The birth story.

I've been asked to post about my birth story, to inspire and instill fear in all those future mothers, and to compare with the other new moms, of course. Not that you really care, once you've had yours. You just want to hear everyone else's story first so you can create the worst nightmare and the easy dream birth in your head.

My mom reads this, and said to me this morning, "Don't post your birth story." And I promised her I would stick to the generalities and not report any gory details. The fact that family members and colleagues read this blog really takes the fun out of posting. :)

So I went in to see the doc the Monday before the big day, and I still hadn't dilated past where I had been the prior three weeks, despite having contractions all the time. The doc didn't think I was going to dilate on my own, in part due to some scar tissue I have on my cervix from prior surgeries for pre-cervical cancer (that may fall under gory details. sorry, mom...). And, he told me that nothing good happens after 38 weeks except that babies get bigger and moms get more unhappy. So we decided to induce. Now I like doing things naturally, I belong to a produce co-op and cloth diaper and recycle and all that jazz, but at 39 weeks pregnant I was READY TO GO. So I quickly accepted the offer to induce. I figured, ehh...the baby won't mind. She's ready, she just doesn't know it yet. She doesn't know anything yet. She's a BABY.

So Tuesday night I went in to the hospital so they could give me something to make me soften up. That's leaving out details. We brought 6 DVDs with us, even though I thought there was no way we'd watch them all. I had some serious cramps, and my contractions were getting stronger. At some point in the middle of the night, the nurse asked me why I was still awake and then promptly gave me Stadol and "something to make me sleep." I felt more comfortable, but didn't sleep much. That night we watched Vantage Point, which I was pretty much awake for, and the Onion Movie, which had hilarious parts, but I had drugs by then and really don't remember watching it all. Hmm, come to think of it, it may have been hilarious because of the drugs...Nah, it's the Onion.

Around 9 am on Wednesday morning, they hung the Oxytocin to induce labor. I started having regular, strong contractions pretty much right away. Around 10ish the doc broke my water and around 10:30 I was in pain and ready for the epidural. Oh, getting the epidural was hilarious, but again, I'm leaving out the details. I was dilated to 4 at that point. After the epidural I was able to sleep, and I slept for about 4 hours. Sam, meanwhile, watched 10,000 BC and at least part of Into the Wild. He was making the most of being off work, clearly.

Around 3ish the nurse came in and I was dilated to 7 cm. 30 minutes later she came in and I told her I had the urge to push. She checked me again and I was at 10. I think she was pretty surprised, so she called the doctor and told him to head over. He said not to let me push. He was there in about 15 minutes. Around 10 minutes to 4 I started to push. I had 5 contractions that I pushed through, and at 4pm Ophelia was here. I said, "Is it a boy or a girl?" and the doc just turned her bum towards us and Sam went "Oh my god, it's a girl!" I looked at Sam and he looked shocked! I kinda knew in my heart she would be, but it was still quite a surprise. The nurse lied her on my stomach and I just cried. She was very quiet and didn't cry for a while. I was astounded, and felt awesome. We just watched her and touched her and held her for a bit, and I tried nursing her right away. She took to it pretty quickly. Then they took her and did their testing and weighing and footprinting thing, while Sam looked on, a huge smile you couldn't wipe off his face.

The rest of the hospital stay was full of visitors, and not much sleeping, and total adrenaline. Sam watched The Other Boleyn Girl, the rest of Into the Wild, and at least one other movie I can't remember. I watched bits and pieces, but mostly drifted in and out of sleep and held Ophelia.

All in all, the labor and delivery were really easy, I have to say. 6 hours of labor and 10 minutes of delivery, mostly painless, is about as good as it gets. For me the hard part came the 48 hours after, when my hormones were raging, and I felt joyous, terrified, inadequate, sleep-deprived, insecure, protective, and was very very tearful. I scared a few nurses enough that my doctor came in waving around a prescription for anti-depressants. But I'm here to tell you that it all went away after I got home, got comfortable, and got a little more sleep. As much as you don't want to let go of your little one in the hospital, LET THEM TAKE THE BABY TO THE NURSERY AT LEAST ONCE. Even if you can get 3 or 4 hours of sleep without the baby in the room, it will help. I felt horribly guilty calling the nursery and asking them to take her, but as soon as the nursery nurse came in and I wept as they wheeled her out, I knew I had done the right thing. I wasn't taking care of myself at all, and how could I take care of her if I wasn't okay?

It's just scary, and you don't know what to do at first. Sam could sleep through being firebombed, so I was scared that he would never wake up to her crying and I would have to do everything at night. You know what? I was right, but that's okay. It really isn't that bad, and what point would there be in Sam getting up? He can't feed her. And he has to go to work. I am 24 hour, full-time mama. Now it's different, and I can leave her with Mom and Sam will start watching her himself next week. But those first few days are terrifying. It's all worth it, and the learning curve, while steep, goes downhill quick. You are rewarded exponentially with the amazingness of this little creature you created, who will soon look at you, and goo at you, and (someday) smile at you. You feel her need you, and it's worth every tear and minute of sleep lost.

So, I hope I've inspired rather than instilled fear. And know that no matter what, this is the awesomest thing you'll ever do. I told my mom that at risk of having my feminist membership card revoked, I totally get now how woman were absolutely and totally created to bear children. The things your body and mind do to immediately make you "mother" are incredible. It is true that the instincts just kick in. My body was built for this very job. And now I'm clocked in. Forever.

1 Response on "The birth story."

  1. Connie says:

    Nice, gory-less story, Kate. I'm happy to read that it went pretty well for you. And by the way, you can keep your feminist card as long as you keep doing all that other stuff in your life AS WELL AS being built to be a mom. Just remember, not all at once :-)