Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Main Event

Did you know that I love birth stories? I do. I'll admit it; I've even googled 'birth stories' to read total strangers' experiences. (I had to stop because the punctuation errors/spelling mistakes/general stupidity nearly gave me a stroke.) I know some people don't care for all the uterus-related details, and I get that. I really do. It's just not me. Bring on juicy details, as far as I'm concerned. (Juicy? Best word choice? Maybe not?)

That's why I'm sort of surprised to find that when it comes to how Mr. Baggins arrived, I'm tempted to be all like, "we went to the hospital and then we played Monopoly on the iPod and then I pushed and he was here- the end." Oh, and, "P.S. Also, he has hairy ears and that's why I call him Mr. Baggins even though I've neither read nor seen any part of Lord of the Rings."

But if I were reading my blog, I'd want to poke me in the eye for that crappy description, so I'll try to drag it out a little more. You can skip this if my cervix is not interesting to you.

So anyway, the preface to all of this is that after a sort of ridiculously painful pregnancy, I got some sort of stomach bug days before my scheduled induction. I threw up for enough days in a row to lose ten pounds. After a while, it was not as funny as the Crystal Light in my neighbor's yard story made it seem. Spent a little practice round in Labor and Delivery attached to the monitors to make sure Little Man wasn't suffering from my lack of intake, and once he got a clean bill of health I went home to basically wallow in my own awfulness for several days.

When I was expecting Bug, I was never really that surprised to find that we weren't making any progress toward delivery because nothing ever happened. I was never really uncomfortable, and I never had painful contractions until 2 days before she came, and even then they stopped after a couple of hours. It was more frustrating to find that Mr. Baggins wasn't in a hurry to get here, either, because I was contracting All. The. Blessed. Time. They weren't as painful as real labor, but they were super uncomfortable, and they rolled in for several hours every day for weeks before he came. It was discouraging to hear, then, that while I was dilated to a 2 (two more centimeters than I ever was with Bug!) I wasn't really moving much past that.

Anyway, finally-- FINALLY!-- it was the night before the scheduled induction. I called L & D when I hadn't heard from them on a time, and... I wasn't on the schedule. I'm not sure where the communication breakdown occurred, but let's just all agree that a disappointment like that to a girl who is nine months pregnant and juggling babysitting for a two year old is supremely unfair. I cursed mightily (not really) and sulkily got ready for bed, planning on calling my doctor's office when they opened at nine to figure out the plan.

Just before 7:00 the next morning, my cell phone buzzed on my nightstand. It was my wonderful, fantastic, awesome doctor, who had seen the error and fixed it and wanted me there quickly! It was a scramble to locate babysitting (thanks, Grammy Lu!)  but before we knew it we were all checked in and I was sporting one of those oh-so-stylish hospital gowns.

My doctor came in and started the pitocin (to strengthen contractions) and broke my water right away. Schmoopse and I played Monopoly on the iPod for a couple of hours while the contractions got stronger and stronger. After a mere two hours, the contractions were strong enough to interrupt the game while I stopped to close my eyes and breathe through the pain. Another 45 minutes or so, and I decided to get the epidural.

The epidural was fantastic. When I was laboring with Bug, the epidural was eventually strong enough to completely immobilize my legs and render me completely numb from the waist down. It was nice in terms of lack of pain, but I admit I did feel a little oddly removed from the entire situation. I couldn't feel when to push  and just sort of followed instructions. This time, the pain was dulled but never went away entirely. I was able to have fun with a few more trips around the Monopoly board before the action really sped up. Almost before I knew it, the contractions came one on top of another, and the iPod was forgotten.

I curled up on my side facing Paddy. I gripped the rail of the bed with one hand, and Paddy's hand with the other. I moaned and groaned exactly like I never wanted to and imagined how absolutely awful that stage must be for folks with no pain management on board.

The nurse came in, cracked a smile, and began putting on her gloves.

"I'm going to check you," she said. "You're looking very much like a person who wants to have a baby right now."

And I know it sounds completely ridiculous, but in that moment, that statement was basically the only thing that made sense. Yes. I do want to have a baby. That is why this hurts. It's ok that it hurts, because I'm going to have a baby.

Mr. Baggins's (I looked up the apostrophe rule for that, and it still looks wrong. Rookie? Wendy? Other English majors? Any feedback?) heart rate was a bit unfavorable, so they called the nurses from the Special Care nursery to be on hand just in case for the delivery. My doctor arrived quickly, and as she gowned up, the nurse asked me to practice pushing.

"Oh!" she said, a bit excitedly. "There will be no problems with pushing. Don't do that again until we're ready."

I was so proud.

I don't know what to say about pushing out my second baby except that it was very, very fast and very, very wonderful. He cried loudly right at first, (which sent the Special Care nurses happily off to care for other patients) and so I cried, too. With one red-headed, two-year-old exception, I have never felt anything like it.

I have never loved the man I married more than I did in that moment, either, and that record stood until he carried my little copper-haired princess in to meet her little brother. That's when my sappy new mother love-o-meter just packed up and went home for the day, exhausted from all the strain.

It was a great day.
Day Two. MAJOR thanks to everyone in our family, especially Grammy Lu and Nana, for watching Bug
 while we were in the hospital.

I missed that little pumpkin.

And here's something to chew on. (Chew on? Best word choice? Maybe not?) Early in the pregnancy, we were told that our baby had an abnormality in his umbilical cord. While my doctor assured me everything was likely to be fine, I spent many hours worrying and googling every possible complication (of which there were many.)  It was this abnormality, which occurs in about 1% of singleton babies, that justified the extra monitoring we had in the final weeks, as well as the 39 week scheduled induction. After delivery, my doctor pointed out that, along with the expected abnormality, the cord had been tied in a true knot and wrapped around his neck once. I'm not sure what sort of a gymnastics he was doing in there, but we are feeling very blessed to have a big, healthy boy at our house.


Wendy said...

Many congrats on the arrival of Mr. Baggins--he is a dream boat. Well done, you two.

And as a special treat, I give you The Chicago Manual of Style:

*7.15 The possessive of most singular nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s. The possessive of plural nouns . . . is formed by adding an apostrophe only.

7.16 The general rule extends to proper nouns, including names ending in s, x, or z, in both their singular and plural forms, as well as letters and numbers.

7.21 Some writers and publishers prefer the system, formerly more common, of simply omitting the possessive s on all words ending in s . . . though easy to apply and economical, such usage disregards pronunciation and is therefore not recommended by Chicago.

Cue NBC "The More You Know" music. Aaaaaand scene.

*Some style guides may say different things, but Chicago is the only one I have on my desk. So, yeah.

katelinklug said...

First of all YOU LOOK FANTASTIC!!!!!

Now I am just like you, I love hearing the labor and delivery stories. I'm so glad everything was fine and the umbilical cord situation was all ok. He is beautiful (very handsome) little guy. Congratulations to you and Patrick. Addy looks like an adorable big sister. Have fun with your little man.

Samantha Kennicott said...

I love birth stories, too, and I am so glad you shared yours! Glad baby boy made it here safely, he is as handsome as can be. Congratulations!! :)

colette said...

Thanks for the birth story, and I LOVE The Chicago Manual of Style.