Riding the Wave of Birth and Life
Like every first time pregnant woman does now, I had a birth plan when I was preparing to have my son. It wasn’t a strict we must do it all this way or I will freak in the delivery room and have birth regrets for the rest of my life kind of plan. It was just kind of a guideline. That we never referred to.
Because just like you cannot plan life with kids, there is absolutely no way to plan for a birth, in my opinion. There are too many variables you can never predict let alone prepare for. If you can plan on one thing, it is that you need to be prepared to ride the wave. Period.
The evening I went into labor I was two weeks overdue, and that morning I was at the doctor to discuss induction, which he had decided against, since nothing was going on down below, and he preferred that I not up my c-section chances. Which was nice of him. But I was pissed. It was a funny scene, actually, when my husband said to the doctor, “that is not what she wants to hear,” and the doctor, blank stare and all, said, “why not?” To which my husband replied, “Have you MET a pregnant woman?” Sheesh, man, come on.
Anyway it didn’t matter, because I had been having light contractions sporadically throughout the day. By six pm they intensified, and I thought I might be in labor, and by ten I KNEW I was in labor. I sent my husband to bed, labored at home all night and went to the hospital in the morning.
My labor and birth was fairly uneventful. I went for a long time by myself, I got tired, I threw up. I got morphine (which sucks and doesn’t do shit to help the pain). I got a walking epidural – best thing ever – stopped the pain, but I still knew when to push, and it has basically worn off by the time the baby was being born. Most importantly I got rest because he was born 25 hours after I went into labor.
My plan was to not have drugs. If my mother could do it three times I certainly could too, right? Well, like I said about plans….
My other plan was to have a very healthy little boy. Which I did, by and large. He certainly appeared healthy to me. Not quite as pink as I would have liked, but still healthy.
He didn’t look as healthy to one of the nurses there. This nurse was actually a long time family friend, and a woman who had worked in the labor and delivery ward for many years. Luckily for me she stayed after her shift, waiting for my baby to be born so she could do all the weighing, measuring, bathing, foot printing fun stuff. He was fine, she told me, but something was off, and she thought I should send him to the nursery overnight just so they could keep an eye on him.
That was fine with me. I’m not one of those keep my baby as close to me as possible so we can bond kind of mothers, at least after the first several hours. Personally, I think after that initial time, being rested is an integral part of bonding.
Anyway, sometime in the middle of the night a pediatrician came in to let us know that although he was okay, our son had vomited and choked, and required some effort to get him to breath again. It was so bizarre. The lights were off and here stood this hulking shadow, explaining this to us, but he seemed so far away. It was so surreal, and I was so out of it that I thanked him and went back to sleep. He did, after all, tell us that our baby was fine. It’s hard for me to imagine now, but that’s what I did. Or didn’t do.
That wasn’t the only time he choked during his 3 day stay in the NICU. It happened several more times until finally on the third day he was able to keep down the breast milk I had been dutifully pumping for him.
Luckily, even though I had been discharged, we were allowed to stay in the hospital, and on the last night of his stay, he finally slept in the room with us. Which was great but also terrifying. It was great because I was ready for my baby! It was terrifying because here we were with this choking baby – who was still hooked up to monitors that literally beeped every time he moved. Or took a breath. It was so stressful the nurses finally came in and told us how to silence the beeps. Then we sat up all night watching the numbers. Heart-rate. Pulse-ox. Insanity.
By the time we got home from the hospital we were exhausted, a little irritated with each other, scared, but also in love – with each other and our baby, and elated. And just grateful and thankful to be home. I panicked a little when it was time for bed. What if he choked in the night and I didn’t hear him? We slept with the light on (for months, actually), although thinking back, I don’t know what I thought that was going to if he did choke. One less step toward saving him, I guess.
It was eight long months and one terrifying call to 911 before he stopped the vomiting and choking. But we rode the wave, and we got through it.
Well, actually, we’re still riding the wave.
This post was written for the Mother's Day Blog Hop "My Childbirth Story", co-hosted by Tricia from Critters and Crayons, Chrissy from Outlaw Mom, and Bridget from Twinisms. Go check them out! And if you are interested in joining the blog hop, go HERE.