BIRTH STORY & BABY
I'm having a lot of trouble writing this. I'm not sure why, because I can verbalize every moment and every single detail leading up to the birth, the day I delivered, and the hours after, but putting it in to writing is proving much more difficult. Nonetheless, here I go...
I promise you will laugh at the end, and maybe a few times throughout, which is something you might not expect when reading a birth story, but it happens to be very fitting for us as a couple and for me as an individual.
A little background: I wanted to have a natural delivery and wanted to deliver standing up. Yes, standing up. I should add...Ray thought I was nuts...but there are many reasons why, which I will touch on in a later post. I worked with a doula beforehand to get me pumped up for a successful labor without drugs. I made chicken bone broth to keep my energy up and a special drink to keep me hydrated and full of electrolytes, I decided I would labor at the hospital on a yoga ball and breath through my contractions for a natural delivery. I also wanted Ray and not the doctor to tell me the sex of the baby. We waited to find out and I thought it would be so special if my husband announced it. As you can tell, I had a real "plan" for how perfectly the birth would go. Needless to say, that is not exactly how it played out...
I knew that I was getting close. There were some physical signs that I can talk about later, but I also I had an overall feeling that the baby's arrival was close. So what would any normal person do who was about to lose all freedom? Book a day at the spa of course....and that's just what I did.
My contractions were very mild, so I decided to spend the day at the spa with a facial on the menu. That night, Ray came home from a work-dinner to find me lying alone in the dark, candles lit all around me, listening to quiet music. I told him that I thought that I was going into labor since I was experiencing contractions on and off all day. We decided to try to get some sleep and wait to go to the hospital until my contractions were closer together. I awoke at 5am to more contractions. However, since they were still not that strong, Ray decided to go to the office and keep his phone close at hand. I spent the morning on a big yoga ball and ended up going to the doctor to get checked. He told me I was 3 cm dilated and he would let me leave only if I PROMISED to come back to the hospital by 4 pm.
I called Ray at work and told him it was go time. He rushed home immediately and we spent the next 3 hours walking around Greenwich Ave. I was meandering through the streets in a pair of ratty sweatpants and a tee shirt, ready to burst, pausing occasionally during a casual contraction while "lamaze" breathing on the sidewalk. We actually stopped at CVS so Ray could get his flu shot. I remember walking around the aisles in labor going through contraction waves as he got his shot. Everyone around us was laughing, including me. However, there was a reason we did this. I felt strongly about not going to the hospital until absolutely necessary. I wanted to avoid being strapped to a bed for as long as I could...even though by this point I was fairly resigned to the fact that Greenwich Hospital probably would not let me deliver standing up.
After a few hours of walking around Greenwich while in labor, Ray finally convinced me at around 4:00 to stop by the hospital for a check-up. Despite the fact that the car was packed and ready to go , I felt much more comfortable when I was walking around, so we decided to hoof it to the hospital, which was only about a mile from our house. We thought Ray could just go back home to get the car since we figured I would be in labor for hours once I was admitted.
We walked up the Avenue to Greenwich Hospital while we were singing Eye of the Tiger the entire way, mostly because that song pumps me up. Not mostly, 100% because it pumps me up!! What a sight we must have been! Here we were, a young couple, walking up the hill on Greenwich Ave, singing Eye of the Tiger at the top of our lungs, letting nothing stand in our way...besides the occasional contraction, of course. When we arrived at the hospital, the doctor told us that I was 6 cm, so things had certainly progressed. However, we figured we still had plenty of time, after all this was our first. The doctor couldn't believe that we walked to the hospital! He immediately told Ray to jog back home, and drive back with my things.
As soon as Ray left, things escalated QUICKLY. My all natural zen experience was not so zen after all. The nurse wanted to hook me up to an IV because she thought I was dehydrated. She then made me chug apple juice, which resulted in me throwing up. The intense pain came on so suddenly and instead of breathing through my contractions, I was screaming. All I wanted to do was walk around, and all the nurse would let me do is stay in bed.
Ray was back within 30 minutes and arrived to, as he described it, a war zone. He came in smiling, carrying my yoga ball, chicken bone broth, special juice, and all the other things I thought I needed for my perfect birthing experience. However, what he came back to was not so perfect after all. I was standing up, screaming at the top of my lungs, and vomiting in to a garbage pail from the pain. Not so zen. Ray, unsure what to do, meekly offered me my yoga ball. I screamed at him like a woman possessed "Does it look like I want my yoga ball?" The doctor came in and said he thought I should get an epidural, and by this point Ray was practically begging me to take the drugs. He couldn't stand to see me in such pain...but we all know guys just can't handle it. The doctor checked me and i was 10 cm!!!! That escalated QUICKLY.
I felt the urge to push, but my doctor said I could be pushing for hours and didn't know if I would have the energy. I was so shocked that he wanted me to have an epidural, but he explained that this was my last chance. I was so vulnerable in that moment that I agreed to the epidural.
My contractions completely slowed down. There were 5 medical professionals in the room while I was screaming in labor but as soon as I got the epidural, everyone disappeared. I was so upset and felt like a failure. At this point, I felt no pain at all, which was quite a difference from just a few minutes before. Ray and I sat in silence as we waited. I was so worried that I would not know when to push because I couldn't feel anything now. Then an angel appeared. I did not like the nurse on the afternoon shift, but I had the most amazing night nurse. It is hard for me to put in to words what a difference this made on me and my entire experience. She said that we were going to do this together. She proceeded to physically turn my body in a certain way to help me feel what was going on and help prevent a tear. She also told me that we were not going to push until the very end to help prevent damage. We waited another 45 minutes and I could feel the baby coming. The nurse quickly paged the doctor. As soon as he entered the room, he said "Oh, there's the baby!" . One big giant push...and the baby came out.
Now we decided before hand that the ONE thing Ray was to do was to announce the gender of the baby. Well, after the doctor caught the baby, the baby was presented to Ray for the big reveal. "IT'S A GIRL!" Ray declared with such confidence and pride. OMG I thought. A girl?! This entire pregnancy, I was just so sure that we were having a boy. "Try again buddy," the doctor said. The other nurses were holding back laughter. Ray was just a little shell shocked by the whole birthing experience and at this moment was clearly overwhelmed. Consumed with emotion, he basically just guessed the gender! Our baby BOY was then placed on my chest and my birthing experience didn't matter one bit. Absolutely everything was perfect! I was blessed with a healthy baby boy.
The night ended with the nurse taking me to the bathroom to pee after I finally got some feeling back in my legs. As she stood there holding on to my arms, I whispered to her, "Did I poop during delivery?" She shook her head, "No, hun you did great :) "