May 23, 2011
The Birth Story
After two weeks of no work and plenty of nesting, I woke up early on Thursday morning, April 28th, to some icky feeling cramps. It took me a little while to come out of my sleepy state and realize that they were stronger than usual, and recurring regularly.
These are contractions for sure, I thought to myself as I rolled over to shake Taylor.
Something is happening, I think baby is coming! To which he replied with a very unresponsive grunt.
I let him keep sleeping, but I was too anxious to stay in bed. It was 6 am and I had lots to do! Make sure the hospital bag is fully packed, load up the ipod, take a shower...besides I was too uncomfortable to stay in bed. The contractions were already coming close to 5 minutes apart. My zombie husband rolled out of bed around 8, but quickly became alert at hearing the news. He immediately started timing my contractions which were definitely coming 5 minutes apart, and then closer to 3 minutes and lasting nearly a minute. At first I could tolerate them while on the couch, but I was soon on the floor in strange positions doing whatever was most comfortable, still able to laugh a bit at all the excitement. It was about 11:30 when I was given the green light to head to the hospital.
Taylor had visions of speeding through stop signs and red lights to make it there, but of course there was no hurry and I yelled at him to slow down and not to hit any bumps-I really had to go to the bathroom and that made the contractions even worse. We had to make a pit stop at his office in Harvard to grab the speakers for my ipod, then we were all set.
I didn't want to draw attention to myself as I hobbled into the hospital, so I waited for a contraction to pass, then bolted to the nearest bathroom where I made some poor women wait forever because I was working through another one- woman in labor here! I was unapologetic.
We made it upstairs and I approached the desk in Labor & Delivery- what does one normally do at this point? I said,
Hi. Umm, I'm having a baby.
Cue the part in the story where everyone and everything was so perfect. The nurses chuckled, welcomed me, and said You must be Jodi. My doctor then appeared behind me with a very cheery Hello! This is your nurse Kath, you'll go with her and I'll be right in.
Let me inform you that my doctor is superwoman and my nurse was my angel.
Kath stopped at the triage room and asked me if I might want to go back home, or if I preferred to stay at the hospital, to which I responded with an uncertain look on my face. She sweetly said, It's okay, you don't have to know. She showed me to my room, gave me my gown, asked what she could do for me, and said the doctor would be in to check me in a few minutes.
You're dilated to a 2 the Doc said. You can stay, or you can come back in a few hours if you'd like. I did not want to get back in the car, besides I had full room service with a killer view of the city and the Charles River. So I happily stayed. Kath gave us the menu to order lunch, pulled out the birthing ball, and offered plenty of other options to help make me comfortable. The contractions were growing increasingly uncomfortable but had slowed down quite a bit, but I kept myself moving around trying different things to pass the time. I bounced on the ball, laid on the bed, took a bath...my back really ached so my nurse brought in a rocking chair and heat pack. That was the best. I could relax to the rocking, and each time a contraction would come I would breathe deeply, focus on the view out my window and the sound of the air flowing in and out, and keep a steady rhythmic motion- back and forth, back and forth. Taylor was amazed at my immediate lack of modesty. That gown was flapping open and I didn't care who saw it.
We turned on my music once things really started getting rough. I had some great picks on the ipod, but I especially enjoyed this album. This song and this song in particular I found brought me much comfort. I had some very spiritual moments when I felt like I just wanted it all to end, and hearing the words brought me so much peace.
The Doctor was in and out regularly to check on me, just to ask how I was doing. She would sit with me and when I would get a contraction she would talk me through it saying all the right things. So empowering. She gave me so many options, always letting me decide the next step to take. She even apologized for not being able to make the sun shine- It was a cloudy day and starting to rain. She wanted to see how I was progressing, but I didn't want her to just yet because truly, that hurts, so I told her to come back in 30 minutes. She did just that, and I was still only 3 almost 4 cm. She suggested I try doing whatever made the contractions stronger-even though it was more uncomfortable- because it would likely help move things along. By this point they had gone back to coming every few minutes. So, because it was all I could do, I kept going, trying to get another hour under my belt, holding off as long as possible before taking medication.
Around 8:00, after a full day of strong contractions, groaning, bouncing, rocking, dropping to all fours, I decided to take a shower and freshen up before requesting an epidural. I was done and I was SO tired. It was at that point that my water broke, and I was so thrilled it had done so on it's own. I wanted to progress as far as possible on my own before getting the epidural so it wouldn't slow things down, and I didn't want to be strapped to the bed all day. This really revved things up and the contractions were horrible. 8:30 at my request, the nurse promptly put in the IV (and got it in quickly in one try-thank goodness) and said 20 minutes till they could administer anesthesia. Those 20 minutes were by far the worst. I started shaking uncontrollably and couldn't relax between contractions. At one point when it was just Taylor & I in the room I started sobbing because I was so exhausted. I had lost all my strength and control.
The anesthesiologist came in, and boy was I a mess. Taylor had to leave the room, and immediately Kath stepped in. She held both of my hands and said all the right things during the whole process. And then at 9 pm, the heavens opened up and I could hear the Hallelujah chorus when the nurse said you just had a big contraction and I couldn't feel it! Finally, after 16 painful hours I could rest and relax. In fact, because I could relax, I then progressed rather quickly. I was still only dilated to a 6 when I got the epidural.
After just a few hours it was time to start pushing. The medication was so perfect that I could still feel my lower half, I could still move my legs , and I could tell the nurse that a contraction was starting and it was time to push, but there was no pain. It only took about 4 contractions and at 2:55 am on his due date he was out! And would you believe it, Taylor didn't even faint! He even wanted to look when the baby's head made an appearance. He was my strength the whole day, and immediately turned into super dad, changing every single poopy diaper while at the hospital.
As hard as it all was, it was so amazing and I remember it all with such fondness. I wouldn't have changed a thing- expect for the 3 small stitches- and I couldn't have thanked my doctor and nurses enough. For days afterwards, I would cry every time I thought of them.
That final moment where they gave me this tiny person and said here is your baby made everything worth it and I would do it all over again.