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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Winnie + joy



On Tuesday night Patrick and I attended our infant CPR class with those plastic mannequin babies.  Less than 24 hours later, on July 9, we were back on the same VCU floor where the lady from the CPR class asked Patrick in the hall "What are you doing back here??" to which he replied that I'd just had our real live baby! This was not exactly as I’d been planning since she wasn't due until July 24 -- but I'm so glad she's here! Birth story as follows (if you like those sorts of things...there's a tl;dr version down at the bottom if you want to scroll down!):

Wednesday morning around 1:30AM I awoke uncomfortable, and this uncomfortable feeling turned out to be the start of my water breaking -- it was hard to tell since there was no cinematic gush.  One of the tabs left open on my laptop was “how to tell if water breaks” if that tells you anything.  I dutifully called the midwife, who confirmed it sounded like water breaking. Was I having contractions?  No?  Okay, just call her in the morning and sit tight for now.  So, sit tight I did, and I ate an English muffin and had some chai tea while Patrick ran out to CVS. Patrick is great, and I love him, and think I will keep him. ;)

Around 2:30, I started feeling bad period back-y cramps.  Nothing horrible, just unpleasant.  They were about ten minutes apart.  Dutifully I consulted another Google tab I'd end up leaving open ("what do contractions feel like") which told me these did sound like real contractions.  I slept a little through them, but not much.  I timed things on my contraction app, and around 6am woke Patrick to let him know I was pretty sure things were progressing.  My contractions slid closer together. Doula was notified & midwife called back.  

“Try to stay home until they’re 2 1/2 to 3 minutes apart,” she reminded me.  “Okay,” I said through my teeth as a contraction hit near the end of the call.  Still, I was feeling pretty chipper, though I bemoaned the horrible, harsh reality that we never did grab a collection of my favorite popsicles, thinking we still had time.  At some point I emailed my boss to let her know I wasn’t making it in that day, and could she please email the library director because I had a meeting I was supposed to go to with him that day. And also I had library program supplies in my car...and how could I set an Outlook away message if the county was blocking our outside access to Outlook? This, instead of, I don't know, thinking about throwing stuff into the hospital bag... priorities!

Around 9am the contractions were about five minutes apart, and Cindi, my wonderful doula, arrived at our house.  By that point I was in a lot more pain.  Luckily Cindi came bearing rose aromatherapy, which worked surprisingly well considering my sinus stuffiness that I’ve had since January.  She also came with snacks and other goodies.  Basically, Cindi is amazing and I love her.  Bring me a banana and a birthing ball and apparently I’m yours.

By 10:30 my contractions had been about 4 minutes apart for a while, and things HURT.  “I feel like a wimp,” I remember saying.  I mean, duh.  Of course they hurt.  I knew they’d hurt.  But they huuuurt.  Cindi called the VCU midwife clinic (for clarification, my midwife clinic is located in the large teaching hospital in my city, so kind of best of both worlds for me) and tried to secure one of their rooms with the jacuzzi tub, Patrick grabbed some more items for the hospital bag that was only half packed, and we were on our way.  That car ride?  No funsies.  Ditto the wheelchair ride up to L&D.  My face was feeling tingly.

Slooooooowly the nurses checked me in and I signed paperwork I didn’t read then flopped back in the wheelchair and got wheeled to my no-jacuzzi-tub room because apparently everything else was full DAMMIT.  Whoever had that room was on my shitlist, let me tell you.  There went my vision of hot bath as pain management, my one “if they don’t do epidurals, at least they have the tub” mantra blasted to bits.  But, I tried to be optimistic.  The room I got did have a shower and by god I was going to get in there just as soon as they checked to see how far along I was.  Which, please hurry up because ouch.

Apparently one of the nurses told Patrick when we got there that we’d probably be there about 24 hours, but their tune quickly changed when my midwife checked me and found that I was 7 centimeters dilated.  Suddenly they were puttering less.  So I wasn’t being a big weenie wimp after all!  I was actually pretty far along! Also ow!

The next hour and a half I spent in the shower (Cindi, bless her, lit the bathroom with Christmas lights -- these are wonderful wonderful wonderful for the dim lighting and the senses).  Cindi was like the Galadriel of doulas, bringing little lights for dark places.  The shower was magic.  Contractions weren’t so magical, but nobody said labor was going to be fun.  (Oh right, a month or so ago one of the midwives said, “It’ll be fun!”  I knew she was bluffing.) Apparently (again according to Patrick, since I wasn't really paying attention) I kept the nurses giggling by my stellar comments between contractions, usually things like "It hurts. That's the most obvious thing in the world to say, I know." I come fully accessorized with jokes, as usual. Nice to know I was still me.

Then came 25 minutes of pushing aka hell on earth. According to Patrick I only primally screamed “fuck” about six or seven times, which is impressive since it felt like I said it a lot more -- I think most of what I "said" was more primal-scream-to-scare-everyone-on-the-L&D-floor than primal-yell-a-real-word because holy hell that hurt...soon they were all like, you can feel the baby's head, and I was all, NOPE NO THANKS NOPE. They were trying to show me just how close it was to being over, but I wanted nothing to do with the carnage going on down there, thankyouverymuch. Ignorance is bliss and I aimed to keep it that way.  

Crowning is NO JOKE without drugs.

And then, there she was, and there was no more pain. She was here. Perfect. Beautiful. Strawberry-red-haired. Crying. Here.

TL;DR version: 11 hours of labor if you count the non-impressive first hour without contractions and just the water breaking (10 if you skip ahead to contractions actually starting). No drugs, no popsicles, no tub. I ended up laboring in the actual hospital for only roughly two hours.  Turns out even if I’d gotten one of the tub rooms, it would have taken an hour to fill, so....I hope whoever got it enjoyed it.  I type that only slightly begrudgingly.

Then I ate some hospital french toast. 


I’m not at all biased when I say I think Winnie* is the prettiest most wonderfullest little baby ever.  Even if her perfect ginger hair blondes out (ohpleasedon't), she'll be tops on my list. ;) She will always be tops on my list, for everything, ever. She is perfect and beautiful and ours, ours, ours.




Sitting here as I type this with afternoon sunlight pouring in, my baby sleeping swaddled next to me, my husband comes up from behind to hug me, this is a small slice of perfect.  I know things won't always be this perfect, but in this moment, they are.  I've never felt more content.  This is joy.  Finally.

...Born bitter as a lemon but you must understand that you've been bringing me joy. And I'll only lie when you don't want the truth. I'm only frightened 'cause you finally gave me something to lose. And it's as loud as a thunderclap but you hear it too. But you've been bringing me joy. [Interlude] Deep inside the heart of this crazy mess, I'm only calm when I get lost within your wilderness. Born crooked as a creek, didn't come to contest that you've been bringing me joy...



*I'd love to share her full proper name/middle name, because obviously it is as perfect as she herself is, but for the sake of privacy, we'll go with just Winnie here.  Or maybe Freddie.  That might happen, too.  Hmmm.

18 comments:

  1. I am so happy that (Popsicles aside) things went so well. Winnie is delightful!

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    1. Thank you! It was great see you all yesterday -- thanks for visiting! :)

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  2. Congratulations! (For such a long word, it seems an awfully small thing to say in answer to a joy like this, doesn't it?) Gorgeous red hair! I am happy for all of you.

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  3. Oh man, I am super jealous of her gorgeous hair! So gingery! She is so gorgeous, and I hope you and Patrick are doing well.

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    1. I know! I was really hoping she'd be a ginger, since Patrick's got a ginger beard (and two grandmothers with red hair). :D

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  4. Yessss you did it without the drugs! I envy your strength because I was ready for that epidural the second I got into the hospital. I'm glad to know that you also did online research during the beginning points of labor to go "Is it time?!" That's around the time I woke up when Warren was ready.

    Eeeeeee Winnie's hair! So which of you started off as redheads? :)

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    1. I felt like the biggest wimp until they told me how far along I was -- I was expecting them to be like, you're two centimeters or some crap. It hurt like a bitch. Like ten bitches, actually. A horde of bitches.

      Patrick's got red in his beard, and two redheaded grandmas I believe. So, there was a chance. I hope it sticks around, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the "oh my gosh her HAIR" comments we've been getting from everyone everywhere. *LOOK AT MY BABY LOOK HOW CUTE SHE IS* It's like the whole world is an enabler!

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  5. It figures you'd give birth to a Weasley. :)

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    1. Hee, the red hair AND the Freddie...she really is one, isn't she?

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  6. She is SO cute. I am way too gaga over her for a person who has never even met you in person, but she looks like a baby out of a fairytale. I can't tell you how happy it makes me that she is here & you are a mamma. Congratulations x 1000. <3

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    1. <3 I'm totally objective about how cute she is, totally totally. ;) She is absolutely preciously tiny. Thank you so much, lady.

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    2. (I feel like this is such a....culminating post. Like, after so much...here we are, you know?)

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  7. You're a champ! I wish I could express how I felt when I saw that first Instagram picture of Winnie. So happy for you, so in love with that little girl! I sighed, a big big sigh.

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  8. I am so late here, but as you know, we are super happy for you. It seems to me that giving birth is this "challenge" where you get to face that thing that you thought you would not be able to do do without (a tub and popsicles for you... an epidural in my case) and then you end up on the other side amazed and confused that you were able to do it without those things.

    She is absolutely beautiful and I am so jealous of her hair.

    I felt exactly like that Winnie-the Pooh when they brought us a snack after she was born.

    I am so happy these perfect joy of a person has come to your lives and that these moments are so precious.

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    1. It feels so strange to have birth behind me already! Like...oh, yeah, I had a baby, that happened already! It just...happened!

      I was so hungry and didn't realize it until that moment. Oh my god.

      We are so happy. :) <3

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