I have so much to say and no way to say it, so many feelings I cannot comprehend - much less describe - that it has been overwhelming me day and night. I am in a different world than the one I lived in a week ago.
I need to tell the story, for him and for me - and for you, if it makes any difference at all. If not, that's fine too.
I had plans for this birth. After years of listening to my mother, aunts, sisters and friends, months of reading and planning and praying, weeks of childbirth class (which I was grateful for), this is what I had:
Plan A - Water breaks and labor progresses quickly. I don't need Pitocin or an epidural, I can handle the pain as long as it doesn't last too long. I am walking/moving/standing for most of labor and delivery, finding what works best for me. I am well-rested and fed before going to the hospital, snacking when I need to, also I don't tear much.
Plan B/C/D/ - Water doesn't break on its own, I may have to be induced. But I'm pretty well dilated and it still goes quickly. I hold out as long as I think possible before getting an epidural (at least until I'm at 5 cm) because really, I don't want those drugs in my baby. I sleep when I can and eat the snacks in my bag ... we take things as they come.
Worst-case Scenario - However labor starts, it doesn't progress because my contractions don't seem to make a difference. (Just like over the last FOUR MONTHS.) My body's not quite sure how to do this whole thing. The word "Posterior" comes up.
So on Memorial Day my family drove up Uintah Canyon for a little picnic near the river. On the way Lana was asking me how big I thought the baby was. "Pretty big," I replied. "Not that I have a frame of reference or anything, but I feel like he's at least seven or eight pounds. That's my guess anyway."
That evening, Slice and I picked up around the house and snacked and talked. He gave me a blessing, and at midnight we climbed into bed. He was promptly asleep.
At 12:05 my water broke. I woke Slice and got up, headed for the shower, giving last-minute instructions and otherwise trying not to freak out. We packed the last few things in the hospital bag, ate a little bit (NOT ENOUGH), wrote a note for Angie, and stopped by the golf course on the way to the hospital.
We checked in about 1:30, I was not even dilated to a 2. I laid in bed for a couple hours hooked up to the monitors. No change. We walked for over an hour and sat for two more; after I took another shower a nurse braided my hair for me. My baby wasn't moving, so the nurse put me on a water drip after giving me a second IV. (I may or may not have eaten some fruit snacks to get him moving again.)
At 7:00 I was a 3 and "still thick." The Dr. came in to explain that if I didn't progress, I would need either Pitocin or antibiotics to prevent infection. (I already knew that.) My contractions were quite hard but not frequent enough - 5 to 8 minutes apart instead of 4. They just weren't working yet.
By noon I was only a 4, and they started me on a low dose of Pit. I cried for the first time. For the last several hours I had been getting up for every contraction because I couldn't bear to sit through them. I was shaking from lack of food and sleep. Although the Pit wasn't supposed to start working for about an hour, my contractions picked right up. I stood and shook for a while before I finally told Slice I needed something to help with the pain. The nurse gave me something that helped me relax; I slept between contractions and ate about half a banana.
At 2:00 I was shaking and crying again, in a lot of pain. Knowing what was ahead just made me despair. I was at a 5 when the nurse called the anesthesiologist in. I had maybe another hour of rest before the back labor hit.
For the next four hours I breathed and hummed and cried, squeezing Slice's hand, as the back labor intensified. My baby was posterior and the epidural wouldn't help with back pain; there was nothing anyone could do. No matter what Slice tried, no matter how I tried, I could not calm down or stop shaking.
My mother came in at the end of transition. Beforehand I wasn't sure if I wanted her there, but oh how I needed her when she came. She held me and cried with me, reminding me (only by her presence) that she had gone through the same and worse - for ME.
Before I felt ready at all, the nurse announced it was time to push, and called for the doctor. I tried to push as I was instructed - no instincts here, apparently - but every time I pushed the pain got worse afterwards. I tried and tried, apologizing for the tears. Everyone told me I was doing great but I knew they were lying; he wasn't coming. The doctor tried the suction cup over and over. I could not get him out.
Near the end, Slice tried to encourage me by reminding me we were going to get a baby out of all this. That didn't help me at all. My motives were selfish: get me out of this pain. Also by this point I was GONE. I wasn't hearing what anyone was saying or seeing faces anymore... I was just there, pushing.
I pushed for about 45 minutes before I got fed up and kept on pushing, after contractions and without contractions. I didn't stop. After what seemed like forever (and some cutting and tearing), my son was born. It was 5:54 PM.
They laid him on my stomach for a moment, for an eternity. Nothing in this world can prepare you for that. I stared in wonder, Slice cried. A piece of heaven came into that room for Slice and me to love forever.
And now I'm crying as I write this. Oy.
My baby was 8 pounds 3 ounces, perfect and healthy and more beautiful than any newborn I have ever seen. He eats and sleeps and grins, every once in a while. He didn't come the way I planned, but he came just the same. He shall be known as Liam on this blog - just because I can.
He is mine, and I love him.