The "Honeymoon period" was bliss, and pretty un-eventful, which is good, 'cause I need to skip this part of the story so I can get the birth story done before the baby contest closes!
We decided it was time to have a baby, 'cause I wasn't really going anywhere with any sort of career ideas, so it would make more sense to have the kid(s) now, and work on a career later, as opposed to waste more years working dead-end jobs with no end in sight. We also felt pretty tied down with all of our pets (around 18 at this time, including chickens) and our house, so we weren't going to be traveling anytime soon, so it seemed like having the kid(s) young would be a better choice so that we'd still be somewhat young when they moved out.
The pregnancy was much like this one, though I was sick for 5 months straight instead of just three. I had switched from working at the hardware store working with chemicals to working at a steak house a few nights a week instead. My hips were really sore during that pregnancy as well, and I was just as exhausted. But, it was easier, 'cause I only had myself to look after really, and could sleep in to all hours of the day, only getting up to eat and take lazy swims in the river. I had pretty much quit working in my seventh month of pregnancy, only taking the odd shift here and there after that point.
I went into labour the evening of July 06, 05. I have no idea how far apart the contractions were, I might have the details in Cherry's baby book, but she's sleeping right now and the book is in her room. Anyway, the contractions were regular, and probably like 10-15 minutes apart. They made my bum hurt. I was able to sleep between the contractions, but would wake up for each one. I would lightly moan with each one, and Armondo would make fun of me, saying it sounded like I was make s3x noises. These contractions continued on through the next day, which Armondo took off work, and again through that night and into the next day. Armondo had just started a new job where he was the manager, so he had to return to work that next day, since not much new was happening. My midwife was a total sweet heart and came to my house and hung out with me all day, just reading while I moaned and tried to sleep in the next room. She didn't want to leave me alone, and was there to check how dilated my cervix was every hour or so.
I remember asking her what we were waiting for, why weren't we going to the hospital yet, and she responded telling me that the contractions still had to get worse, that I was only going through "soft labour" and that I had a ways to go. I was totally baffled that she'd call this "soft labour" considering how much pain I was in, and how long I had been feeling it, but when 4pm came around that day, on July 8th, I understood what she had meant.
All of a sudden, the contractions came faster and harder. One after the other, with barely any time to breath or talk in between. She checked my cervix, and I still had some ways to go, but by 6pm, after the most painful car ride I've ever experienced, we were in the hospital room. Armondo arrived around the same time, and one of my friends, C.D. was there to help me out as well. Luckily, we were the only ones in the maternity ward that Friday evening, so I got the "good" room that had its own bath and shower.
I don't think I ever got mean or anything, but the pain was intense. I asked for drugs almost as soon as we got there, and the anesthesiologist was called. I was told he was an hour away, which upset me greatly, but they tried to tie me over by giving me some laughing gas, which was totally nasty and didn't work at all, and some other drug, which also didn't work.
Because the anesthesiologist was involved, this automatically meant that there needed to be an O.B. present, and that my midwife couldn't deliver the baby. It also meant that I had to wait for him to show up as well before the epidural could be done. The anesthesiologist started to get me ready for the epi, but it wasn't until two hours after the original call that I got the actual procedure.
I remember before they would let me have the epi. that I had to read and sign the release form that basically said I could become paralyzed for life and that I couldn't sue them for it. I couldn't read it myself, so C.D. read it out loud for me. She would read a bit, then stop while I had a contraction. Then read, then stop. Then read, then stop. I was getting so pissed off! I wanted her to just read the damn thing so I could sign it and get the procedure! Of course, her taking a little longer to read it wasn't actually making it take any longer to happen, but at the time, I wasn't thinking overly rationally!
They also hooked me up to a catheter, which, I'm telling you was pretty darn neat. Just sayin.
When the epidural finally happened, I was so happy! I felt really good. I could still feel the contractions, but they didn't hurt, they felt more like mild gas. My bliss didn't last for long though, as I was hungry, and dang, I wanted an Oreo! C.D. was just about to hand me one when one of the nurses started freaking out. "You can't eat once you've had an epidural!"
"WHAT?!?" I was pissed off! I was starving! I had been in all sorts of pain before and couldn't eat, and now I had relief, and they wouldn't feed me! "I don't remember ANYTHING about that in the form I had to sign!" It was around 9 pm.
They told me to try to get some sleep for the next little while while we waited for the baby's head to drop, and perhaps, for my water to break. I wasn't able to sleep, as I was too excited, or wound up, or whatever, but Armondo went out into the hall and caught some winks. C.D. stayed and chatted with me.
They had to manually break my water, and when they did, there was mechonium present. (In layman's terms, it meant the baby had pooped inside.) This is not a good thing, and it usually means that the baby has ingested some of the mech. and needs to have her lungs and/or stomach pumped. So, as soon as the mechonium was detected, the pediatrician had to be called in so she could prepare to clean the baby out.
Hours passed and her head wouldn't drop. Finally, around midnight, it was time to start to think about pushing. At this point, they lowered the dose on the epidural and the pain started to come back. I was getting upset about this, but they assured me that the dose had to be lowered for two reasons 1)you don't want to over-drug the baby, and 2) you need to feel the contractions to know when to push.
Then the pushing started around 1am.
I had been told that I would probably poop myself during delivery, and I wasn't looking forward to that. I had actually tried to poop earlier in the evening so that I would be empty before delivery, and hadn't had any luck. I expressed my concerns, and was told that it was completely normal to poop yourself, and that it was sort of like rabbit pellets, and to not worry about it. So, I sort of got used to the idea. That is, until the O.B. started to tell me to "Push like you're the most consitpated you've ever been in your life." He was telling me, basically to poop myself. Not like the pooping part was an accident, but it was a DELIBERATE thing. They were right though, it was just like rabbit pellets, and the nurses would clean me up quickly after every little bit. I was taking a long time, so the O.B. left to go do something or other and left me in the care of the nurses and my midwife. I was trying all sorts of positions to push in. Her head just wouldn't drop, and I was in a LOT of pain again. I would go on my side, I would go on my back. At one point, I got up and sat on the little portable potty to try to see if gravity would help. I was so much more comfortable in that position than any other, and said I wanted to stay there, and push my baby out in there. (They took the bucket thing underneath out, I was basically just sitting on the ring.) One of the nurses told me "I don't know of any doctors out there that would deliver a baby on a toilet! Get yourself back on the bed!"
These nurses seemed really mean at this point! I wasn't even allowed a hot water bottle on my lower back 'cause "Once you have an epidural, you can't have a hot water bottle." I sure as heck didn't read THAT in the form either.
Finally, the kid started to move down. Apparently the reason why I was in so much pain was because I was fully dilated (for hours) but her head hadn't dropped into the cervix, which is supposed to provide some sort of relief.
So, I pushed and pushed some more. I felt my cervix rip open as a huge head passed through, and was totally shocked when, much later, the O.B. told me that the head had come through the vagina. Basically, you can feel two pains. One, as your cervix is being ripped open, and another as your vagina is being ripped open. At one point, the O.B. asked me if I wanted to reach down and touch her crowning head, to which I replied with a loud "NO" (I just wanted the baby out, no time spent messing around touching her head!) and at 2:55 am after two hours of pushing, on July 9th, I gave birth to a 7lb, 15 oz, 21 inch long baby girl, with a cord wrapped around her neck. (The possible reason why she didn't drop easily.) She was a week "late".
I didn't get to see her right away, as she was swept away to the pediatrician who sucked all the mechonium out of all of her airways. I had been warned this would happen, and took it in stride.
The nurses were all helping the ped. and the O.B. was still focused on me. "Ok, now I need you to push one more time to push the placenta out."
"I can't push again!" I cried.
"Yes you can, I need you to push just one more time!"
"I can't do it!" I whimpered. I was so exhausted and so overwhelmed that I just couldn't imagine pushing one last time. But I did. And it was easy. "Ploop" the placenta popped out. I had been worried over nothing, and the O.B. knew it and sort of laughed at me.
They placed the large, slimy, looking like a cow liver thing on a table at the end of the bed and the O.B. poked at it and showed me the various parts of it in an attempt to distract me from the drama that was happening over on the heating table.
The O.B. told me to not worry that I wasn't hearing any crying. It wasn't until that point that I even realized that there was anything odd about not hearing crying. My support team was great at keeping poker faces as the baby's first Apgar score came in at a 1/10. Basically, she was barely breathing, was blue, wasn't moving or responding, and was in a lot of trouble. Later, C.D. would tell me that she thought that Cherry was dead. I didn't find this out until months later.
Daddy's little girl!
Armondo held her first, carrying her over to me, and I held her for a bit before passing her back to her Daddy. I think the nurses were a little shocked that I handed her over so quickly, but I had read somewhere that it was important for new fathers to handle their babies for at least 10 minutes of their first hour of life in order to really get the bond happening. As the mother who had been carrying her for over 9 months, I knew I'd already bonded, and that I'd have plenty of time to do some more bonding.
C.D. then left, and Armondo, my midwife, my new baby and I were left alone in the room. My midwife told me that I had to stay in the birthing room until I could get up and pee by myself before I would be moved to a real room. It wasn't until an hour or so later that I was complaining that I still couldn't move really, and my midwife figured out that the epidural hadn't been turned off, and was still supplying me with a small amount of drugs. It was enough that I couldn't really sit up, but not enough that it was completely obvious that I was still hooked up. So, the midwife had to track down a nurse to turn it off, and 15 minutes later one came in and did so.
I then had the most painful pee I had ever had in my life. I was dirty, and bloody, and not wanting to sit down on a toilet, so the midwife suggested I take a shower and try to pee while in the shower. I cried it hurt so much! I hadn't really "torn" when Cherry came through, but I did have what the O.B. called a "scuff", which didn't require stitches. Peeing on it hurt. That, and I had had a catheter, so there was that bonus pain.
Around 5 am I was moved to the other room, where I was instructed how to breast feed, and Armondo crashed on a cot. Cherry slept on my chest for a couple of hours and then fed again. Armondo left early in the morning in order to get some sleep at home before his work shift (it really sucked, but it was a new job, and they really needed him to be there) and to phone all the relatives. I had told Armondo to just stay home if he was too tired, and that work would understand, and to phone me later.
I slept through most of the morning, waking up to attempt to go tot he bathroom and clean myself up once in awhile, and also to eat. At one point a nurse came in to take Cherry to have a bath, and again, I surprised the nurse when I said I didn't want to join her and would rather take the time to have a good amount of time in the bathroom to clean up. I guess I wasn't giving off the whole "protective, loving mother" vibe.
Cherry was feeding well and often, and I was ready to go home. At one point I asked the nurse when I'd be able to go, and she told me that the midwife had been in while I was sleeping and had said that I needed to stay there for the day. "*A* day?" I asked, or "THE day?"
"A day" she replied. Once again, I got pissed off.
By 3pm, Armondo still hadn't called or shown up or anything, so I called him to find out if he had gone to work or stayed home. Turns out he had stayed home and that there were all sorts of relatives of his over at the house, and that he was waiting for ME to call. (I guess he didn't get enough sleep, 'cause that totally wasn't what we agreed upon!) It was during that phone call that I told him that I had to stay the night. He told me he was on his way, and asked if I was up to having visitors, to which, I said "yes".
After the phone call, and before Armondo arrived, my midwife came in to see me. Turns out she had actually said I should stay there for THE day to get some rest, and not for A day. I could go home!
When Armondo arrived with his hoard of relatives, I told him the news. Turns out that they had all car-pooled and he had left our car, with the car seat at home. He didn't think that I was going home, so he didn't think to bring the car seat! So, his step-father drove him back to our house to get the car and left me with his crazy mother and aunt who insisted on dressing Cherry up and posing her with silly bows on her head for photos. (Of which I never got a copy.) At the time I thought it was crazy what they were doing, and was more inclined to take pictures of her bow-less. But, really, the bow pictures turned out really cute, and I wish I had a copy!
Then, I got changed and ready to go, and at around 5pm I was headed home. It was July, and hot and my MIL was trying to get us to put multiple layers of clothing on Cherry before taking her out into the "elements" and then wrap her up in blankets in the car seat, to which I refused and did much eye rolling. As we were walking to our cars, Armondo and the in-laws were all discussing which RESTAURANT we should go to for dinner. Now, I wasn't one of those germ-freak mothers right off the bat, but I couldn't bring myself to take my less-than-one-day-old-newborn out to a public place like a RESTAURANT. That, and I was bleeding like crazy and bloated from all the IV fluid I had pumped in me for hours the night before. (In fact, I had so much fluid in me, that when I got home and weighed myself, I hadn't actually lost ANY weight!)
So, I refused to go out for dinner, and felt like a party pooper, and everyone else left and went to dinner without us.
And we took our new baby girl home!