To my few stragglers, I write for 2 reasons …
1. I feel the need to round out this blog with the birth story of my son, Ian.
2. Also, in re-reading my posts on this blog, I realize that it is an incredible log of my journey through IF. Like childbirth, the pain is easy to forget not to mention the order of events; and though I don't want to memorialize the suffering, I do find value in having recorded the experience.
I am finding the experiences of being a new Mom daunting; and for some of the same reasons I started my IF blog, I'd really like to record the fleeting moments of new and developing motherhood as well as record the growth and development of my little boy (So weird, MY little boy. It is still not real to me that I have a son) for friends and relatives who live far and wide.
So I am probably going to start another blog - if my little one will allow me the time (a la Lesley). Whosoever would like to read along, just message me in the comments below and I will send you a link. My one regret is that I won't have the freedom to be grumpy, graphic, and foul with the same lack of reservation I enjoyed through this anonymous blog. You, my IF friends, will know to "read between the lines."
May 20th was a hot day. Too hot for May; even in the South. But I couldn't have cared less about the heat because it was my last day at work before taking a 2-week hiatus before my son was due. AND I had another OB appointment, so 1/3 of my last day was going to be whittled away in the waiting room. Glory!
I was due in the ultrasound office first to check my fluid levels which were low but still normal. They had been low/normal for 3 weeks and we were keeping a close eye on the old ute to make sure the fluid situation didn't get critical. Hubby was prepping for a last fishing trip with his old junior high buddy, so I headed to the doctor alone.
My US tech was one of my favorites. She was always offering additional information about the baby who we could no longer really see clearly except for snippets of nose and chin or feet. We chatted about weekend plans and due dates a little as she looked around as per usual and then she interjected, "I don't think your husband is going fishing this weekend."
I knew in that moment that I was going to induced that day and that I was going to meet my little boy in the next few hours. Ready or not. And no, I was not ready. I had A BUNCH of grand plans for those last 2 weeks out of work to organize and clean my house that, literally just 2 days before, had been in the midst of minor renovation. No such luck.
I called hubby and broke the news to him that a third fishing trip was going to have to be cancelled (which was mentioned far too often in the labor and delivery room as a "joke") and I called my parents to tell them that their trip to Houston wasn't going to happen either. Then they basically wheeled me to the admission desk at the hospital, checked me in, and started me on pit.ocin. All in the space of about an hour and a half.
The next day and a half went completely awry and, though it was puzzlingly against my nature, I was so glad that I did not get all OCD on my birth plan. I think the possible scenarios for how the birth would progress were too varied and that that, paired with my complete lack of reference for what childbirth would be like and how I would personally handle it, meant that I found the creation of a birth plan completely impossible to wrap my head around. There were too many factors to consider. So I didn't think much about it; I just knew that I would probably (definitely) have an epidural at some point. I didn't need the "natural birth" gold star, thank you very much. Do I get a tooth extracted "naturally.? Ummmm- no. So why a baby, pray tell? Just sayin'.
So pit starts and I'm feeling fine and apparently having contractions that I can't even feel. I feel smug and all supermom-ish. Like, "what contractions? I don't feel a thing. No sweat."
Then the doctor comes in with his torture stick to break my water (which is supposed to jump start dilation 'cause I am not dilated one ittty bitty bit. We are starting from zero here, folks). Apparently, my cervix was sitting way way way posterior, so they had to reach what felt like THROUGH my fucking back to get to the opening of the cervix and nick the sac. Sooooo painful. First time … failure. So we waited a while, hoping the contractions would begin to dilate the cervix and move it to a more accessible location . Second attempt … failure. Wait some more. Third time, gritting my teeth and moaning in pain … Doc finally nicked the bag and I experienced severe PTSD, continuing to cry and shake with hopped up nerves and pain even after the procedure was finished.
I prayed for my fluid to gush because I didn't think I could handle another probing by the doctor with his torture stick. And it did finally, about a half hour later all over the floor after I'd gone to the bathroom. It's funny to think about now, but I didn't know what to do. I just stood in my small puddle of amniotic fluid and called the nurse in to tell her "it broke." She thought I meant that I broke the IV machine that I was standing next to ... until she saw me standing in my own mess.
After that, we fully expected the dilation to start in earnest and for the show to get on the road. My body had other plans.
Around 2:30 in the morning and at only three centimeters, I called "uncle" and asked for the epidural. I wouldn't have changed how I did things, but I definitely think that the epidural interrupted the dilation process. My contractions immediately got weaker and my progress slowed. I chalk it up to the disconnect between brain and body cause by the epidural; there was definitely a feedback loop between the pain experienced by my brain and the labor process of my body that was interrupted by the epidural. By the next morning around 9:00 am when the doctor came back in to visit me, I was only at 5 centimeters.
It was at this point that the term "C-Section" started to be bandied about; and after laboring for almost 24 hours (not hard labor the whole time, but I still get to claim it!), I was long overdue for a meltdown. In all the scenarios that went through my head, C-section was the furthest from the realm of possibility. Why would I have been "blessed" with sturdy birthing hips? Why would my baby have sat fully engaged for weeks before his birth - so low down that absolutely everyone, without exception, who stuck their hand up my junk would exclaim how low he was - if not to give birth vaginally? How was I going to hold him after he was born?
My meltdown was sufficient enough that both doctor and nurse wanted to give me every opportunity to give birth vaginally. As long as I was progressing every couple of hours, we would hang in there. In the meantime, the nurse turned me every half hour from one side to my other, hopefully encouraging the baby's head to change position such that it would better dilate the cervix. By about noon I was still 5 cm. And by that point, after 2 hours of tears, 24 hours of labor (and starvation), exhaustion, and time to consider - I was ready to meet my baby no matter how it happened.
The rest is par for the course and my little man was born at 1:04 pm on May 21st, 2011. 6 lbs, 10 oz and 18 3/4in long.
He is now 5 weeks old and giving me a run for my money. He's not an inconsolable baby, but he sure does need a lot of consoling. We also had some initial challenges in the breast feeding department (does that ever go smoothly for anyone?), but those have ironed themselves out after an effortful three weeks. And the little man ended up in the hospital for three nights due to a high fever. It turned out to be a regular old virus, but they had to keep him in hospital while they ruled out other more nefarious bugs.
So here I am, a mother. A tired, bleary-eyed, aching-bodied, raw-nippled mother. In the beginning, I found myself asking the universe what the hell I'd gotten myself into! Nowadays, I ask Ian what the hell he wants from me! I am encouraged by others who tell me it gets easier and that I will eventually feel less resentfully-shackled and more emotinally-bonded. If you have similar encouragement, feel free to pass it along!!!!!!!