Sunday, March 1, 2009

Oscar's Birth Story. Part Three.

(Part One. Part Two.)

Midnight was right around the corner. I knew that we were going to have our baby at any time now.

Any time!

My God.

My whole life was about to change. I was overwhelmed. Completely overwhelmed.

I had spent the last 41 weeks researching pregnancy and what to expect with that and with the changes in the body. I had researched what to buy in advance to be prepared for the arrival of the little guy. I had gotten the chemical cleaners out of the house. I had researched the use of pacifiers, studied up on circumcision, started to learn about the aluminum in vaccinations, learned what is the best crib to buy and why not to get a change table.

But nothing could prepare me for this time in my life. That I was about to birth my baby. About to bring a life into this world.

I got so emotional. I felt sick to my stomach (and I don't think it was the epidural talkin'!), I just held Donald's hand and stared at him.

And promptly fell asleep.

Seriously, I completely dozed off.

10 minutes later I woke up, asked for some juice and a cold cloth for my forehead. I wanted to be WIDE AWAKE for this one, let me tell ya'.

Like on our wedding day. The only thing that really mattered to me was the church part. I wanted to make sure I was fully aware and conscious and present for our vows. And I was - I remember every single detail of those moments as though I'm living them again right now. That's how I wanted to be during my little boy's birth.



It was time to push.

Selena talked us through various positions (wild positions! My God, I never would have imagined!) and I tried them all. She had to coach me as to where exactly to focus my push on (can you believe that?! It's quite funny now, but at the time I was terribly embarrassed - I didn't know where to focus my pushing! Selena piped up, "Of course you don't - you've never done it before. That's why I'm here." And I immediately felt more at ease and was able to relax and just go for it.)

She was a gem. She totally rocked. It was so nice and intimate, just the three of us in the delivery room. I had a wicked headache by this time though. And it was stealing my attention away from the birth. All I could feel was my head pounding. It felt like the worse hangover headache ever in the history of the world. It was, suddenly, all I could focus on. That damned headache. And whenever the cold cloth fell off my forehead, which was every four seconds, I'd ask for it to be put back on.

And not always very politely.

And Donald would put it back on.

And Selena would coach me in pushing.

And I would push.

And the cloth would fall off.

And I'd lose my focus.

And I'd get cranky.

Until I can't remember what happened to the cloth. It just disappeared. Or my focus returned. Or I realized that my baby boy was *this* much closer to being on the "outside"!

Either way, we pushed and pushed and got into different positions and pushed some more.

My husband was so strong for me. Coaching me along with Selena. And it was so nice when she had to step out the odd time, for just him and I to be there alone, pushing, breathing, focusing, birthing our baby boy!

Those were amazing moments that I'll cherish forever. Like the moments we said our vows.

Donald stayed "up above" with me. He told me later on that one of the things that kept him focused was watching Selena's face; her reaction each time a push brought Oscar further down. Apparently she lit right up. She was so encouraging. So amazing.

Another gal that was born to do this.

It's now been two hours of solid pushing.

She went to get the OB for an assessment.

The two hours of pushing, his position in the birth canal, married with the previous 55 hours of labour, was cause for concern.


He wasn't far enough down and they didn't want me to push anymore. The "norm" is 2 to 2.5 hours before there's an intervention - in my case anyways. I was shocked. I didn't think that there would be a time limit of 2 hours on pushing. But I see why. Now.

Dr. Yu was fantastic. She said, in a nutshell, that mom and baby were tired. We had spent 55 hours trying to get to this point, and we were both too tired to push any more.

She said we were looking at forceps or c-section. And she really wanted to avoid c-section. As did we. But we also wanted to avoid forceps!

But not meant to be.

We asked her if we could push another 1/2 hour and that's what we did. We knew we wouldn't push enough for him to come out, but at least we could help to bring him down a little more.

Next thing I knew, the army came in. The wonderful people who surrounded us to bring Oscar here safely. I was frozen me even more (I was all good until I saw the stirrup-like things for my legs. Jesus Christ.), and given a few moments for it to take effect.

Dr. Yu was all set. She asked me to push. I looked at Donald. I pushed with everything I had in me. And out his head came! And I could feel it! I pushed one more time and his shoulders came out. And I could feel that too! He was here! And I felt it! (I was so happy that I got to feel it, that I could feel him being born, even just a little) (trust me... I only wanted to feel it a little!). Donald jumped up and said he's here and for me to look and there he was, they were lifting him up. He was huge! And he was so long! That was my son down there!

And then he started to cry. And then I started to cry. I totally freaked out. That's my baby! Oh my God. That's my baby. That's our Oscar. It was magical. I was looking at this little being who had been inside of me for 41 weeks and here he was, in front of me. He made it. We made it.

He was COVERED in meconium. Absolutely covered. They promptly placed him on my chest and then realized he had swallowed a bit of it and took him off to the side to suction. They work so fast! All hands on deck. It was amazing to watch really, in hindsight, how they operate. It's like a ballet. They work so well together and so in sync. Just awesome.

However, at the time it was terrifying. My little guy had to be suctioned. Again and again and again. Over and over and over. And given oxygen. But in between all this suctioning, he was placed back on my chest twice!

Until he started to spit up brown frothy stuff and they'd take him away again, to the side, to suction and check on.

Donald did manage to get quite a few photos though, of him being weighed (8.4 lbs!) and measured (21 3/4 inches!) and of him on my chest.

Not only did he swallow a bit of meconium, but his little lungs were filled with amniotic fluid. Apparently during a natural birth alot of the fluid gets squeezed out of him when he's being squeezed out through the birth canal. And also alot of fluid comes out with their crying. (Who knew?!). But not so in this case. Not so for Oscar.

The pediatrician was telling me all of this, I think, or she told Donald and he told me later. Either way, next thing I knew, he was being taken to the nursery for care.

Donald went with him.

I saw the placenta in a container and fell asleep crying.

Going into this, from the get go, I was ok with whatever had to happen during delivery as long as it meant my little guy would be ok. That he'd make it here. That we'd both be safe. I was in no way, however, prepared for the level of trauma I'd feel seeing my son in an emergency situation. Nor how alone I'd feel, how utterly alone in the world I'd feel as I watched him being wheeled out of the room and away from me. If I was going through this, I thought, imagine how alone HE must feel. Coming into this world in such an abrupt manner, having to be suctioned, taken away from his mom so quickly... that all made my trauma that much worse. I hated that fact that he was alone. Yes, his dad was with him, but for 41 weeks my heartbeat would comfort him, and now that he needed comfort more than ever, that precious sound wasn't there. It was awful. It was horrendous. The only thing that kept me sane was the fact that he was getting the medical care that he so needed. And that his Dad was with him and talking to him and holding his little hand when he could.

As I'm writing this, Oscar is lying in his Amby next to me, snoring away, happy as a clam and healthy as a horse. And I make sure we have lots of skin-on-skin time. And he still falls asleep on my chest to the sound of my heartbeat. My little guy. He made it.

But the trauma was far from over. The emotional trauma was just setting in. We still had DAYS to go.


Mommy Project said...

I know exactly what you mean about the awful feeling of watching them being taken away from you ~just~ at the time when you feel they need you the most! That's the worst time for me (after the baby is born, but before I get to hold her-feels like an eternity).

Your story is incredible to read. Thanks for sharing it.

alix said...

Beautiful writing Stephanie. I hope this sharing allows you to let go of any residual trauma and know that all is well. You survived it together. Hoping the nursing is going better too.

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