Where did My Baby Go?
Today is Claire's 9th birthday. Cliche as it sounds, I can hardly believe it. She has brought us so much joy and we loved her instantly, so much that for the first few months after she was born, I wanted to have 3 more kids. (!)
I worked right up until the Friday before she was born. I stayed late at school to make sure I had everything ready for the sub to come in on Monday. Thurs. night, things had started to "happen" in the labor realm and I just knew I wouldn't be back in on Monday. I had already collected the predictions from my crazy middle school students- boy or girl, weight, when the baby would come, name suggestions, etc. By the 23rd, I had already detatched myself from my students, ready to meet this new person.
I got home at about 5:00 and finally allowed myself to go into labor full force. I called my doula and she asked the predictable "how far apart are your contractions?" How the hell should I know? I'd never done this before. From what I managed to tell her, she was able to determine that I didn't need her right away and she could finish her dinner. Ok.
By 9:30, I was quite uncomfortable, so she came over for a while and told me AND Mr. T to try and get some sleep. No problema for Mr. T. For me? Well, I was horizontal, except during the contractions part. I kept telling myself it was ok, because by breakfast? I'd have me a baby.
Well, the sun came up, I was still having these wimpy contractions, but told myself it was ok, because I'd have a baby by lunch time.
Our doula came over at about 11. She put some washcloths in the crock pot to then put on my back- heaven, even if you're not in labor. I was having awful back contractions, and was trying to will that baby to come the hell out. I squatted, to get those pelvic bones to widen so she could come out. I listened to Art Garfunkel sing beautiful songs to his little boy. I let primal, gutteral noises come out of my mouth. I took blue or black cohosh tincture (gag.)I looked at my doula and asked the question: "Am I EVER going to feel normal again?"
By dinner time, I'd have a baby and it would all be worthwhile, right?
At 5:30, we decided to go to the hospital. The short drive there was awful. Standing in admitting, I remember thinking that I should not be seen by all of these people at the hospital, because I was in labor for christ's sake and that is a very private thing, people!
When the doc finally came in to see how things were progressing, or, in my case, NOT progressing, he said something about my water being broken. "oh, my water hasn't broken, " I said. He just looked at me. "Yes, it has," he told me. What the hell? Nobody told me it doesn't always break with a big splash. That news changed things, since they really don't like your water to be broken for longer than 24 hours before the baby is born- increase of infection.
I had a birth plan that stated my wish to be drug free. Woo hoo. When I got there, they did all those things the earthy doula told me they would- blood drawn, iv, fetal monitor. I did finally get a cool nurse who blew the dust of the birthing chair I requested. And there it sat in the labor and delivery room, waiting for me to use it. Taunting me. But, that was ok, right? Because by the time SNL was on, I'd have me a baby, right?
So, at about midnight, I finally asked for some light drugs- "to take the edge off". They gave me Stadol, which I would like to tell you all, is a VERY disappointing drug. Sure, I slept, but only long enough to wake up for contractions.
I was starting to get weary. I was stuck at 8 centimeters- since like 9:30.
By like 2:00 in the morning, we finally made the decision to do a C-section, and I was actually relieved. Our doctor was so sweet- he stepped out of the room to let us discuss it. When we finally gave the ok, things really started to move fast.
Mr. T was right there by my head, along with the trusty anethesthisiologist(you try spelling it, then). It was so weird. The meds made me shiver and shake uncontrollably. The sensation of having them slice me open and pull out a baby was bizarre. They brought her over and then whisked her away to clean her up.
I was too cold to enjoy the first few hours after she was born. She had to be put into the NICU to be on IV anti-biotics, since she was a meconium aspiration baby and we both had Strep A or D (not B). I ran a low-grade fever for several days, Claire had to be put on oxygen and Mr. T had a bad case of some mono- like virus. It was crazy. Oh, and I had to stay in bed for like 8 hours and lie still and only have liquids because one of my incision staples popped open and bled all over. They taped me up and told me not to move, in case they had to knock me out and re-do the staple. So, I didn't even get to hold Claire until that evening!
The up side was that my room was like a hotel room- I had a nice, private bathroom
with its own shower. The tv was in an entertainment center. It was Super Bowl Sunday- the nurse felt sorry for us and kept bringing us snacks. Someone brought me star gazer lilies that to this very day remind me of my Claire and our journey to get her here.
I've written much more than I intended too. Others have inspired me to write this all down- not having done it before. Part 2 later- the getting her home story.
For my Claire, Happy 9th Birthday, my sweet, sweet girl. To quote Sir Elton John, "I hope you don't mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is, while you're in the world."