Sunday, October 20, 2013

Forty Days of Labor...and then some

Two years ago at this moment I about killed my sister for eating a Lorna Doone. Let me preface it by stating I was in labor. I was two weeks late and I was so tired. I hadn't really slept in at least 36 hours. 

I haven't written my birth story down until tonight because I was to busy trying to keep up with having a little one. Bug is a really active little guy and he really loves attention. I think I also wasn't ready to process the changes that have happened. It feels like another lifetime ago. So much has changed in the last two years that I've been trying to stay afloat instead of sinking in memories. 

Tonight, I finally feel ready to memorialize the best day I've had so far. I think it could only be matched by the birth of another child should we be so blessed. There is something about childbirth that at least for me brought me the closest to God that I have ever been. In the moments of labor, you are teetering on a balance between life and death simultaneously. Anything can and does happen. There is nothing that can prepare you for the pain, the joy, the fear, the exhilaration and the immense sense of love, awe and accomplishment. It's the closest I have and will ever get to being Godlike and giving life to another wholly distinct individual. It's amazing and a gift I didn't think I would be able to experience.

When I was ready to contemplate becoming a mother I figured it would be easy. It's natural and there shouldn't be any problem.  I took the challenge of making a person seriously. I don't like to make my life harder than it ever needs to be so I studied and really researched and prepared for parenthood. I took a wonderful preconception class to help me figure out how to get ready for pregnancy mind, body and soul. I was surprised to learn I was more ready than I had thought. 

I had also started seeing a Catholic Doctor to help me physically prepare. I was and am a plus size woman but I'm in pretty good health. I had been scared by statistics linking obesity to difficulty getting pregnant, miscarriages, and still births. I was quite freaked out. In working with the Dr. it was discovered that I had wonky hormones.  I was told to prepare for a long journey to motherhood; my hormones would make it difficult to get pregnant and if or when I finally was pregnant I faced huge odds of miscarrying.

I was surprised when we found out we were pregnant. It happened the first month we decided to "pull the goalie".  It made it even more terrifying for me and I don't think I fully bonded with my pregnancy because of the fear of impending miscarriage. In any case, our Bug was coming at the right time. Two days after our pregnancy was confirmed by the OB, our beautiful fur baby Lucille passed away. She waited long enough to make sure our arms wouldn't be empty. I see Lucy as Bug's furry dog mom. 

My pregnancy was pretty unremarkable and easy. I was so blessed. It made me even more apprehensive that something horrible was going to happen. I just had to wait. That horrible event never came. I spent too much time being fearful and worrying. Looking back my only obstacle was me but this is my birth story about how the two of us became three. 

On September 11, 2011 I woke up about 3 AM and panicked because I hadn't felt Bug move in a really long time. I drank cold water and juice and he still wouldn't budge. I was also getting annoying tightening. I finally woke up my husband and decided to go to Labor and Delivery to get checked out.  We had to wake our poor neighbors along the way because there was a body passed out on their lawn. Turns out some drunk guy got lost in the neighborhood and decided to take a nap. 

At L&D I was checked in quickly. I was hooked up to monitors and they easily saw Bug was fine and more easily saw I was in silent labor. I couldn't really feel contractions but more the normal pains of advanced pregnancy.  What I couldn't feel though was my baby moving at all. The contractions were so regular the they held him tight so he didn't really move too much. My biggest worry after I knew he was ok was making sure he wasn't born on 9/11. I went home with instructions to take it easy. The OB was worried Bug would be coming a month early. Every week at our appointments the OB would tell me Bug was coming any day and yet that day didn't come on its own. Laboring was horrible and daily. When I was up and about the contractions would grow stronger and closer but the moment I stopped to rest, labor stopped too. This went on for a month. Every day. For a month.  I would labor like this on the couch every day. 

My due date, October 11, 2011, came and went and finally the OB scheduled me for an induction he didn't think I'd make it to. I was to check in on October 20 at 7 PM.  Suddenly it was getting real. I was a natural birth warrior. I wanted to ride out the pain and bought in to the "my body knows what to do"  "I was meant for this" crap from recent documentaries. I had planned and researched and planned some more for an event I now realize is unpredictable. Hind sight is 20/20. 

I wanted to be like those women in history that squatted in a field to give birth and just tied their suckling newborns to them and went about plowing the fields. Ok, maybe not really but I was dead set on letting my body do its thing. This was pain with a purpose and in all honesty it felt good until it didn't. 

So after being too excited to sleep and too pregnant to get comfortable, I greeted my induction day exhausted. I was beat but I was ready.  I felt the most "me" I ever had; awkward and fearful, excited and anxious. I had planned my steps for this day down to minutiae. I was horrified at the prospect of pooping on the table during birth so I planned the most nutritious meal that would be the least likely to be digested when pushing time came. I had planned on going to my favorite sushi house Okawa for Tepanyaki . The rice and noodles would be great fuel for the marathon ahead with the vegetables and steak providing more long lasting fullness. This was my last meal before evicting my tardy fetus and I wanted us both to be going into this labor with full bellies. 

One thing that's a huge horror is telling a very pregnant woman she can't have what she wants. That happened to me on induction day twice!  Okawa was closed when we needed to eat so I had to go to my back up plan, Shogun's. It's equally delicious but it wasn't what I had planned. I was pissed. The cool, crisp carrot ginger salad and warm onion mushroom soup were delicious and they made me feel a little better about not getting my way though. After that I pregnancy gorged aka "attempted to eat food I had no room in my belly for" on a crunchy roll and filet mignon. I was feasting since once I was admitted I wouldn't be allowed to eat anything until the Bug was in my arms. 

After dinner I called the hospital and due to the abundance of women spontaneously going into natural labor I wouldn't be able to check in on time. I was even told I may not be able to check in at all. I was pissed again. Now I'd have to plan a lasting non-poopy snack to extend my full belly. I settled on a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat with a banana. I was too full to eat it at the time I was allowed to check in but I forced myself to eat a few bites as I walked into the hospital out of the fear of not knowing when my next meal would come. 

I was able to waddle myself to check in at 7:30 PM so I wasn't too far off schedule. It took awhile to go over my birth plan and get settled with my nurse. I was already having contractions every 5 minutes lasting 60 second each so they only gave me half the dose of cytotec to getting things moving "harder better faster longer".  

My nurse was wonderful but I didn't get to keep her long. She was transferred to another mother further along than me. She did spoil me though with this wonderful pregnancy cocktail she created. It was simple sprite with cranberry juice but to me it was delicious nectar from God. I sipped my drink as my parents, sisters and mother in law came in to tuck us in and wish us luck. They would be back the next morning when the real work began. That is when I snapped. I don't know what got in to me but I lit up my sister for sneaking a box of Lorna Doone cookies in to my room. I had explicitly said that if I couldn't eat in there than no one could. I lost my ish over a cookie. After that the family left and we hunkered down for the night. I was texting and face booking in between contractions  and watching Harry Potter while my husband snored away. Things were getting real and it was happening fast. 

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