All of Us

All of Us

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Today is my daughter J's 11th birthday. She is my 2nd child, my oldest daughter. Stealing an idea from Kim, I'll share her birth story here.

My due date was March 8, 1994. My first child had been a week late, so I wasn't surprised that she hadn't arrived yet. It was around 10am and I was showering while D. watched Barney on PBS. After the shower I went to the bathroom and as I sat down--POP! my water broke. I really had no doubt that that was what happened, but I sat on the couch on a towel for a few minutes just to be sure. I paged D., who was teaching a class and this led to great excitement on the part of his students. Our insurance company provided free pagers to expectant couples (this being before the day when everyone carried their own phone!) Next I called the doctor, who said to go to the hospital, and our neighbor, who had said she would watch little D. for us.

D. came home right away and we went to the hospital. I ate a pear on the way since I knew they wouldn't let me eat anything once I got there. I wasn't having contractions, so they put me in a room and had me walk the halls. I got frequent drinks from the fountains since they were only giving me ice chips. Around 1-2pm contractions got going and after that I stayed in my room. This would be my first VBAC since I'd had a c-section with my first child. I had read the book "The Silent Knife" in the meantime and had lots of ideas about preventing that from happening.

My doctor was supportive of a VBAC but wanted me to have continous internal and external monitoring and an IV. We compromised that I would have external monitoring only, 30min. on and then 30 off alternating. I confronted him with the fact that research didn't support the need for such intense monitoring and he agreed, but said it was the standard of care, and that if we were ever to go to court and he said he did things other than the standard of care because it was what the patient wanted that he would lose. I appreciated his honesty, although I did try to change to a midwife but my insurance company wouldn't let me switch mid-pregnancy. In the end, he wrote a little statement in my chart which said that he'd explained the risks of my choices to me, which he read to me in the hospital in the presence of the nurse. CYA--can't say I blame him in our litigious society.

The nurse kept offering that I could change my mind any time and have an epidural, until D. told her we knew that and asked her to quit bringing it up. My doctor had told me that not having an epidural would increase my chances of a successful VBAC. I wanted a natural childbirth anyway. The nurse brought me a rocking chair so I could rock during my time on the monitor and I liked it so well I rocked most of the time. I was doing OK until I hit about 7cm. I had gone from 5 to 7 in about 30 minutes so after another 30 they checked again and I was still 7, which was discouraging. Luckily it was my nurse's dinner break about this time so another nurse came in to be with me and she was VERY encouraging, a real cheerleader, sat right down with me and talked me through some of it. Soon they had me get on the bed which had a bar above my head which I hung on to through some of the contractions.

My doctor confirmed that it was time to push, but told me he'd be waiting in the lounge because women often push for several hours, especially with first babies, which is what I was considered since it was my first vaginal delivery, and he found pushing to be boring. So irritating. I pushed through several contractions, and then the nurse began getting the cart ready and herself dressed in mask and gloves. I asked what she was doing and she told me that the baby was almost here, she could see the head, and she called the doctor, who was very surprised to be called back so soon. He gave me a large episiotomy as she was crowning because he said I was tearing inside, which I never saw/felt any evidence of but didn't really care at that moment. I was sitting up holding on to the bar as she slid out and I saw that she was a girl. I was elated! I really wanted a daughter. She was 9lbs. 12 oz. and arrived at 9:16pm.

I held her and nursed her for a while and then she was taken to the nursery for a bath and "observation" which was supposed to take about an hour. They moved me to another room and brought me some dinner--I was starving. D. went up to the nursery to check on J. and found her naked and screaming in a warmer, which dismayed him. He wanted to stay with me until they brought her back but they told him it would be a while, and he needed to get back home and relieve the neighbor's son who was now at our house with a sleeping big brother D. They didn't bring her back to me until 1am! Even then I had to call and bug them and they basically told me they were busy so it would be a while longer.

She is sweet and sensitive, nurturing, smart, quiet, creative, a talented writer--I'm priveleged to be her mom.

1 comment:

gertrude said...

I recently started reading a lot of blogs written by mothers and anyhow, I love your blog and the blog - Big Yellow House. You both have so much in common - 7 kids - smart - funny - great writers - sahms - that you seem like you two would be fast friends. I went to U. Michigan and love Ann Arbor. I grew up in a big family and my two best friends are each from families with eight children, so I have spent a lot of time with big families, which is a great way to grow up.

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SE Michigan, United States
Mother to 10 fabulous kids, ages 4 to 21 years! Married for 26 years to my best friend.

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