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On The Needles Now:Tess Designer Yarns Baby Kimono
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Thursday, June 21st
Monday, June 18th
Isn't it Ironic?
Sunday, June 17th
The Baby Daddy
Friday, June 8th
The Greatest Story I Ever Told (also, possibly the longest)
After calling Kaiser at 5 pm, 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm, I finally talk to a nurse who takes pity on me and just tells me to come in at 10 pm. Apparently it's a busy night on the ward and it will continue like this, though we don't know it yet. With a definite plan in place, we begin to scurry a little. It suddenly becomes imperative to put together the Pack 'n Play, for example. When it's done it's already 9:15 and we take everything out to the car, including the dog, who we drop off at my mom's house with promises to call her as soon as we know what's going on.
When we get to the hospital I am shown directly into a large birthing suite. It's pretty posh I have to admit, with lots of room, a private bathroom with shower and everything we need right there. I'm told to strip completely and put on a gown. I'm immediately uncomfortable because I live my life in a bra. If you were a FF cup you would too. But I follow instructions and am soon hooked up to the familiar heartrate and contraction monitors from the NSTs. These monitors will become my constant companions through labor and I will come to hate them, but at first it is simply routine. It is a sign of things to come though, that the monitors go on since one of the items in my birth plan was that I only wanted intermittent monitoring. With an induction itís all monitoring, all the time, baby!
At this point itís about 10:45 and virtually nothing happens for the next three hours. My room is right across from the nurseís station, so we get all the good gossip. When I hear someone saying, ďSheís got a foot in the vagina and no prenatal care!Ē I know Iím in for a long wait.
ďFootling breech,Ē I explain to Dave, all that time in front of the Discovery Health channel coming to my aid in understanding triage. Anyone with a foot in the vagina (ouch!) is farther ahead in the line than I can even see from where I am.
Finally, things start to pick up a little. A nurse comes by to do intake paperwork. I hand over my birth plan, which various nurses and doctors tell me theyíve read but I get the feeling they think itís sort of cute. ďThis is all great for a spontaneous labor but for you? Not so much. Weíre doing this by sheer force of technology ď is the unspoken message I receive when Iím given an I.V. instead of a saline lock as listed in the plan. I do ask why weíre doing an I.V. and the nurse, Dawn with the plumeria tucked behind her ear, offers to get the doctor to talk about doing a saline lock instead but I know it will take an hour before the doctor can get to me, so I just get the I.V. Iíll be happy for it later, as it turns out.
Now tethered to the two monitors, which are beginning to irritate me because they slip and I lose Dessaís heartbeat with annoying regularity (which doesnít bother me, because I know sheís fine, but nurses keep coming in to resettle the thing), and the I.V., I am effectively stuck in bed. On my back. Out goes point three of the birth plan Ė wishing to be able to move freely. In order to go to the bathroom I have to unplug the monitors, which occasionally brings in a nurse, and drag the I.V. pole in there with me. This becomes more and more cumbersome as times passes. And because of the I.V. fluids Iím being given, I need to pee often.
At about 2:00 am a doctor I haven't met before and won't see again comes in, examines me and says Iím still a fingertip dilated, just as I was at Dr. Laidback's office earlier. She wheels in an ultrasound machine to confirm that Dessa is still head down, since it would be stupid to go through the induction if she's turned breech. We immediately see the back of her little round head right where it should be, so all systems are go. The doctor inserts the Cervadil, which will help ripen my cervix and itís not the most fun experience Iíve ever had. For one thing, all my internals hurt Ė my cervix is very posterior and it takes a good deal of shoving to get a decent feel for it. Further, the Cervadil has pointy edges and I can feel it scrape when itís placed.
This is now the long boring part of labor. The Cervadil stays in place for 12 hours and then I get re-evaluated. If weíve made progress, I move on to Pitocin. If not, we do another round of Cervadil Ė maybe two. I could be here for 36 hours before we even start the Pitocin. Iím frankly scared about this, but thereís little I can do but hope. We spend a fitful night in the suite Ė Dave gets a little sleep on an uncomfortable pull out chair cum bed but I donít sleep at all. My back is hurting and the Cervadil kicks off mild contractions. Iím also distracted by the monitors, trying to ensure that we keep the heartbeat showing, though Dessa doesnít really like it. She kicks and moves often, and when I shift to my side to get some of the pressure off my back, I lose the heartbeat. I hate the monitors.
Sometime in the morning (9 am, maybe?) Dr. Laidback comes by to say hi and remind me that I could be in for another round of Cervadil. He clearly thinks this is going to take a while. He also says Iím allowed off the monitors for a while so I can walk the halls. I am slow but it feels good to be out of bed and tied only to the I.V. While Iím walking, my mom and sister arrive. By this time, the contractions have stopped and I donít feel confident that the Cervadil has done much.
Iím supposed to be checked around 2:30 pm or so but it takes about an hour longer than that. Finally I call the nurse because I can feel that the Cervadil has slipped and itís uncomfortable. She removes it and tells me to tell the doctor it fell out if he comes in. I find this funny Ė is she trying to hide the fact that she removed it, or does she really consider it to have fallen out? In any case, she lets the doctor know that I should be checked. The problem with a slow induction like this is that Iím last on the priority list. Everyone elseís body is doing something, but mine isnít, so I can wait. On my back.
When Dr. Laidback arrives and checks me, he pronounces me about 1 cm dilated but more effaced and says we can start the Pitocin. Iím relieved to be moving on to this next stage because the Cervadil stage was tedious. The nurse hooks me up by 4:20 pm and now the party really starts. Because Iíve progressed slowly the doctor is being aggressive with the Pitocin. Every 30 minutes Iíll be bumped up by 6 units. This is double the 3 units by which I would normally be increased, according to the nurse.
The effect is nearly immediate. Within 10 minutes I am having contractions again, comparable to the strongest ones I had overnight. 10 minutes after that I have to focus more. By 5:30 Iíve been increased twice and have to breathe with my eyes closed. Everything distracts me. When a contraction starts, my sister takes my hand and Dave usually takes the other hand. Several times he tries to talk me through the surge, but I canít stand to have anyone talking to me. I have this need to go deep inside myself just to stay on top of the pain. The contractions are 2 minutes apart and last a minute. Theyíre very regular, and I begin to dread seeing the nurse because I know itís her job to increase my pain.
I lose track of time. At some point, maybe around 6 pm, the nurse and doctor come in and check me. Iím at a solid 2 cm and am encouraged by this. A centimeter an hour is good progress and Iím a little behind that. They tell me about some pain management options, like fentanyl or an epidural. Because Iíve made some progress and I feel like Iím coping alright, I refuse anything for the time being.
I think Iím thirsty at one point and ask for some Crystal Light Ė the sourness of lemonade sounds like it might be good. This is a big mistake. I take only a small sip, but with the next contraction I am so nauseous I think Iím going to vomit. I have the watery mouth thing and all that. Now I not only have to concentrate on the pain but also on not ralphing all over everyone. This is the point where I almost lose it. I can feel panic clawing at me and I think this is when I tell Dave, ďI want to go home.Ē I know I canít, of course, but home becomes this abstract idea of anywhere at all that doesnít involve contractions. The almost-panic, the nausea, the fact that I know this is only the early stages and this is only going to get worseÖ I start to think about pain relief.
When I close my eyes to breathe, my mind throws up all sorts of strange images. I donít know where they come from, but they give me something to think about. I am underwater with several contractions, in a green field full of wild horses with others. Sometimes all I see are wide red bars sliding past each other. The contractions donít build slowly; they come on fast and hard and mean. I know Iím becoming more and more afraid of them, which canít be helping me. I try to focus on staying relaxed during contractions, but they continue to scare me. Itís taking everything I have just to keep from freaking out.
Around 7 pm or so I give in and ask for a hit of fentanyl. I hope that it will be enough to help me relax and make some more progress. Iím scared of the contractions but Iím still more scared of the epidural. The nurse comes in and gives me the drugs during a contraction, straight into the I.V. This is where Iím grateful that that sucker was already in place. The last thing I need is a shot, or the rigmarole of placing the I.V. before I get the drugs.
Itís no wonder that fentanyl is a tightly controlled substance. I still feel the contractions, still have to breathe through them; I just donít care so damn much about them. My sense of time is completely screwed up. My contraction pattern does change a little but it feels like a much longer time between contractions that it actually is. I drift in the space between them with no fear of the next one, no real sense that more are coming. If I could have gone through the rest of the labor in that doped up state, I might well have. I am filled with that drugged up gratitude that causes you to drunk dial your exes and I almost slop all sorts of sentimental love on AC and Dave for being with me during labor. I check myself, though. I am not quite far enough gone to start the ďI love you guys!Ē routine yet.
The effects only last an hour in any case. Soon it starts to wear off and I am back to where I started, only worse because the Pitocin has been turned up a few more cranks. Now itís after 8 pm and with every contraction I begin to fantasize about the epidural. ďI donít want to do this, I donít have to do this, they make epidurals because of this,Ē I keep thinking. Finally I give in and tell Dave Iím done.
Surprisingly, things move very fast. Dave goes out to tell the nurse and within a few minutes, she and the anesthesiologist are in the room with the gear. They are getting me up and ready to rock before it really registers for me. I ask to go to the bathroom before we start, since I donít think contracting and having a full bladder will make placement any easier for anyone (mostly me) and off I go Ė monitors, I.V. and all. While I am in there, of course, I have a massive contraction and have to hold on to the sink for dear life. Waiting for the contraction to pass I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Little hint for you Ė when youíre in labor, donít look at yourself. I am gray and bear quite a striking resemblance to roadkill.
For all that I am shaking and scared to death of the epidural, it isnít too bad. Getting it placed certainly hurts less than the contractions I have while having to stay perfectly still. The worst part is that I am shaking Ė from cold, pain or simple fear I have no idea. Probably all three Ė and hunching over to give the doctor access to the space is really uncomfortable. Dave says the whole procedure takes about 30 minutes from the time the doctor arrived to when he left but I have no sense of how long it was. All I know is that when he is finished, the doctor says, ďNow the relief isnít immediate. Itíll take about 10 to 15 minutesĒ and I whip my head around to check the time because if IĎm not in my happy place in 15 goddamn minutes, someone is going to answer to me.
At that point it is 8:50 pm exactly. I feel one more contraction and then nothing. For the first time since November my back doesnít hurt. I can lay there, hooked up to everything in the room, and I donít care. I can feel the skin of my abdomen, but nothing inside. My legs become dead from the thighs to the ankles, but I can rotate my ankles and wiggle my toes. I watch, fascinated, as my contractions continue every 2 minutes like clockwork and I donít feel a thing.
The next two hours pass comfortably. We talk, we laugh, I am tired but mostly what I feel is relief. I am sorry for a few minutes that my natural birth is out the window, but Iím not actually very sorry about the epidural. I was never that attached to a natural birth for spiritual reasons or anything Ė it just seemed like the thing to do if I could. Iím grateful for the absence of pain, not just from the contractions but the intense discomfort of being tied to the bed. Iíve been in this really uncomfortable hospital bed for almost 24 hours now. A catheter is put in place about 45 minutes or so after I get the epidural and now the Herculean treks to the bathroom are obsolete. Again, all I really feel about that is relief.
At 11 pm, a new doctor comes in to check my progress. I am happy to let her do the internal, because this time I know I wonít feel a thing. I am still at 2 centimeters. Over 5 hours and Iíve made no progress at all. It is then that I bless whoever invented epidurals, because if I hadnít already had one, the news of having made no progress at all would have driven me to one. As it is Iíve saved myself two hours of pain. The new doctor isnít concerned about the news and just reiterates that this is going to take a while.
Since nothing exciting is happening and itís getting late, Mom and AC decide to go home for some well-earned sleep. After they leave, Dave and I settle in for the night. I am comfortable and can actually sleep. The night shift nurse, Lisa, comes by around 1 am to turn me from one side to the other and reattach the monitors. She returns at around 3 am to do it again. In between, I sleep, blissfully unaware of anything thatís happening.
At around 4:15 am a bell goes off and I call Lisa. My epidural bag needs to be changed soon. While sheís there, I ask to be checked because I can feel some very vague pressure and Iím curious to know if anything has happened while I was sleeping. She changes the bag and putters around the room checking my I.V. for a while. I think sheís forgotten about the internal and ask if she needs to get the doctor for it. Sheís really nice and tells me that she can do it and when she does, she murmurs, ďYouíre at 9.Ē
I am shocked to the core. It is 4:30 am and I am at 9 centimeters. I went 7 centimeters in five and a half hours. Lisa looks at the clock. ďYouíll have this baby by 7 am, I think,Ē she says with the confidence of someone whoís seen it all before.
I call out to Dave to wake up and call my Mom. I can tell heís surprised too and a little out of it, having been awakened unexpectedly. He brings me my toothbrush and paste and I brush my teeth, spitting into one of those blue plastic pan things that remind me of ice cream sundae bowls but that you only see in hospitals.
Lisa comes in and out over the next hour and a half with things weíll need for the birth. Nobody seems in any rush, everything is businesslike and efficient but I canít help but feel excited. I worry for a bit that the epidural will be turned down and that this will all begin hurting again, but Lisaís on top of things. The only thing I can feel is a vague sense of pressure deep inside of me, and I know - though it's hard to tell exactly how I know - that Dessa is moving downward.
Mom and AC arrive and by 6:30 am the room is really hopping. The bed is set up, I am tilted back so that Iím laying flat, the monitors are moved to optimum position. My sister has to hold one of the monitors low on my belly because it slips too much otherwise. I'm never checked internally, but at about 6:45 I am told to try a push.
Itís weird to push so hard and feel nothing. I try to focus on where Iím pushing, but itís hard without any physical feedback. Nonetheless, after a push or two, I hear Dave laugh and ask, ďIs that her head?Ē AC has moved a mirror into place so I can see whatís going on. At first Iím afraid to look but after I catch a glimpse of the darkness that is my daughterís head, I am more motivated.
With each push, amniotic fluid gushes out, soaking the chux pads and getting Lisa a few times. I have the presence of mind to ask if itís clear and it is. I feel tremendous relief. All this time and Dessaís heartrate has been beautifully steady and she hasnít passed meconium in utero. Sheís not stressed and is tolerating the whole ordeal well.
Iím not paying attention to the clock, but I know itís not very long before the doctor arrives. I know this means weíre close, since the doctors only show up for the glory part. I am pushing with each contraction, though the contractions have become a little erratic and donít quite come every 2 minutes like clockwork. Still, I am making good progress. Iím using handles on the side of the bed to pull myself up and curl around my body, and the next day my upper arms are really sore. My mom is videotaping and Dave and AC are counting with each contraction. I had thought that having people counting to ten over and over like that would drive me mad, but I find I like having the numbers to focus on. I count with them in my head.
The doctor very matter of factly tells me I have a flap of skin thatís preventing the baby from getting out. ďIf I cut it, the baby will come out. Otherwise I think itís going to tear.Ē
ďCut it,Ē I say firmly. I am anxious to have the baby out and I donít want to tear. An episiotomy is the least of my problems right now.
With the next contraction I can hear the snip, snip of the scissors. I think I count four snips, which is a little alarming but my mother tells me later that the doctor was being very conservative, only cutting where he needed to.
With the next push I feel a change, both in myself and in the energy in the room. Dessaís head is born. I canít see it because the doctor is blocking the mirror, but I donít care. I ask if her head is out and everyone tells me yes. The only thing I can think is, ďPlease God, let her shoulders come out OK. No dystocia, please, oh please, oh pleaseÖĒ For me, this is the most frightening part of the birth. With the gestational diabetes, I donít know how big she is and Iím terrified sheíll get stuck.
One more push.
I hear her scream and when I look up, there is a bloody baby in the room.
All I can say is, ďOh! Oh!Ē over and over. I can hardly bring myself to touch her; she is too new and too small. She is remarkably small. This is not the ginormous baby of my diabetic fears. There are hands rubbing her and wiping her down, but in the midst of it all, she makes eye contact and takes my heart into her tiny little hands for her own.
It is 7:14 am on May 31, 2007. Nothing in my life will ever mean more than this. I can scarcely breathe.
Dave cuts the cord while I stare at this child who so suddenly and completely fills the room. After a few minutes Lisa takes Dessa to be weighed and checked out. She has us all make guesses about Dessaís size. We all guess somewhere in the high 6 pound range. Only AC guesses over 7 pounds and sheís the closest because Dessa is 7 pounds, 8 ounces.
She is checked out and given her newborn procedures. She's 19 inches long, her APGARS are 9 and 9 and she's very alert. My birth plan had requested an hour before they did all the shots and stuff, but I donít care that much at this point. I just want them to get finished with her so I can have her back. During all the fuss I hear Dave say, ďWhoaĒ and I ask him whatís up. ďThe placenta,Ē he replies. So that motherfucking thing is gone. And good riddance, too. Troublemaker. I had hoped for a few minutes alone with it in a dark alley so I could kick it's gestational diabetes causing ass, but it's whisked away before I even see it, which is probably best for everyone involved.
As Iím getting stitched up, they hand Dessa to Dave, who is quite choked up. It is beautiful to watch him meet his daughter, just as itís been beautiful to watch him with her every day since.
Finally I am put back together enough to sit up and feed the baby. As soon as sheís latched and feeding, the phone calls start. Everyoneís on the phone Ė AC to my Aunt Ro, Mom to my Aunt Bean, Dave to his mother. It's pretty chaotic and funny and wonderful. In the middle of it all, we're a little island, getting to know each other.
Iím given the phone a few times but Iím so distracted that I donít make any sense to anyone I talk to. I have a 30 minute old baby in my arms, three conversations going on and am trying to breastfeed. Not to mention the absolute high I am on. I couldnít make sense on a bet.
I donít think anyone minds. I know I don't.
Posted by GoddessKristin on 06/08/07 at 08:06 PM [link]
Friday, June 1st
That came out of me??
Posted by GoddessKristin on 06/01/07 at 05:56 PM [link]