Well, today is Mother’s Day (My first Mother's Day!)so I thought it a fitting day to write Paige’s birth story. But, before I do, let me extend a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there who selflessly give their time, heart and souls to their little ones (whether they are 2 or 22). I’d also like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms-to-Be who are giving their bodies and minds to their little ones in their tummies. And I’d like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms to One Day Be who are working so very hard in body, mind, and spirit as they try to conceive or adopt that little one. You are mothering an important dream and it is so much physical, emotional, and spiritual work to achieve it, however it may happen. You are a mother too! It’s a day to celebrate and remember the joy that having children brings or WILL bring. Much love to all. And a shout out to my own Mom who is the best. Thanks for staying with us last week to help us. You were a HUGE help and I couldn't have recovered even a little without you. I hope your Nana-hood has gotten off to a good start! You've been the best Mom for me, and I know you'll be an amazing Nana for Little P.
And now... the birth story, starting with the splash heard ‘round the world.
APRIL 28, 2009
When the clock read 4:00 am I realized a had to pee…but when I decided to finally go and DO it Chris had already beaten me to the punch by getting up before me. So, I sighed and rolled over a little. I got a bad menstrual-like cramp and I felt a tiny little pop sensation and a small gush of fluid came out. I thought “oh CRAP!” and literally dove off of the bed. I stood up and SPLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSHHHHHHH…my water broke. All over the freakin’ floor next to the bed. They always say it’s a “gush of fluid.” HA! I stood there for at LEAST over a minute with the “faucet” running on high. It continued to gush like that throughout the rest of the labor. Who knew there was THAT MUCH fluid!? I screamed several times for Chris…so he rushed in and brought me a towel. Anyway, I’ll fast-forward now through my shower, peanut-butter and jelly sandwich and the arrival to the hospital where we settled into the labor and delivery room (Room 2!…on an earlier post I’d mentioned it was my favorite and I didn’t even ask for it!). My contractions had started and they were starting to hurt, but they weren’t all that close together yet. I labored for a while until the doctor decided to augment the labor with Pitocin. Just to get things stronger and closer together. Well, holy hell…the contractions instantly hurt WAAAAAAAAAY more than before. And so commenced the movie version of labor where I screamed, yelled, and panted. I used my breathing techniques as much as I could, but soon it wasn’t enough and I simply lost control. I was wailing, crying, and begging for God to kill me. In other words, I was the picture of tranquility. They finally turned down the Pitocin to give me a little break and in came the anesthesiologist with my beloved epidural. Just in time! Let me tell you folks, it was heaven. I’d been worried thinking that it would hurt. Needle to the back, right? It seemed like it would be such a hellish experience. Well, I leaned forward gripping the nurse with the fear of God in me as I was sweating through more contractions and scared to death what the needle would feel like. Well, I’m so annoyed now since it was such a non-issue. If you’ve ever had Novicain in your gums during a dental procedure then you know the little pinch of the needle in your gums. It felt like that for me. I’m not saying it will feel like that for everyone. They told me it depends on your body type and fat content, etc. But, it was a little pinch. And then it was over. SO EASY. The edge came right off of the contractions as I lay back in the bed. Soon, the bed started to feel warm…like a heated massage bed. And the sheet on top of me felt heated as well. I felt like I was at a spa and felt SO relaxed. It didn’t change my mental state…just my physical body felt so much better. My body hadn’t felt so pain free in MONTHS. I was already dilated to five centimeters when I got the epidural, so things were progressing quickly. I was at 2 cm when I first got there (not bad from having been completely closed the day before!). To recap, we’d gotten to the hospital at about 6:00 am and my body was in heaven by 10:00 am. They then cranked up the Pitocin again and off we went! I was fully dilated to 10cm by 1:00pm or so. The nurses were shocked. They said the Pitocin was so low…it goes up to 60 or something and they’d only gotten up to 8 for my dosage. They had expected me to have a much longer labor. Off they went to gather all the materials needed for the actual birth so I just waited there on the bed joking around with Chris and the lovely student nurse named Kristen. I was her first labor! She was so sweet and we had fun laughing and sharing stories. It finally came time to push and I could sort of feel the contractions happening (there was a tightening sensation that didn’t hurt but cued me that I needed to push). I spent the next half-hour pushing as the nurses and Chris cheered me on. Again, this didn’t hurt. It was just exhausting because you hold your breath for so long with each push…and you do 3 full pushes with each contraction. The longer the push, the longer you hold your breath. Phew! Finally the head was starting to crown so they were screaming for the doctor…he was tending to 2 other labors at the exact same time. He came running in and they got him all dressed for the delivery. As he was dressing he looked down and said “Oh! This baby is going to FLY out!” So, with another strong push, I felt a small release and they yelled “the head is out!!! She’s got dark hair!”. He told me to give a tiny gentle push since her little fist was jammed into her neck. So I guess I delivered the head and a hand first. Once the hand was pulled free he coached me to give another gentle push and the rest of her body came out…it was so amazing and incredible. I’ll never forget the sensation. At my request, they put our beautiful Paige on my stomach and we all wiped her off with blankets and I remember looking up at Chris to see him in tears. I was crying along with the baby. I vaguely remember them clamping the umbilical cord and telling Chris where to cut as I was staring down at our daughter. What a set of lungs she had. So, they picked her up to put her in the warmer and check her vital signs while I watched from the bed. I saw her pink right up and I felt so relieved. Her first Apgar score was an 8 and her second score minutes later was a 9. Wow! She lived! She made it through all 10 months! She defied the odds of my crappy uterine shape, my folic acid issues, and her own umbilical cord abnormality. Nothing can explain how utterly relieved and ecstatic we felt. After all the worry about her possibly coming too early or needing a C-section we’d delivered her in a more traditional way and so close to her due date! A true miracle!! I cannot and never will be able to capture my gratitude for her. My doctor turned my attentions back to the task at hand…delivering the placenta.
WARNING: Graphic and disturbing content ahead:
I’d never given this part much thought. How hard could it be? You push some more and it slips right out with a tug of the cord. Well, I had a crappy cord. He said it was barely attached and if he gently tugged it, it would detach from the placenta and then we’d have some trouble. This was terrifying to hear. The cord was THAT bad? I pushed and pushed and pushed. Nothing was happening. The doctor then asked the nurses for a particular tool which, of course, the hospital didn’t have in stock at the moment. He then had to go on up there with his hands to try and manually take the placenta out himself. Thank God for that epidural because it took an HOUR. He feverishly wrestled and wrangled with my uterus to try and get the damned thing out. I could see his hand up under my rib cage. Disturbing to say the LEAST. It was like watching a horror movie. My T-shaped uterus housed the baby in one horn and the placenta in the other. It was tucked WAY in the end of the horn. He just couldn’t reach it and had a hard time getting a good hold of it. It was also coming apart in pieces so he kept having to fish around to get everything out bit-by-bit. It was a NIGHTMARE. The poor doctor looked so terrified. He was professional and together, but had those eyes of panic. He had to stop to take a break and explained that the placenta just wasn’t letting go. He said he was confident he would get it and that because my bleeding wasn’t at a dangerous point yet he was feeling good about things. He told me it would take time and I said “just do what you need to do since I can’t feel anything right now, I know you can do it.” Next thing I know, there are 5 nurses in the room running around and gathering equipment, etc. Some were pushing on my stomach while others reassured me. There was blood everywhere on the floors and I was exhausted. I could barely think straight. Finally, after an hour, he yells “I’ve got it!” and he pulled it out with all the nurses looking on with relief. He showed it to me later and pointed out how it was all calcified and sketchy. He mentioned how amazed he was that the baby got as big and healthy as she did with that crappy placenta and cord. He later told me he feared I might have had to lose my uterus. How scary is that?? Another miracle!!! He reassured me that this was NOT a normal experience and rare. He told me that it was just an isolated incident and not likely to happen to me again in a future pregnancy/childbirth and he felt bad that this happened. He told me he didn’t want it to ruin my experience. Of course, nothing could ruin the experience! I was still on cloud nine. I’d never much thought about the placenta delivery, so it was quite a surprise that the delivery of the baby went so great only to have the last part go foul. Fast forward: I got to hold the baby several hours later when the feeling in my arms returned (I'd worked them to exhaustion holding my legs during the labor) and I got to feed her. What a real thrill. Her first feeding! And she downed the bottle like a champ. The recovery after that has been hard. My tailbone is broken or dislocated (they didn’t bother to X-ray since there’s nothing they can do anyway). So, I have to sit on a doughnut and nurse my butt for the next several months until it heals. It’s so excruciating to bend over or pick up the baby from low positions. My pelvis is still a little separated and sore as well…making it hard to walk. Everything else is healing just fine and I feel a bit better each day…and I can’t complain when I have that beautiful little baby face to peer up at me. My heart now lives in her.
So, that’s the story of the birth and how it went! There are a lot of emotions I’ve been experiencing…lots of thoughts and feelings rolling around in my head that I’ll put in my next posts, but I at least wanted to share how it all went down first! Our miracle is here and our new life has begun! Welcome to Paige Rosalie Carty! You are in for a wonderful and wild ride that is life. Your Mommy and Daddy are here to help make it great!
(editor's note/update: I've been questioned as to how I broke my tailbone...I have no idea. It was during the birth OR during the crazy aftermath with the placenta. The doctor says it happens sometimes. They don't mention that in the damned pregnancy books, do they?? It took about 5 or 6 months to fully feel ok again. *sigh*)