Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Charlie's Birth Story

October 4th- My Mom's birthday, naturally with my due date being so close and Mumbles having been a little early, we've all mused about the possibility of Charlie and Mom sharing birthdays. After all the nonsense with the insurance and a couple false alarms, I had pretty much resolved to stop thinking about it. The truth was, I wasn't ready to not be pregnant anymore. I loved being pregnant and I didn't feel miserable like a lot of women do toward the end. Of course I was excited to see and hold my baby but I knew I would miss feeling him kick and the sense that as long as he was in there, he would be safe and happy. Once he was out in the world, he'd feel cold and hunger and loneliness. There would be times when he'd cry and I wouldn't know immediately how to help him. I always hated when Mumbles cried. Still do.
At any rate, it was a Monday not much different than any other Monday. I snapped a quick picture of myself in the bathroom mirror before leaving for what would be another boring day at the office. While I was at work, I decided to re-read the amazing birth stories of a few women who'd shared them via Facebook. For whatever reason, the stories of two sisters stuck out in my mind, specifically, the fact that they both felt 'crampy' right before their labors began.
After dinner, Micha and I took the dogs on a long walk. Truthfully, most walks any further than a couple blocks were long considering my need to be in close proximity to a bathroom at all times. On our way back, I felt 'crampy'. Not wanting to read too much into it only to be another false alarm, I blew it off. I thought to myself 'I'm looking for it because I read Kim and Kristin's birth stories.' I didn't think much more about it and went to bed. I woke up the usual five times to go to the bathroom, each time feeling 'crampy' but again I thought to myself that it was just because my bladder was full.

October 5th- When my alarm went off at 5:30 am, I woke up still feeling crampy. The cramps always went away but I didn't want to drive all the way into to work, only to have to turn around. I sent my boss a text message saying it was too early to tell but I thought I might be in labor but that I would be in later if I wasn't. I woke Micha up and told him I thought I was really close. Mumbles got on her bus like usual. I called my Mom and gave her kind of the 'please stand by'. I timed three contractions and they were about eight minutes apart. I called my Mom back. She's about three hours from us and I wanted her to have plenty of time to get here. Micha made me a good, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast: Malt-O-Meal and two eggs and then ran me a warm bath. I soaked in the tub while he loaded the car, put more air in my exercise ball, installed the car seat and packed his own bag. I felt pretty good in the tub and then I got out. I got dressed and tried to make sure I had everything but the contractions felt like they were coming very quickly and they were definitely more painful. I'd get down on all fours or lean over my ball and breath through them. We decided we should time a couple more. They were about 5 to 6 minutes apart. Micha called the doctor's office and they told him we should go ahead and come in. Micha was ready to go, I however; did not want to leave my bedroom. I wanted to get back in my bath tub and stay there. Getting into the car for the 15 minute ride to the hospital was the last place I wanted to be. I started to feel overwhelmed and I told Micha it hurt too much and I wanted the epidural. He said he didn't blame me and let's get in the car to which I shook my head 'no'. We did finally make it to the car and out the drive way but we had to stop after a couple blocks because I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. The idea of puking terrified me. I was pretty sure it was going to hurt so I didn't. I knew I had to do something to get on top of my contractions so I started listening to one of my meditations on my iPhone. By the time we got to the interstate, I was starting to feel more in control.
We arrived at the hospital and a very nice but ill-informed volunteer wheeled me up to the 5th floor but sent Micha to patient registration (which we'd already done). I tried not to be rude but she kept talking to me and I was feeling less than social. We got to my room and my nurse Kerri was extremely helpful. She didn't bother me while I was contracting and kept telling me I was doing great. Poor Micha was running through the hospital getting forms for me to sign. It seemed like he was gone forever and I still had to be hooked up to the monitors for 15 to 20 minutes. I didn't want to lay down so I sat in the rocker but every contraction made me want to rip off the monitors and throw them in the toilet. I wanted to be on all fours or in the tub or anywhere but that damn chair. Micha asked Kerri how dilated I was and she said about 5 or 6 and my contractions where about 2 minutes apart. The phlebotomist came to take my blood and asked me about my name. I didn't answer. I didn't want to talk. I just wanted to listen to my relaxation meditation on my phone, which rang in the middle of a contraction. It was my best friend. I told Micha to deal with her. I was getting overwhelmed again and couldn't get on top of my contractions. I felt out of control. I was having these little contractions between contractions, making it impossible to get caught up. When Micha said I might not need the epidural after all, I said I wanted it. Kerri started IV fluids and my Mom arrived shortly after.
Once I had the epidural, I had to stay in bed. I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's with no sound, and chatted with my Mom and Micha. It took quite awhile for Charlie to get himself in just the right spot which actually turned out to be good because Dr. MacFarlane was with another patient (maybe an emergency?) He did come in to check me and when he did my water broke. It was still quite some time before it was time to start pushing. Kerri helped me get Charlie down most of the way and then called Dr MacFarlane...and got his voice mail! I could tell Micha was starting to get nervous but Mom and I stayed calm and it wasn't long and the Doctor arrived. I honestly don't remember his presence there, just the sound of my mother's voice encouraging me to either push or breath and the song on my iPhone (I'd left one of my ear buds in). Charlie arrived to "I Can't Help Falling in Love" as sung by Micheal Buble, which I think is totally appropriate. Then I heard her say she could see his head so I reached down to feel, no hair (and I had all that heartburn!) I probably only pushed for half an hour. Time does something funny when you are in labor. It either stands still or it flies by. It seemed like my Mom got to the hospital amazingly quickly while it seemed like Micha was gone for ever. Pushing seemed to take just a few moments. I hadn't had enough of the epidural to make me completely numb. I still felt my contractions and I still felt Charlie moving through me, it just didn't register as pain, just a sensation. I could see his head and I knew it wasn't the right color but I just kept focusing on what my Mom was saying and then he was out. He was blue from the umbilical cord being wrapped around him but they put him on my abdomen and started rubbing him with a towel. He looked surprised and then he let out a cry. After a couple minutes I heard the nurse say "I like that color much better." Charlie had 'pinked' up and looked perfect. I looked up at Micha and he was fighting back tears (my Mom and sister had a bet over whether or not he would cry). I watched while they clamped the cord and showed Micha what to do. Dr. MacFarlane stitched me up, told us we did great and congratulated us and left. The nurses went shortly after that and then it was just us for a little while. I'm sure there was other stuff going on in the world at 5:02 pm on October 5th but I wouldn't have known it.