Friday, November 18, 2011

Your Story

 Dearest Ori,

You are 8 weeks old today, oh my, how fast time goes.  You are already SO big!  You are almost the length of the bathtub and changing mat we've been using..if this growth rate keeps up, soon you won't fit in the bed!  Our miniature Barcelona apt is bursting at the seams.  Everyday I stare at you and it's hard to believe with all that you've grown you actually came out of me.  But you did, and this is your story..

The only thing I knew for certain about labor was that there was no way to know what was to come until it came.  During my pregnancy I talked to you, tried to prepare both of us for what was to come.  I told you not to be afraid, that we would do it together, and the quicker the better- boy did you listen!

I woke up on Thursday morning feeling pretty good.  I was a little crampy, but with no signs that this was happening anytime soon.  We were waiting, patiently.  My mucous plug had come out over the previous couple of days and I had a little bit of bloody show as well, so I knew things were starting, but there were no contractions and I felt more or less the same as I had over the last few weeks-- tired, huge and overheated! I had let my midwife know the day before that there were some early signs of things getting going, but that there was nothing else of interest happening.  On that Thursday morning our obstetrician, Arianna, called to let us know that our midwife was at another birth so we should called her directly in the event that things were to get going that day.  I laughed her off, telling her that I felt fine, a little of this and that, but without any serious action. 

"The Plan" was to labor at home as much as possible once labor started and then go to the hospital once labor had advanced enough, but not too much since I'd had a positive strep B culture and would need to get IV antibiotics at least 4 hours before you were born.  The antibiotics were by far my least favorite part of your birth, but it was either take them or risk having you picked at and poked once you were out which wasn't my second choice either.

 My mom came over from the apartment that she was staying in and and we all had lunch together.  We ate salad and Andrea made toast. I was feeling more crampy, and looking back on it now, I was having a few sporadic contractions.  All the books say that labor often starts and stops for first timers, so I didn't say anything to anyone, I just breathed and kept eating my salad.  If only I had known what was to come, I may have chosen a more labor appropriate meal.

I was still snacking post lunch...sneaking a  few little bites of ice cream from the freezer.. and your dad and I were casually chatting about some things we needed around the house so we decided that we would take a trip to the hardware store that afternoon.  Everybody says that walking helps along labor, so we thought it would be a good way to encourage things to get going.  But as I was setting up the first parts of the crib (still in the box!), I started not to feel so good.  More cramps and some tightening in my belly.  Your Nana and auntie Drea had gone to the beach to soak up the last few rays of September sun, and your dad was finishing the last few articles for the newspaper he was working for.  One too many bites of ice cream I thought, so I decided to lay down for a bit to rest before going out to run errands. 

I had a few more contractions and started to think that maybe we should be timing these, nah, it's early I said to myself.  I still didn't think that this was it.  My mom called to check in and we talked for a bit until I had the biggest contraction yet and had to hang up.  This was at about 5pm at which point I felt the urge to use the bathroom.  I sat down and proceeded to have 2 or 3 more intense contractions one right after another.  I told your dad to hand me my phone to time them.  They started coming stronger and faster and with more intensity.  1, 2, 3...10 contractions. Lasting each a minute, with about 2-3 minutes between them.  But aren't they supposed to come every 5 minutes before things get real? This is going to stop and start I thought.  I was seriously uncomfortable at this point. Your dad called Arianna and she told us to call back in an hour to see how things were progressing.  Somewhere in the middle of all these contractions my mom and sister returned from the beach, your nana took one look at me and said, you need to go to the hospital, now! I wasn't thinking rationally at that point, the pain was so intense and it was all happening so fast that I didn't know what I needed.  All I could do was sit on the toilet, clutching a roll of toilet paper in one hand and a plastic tub in the other. About 40 minutes went by and Lorenzo called the Arianna again, at which point we all realized that "the Plan" to labor at home had already happend and now it was time to go to the hospital...Nana went downstairs and in her broken spanglish tried to stop at least one taxi with people riding in it, they looked at her like she was crazy and kept on going.  She did managed to hail two cabs though and I waited for the last contraction to pass before attempting to make it down the stairs.  Your dad and I rode in one cab and your auntie and nana in another. I needed space, so I rode alone in the back with your dad in the front passenger seat.  I sat there, with my roll of toilet paper holding my head up and the plastic tub breathing through the contractions as best I could.  I have no idea what it must have looked like, at rush hour, desperately clutching a roll of toilet paper next to my face...The exhaust fumes from all the motos on Avenida Diagonal almost killed me, but I still remember how wonderful the wind felt on my face.  The car ride was pretty much unbearable with all the start and stop through traffic, I just concentrated on breathing and somehow we the front visitors entrance.  The thought of getting back in the cab to go around the block was too much to take so we decided to unload there.  Your dad opened the door for me and I looked at him like, do you really think I am going to WALK? "Wheelchair, please". Once inside  I asked for water, but the nurses on call wouldn't give me any.  They were talking about epidurals etc.  I begged, "please I don't want an epidural, I want water!". After awhile they relented and gave me water. The nurse on call was having trouble getting the IV in place for the antibiotic, but after a few tries she got it. I felt a rush of heat when the drip started and I went and sat on the toilet again.  When I dreamt of this moment I had imagined showers and massages to get through the pain, but in the end I didn't want to be touched, the only thing I wanted was to sit on the toilet holding my roll of toilet paper.

I started to make sounds with each contraction, I felt like an animal.  Making this sound was the only way to deal with the pain. Your dad was nervous, I could tell, but he kept it together and did exactly what I asked him to do...not to touch me or tell me how great I was doing, just to be there, to lean on and silently support me. Since we were doing things a little differently than most births at this hospital, they moved us to a more private room.  Although from what my mom said afterward, she and my sister and the entire nursing staff were with us during the birth.  I was so loud nobody on the floor could have ignored me.  Arianna checked me and said I was at 3 or 4cm dilated and 100% effaced.  From what I had read I knew that meant it if I relaxed this could all happen very fast.

The room lights were dimmed and I moved from the toilet to a low stool by the side of the bed.  I held on to the bedside railing for the next few hours.  The next day I realized I had bruises on my forearms from how tightly I had hung on to that thing.  At some point not long after moving from the bathroom to the stool I started to push, almost involuntarily.  It wasn't that I had a huge urge, it was just my body that started encouraging me to do so.  Arianna checked me and I was at 9,5cm. 

I pushed and pushed and we could see a little patch of blond, but that was the only thing we saw for a good were stuck and wouldn't budge.  Your heartbeat stayed strong though so I kept on pushing.  At one point we tried to hear your heartbeat and couldn't and everyone in the room got really quiet and scared, your dad especially, but once I changed positions there you were again.  I got up on the bed and at that point everybody started to cheer me on, and I pushed and I roared and I pushed some more, I turned onto my side and all of a sudden your little head slid out.  Your dad was really excited, babbling all sorts of hoorahs and I felt huge relief.  One more push and out you slid with a gush of liquid.  You came out pooping! They lifted you into my arms and you looked at me with those huge blue eyes of yours.  You were gurgling from all the amnoitic fluid still in your lungs and looking a little bewildered.  It was a moment unlike any other.  Your dad hugged Arianna and came over to meet you.  I held you.  Seeing your face for the first time all sweet and wide eyed was probably the most vivid moment I've ever lived.  You took your time, but finally let out a yelp and proceeded to cry and cry and cry for the next hour.  Your hand had been up by your head when you came out and we're pretty sure the shock sent you reeling...but you settled down after that and took to nursing like a champ.

You were born on Sept 22, 2011 at 23:48, weighing in at 3kg 927grms (8lbs, 7oz).   I fell in love with you the instant I saw you and everyday I fall a little more..