they scare me. Also, if I wait until the following Tuesday, but go into labor before then, neither Dr. Haley or Dr. Fouts would deliver my baby – it would be a doctor I’d never met. The decision also meant a change in hospital. I’d taken all the classes and made the choice to deliver at Dupont, but Dr. Haley would be at Lutheran that Thursday.
Alas, my lack of comfort, and the possibility of a stranger delivering my baby, makes the decision for us, and we schedule the inducement for 5:30 a.m. on Thursday the 9th with Dr. Haley.
August 9th: Best Day of My Life
I got absolutely no sleep the night before. Not just due to nerves, but I actually started having contractions that night that kept me up.
We arrive. It’s surreal. Suddenly I’m laying in a hospital bed, in a gown, being briefed by a nurse and strapped to monitors and IV drips. By about 8:00 a.m. the Pitocin starts. I’m at 4 centimeters when I arrive at the hospital. Things aren’t so bad at first. I mean, how lucky am I that when I have to lay in a bed for hours, the Olympics are on? So, Nick and I watch the Olympics while we wait for shit to go down. She checks me in an hour and I’m 5 centimeters. The Pitocin is working just as it should.
Now, I can’t tell you what event was on when it happened – rowing? That dancy-shmancy gymnastics with the ribbons and ball? But, suddenly the contractions start to hurt. I’m in line to get my epidural (there are 6 births scheduled for the day!), but the doctor is delayed. I handle them though, knowing he must be on his way. We wait. They keep coming. They hurt. We wait. They hurt worse…and worse…until…
“I’m gonna be sick.”
“She’s gonna be sick!” Nick tells the nurse grabbing the large trash can by the door.
She bustles to a cupboard and hands over one of those little bitty “U” shaped trays. Sidebar: I’ll never understand those little puke trays. I mean, they must hold what, twelve ounces tops? Who barfs only that much?
The little tray is too late. I barf into the trash.
Then I barf into the little tray. The nurse realizes it’s not enough and hands over the industrial size barf bucket.
I barf into that too.
Oh. Did I mention that with each contraction I had to keep running to the bathroom because it felt like they were giving me diarrhea? Good times.
The nurse, Sharon (amazing nurse!), bustles off and finds another doctor available to give me the epidural. I’ll never forget this man, Dr. Austin, or his beautiful face…because the man gives one mean epidural. I mean that in a good way. He took my pain away, and it was an amazing epidural. I could still move my legs, feel when my dad rubbed my feet, and feel the contractions, but…NO PAIN. Once it took effect, I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would make the choice to go without. More power to those gals who go natural, but if they knew how amazing it was to get an epidural, I bet they’d be tempted!
The pain relief was so amazing, but in the back of my mind was a tiny voice wondering if all the horror stories I’d read on pro-natural-birth websites and, of course, in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding would be true. Would I be able to push effectively? Would I still be able to feel the contractions? Would I bond with my baby? Would I have trouble breastfeeding now?
Sharon checks me another hour later – I’m almost 7 centimeters. “Wow! That’s great!” She praised, even though I had nothing to do with it. Oh, added bonus of the epidural – I can’t feel her checking my cervix, which is great because I HATE that.
Sharon returns. Checks. We’re ready to push. Oh God. You know that feeling when you’re on a big roller coaster? You’re headed up the first big drop and you here that loud “CLINK CLINK CLINK CLINK CLINK” on the way up. Your anticipation builds. You get that flutter of adrenaline in your gut and chest just before the plunge. You know the feeling. That’s what I was feeling.
Sharon coached me on what to do, along with another nurse who was about to take over for her. I took one last look at the Olympics. I felt determined. Like this was the big game of any sport I’d ever played. I was going to push this freaking baby out in record time, damn it. Bring it on. Bring it, bitch.
I start pushing just after 3:30.
“Yeeesss, yes, that’s it! Great job, Chris! Great job!” The nurses both cheer after my first three pushes. “We can already see the head!”
Holy shit! They can see the head! He’s coming out! My fortitude multiplies by infinity as I await the next contraction. Here it comes….
“That’s it! That’s it! Perfect. You are doing great!” They cheer.
I’ll save us some time and fast-forward about an hour.
I guess some incredulity lingers, because I’ll tell you, while they may not have been lying, all of these kudos are half-truths. What they don’t tell you is that, while you can see the head, you see said head for a very long time before the little punk is even close to actually poking his head out of your business. I finally caught on after about an hour – that he was moving millimeter by millimeter.
Finally, it’s progressing to the point where the nurses cue Dr. Haley.
Now, by this time I’m exhausted. I also forgot to mention…because there are so many births scheduled, I’m in a room that is a “backup” room for delivery. Unfortunately, it’s smaller then the usual. There are what feels like tons of people in there (two nurses from the NICU had to be present because wee Will poo-pooed in the womb before delivery). It’s stuffy. It’s hot. I’m getting pissed off.
Dr. Haley informs me that I must not take breaks between pushes any more…I must push, inhale, push, inhale, push. I’m sick and tired of this charade, so I regain my focus and do exactly as he says, pushing with everything I have.
“YES! Right there, Chris, right there! That’s the spot! Push push push push PUSH! Wow! Look at that hair! Should we make a mohawk?”
I collapse back on the bed as Dr. Haley proceeds to try out several hairstyles on my son who is hanging out of my wee wee, which is likely not so wee anymore. I feel major pressure now, and I feel like my efforts, no matter how valiant and no matter how much Dr. Haley gushes, are fruitless.
It’s hot in here.
Oh, God, I’m so hot.
I take another sip of water – one of many, which turns out to be a mistake.
“I feel sick. I’m gonna be sick.”
Prior lesson unlearned, I receive the tiny puke tray once more and I’m instructed by Dr. Haley, “Turn your head to the side.”
“What do you mean?” I blunder, as I puke off to the side – a third into the tray, a third on my bed, the remaining third onto Nick, who by now is holding the industrial bucket once more. I barf again. I barf once more for good measure.
Aaaaand, we’re back in business.
“I thought that might happen with all the water she’s been drinking.” I hear.
Why the fuck didn’t anyone tell me that then? I want to yell, but don’t.
“This is bullshit!” I spit at one point. And, I’m proud to say, that was really the worst of it attitude-wise. I mostly stayed quiet and determined, saying little.
The pressure builds, and Dr. Haley’s excited twittering seems to grow, so I know the end is near.
One more push, and…
“Yes, Chris!” Will’s head pokes out. Finally. Thank God. The worst is over.
“Ok, now one more for the hard part. Let’s get his shoulders out.”
Huh? Oh, well. Jesus, I’ve come this far.
I push. And there he is. My little Andy or Jenny. My Jack Skellington. My son. And suddenly, I’m not me anymore. There was the “before” Chris. Now I am the “after” Chris. And, I’ll never go back.
All the shit I said before about not wanting to touch the baby until the goo was cleaned off, being grossed out by the chord, all of it just blows away in a moment in some invisible breeze in the room, and I reach out for him, goop and all. I want to swim in his goopiness. I’m crying.
In a blur Nick is cutting the chord which is like a giant telephone chord, thick and gray. He cuts it. I feel some weird sense of relief down below and realize I’ve just delivered the placenta. I look. It’s cool. “It looks like an alien.” I comment
Then they take my little man away to be weighed, and cleaned, and all that, and I just feel this incredible yearning to hold him again. Dr. Haley reminds Nick to get the movie camera out. I’m jealous because Nick gets to be in all the action while I get stitched up.
Here’s where I’d like to make a point. Now, everyone is different. Like I said, those who choose natural births – great! But, in a previous post I mentioned how certain publications make one feel about things such as epidurals. Making women feel badly about their choice. Scaring them into thinking that somehow having one will diminish the miracle of birth. The connection to the baby. For my part – and I can only speak for myself – I call major bullshit. The connection to my wee Bear was so visceral, so immediate, that it hurt my heart. It just swelled so quickly with love and amazement over what had just transpired. To boot, I had little trouble breastfeeding. What trouble I had was my own, not his. He was ready to latch on and never let go! So, in our little birth story, the epidural had no impact on the amazing adventure that I had. I would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, I wonder that if I had not had one, would I have ended up having a C-Section? He was 10 lbs. after all. Would I have blown my energy wad enduring the contractions and not been able to finish pushing him out? Because, let me tell you, those last pushes were just that…my last. I don’t think I could have gone on much longer. He had a fat little head.
The next two days in the hospital were a blissed-out blur. I didn’t care about the pain, sore muscles, sore you-know-what, or the fact that I looked completely and utterly like a train wreck. It didn’t matter anymore.
I look around the room. Nick has taken all the flowers, bags, goodies, and gifts out to the car. It is just me in the room. Will is in the nursery having some final tests done. There is a card on the table for me. It’s from every nurse who tended us while we were there. I open it expecting something generic. My eyes sting with tears as I see that each took the time to write a message. A real message in the card. I try to drink in every detail of the room. I never want to leave this room. I want to remember the feel, the smell, the sounds because I know we’ll never be back here again. Not like this. Will will never again look like the tiny newborn that he is today, here. This little room, in this big hospital full of people, held a small family for two days. The Trebers. It’s where we truly became a family. The thought of leaving the place that changed my life so completely causes a huge lump to rise in my throat and I suppress it. I don’t want the nurse to see me crying.
They wheel Bubbalooshki back in in his little plastic bassinet. I shake off the teary feeling and grab the movie camera to film the last few moments here.
A few minutes later, Beth, my final nurse, is wheeling me down the hall. My purse is in my lap. Little Bear swings in his car seat at Nick’s side. We are on our way home.
I sit in back with my new baby. Somewhere between Lutheran and Jefferson Pointe, I can’t hold it in anymore. I meet Nick’s eyes in the rearview mirror. I am crying. I look at Bear and my heart bursts so violently it hurts, hurts, hurts. I never knew how much love you could feel for one thing. I know too that some of it is hormones. I’m overwhelmed to be going home. I love him so much. And all I can think about is the day I’ll have to leave him to return to work. It breaks my heart into shards. It rips me to shreds. I can’t endure the thought, and Nick must talk me down from the ledge of focusing on the negative.
“I have twelve weeks to figure out a way to stay home.” I blubber. But, I know better. The day will come. In the meantime, I just have to enjoy every second with him that I can.
And that’s that. We’re home now. The last week has been the best week of our lives. The best. Nick and I are both trying to savor everything about it, knowing that tough times will be ahead. We’re still in that honeymoon phase of soft baby skin and silky newborn hair. Spending every second of every day with the two people I love most, learning and discovering our new little dynamic, has been so meaningful. I still get weepy – for good reasons though. When Nick goes back to work next week, I’m sure I’ll struggle to keep it together once more. But for now, we’re finally a family. All the worrying I did before was silly. Nick told me today that he loves me even more now. I feel the same about him. Our little boy has managed to end one fairytale – a love story – subtly and delicately while he wiggles his way into every ounce of our being, to start a new fairytale – this one an adventure.
I can’t wait to see where it leads.