Five years ago today you made your world debut. In honor if that day, here it is, Kitten – your birth story…
I woke up with a start at 3:30 am feeling like I had wet myself. I had heard this was what breaking your water can feel like, so I went immediately to the bathroom, and – nothing. I decided to stay up anyhow since I was having some Braxton Hicks contractions (false contractions). Well, as the morning wore on I started to think that maybe these were real contractions, so around 7:30 I called my midwife and asked if my water might have, in fact, broken. She said to come on in at 8:30 and she would check.
Daddy woke up just as I hung up the phone and I immediately sent him out for hot chocolate and fruit snacks – the first and only craving run I made him go on. When he got back we packed up and headed to the midwife’s office.
At the office I was told that I had definitely broken my water and started contracting. I was about 4 centimeters dilated. We were sent down to labor and delivery to be checked in. Before we went, however, my midwife was kind enough to ‘strip my membranes’ – look it up. Dear Lord! They gotta warn you before they pull that crap! By the time we got down to check-in I could barely walk from the contractions. They were coming faster and harder and I felt like I was progressing quickly (Poor, naive woman). We were in our delivery room by 9:00am.
I decided I was going to try to wait as long as I could before getting an epidural – some sort of masochistic test of wills perhaps, but really I was just curious about the pain of contractions. They hurt – mystery solved! By 12:30 pm I had my epidural and was pouring epithets of love and appreciation upon the anesthesiologist. From then until ‘active labor’ (pushing), it was a waiting game.
Once you are admitted for labor you are not allowed to eat or drink anything. You may have ice chips only, which are not particularly satisfying. This means by the time you need all of your strength and energy for pushing you feel weak and listless. Someone needs to look in to this inequity.
I had felt like I was going to deliver in the hallway on the way to the room, but by 6:00 pm that night – 9 hours later and nearly 14.5 hours after my water broke – we still hadn’t started pushing. Ugh. Soon, though, the midwife entered and announced that I was 10 centimeters dilated – Hooray! I could start pushing. I should say WE could start pushing because it took a total of 4 people to get the task done; one on each leg and the midwife shouting directions from below, not to mention myself who felt like the least productive member of the team.
Pushing in sets of threes we worked for a little over an hour to push you out, dear girl. Now, I will tell you that giving birth feels like trying to poop a bowling ball. I won’t get anymore graphic than that, but you ask me about it some day. Also, you were not a long baby, a thing you made up for in width – thanks for that.
When your head finally crested my pelvis – a thing I was sure would never happen – you just stopped right there. The midwife called out, “we have a head!” And I thought, “Oh, thank God, we’re done!” But then she said, “Ok, just a couple more pushes.” I thought, you must be insane! You have the head – take it! Pull that sucker out of there! What are you waiting for??
I got back to pushing away like a champ when all of a sudden someone threw something at my chest. I’ll be honest – I was pissed. I could not have been more alarmed at this inappropriate timing – I was working here! But it turned out to be you! You were wet and wriggly and beautiful. You had a head of blonde, peach fuzz hair and big, beautiful, blue eyes. The first thing I did was kiss your plump little cheeks (I know that sounds gross, but there it is).
When the doctor announced that you were a girl, your Daddy and I could not have been more surprised or delighted. We had wanted a girl, but suspected that the baby was a boy. When a baby girl came out we just kept saying, “A girl! It’s a girl! She’s so beautiful!”
Just when I wanted most to hold you, they whisked you away for cleaning and measuring. They spent the next hour stitching me up –(remember what I said about the bowling ball?). They handed you over to your Daddy who held you like you were glass. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.