Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Birth Story

Nine years ago today was the second birth I ever attended.

The mother's water broke at 10:15 p.m., just as she was finishing watching Michigan and Davidson play in the NCAA tournament (for her March Madness has forever after had a different association!).

She called her doctor, who said they like to have all women with broken water come in to the hospital right away. "But I'm not having contractions yet," the mother protested. "Well," the doctor countered, "sometimes they come on very quickly and we like to have you here."

Perhaps it was the power of suggestion, but the mother began having contractions as soon as she hung up the phone. She was excited and disbelieving with the first one: "Oh! This is one!" Her husband was grinning. You could tell they were thinking "it's really happening. Oh my."

They began moving around making plans for going to the hospital. They didn't have any living children (a prior pregnancy had been terminated at 20 weeks), so it was only a matter of getting The Bag. Another contraction happened soon after the first. The mother had to sit down and breathe through this one. "This is hard," she said when it was over. She walked toward the kitchen and had another contraction en route. The husband picked up his pace.

"I feel like I'm going to throw up," the wife said, sitting back in the living room with her eyes closed. Her husband got her a and empty large yogurt container and went out to brush off the car. He came back in for the mother and they walked out together, she leaning into him twice for contractions along the way.

By the time they got to the hospital she was contracting every 2-3 minutes and the contractions were lasting 1 1/2 - 2 minutes. In triage the nurse asked the usual questions: last menstrual period date, last meal, color of the fluid, while the mother struggled to undress. There was some confusion over the amniotic fluid color and the mother finally snapped to the nurse, "well look at the pad." The fluid was yellow (or was it? The mother later said she was using Seventh Generation pads with unbleached fiber; perhaps that was the source of the color) so it was assumed to have meconium.

The mother was 7.5 cm dilated when the nurse checked her, 100% effaced and zero station. They quickly wheeled her to a room where her doctor and a nurse were waiting. There was an awkward moment where the husband mistook the male nurse for the doctor and the female doctor for a nurse, but otherwise they quickly got settled. The mother labored on her side in the classic Bradley position with the husband guiding her through each contraction with the description of waves and floating up one side and down the other. Thankfully the doctor and nurse just sat in a corner and left the couple alone to labor.

Soon the mother said she wanted to push. The doctor checked and she was 9.5 cm. The nurse stepped in and helped the mother with some patterned breathing to keep her from pushing. Ten minutes later she was complete and pushing all out. Within a half hour she'd brought the baby down to where we could see a patch of head the size of a silver dollar. For ten more minutes she pushed without any progress. The doctor said, "I'm just going to make a little cut here," and before the mother knew it, she'd had an episiotomy.

The baby came out two pushes later. He was hurried over to the warmer for the pediatrician team to look him over, this meconium baby. All was well and he was soon brought back to the mother.

The baby was 8 lbs., 3 oz, born at 12:50 a.m. on March 14, less than 3 hours after labor started.

Happy ninth birthday, my elder son!



Anonymous kristina said...

Oh, you just made me cry. That punchline really got me, damn you. :)

6:39 PM  
Anonymous HollyRhea said...

Kristina makes me feel better, because I just cried, too. Of course, I'm pregnant and cry during commercials with violin music.

12:00 PM  
Blogger mm said...

Oh my gosh! Me three for crying. The last sentance just made it all the worse!
Happy birthday precious boy!
*whose bloglines is ignoring you lately. not sure why?

9:00 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

Wow! I actually thought it was kinda hokey. But I guess you're softies for birth stories just like I am! If it weren't my own, I'd have probably cried, too.

10:35 AM  
Blogger doulicia said...

p.s. I don't even know what bloglines is, mm, let alone why they're ignoring me.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When someone upgrades to the "new" Blogger, their entries no longer come up on Bloglines (a news reader). To fix this, the reader who was having the problem should just delete this blog from their Bloglines feeds list and then re-add it.

I hope this helps, and thanks for sharing your story!

4:15 PM  

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