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Thursday, May 27, 2010


When the clock struck midnight on May 27, 2009, I was laboring in the birthing tub in the hospital room. It felt great. Big T could spray my lower back with hot water every time I had a contraction. I relaxed and melted into the tub. After a while, though, I started to feel lightheaded. Like I had hung out in the hot tub for too long after one margarita too many. And the tub was so big that it was hard for me to find a place to drape my upper body, so I was on my hands and knees most of the time, and I was tired. I had also let them put in a hep-lock. I told them not to put it in my wrist. They put it in my wrist. If I had to do it again, I would decline the hep-lock or ensure that they put it somewhere in the middle of my arm. But I had very little use of that arm since I had a needle in my joint.

So I got out of the tub. I remember Big T saying, "We haven't been up this late in a looooong time." That's when I knew it had to be 1 or 2 AM. It was freezing in the hospital room. I couldn't stop shaking. I got in the bed and laid on my side and they draped heated blankets over me. I was exhausted. So sleepy. I couldn't keep my eyes open. I would sleep in between contractions. When the contractions came, I would moan, "Fuuuuuuuuccckkk, Paaaaamm....." And then I would drift back into sleep. Big T and Pamela looked very tired in their chairs. But they gave me the encouragement I needed when I needed it.

Pamela checked me around 3AM, and I was 9.5 cm dilated. I asked her to break my water, hoping this would move things along. After that, I still didn't feel the urge to push. I tried, but I was so exhausted and I wasn't really pushing very hard. I think I was partly afraid to push. I was in more pain now. I puked a couple of times. I was sweating but freezing cold. I felt out of my element. It wasn't just about the pain. I felt so strange. Like I was about to drift over the edge to utopia, but something was holding me back. I was antsy and nauseous and crawling out of my skin. I was exhausted but couldn't sleep. I had to pee but couldn't pee. I couldn't quite control my body, yet I wasn't quite out of control.

The nurse kept wanting me to get in the lithotomy position. I adamantly refused. I was not going to do this on my back. But I was exhausted. I tried sitting up and squatting, but I still didn't feel like I had to push. The nurse kept suggesting I lay on my back with my legs in the stirrups. I didn't want to, but finally I agreed, and it actually helped me. She would push back on my legs, and I would push and it was much easier for me that way. I did switch positions a couple of times... Pamela would have me sit up and squat and get on all fours and sit on the toilet. But my contractions never picked up. The nurse kept telling Pamela my station, and it stayed the same. The nurse and Pamela told me I was making progress, but I didn't believe them. The baby wasn't getting any lower.

I never felt like my body had to push, the way some women describe labor. In fact, it took everything I had to make myself push. I didn't feel like vocalizing. Every class I had taken and book I had read talked about vocalizing and opening your mouth and the vibrations would help your cervix open. But I never felt like making any noise. I wanted everything to be quiet. I applaud Big T and Pamela for being there for me the whole time. They gave me water and ice when I asked for it, and gave me encouragement when I needed it, and most importantly of all, were quiet when I needed them to be. They mimicked my energy, and it was perfect.

At some point, Pamela wanted to administer pitocin, but I was too scared of the strong contractions that would follow, especially since I hadn't had any pain medication. So we kept trying to push for another hour, and nothing. In fact, my contractions were so weak, that they hooked me up to a monitor so they could see when I was having a contraction, and I would have to ask so I would know when to push. They gave me some IV fluids to give me more energy, and then I agreed to some pitocin, which they only administered a little bit, and very very gradually. It worked. My contractions picked up to every 2 mins instead of every 5 mins, and this really got the baby moving lower. At some point in the morning, the midwives switched shifts, and Suzanne took over for Pamela. It hugged Pamela as she gave me her sweet smile and wished me the best.
I started pushing... really pushing. In between pushes and contractions, I discussed the ring of fire with Suzanne. Could they numb me topically before the baby crowned? They could, but it could make the baby's face numb. I didn't want that. Then another contraction would come and I would yell out. Finally, one last push and out he came! I screamed at the top of my lungs as I pushed him out. Poor Tieren. Came into the world in the midst of his loud screaming mama instead of calmness. But I couldn't help it. It helped me push him out without stopping. And honestly, there was no ring of fire. It hurt, yes. But I couldn't even tell when he was fully out. I don't think lanocaine would have done a thing. As he came out, Suzanne was trying to get my attention through my yells: "Hey Gaby... GABY!!... GABY!!!" And then I stopped yelling and said "What?" And Suzanne said, "Here's your baby!" and put him on my chest. It was amazing. He looked amazing, smelled amazing. It was surreal. He latched on and suckled 3 times for a few minutes each time, and he just cuddled up on my chest.
He was still pretty gray though, and wasn't pinking up, and he had a lot of mucus in his airways and mouth and nose, so they took him to the bassinet in the room to work on him. I could still see him. He ended up being fine. I loved him. I loved Big T. I loved my midwives. I loved everyone right about then. I had never felt so amazing before. I had never felt so much love.

Big T snapped the first picture of Tieren with his cell phone. And it turns out he is definitely my child. Like mother, like son.

Baby T, you are amazing. You are my luvaluv. My love of all time. I tell you this every day. And I will keep telling you this. I will tell you this in front of your baseball team. I will tell you this in front of your friends when they come over for pizza. I will tell you this in front of your first girlfriend. You'll give me your shy smile and look all embarrassed, but I know you love it. Happy Birthday. I love you.


Rye said... Best Blogger Tips

that was beautiful!! i am so glad you shared in such detail... im so moved!
and what a great example of how pitocin can be used safely and effectively in small doses, when needed. awesome.
i love you!

smw said... Best Blogger Tips

I cried when I read this--how beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.
Love, Suzanne

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