Monday, September 04, 2006

Labour Day Special: Nuthatch Birth Story

Ah, my son, my son. I snicker still inside when I say it. Something in my inside voice says it like a cliche BBC series Irish Priest, every time! I have a son.

I wanted to tell you guys about it but few things daunt me in writing a version of a birth story on the blog. Out here in parenting bloggerland the birth story is a bit like playing the Dane. Don't expect the bard, just the play-by-play on how my little boy burst on the scene. Madden Birth Story 2006.

By mid-July I was seriously fixated on expelling the little person. "Come on," I'd say, "it is another nice day, a great day to be born, don't you think little one?" Then, nothing. For one week of overdue-ed-ness I was ok with it. By day seven folks were getting rude and so was I. I spent hours lying awake, asking after each twinge or bump, is that something? What about now? And, now? Or now??? Saturday night I went for a walk. There were twinges. If I got all busy with myself I could get some weak contraction-action.

With my first pregnancy I was also overdue, by six days. On the 5th day I went to see Dr. R and she did sweeping of the membranes, and presto, in less than 36 hours there was a baby! We repeated the procedure this this time, on the Thursday. I was 3 cm or so dilated when I visited the doc. just as I had been with Baby E, but this time, the days dragged on and nothing dramatic. I called the doctor and got the message that I should sleep and stop fixating on trying to manufacture labour. I know. I know...

I'll add here that when for my first delivery I could really care less about things like natural childbirth and breastfeeding. Then I ended up with an unmedicated SVB and a good breastfeeding relationship for 15 months. I have some distinct ideals now. With the labour delaying I tried to sleep but I started to get bent about some new stuff. Is the baby ok? I must have eaten a meal and laid down a half dozen times to check fetal activity.

On the third day of post-sweep waiting, I gave up. I told p-man go back to work. I was very nervous and sort of sad. I felt like a failure. I could see a bunch of interventions coming into my pregnancy. Inducement and labours I did not understand, drugs and operations??? I was not so good about it -- though I knew I was doing the right thing to let it go.

So what next?

Let it go and it will come... I went to bed that Sunday night and actually slept. I suppose I slept through some early labour action for at 5:20 AM I was up like a shot with labour pains. I stepped out of bed and it was clear I was off to the races. And, would it be a race?

I stood in my bathroom wondering what to do next, or should I say, first. This was really different. The first time out things were steady but slow. This time I was sure it could be quick; a neighbour-friend had just reminded me that her second delivery took three hours, TOTAL. I stood in the bathroom staring at the orange-cat-doula and debating the facts. Who to wake first: the spouse, the sitters, the doctor? Filip was really no help but at least he was there and he can look really sympathetic when he isn't looking pathetic. Whoa, Mum, whatchagonna do? Can I have some food? Food? For me?

So I washed my face and brushed my teeth and around 6 AM woke up the spouse. I notified him he would not be returning to work that day, after all. I called the doctor and then my folks who were to look after the girl. If everything had to come together by 8:30AM could we do it? What would E. have for breakfast? Would the tunnel traffic be bad?

My parents showed within the hour and my girl had leftover Sunday pancakes. She and I shared a story while I stood feeling a bit weak-kneed through some contractions. She asked if she could have three bunnies from 'da hoth-pitt-all' no I said, but there would be one, maybe today!

P-man roughed out a plan for the day with my folks, food inventories where done and instructions were given for the girl to buy her new sibling something today. We'd be off momentarily and call when we got assessed at the hoth-pitt-all.

It was a sunny, windy day. The city had our block cordened off for work on the boulevard trees. We walked to where the cars were parked on the next block. With our vintage skyway luggage in hand I urged p-man to move it. "I don't want to be spectacle," I said. "Hmm?" he said. "Well everyone will put two and two together if they see us out on the street with a suitcase, move, move, move." He really needs another coffee, I thought, or he's going to be completely useless.

7:30 AM we are off to the hoth-pitt-all. Turn the music on! It's Johnny Cash, Live at Folsom Prison, okeee let's skip the ballads please. Yep, Jackson I can get behind that. Why didn't I bring some Paul Robeson? I could really do some serious bass right now. You know what honey, do make a stop for coffee. I am okay for a few minutes, yet. It is important you are properly caffeinated.

7:45 We pass the hospital and a get to the coffee source a couple blocks over. What am I stupid? I can't wait for some barista right now. Pull over and get yourself your drink. I am going to walk down the hill here towards Douglas Park, pick me up at the bottom of the hill. I could use a walk.

8 AM It was not stupid. It was great to take that walk. The small hill down from Oak Street to Douglas Park is lined with tall trees. The southwest corner of the park is open bright land ahead of me. I sauntered (?) (waddled? Ed.) through dappled shade and a steady rustle of the leaves in the wind. I was alone with my baby one last time for a while, a final time connecting with his being inside of me. Arriving at the corner of the park and the car once again I muttered to the child coming and then started the process of putting my mind into the work my body must do to see baby soon.

8:30 We are at the hospital. Everyone is bright and breezy and nice, fresh horses in for the day. We are goofy in return of course. Got a great assessment nurse and got the dilation lottery result. Come on seven! I'm thinking. OK you are pretty dilated and your waters are bulging, right there, maybe 5 or 6. Ooohhh! I wonder if I came down too early. "Baby is in a good spot, yeah the waters are right there. Break your waters and you'll have your baby in a couple hours", she promises.

We nod in unison. We are in the zone.

9 AM Call home. Yep we'll be here for the day for sure. Can you call blah and blah? Gotta go, talk later.

We are assigned into delivery suite. It lacks the comforts we had for delivery of E. but we are okay with that; we hope we won't be staying. We also get the most junior nurse I have ever seen, what is she twelve? You know I asked her for a Q-tip at one point and I thought she'd have a freakin' aneurysm! And I never got the Q-tip. I said to p-man, "Are you feeling like nice-straight-forward-delivery-people? Put on the training wheels and give them the rookie???" "Hmm?" "If it bothers me, I will let you know' for now --- errrrrgh-huuuuuuhhhh... where's the shower?"

10 AM 20 minutes to get settled in the room. Where is the doctor? Dr. R is out of town and we have a locum who was up birthing all night, what, is she at Tim Hortons or something... er, yep ok there she is. Talk, banter, nice to meet you. Yes, please take out the crochet hook. Yeah, plunk baby's head goes down. Bone on bone, ow. Hee hee, nervously, hee. errrrrgh-huuuuuuhhhh...

Doc's pager goes off. She looks to her muffin. Yeah, take that and have some coffee. Maybe you need some coffee before you take on your fourth delivery for the day. What have I got shares in Starbucks or something???

10:45 They break the waters. I am thinking, I'll be done by 11:30. I am goal oriented. Break the waters and deliver in 45 minutes. Neighbour-woman's labour was three hours, mine has been 5 or so... what is wrong with me? I am such a slacker.

From here on let's start scaring the nurse. P-man what music did you bring? Oh, god I hate that album. (Yes I am a Philistine!) Couldn't you have brought Giant Step? Forget it. Give me a sip of that Gatorade.

"Is there a birthing ball? Bring me a birthing ball, nurse." --- errrrrgh-huuuuuuhhhh...

P-man says, "Breathe, honey. HA, HEE, HEE, hoooooo." Mo-wo "Give me a break, already." The nurse eyes the door.

Anyway, we were sans doctor and I felt okay, but never one to turn down the gas! No needles, everyone. I am walking and wandering and p-man is a great lead on our DIY labour program. We just did everything the same as the first time except this time things were going fast! No stuck babies, just progress. BTW... I find trying to inhale gas a really impossible remedy to labour pains. I am glad to have it there, like something designed to help you. But the actually mechanics of sucking something in when all you are trying to do is push out is sort of difficult. What is "Placebo" anyway?

Pretty soon, I am angling to push. Nurse was very good at checking out my baby with the cool medical equipment but I was pretty sure once the screaming began and stuff started shooting out of me she'd be lookin' for backup. Where was that doctor? Ah, here comes her supervisor.

11:30 Something blah, patient doesn't know, something blah. Gloves on. Blah babies don't wait for doctors to arrive, call the resident.

Resident comes. My doctor is delivering next door. Crap there are babies burstin' out all over this place.

Doctor #2 says you are not quite dilated yet. We don't want to start pushing. Do X and Y. OK?

OK. I do X, and Y, for 30 minutes. Staring at the face of that clock on the wall, my deadline slipping away. So now how long? I try to remain centred on working hard. On running the only marathon that really matters to me. I feel strong and pretty clear, we can do this. P-man's hand is folded like origami. It is white inside my grip. He finds me all the breaks.

12 noon Start pushing. I look at the clock on the wall. Try to think in 10 to 20 second increments bearing down and pushing out. They tell me to shut up. DAMN them. I am losing focus. At this point I have Baby-nurse, Nurse-supervisor, Resident-doctor and my-doctor-substitute in the room. Docs #1 and #2 have had a bout of duelling pagers that p-man suggested they 'take outside'. Good man.

I yell, "I don't know what I am supposed to be doing." (You know with the first there was a lot of planning and classes. With this we were a bit lost at times, not remembering how things 'should' go. But since there is no single path, anyway, did it matter?) We seem to have hit a snag. I can hear someone say "stuck". I joke, 'he must have a very long nose.' Yeah, right, long nose lady.

Doctor #1 is clear and concise. Be calm and put all your energy into pushing down here, don't keep it in your throat or your stomach. You ARE doing WELL. Good doctor.

Within 30 minutes he was born. I honestly cannot recall the pain. As my fingers tap out these memories I want to pull my son from his bed and relive what occurred in at 12:26pm, July 17. I feel nothing of the hours before. My only sense right now is of the rattle of bones, mine and his, rolling over one another. No time really precedes that moment. All of a sudden there he is, my labour is over, and now the two of us are apart. It was only one moment. All of a sudden this fleshy presence fills the room, inflates the heart. Who's there? Who's here?

P-man trembled a little when he said, we have a son. He could not contain his delight or surprise. I am pretty sure I first said, "What a treat." While I did not and do not care if we had had two daughters instead I knew I would be missing something if I never had a boy, this boy.

Our nuthatch was stuck a bit and had to be hauled out by a shoulder. You know those linebacker shoulders he had on his 10lb 3oz frame? When they hauled him out I heard the most horrible words echo in the room 'Come on baby, wake up' I could see my husband track the child and the four blue smocked bodies taking hime across the the room. Then the cry burst out and I was lucky to have not had the time to register an emotion before the utterance. While husbands normally get off scot free, in this case my husband had a bit of the labour more painful than I had had in the preceding 7 hours. He could see what the doctors had concerns about, the in-rush of pediatricians, the murmuring. He was more than afraid in those first minutes after our son was here. Thank god he he maintained a poker face through it.

The birth was done save the quick clip of the umbilical cord. The boy was returned to me and he rooted away. P-man applied Wes Montgomery to the affected area. Full House. Phew.

My husband is a wonderful birth-partner. He worked very hard and applied all his considerable smarts to a pretty complex thing. I knew doing this I didn't really need anyone but him to help us have our baby. He knows how to handle me and the hospital folk. He is completely intent on the birth and believe me he knows a hell of a lot more about birthin' babies than I do. I just work it like a Jane Fonda video and say tell me how it turns out. He does. He lyrically drops all the bloody details and tells me the story as a true and loving witness. Thank-you, honey. Thank you for that and thank you for this:

For all I did to expel him that day in July now I wanna do as many things as I can to cling to him and keep him close. Here he is today, seven weeks old. Ah, the pleasantness of what he left inside me for him, of what he puts there with each new day and the awe of all he is becoming here on the outside.


Blogger Heather said...

Great story. I was hanging on every word. What a smile the little guy has. He is looking like P-man to me.

11:31 a.m.  
Blogger Granny said...

Wonderful story and I agree with Heather. What a great smile for one that young.

3:26 p.m.  
Blogger L. said...

Congrats, all over again!

"He really needs another coffee, I thought, or he's going to be completely useless."

I nominate this for Most Poignant Observation By a Laboring Woman.

4:16 p.m.  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Beautiful story, mo-wo. P-man does sound like a fantastic birth partner. Good enough to rent out, not that you're going to be doing that anytime soon.

And that baby is one gorgeous little soul. Thank you for sharing his birth story with us.

4:52 p.m.  
Blogger Crunchy Carpets said... made my uterus go all squidgy!

Here is my birth story...

Wake up at 1 am. Uh oh.
Go downstairs...hon..babies coming.
Walk circles while we phone nana to get here asap.
Leap in car by about 2:30ish.
Can't even sign in....leave daddy there to fill out the forms...I race to the delivery room....
Try to change out of clothing while baby is crawling out of my vagina...
Hop onto bed and really need to start pushing.
hubby races into room ready for action in his lucky orange birthing shirt..same one he wore for Adam!
No doc.
They keep telling me to wait.
Get stuffed.
Push push
Doc arrives
Push....don't tell me to not push on my side
I will push any damm way I want too....
Push...and there she is!

A girl....I laughed and laughed.

We have a LOT of boys in our family...a distinct shortage of girls.

She needed a wee bitty oxygen...cord round neck...but otherwise was pissed at the world upon arrival.

They cleaned me up and hubby phoned my mom who thought it was just a call to say we would a be a while....she didn't believe our wee one was here!

Then they brought me toast!

9:54 a.m.  
Blogger mo-wo said...

Thanks for the story CC! I had you in mind too when I thought I had to rush rush rush.

Knowing BCWH the toast took longer than the labour , then?

10:54 a.m.  
Blogger Crunchy Carpets said... toast at BCWomens.....never even got a cup of coffee my entire stay there.

This was at Burnaby Gen...they treated me like gold.

12:35 p.m.  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

That was great. I joked in labor too, and because of it people thought I couldn't be as far along as I was. You are a kind kind woman to let p-man stop for coffee. Chris is a total addict but I'm not sure I could have been that nice.

8:30 p.m.  
Blogger Andrea said...

He is so beautiful!

4:41 p.m.  

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