My Birth Story: Part One
How do I already have a freaking TWO YEAR OLD?! I'm sure everyone says that, but it is so true. Somehow, time has managed to stand still -- and fly by, all at the same time. It seems like yesterday that I was still running around with my big ol' pregnant belly wondering when this little creature would make his debut. I've shared A LOT of personal stuff with ya'll here on the blog, but one thing I've stayed away from is my birth story. Mostly because it was so traumatic for so long, and I just didn't want to go back there. It took me over a year to be able to fall asleep without reliving the trauma of the birth and the NICU stay. I'm sure there are pieces of the story missing from my memory with all the time that has passed. But, two years later, I can confidently say that either I've recovered from the PTSD, or there is just too much going on otherwise to pay any attention to it. In other words, I'm either extremely emotionally healthy, or completely emotional unaware. I'll leave that up to my therapist, when I have time to find one. Now, I'm ready to share my story with you -- well as much as I can remember and am willing to put out there. This is the hardest thing for me to talk or write about, so just bear with me.
Oscar was born on a Friday, so let's rewind to the Tuesday of that week. At this point, I'm 35 weeks pregnant, and all I can think about every time my belly hits the steering wheel of my car, or I get stuck in yet another bathroom stall, is "f$&* f$!# f#%$ f%&^!" I'm in too deep, and this baby has got to come out one way or another. I'm TERRIFIED. In these last few weeks, it's normal to see your OBGYN once a week, compared to the once a month during most of pregnancy -- although I always had more appointments because of Oscar's abnormal ultrasounds. I was scheduled to be induced at 37 weeks, on a Wednesday. We were cautious about the timing of Oscar's birth because we knew he would go to the NICU, and we didn't want a lot of staff changes. We wanted the specialists we had already met to treat Oscar in the NICU, and they didn't work weekends. 37 weeks on a Wednesday was also right smack during my husband's Spring Break from Law School, so I knew he could be by my side through everything. But, you know what they say about plans....
I see my OBGYN, and everything checks out. At this point, there's no need to schedule a cesarean. There's no signs of early labor. I just need to buy a carseat, and finish setting up the nursery -- the easy stuff. My mom meets me at my house, and we're sitting at the table, folding the cutest load of laundry you've ever seen when I feel a sharp pain in my lower left abdomen.
"Oh My God! Are you ok?!" my mom shrieks.
"Yeah, I'm fine, it just felt like I ate something that didn't agree with me." (Probably that pulled pork burrito at 11am. Extra jalapeños.)
"Okay..."she replies nervously.
My mom is a worrier, so it doesn't surprise me that she thinks I'm in labor. But, duh, it's too early for that. Keep folding, lady!
It's the last day of our birthing class. I took Bradley Method classes because I was very interested in doing a natural birth. This would not be in the cards for me, but I still learned a lot, and made some great friends. I spent the day at the Pilates studio where I worked, teaching classes and getting in some prenatal Pilates workouts. I even have a picture stored on my phone of me sitting on the Tower with my belly sticking way out. I didn't know it yet, but it would be my last day of work for a while. I felt fine all day, and then, in the last 5 minutes of Bradley Method class that night, I feel that same "I had too much Mexican food today" feeling in my lower left abdomen. It left just as quickly as it came, but I saw my teacher giving me a weird look.
"I'm fine," I said. "Just a weird pain."
She looked at me, concerned, as if she's thinking she'll be delivering this baby right here right now.
I chuckled. She chuckled. Nervously. And then we went on our merry way back home.
This is the day I had been waiting for. Four blissful appointments at a lovely local spa. My last day of pampering before becoming a mom. I scheduled it all! Pedicure, manicure, brow wax, and massage. I was so excited. Chris happened to take the day off from school to study at home, so it was nice getting to see him during the day, too.
About 30 minutes before my appointment, as I'm getting ready to leave the house. MORE. PAIN. But this time, I'm in a cold sweat, on the toilet, yelling at my husband that I need to call the doctor.
"Just take some Pepto Bismol," he shouts from the other room.
"I dunno, I feel like I should call," I shout back in a puddle of my own sweat and tears.
Fifteen minutes of diarrhea, cold sweats, and shakes go by. I think to myself, I feel like I have to keep pushing, but there is nothing left to push! Except -- a baby.
I grab the phone.
I call the office, and first I'm told to call my Primary Care doctor, because it sounds like a stomach bug. I'm a little nervous, but I figure, well, if they're not worried, I shouldn't be. All of the pain and shivering has come to a complete stop, and like any rational expectant mother would do, I go to my spa appointment. It's closer to the hospital than my house is anyway.
I've made it through my pedicure, and two coats into my gel manicure, when my cell rings. It's my doctor's assistant.
"Um, the doctor thought about it some more, and she wants you to come in. Now."
"Um, okay. Be there shortly."
So, I finish my gel manicure, but sadly had to leave the brow wax and massage behind because, I'm probably in labor. Damnit.
I get to the office, and before I'm done signing in, my doctor swings open the door with a look on her face that screamed "F*&!". Now I'm actually panicking. I step on the scale. I've lost weight from all the diarrhea. Did you know that the hormone that causes labor is the same one that causes diarrhea? I didn't either.
My doctor examines me on the table, scoots away in her rolling chair and lets out a giant sigh.
"Oook. (Pause) I just felt his head. Put your clothes back on, I have to go think."
Um. Wut? I think to myself. I just saw her two days ago, and everything was fine!
I text Chris.
"I think this baby is coming sooner than we think."
"Can you ask her to induce you on the 19th then, instead of the 22nd."
I don't think he gets what I'm trying to say.
My doctor walks back in the room, slightly pissed that my baby didn't stick to the plan. I'm told to go home, pack a bag, and be back to check in to Labor and Delivery by dinner. This baby is coming tomorrow.
"I don't have a car seat," was my first response. I think I was in shock.
I remember calling Chris, telling him to sit down, and then spitting out the news. Then I drove back home, and called my parents and my sister. You'll have to ask them what their reactions were, because I barely remember, my head was spinning so fast. I pulled into the driveway where Chris meets me at the door, with a look of complete terror.
"Wait, I know you told me what was happening, but I need you to tell me again."
"Um, the baby is coming. We need to pack our bags and get back to the hospital by dinner."
"But....isn't it to early?! Isn't he too small?!"
"Yes. And, yes. But it's happening and there's nothing we can do to stop it at this point. She already felt his head. And since apparently I can't tell when I'm having contractions, she wants me on monitors ASAP."
I franticly pack my bags, shower, and make more phone calls and send more text messages. Chris is taking his sweet ass time getting his shit together, because, he's in denial. He seems more concerned about bringing his own coffee grinds to the hospital than the fact that I'm actually in labor. Once we make it out the door, we have to drop off our dog and cat to the vet since we know we won't be back for a while. And, of course, it starts pouring as we drive off into our earlier than expected journey of parenthood. Everything we had "rehearsed" in birthing classes went out the window. I was the calm one, while Chris was spiraling into a nervous state of frenzy.
I had specific instructions not to speak to me, turn on the radio, or make unnecessary stops while I was in labor. Like I said..."plans".
He turns the radio on, he needs it cause he's panicking, he says.
He goes on and on about can't they do something to stop the labor?
THEN we're literally passing up the hospital when Chris decides he wants dinner. I told him to get food earlier, but noooo, he wasn't hungry.
"Um, why don't you drop me off so I can check in while you go get your dinner?"
"It's fine, it'll take a second."
I think my pregnant belly was the only thing getting in the way of punching him in the face at this point.
Somehow, we made it -- still married -- to Labor and Delivery by 5 or 6, where I'm checked into a room, put on monitors, and trying not to vomit from the smell of the spiciest thai dish my husband could have ordered. Thanks, babe.
Nausea inducing smells would quickly become the absolute least of my worries, but that will be told another time, when I’m ready for it. For now, this is as far as I can go, emotionally speaking.
Happy 2nd Birthday to my sweet, sweet boy.