Remember that time I was hugely pregnant? I’ll give you a little reminder:
I’m actually having a contraction in that photo… Notice the shark? It acted as a harbinger of the gory mess that was to come.
Something you may already know or have figured out about me is that I am a huge control freak. Emphasis on the ‘huge’ and ‘freak’… and ‘control’. For my last two children, I conspired with my body and my doctor to have them born on the day of my choosing. Not by elective procedures, but by the power of my mind. I love my doctor and I wanted to make sure that I delivered on days I knew she would be at the hospital on call. The first time, a combination of raspberry leaf tea and ungainly sexual acts produced contractions and a baby on the day I wanted. The second time around, I delivered on the day but four hours too early, so I missed my doctor. It was the most stressful of all my labours and I blame poor timing.
This time, I wanted to make sure this baby didn’t come too close to daughter’s birthday and my anniversary which are the 10th and 11th of August, respectively. I aimed for the 12th. I really didn’t think my body could hold on to the baby any longer. The 12th came and went, no baby. I tried all my usual methods (I owe my husband an apology for that). I messaged my doctor – we text each other these days because we are close like that – and she said the next day she could be on-call was the 18th. THE 18TH?!!! I could not envisage being pregnant for that much longer. My belly was huge. I was in a considerable amount of pain and I had no air conditioning and I didn’t think my family could put up with me for any longer. We waited. And waited. And waited. I cheered up a bit for everyone’s sake. Sort of.
The day rolled around and I drank my tea. I actually went in to see one of my doctor’s colleagues and had my cervix rimmed. If you have ever separated skin from a chicken breast, it is sort of like that, except with your cervix. It feels just as good as you would expect it to feel. I didn’t force any nookie on M this time, because NO. We walked around the block (read: waddled). Contractions began. This was the first time I had a labour that was slow in starting and I wasn’t sure how to deal. I played ‘Heads Up’ with my family as we waited for things to progress, put the kids to bed and finally decided to go to the hospital. I was in a great mood. I was barely in any pain.
By the time I was checked out, I was 4-5 cm dilated. My lovely doctor had come in just to deliver my baby! Success! I control EVERYTHING!!! I asked her to break my water to get the party started. GREAT IDEA, RIGHT? Contractions went from laughable to SERIOUS and I jumped in the shower for over an hour to deal with the pain. Don’t you love when the nurses come in every 15 minutes or so to listen to the heartbeat of your baby? I loved it so much I almost rammed the doppler down my nurses throat. I was calm and kind, though. On the outside. Mike was an awesome labour coach and coaxed and encouraged me quietly and from a safe distance. Good man.
By the time I had been in the shower for over an hour, I thought I might like to be checked. They said I was 5-6 cm! BULLSHIT!! I almost lost it then. I was already thinking about when I could duck out for a nap. I was so tired I could barely sit up! How was I supposed to get to 10 cm and then push for crying out loud? Well, the answer, it turns out, is: Painfully.
I turned on my side and laboured in a fetal position until I got the feral urge to push. I had made the most ungodly, animalistic noises to get to this point. At one moment, I was bellowing like Tarzan, and the next, I was bleating like a lamb. It wasn’t pretty. I was in so much pain, my mom almost passed out in solidarity.
Pushing time. All I can say about this part is holy hell. The baby kept leaping to one side of my abdomen every time I had a contraction. See? He wanted to run away too! Since that wasn’t physically possible, I decided to end the torture for the both of us and get him OUT! I visualized pushing him across the room and out he popped, kicking all the way out.
Here he is! My 8 lb 1 oz bundle of pure joy and agony. The sweetest agony possible.
I held him and marvelled at him for a good long time after I cried and laughed at the same time. I was so exhausted and in awe and disbelief at what my body had just endured. My body was in disbelief too, and tried to make its’ displeasure known. I started shaking quite a bit and had about 10 warming blankets and a ginger ale on board before I calmed down. We decided on to name him Baby J.
The rest is history, or another blog post, at the very least. Stay tuned for: What No One Tells You: The aftermath of labour. Alternate titles: Swelling Where No One Should Swell, Measuring My Pee, and Holy Crap! Have You Seen My Boobs?!
A few more pictures to make you go “Awwww!”
A little and big sister.