Monday, May 5, 2014

A Pregnant Pause

I am not setting out to write my "mom-iors", but for posterity sake I wanted to document my entrance into motherhood as it has been the most significant metamorphosis that I have undergone in my 30 years on this earth. I started writing Vivi a letter during my pregnancy telling her about the most significant events, her first kicks, seeing her do cartwheels on the ultrasound, but as soon as she arrived I have proven to be a slacker of a mother, or as I like to sugarcoat it a "prioritize-r". I have always been a voyeur of others birth experiences, I am fascinated by birth and the unifying experience it provides all mothers, no matter how their babies arrive. I watched birth videos long before I was pregnant, deleting my history so Seth wouldn't get any crazy ideas. I was set on the birth experience that I wanted, and viewed it as a spiritual transformation. I would go in a woman, but come out a MOTHER. Seth and I took the standard birthing class, I read all of the hippie birthing books, Ida May, Birthing From within etc. I took to doing a pregnancy meditation every night as my favorite granola midwife suggested. I did prenatal yoga and ran up until 35 weeks. I didn't realize it until months after Vivi was born, but I liked pregnancy, I was good at it and most things felt well within my control. Then came my 38 week appointment. The nurse took my weight and height and had me sit for my blood pressure. She gave me a look and said, "I swear I heard something at 150, but that can't be right because I didn't hear anything else until 122." The midwife suggested that we take another reading before I left to be on the safe side, the rest of the appointment was uneventful, but when my blood pressure was taken again, it was still in the 150's. They took an electronic reading and it continued to be high, I had no protein in my urine, but was directed to the OB Triage for a battery of tests. Once there I was connected to fetal monitors, my blood was drawn and a non-stress test was preformed. Everything came back normal, baby was healthy and happy, but my blood pressure continued to remain high. I was given a large plastic bladder and instructed to fill it with 24 hours worth of my urine and sent home. I figured that my co-workers would not appreciate putting their lunches next to my urine bag, so I stayed home from work on Friday, with instructions to come in Monday to clinic for a follow up. I spent Friday peeing and saving it, getting things together for the baby and of course fretting about my blood pressure. We returned to the clinic on Monday, and I was prepared for the worst, that I would need to be induced. Seth was still living in denial and was making plans for the following day, but I knew we were headed for delivery. Sure enough my blood pressure was sky high, and we were told to pack our bags and have one last meal together as we were to report for induction that evening. The midwife checked me and I was 1 cm and 10% effaced. She stripped my membranes (which is no dance around the maypole)and we were sent home to pack our bag. I was surprisingly calm about all of this, I thought that there would be more gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, but I accepted my fate and showed up to the hospital ready to have my baby. We were placed in "the good room" with a tub and the portable electronic monitors, I was given cervidil to get the party started and told to just lie flat and try to sleep and they would check me in the morning to see if I had made any progress. It was not the most restful night of sleep, as I was connected to a blood pressure cuff, two fetal monitors and had started having back labor. Seth was also on his own torture device which resembled a two by four with some padding. The following morning I was checked and was told that I was now a 3 and 80% effaced, I was told that I could labor without pitocin and they would see if my body would take over and go into labor on it's own. Vivi was turned slightly up, and the midwife suggested that we try to "Rebozo" her into place. This technique consisted of me on all fours while the midwife jostled my belly with a sheet. Say what you will about natural birthing practices, but that shit worked, back labor, gone. I got in the shower and the contractions all but went away, I was feeling discouraged as I really did not want to have Pitocin, but by the time I was out of the shower lotioning up, the contractions were back, and building momentum. I got on the birthing ball while Seth worked on his laptop. I remember thinking "I thought I would have more time between these bastards". The contractions were coming 2-3 minutes apart, my mom stopped by for a visit, and I would have to stop talking to concentrate on breathing, but the pain was manageable. Seth continued his love affair with his mistress, physics, until the midwife suggested I get in the tub. I labored in the tub while Seth poured water over my belly, the contractions were becoming intense and I was no longer able to stay loose while they were happening. At some point I ended up on all fours in the tub, hanging my belly in the water. I was so out of it but had the wherewithal to know that I needed to poop...NOW, and above all else, I did not want to bathe in my own shit. As soon as I sat on the toilet, my water broke. The midwife asked me if I had any thoughts on where I would like to have the baby. "Right here" I replied, as the thought of moving seemed unmanageable to me. The midwife assured me that she had delivered babies over the toilet before, but suggested I move to the bed. I am unsure how long I pushed, and hour? Two? I know that I pushed in every position possible. The midwife asked if I was feeling the pain while I was pushing. Bitch must be crazy if she thought I couldn't feel it. "You need to push into that" which was the last thing I wanted to hear after enduring a natural labor, but I did, and after a few concentrated pushes, she was out. Crying and wide eyed. She was so alert and observant from the beginning, as Seth will proudly tell you, she is setting herself up for a lifetime of observation as a scientist. I was riding on Oxycontin high, I had never felt more powerful and yet weak in my entire life. Here I had brought this person into the world, and now I felt helpless as how to protect her, and that was all my brain could think was "I must make you LIVE". I wish that my next verse could be about how I loved her from the first minute, how I had never known a love like this before and how we all walked blissfully into the sunset. But that is not how it went down. I knew one thing, and one thing only and that was I was responsible for this person, and somewhere in my brain some wires must have crossed and equated parental responsibility with NEVER SLEEPING AGAIN. Little did I know, but I was standing on the platform of the crazy train, with my ticket punched, ready to board.


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