Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's! Happy Birthday

More than 25 years ago, I was expecting my third child. We'd moved into our first home (to own) and that was kind of nice!

My first two experiences with childbirth were kind of wild. #1 was 7 1/2 hour labor. Not a big deal. Then . . . the placenta didn't come . . . for 3 1/2 more hours and was a far more painful delivery that the 7 lb 10 oz baby had been. But at least I didn't have to have a hysterectomy the same day I delivered my first child!!!

Baby #2 was little more than a year after the first. This one was "posterior"--meaning her face was not down--as it needed to be for delivery--but up. So I had back labor. TALK ABOUT A TOUCHY-WIFE-IN-LABOR KIND OF THING. Those of you who've experienced back labor know the kind of pain I'm talking about. (Labor is sort of divided into three stages.) With this labor I had no pains until I launched full-bore into 3rd stage labor. That's when things get tough! Contractions began lasting for more than a full minute with only a couple of minutes between. They ratcheted up to 2 minutes or more with only 1/2 minute between! It was TOUGH! The Doctor was able to successfully turn the baby, but the pain remained. Excruciating pain. The ONLY thing that helped was the Lamaze breathing techniques. Thank heaven for that training!!!!!!!!! 3 1/2 hours, tops, after the onset of labor I had daughter #2 in my arms--all 8 lbs 1 oz screaming at the top of her lungs. (She screamed full force for hours afterwards.) Poor little dear was hurting and didn't mind sharing her displeasure with any and everyone within ear shot, and some of those were half a block or more away.

So, on the lovely April First spring day, when at 3:30 am I felt that initial contraction or two, I assumed that somewhere in the next 3 to 8 hours I'd have another brand new little bundle of joy in my arms. WRONG! My OB knew my history and since I lived a good 20-30 minute drive away from the hospital, he didn't want me waiting for "things to develop" very far before I was to get to the hospital. At about 6:00 am I had another two or three significant contractions and some other evidence that "things were definitely under way." As I watched my husband drive out of the driveway to work, I felt the tiniest contractions begin and continue every 15 minutes. Okay. These contractions were tiny as compared to what I'd experienced with my other two labors. And they were regular! And consistent. A novel experience for me!!

Call me crazy, but I always looked forward to labor and delivery. (I was the second oldest of eight children, so having babies wasn't exactly something out of the norm.) I know. I know! But it's true. I simply love the miracle of bringing a new life into the world. It was one of my dreams as a very young child and I wasn't able to have my first baby until I was only days from being 27 years old.

So, I thought, don't eat. Don't drink because the full onset of labor is bound to happen really soon--judging by how much faster the 2nd labor was than the 1st and the 1st wasn't particularly long--according to some I've heard about. Well, I tend to be hypoglycemic--and especially so during pregnancy--it's pretty much the opposite of diabetic, but you have to kind of eat the same way--frequently, and with higher protein content, etc. be careful about the carbs (which does indeed include sugars.)

My in-laws were already on their way, driving probably 8 or 9 hours to get to us to help with the older two children. I waited to call the Dr. till about 9 am, because the contractions were so mild and the ONLY ones I EVER had that were actually 15 minutes apart. EVER, EVER.

(First child, I had to laugh. My poor husband was so NOT around people that had babies--was totally uninitiated. I had him call the hospital to report that my contractions had begun with my membranes breaking (crazy as this sounds, I HEARD them break. Can't explain. Just know that I did at, 10:00 pm, just as my boss called to find out why I wasn't at the hospital yet--and oh, yeah. He had a question about work.) and to let them know we'd be on the way. He was asked if my contractions were regular and 10 - 15 minutes apart. He quite honestly told them, "No." Period. No conversation. No questions. No telling the nurse my pains were MUCH CLOSER together than 10 minutes!!! My contractions were 5 minutes or less apart, and were, therefore, irregular. So, without further discussion, the nurse told him "when your wife's contractions get to be regular and about 10 - 15 minutes apart, then you can bring her in." My eyes must have rolled to China and back before I very politely [you know better, don't you?] explained that they were NEVER going to be 10 to 15 minutes apart because they were ALREADY 5 OR LESS minutes apart NOW! He, all rational and everything, did, in his own defense, mention that they still weren't REGULAR. He had me on that count. I again most politely (ahem) requested that he call back and give a clearer picture of the reality of the situation. (By this time I'd been sitting in the bathroom gushing fluids for nearly 45 minutes.) That was #1 baby, labor and delivery.)

Back to Baby #3. Where was I? Oh, I didn't call the doctor until about 9 something am. I first had to round up a babysitter, get one of my neighbors to look for my in-laws to give them a key to the house--wait for my husband to drive home (20 minutes) get me, take the kids to the babysitter's and THEN drive me to the hospital. So, remember, it was April First, right. I finally got to the hospital after 10 am. The Doctor came in worried that it'd been over an hour since I called. He was just about ready to call out the paramedics to search for me on the side of the freeway in process of delivering my child. They got me all hooked up (this was prior to the marvel of ultra-sound stuff, ladies) and guess what? No, I repeat, NO contractions. Zip. NADA. However . . . there was all this seismic looking activity on the printout from the monitor they'd strapped around my bulging belly. Dr. said: "Well, you're NOT currently in labor, but something is definitely going on. I'm pretty confident that this baby will be here soon. BUT, since you're NOT in labor currently, we're going to send you back home. Go home get some rest."

RIGHT. I'm excited about giving birth. And I KNOW FOR SURE it's about to happen. How am I going to gear down to rest? Now as I said earlier, I LOVE giving birth. (Yes, I DO know I sound like I'm out of my mind, but thus it is.) So we left. I have no recollection of how my husband got back to work. I do remember going home. Trying not to eat. Trying to rest. What a joke! NO CONTRACTIONS. A few teasers here and there, but nothing concrete. This child was pulling the biggest joke ever! I made supper--since my husband and children would need nourishment and his parents would be getting to our house close to supper time. I went to pick up the oldest two children and, guess what! Driving/riding caused contractions to occur. Nothing serious. But contractions. I must have driven down to pick up my husband from work, but then I don't really remember that.

His parents arrived. After everyone (but ME) had supper, his Mom and I went outside to watch the sunset as the girls rode their Big Wheels (tricycles) up and down the driveway while we sat in lawn chairs and enjoyed the spring evening. Then it happened. And I knew it was FINALLY for REAL! Around 9 or 10 pm we left for the hospital. Our youngest daughter (at the moment) was very distressed (I learned much, much later) and cried most of the night without Mom being there.

But, the little bundle of joy and jokes wasn't quite ready to make her entrance, still. After getting into the labor room and answering all the list of everything required, and reiterating that I DID NOT WANT ANYTHING FOR PAIN, thank you VERY MUCH, and I don't care what stage of the delivery I'm in, I DO NOT WANT ANYTHING FOR PAIN. (I'd had a BAD experience with the previous delivery--was given a pudendal block--AGAINST MY EXPRESS WISHES--and it went into my sciatic or some other nerve in the interior pelvic area and I could barely walk for days--which is a real trip with two tiny children to take care of. Not to mention that my leg hurt like the dickens! Pain killers and I don't have the best of relationships. That's mostly why I give them as wide a berth as I can.) This dear, well-meaning nurse gave me a glucose drip--even though I told her I couldn't have a GLUCOSE drip--saline would be okay--because I'd not eaten all day and I was hypoglycemic. She'd had enough of me, (and me knowing what I did and didn't want) apparently, stating that it was STANDARD PROCEDURE AND THE DOCTOR GAVE NO OTHER ORDERS so the IV went in, glucose and all.

After about an hour of that, I lost it. I couldn't concentrate to breathe right when the real contractions began because my blood sugar dropped too low and I was so sleepy I could barely concentrate. I couldn't remember how to breathe properly and the doctor hadn't yet made an appearance. (In California, with my first two, the doctors were with me from start to finish--that was many years ago, and I still love them for that!) My sweet, honorable, brave and tough husband, allowed me to squeeze his hand (into hamburger) as I tried to Lamaze my way through the contractions that were really starting to get with it--now that it was past midnight! The nurse did kind of redeem herself--she got down on top of me somehow and modeled the proper breathing for me to follow. When things began moving along better she checked to see how the labor was progressing. "You're about to have that baby, finally." she announced. "So, are you finally going to call the Doctor now?" "Oh, Honey. We don't have time to call the doctor."

If I could have sprung from that bed, that poor woman would have been strangled. But, like an angel of mercy, the dear doctor appeared at the doorway and asked, "Are you ready to have this baby?"

I was SO grateful!!!!

Then, I was taken to the delivery room. Then, the lovely doctor said something so strange and so weird! He told me to bare down. Can you imagine? I'd never with my first two had the urge to bare down. Never. But I'd done a smashing good job of it, if I do say so. Especially when my husband was right there next to me, breathing in sync with me. And, yes. I'd felt the urge all evening with this baby, but now it HURT! And I DIDN'T WANT TO!!! The Doctor was a gem. He was SO GOOD. He gently explained that the baby wasn't coming out until I did what was necessary to push it out. This whole entire labor and delivery was SO TEXTBOOK first pregnancy labor and delivery. You can't imagine.

So, after a little more coaxing, and with terrible screams of pain and agony, which I NEVER before had resorted to, I pushed for about 5 minutes. Maybe 10 and was rewarded with not the son I fully expected, but with a beautiful, chubby 8 lb 4 oz baby daughter. She was--and is beautiful. She is, however, very skinny now a days. But even though her baby brother (6 years her junior) was 1 lb 4 oz heavier at birth--yes, yes. He was 9 lbs 8 oz. She was the plumpest of all my babies. Her creases had creases, if you know what I mean.

And yes. She still has a deft sense of humor. (She liked "The Far Side" cartoons at the age of 4.) I'm convinced that she conceived the whole April Fool's Day ALMOST delivery joke. I fell for the whole--I-must-be-going-to-have-a-baby-on-April-Fool's-Day thing--and she was born on 2 April a little after 3 am. You never know just what to expect with this girl! She's very sweet and helpful, creative and artistic. And a welcomed gift--as each child has been. I feel very blessed and wish you, Sarah, a very Happy Birthday! TOMORROW!!!


Mary Paddock said...

Terrific entry. I need to check and see if you've fallen off the list of blogs I follow because I missed this update. I love birthing stories! Especially when the women involved are so very positive about it.

My own experiences with OBs and hospitals were so lousy that I opted for a midwife/out of hospital delivery for my last two boys. Talk about night and day!

jeanie said...

A true fool then! She certainly had you double-guessing.