Well, we did it! We welcomed Mango (also known as James) to the world on April 3, 2013 at 4:03 am (note April 3 = 4/03, James was born at 4:03 – how lovely). It took a lot to get from 2:48am on April 2nd to 4:03am on the 3rd, so here we go: Mango’s birth story.
2:48am, April 2nd: I wake up, roll myself out of bed as per usual to head to the bathroom, only this time something is different. I’m wet. And getting wetter. And shaking…mostly out of nerves, as I know what is going on, but somehow I find myself incapable of believing what is going on. But it’s happening. I pull myself together, wander back into the bedroom, and wake up Chris. I tell him that my water broke; he replies Sweet! Somehow that wasn’t what I was thinking. I was thinking more along the lines of what do we do, who do we call, what in the world will the next how many hours look like?! We call the midwife; as I’m not having contractions, she tells us to go back to sleep and call again in the morning. Believe it or not, we managed to sleep for a while, only to wake earlier than usual thanks to excitement, nerves, both. Still no contractions, but the situation is gross, that I know.
Around 10am I headed upstairs to take a shower; the midwives call to say we should come in for a non-stress test just to make sure everything looks okay. At about noon I’m hooked up to the monitors and feeling minor contractions, though nothing regular or consistent.
They give us three options: induce labor now, go home and see if labor begins but then come back at 10pm for an induction, or go home and see if labor begins but then come back the following morning for an induction. We choose the go home option (at that point we didn’t know which of the two we were choosing).
So home we drive. We stop for a falafel along the way; all of it seems surreal. I get honked at while crossing the road – Chris is furious and I can’t help but chuckle at the thought of if only that idiot knew he just honked at a lady in labor…again, it’s all surreal.
The afternoon we spend contemplating what in the world is going on. We nap for a couple of hours. Given the grossness of the water breaking situation, I really didn’t feel like walking around much, so I didn’t…for a while. We play Scrabble in the late afternoon, and that was the point that I knew things were picking up because I didn’t care that Chris was beating me, and I couldn’t concentrate on making words. I’m not sure what that says about me if my labor is judged by Scrabble performance, but so it goes.
At that point, Chris tells me to start walking around in hopes that labor will pick up, so I do…and it does. I take a shower, things pick up more. We start timing contractions. They are about seven minutes apart. I can still talk through them. I keep walking; they keep getting stronger and closer together.
10pm approaches, and we are supposed to be back in the hospital. We call the midwife and ask if we can have a little more time at home – things are moving. She agrees, so I keep pacing. At 11pm we get in the car and head out…leaving our home as two for the last time. Again, it feels surreal.
The drive to the hospital is a blur of contractions and conversation…but mostly it’s just a blur.
Upon arrival, they check me in and have me lay in the hospital bed. Chris and I had talked about a code word that I was to use if I decided that I wanted drugs of some sort (so I had to think about it rather than just blurt out that I wanted pain medicine). After the first contraction laying down, I jokingly uttered a string of llama, llama, llama (the code word), only I was only half-kidding. Laying down was not a good place it seemed.
I sit back upright, focus on my breathing, stare at the monitors and the clock, work through the contractions. The midwife was awesome. I had not met her prior to our non-stress test earlier in the day, but she was incredible. She talked me through the contractions. Poor Chris kept trying to help, but I couldn’t have him touch me during the contractions, and even in between them I just felt so sensitive that his touch wasn’t helpful then either. He kept me hydrated with water the whole time, and that was the best thing he could do.
At some point things get intense. I think there was a tipping point: get the drugs or do something to work through it. The midwife had run me a tub and suggested I give that a try. I did. I don’t know if it helped or if it was just a change of scenery, but I dozed off for a while. Or maybe not dozed off, but I don’t remember getting into the tub or what followed, up until I came to having insanely strong contractions. Howl like an animal contractions. So I did. They hurt. A lot. And then kept getting stronger and closer together and I wondered if people in the halls could hear me. I also distinctly remember thinking I didn’t give a hoot if they could hear me, and that must mean things were serious if I was screaming at the top of my lungs and didn’t give a darn about the world hearing. So we labored on. Finally the midwife checked again, and it was time to start pushing. Except I had to get back to the bed first.
One contraction hugging Christopher later, I waddled to the bed and away we went. I have no idea how long it took, but it felt like forever, and no matter what anyone says, pushing is not the easy part. It hurt. A lot. James’ heart rate dropped a bit at some point, so they gave me oxygen and had me lay on my side. It helped – his heart rate came right back up, but not before the room went from a midwife, a nurse, me, and Chris to a midwife, a nurse, me, Chris, a pediatrician, a pediatrician assistant, an OBGYN, and an OBGYN assistant. We needed stadium seating…or at least they did. Anyways, I pushed away, sucked on the oxygen, pushed away some more. Chris was incredible – he was right in it, holding a leg, watching it unfold. For a man who thought the whole process would freak him out a bit, he was there…it was awesome.
Anyways, finally the head was out, then the shoulders, then all of James. Chris announced to me that we had ourselves a son – I only remember being absolutely in awe of what had just happened. James had the cord wrapped around his neck, but once that was gone, he hollered with the best of them. The whole audience immediately filed out (a la, the kid is fine, our job is done), and I was left to snuggle James, look in complete amazement at Christopher, and finish up the process of the afterbirth, the stitching, all that.
I guess most birth stories involve some kind of pain medication, because I was under the impression that the placenta doesn’t hurt, the stitching doesn’t hurt, the abdominal kneading doesn’t hurt…but it does. All of it does. Especially the stitching and the kneading. Good grief. But we had ourselves this guy, and that’s what matters…
Anyways, once all was said and done, I had quite a bit of blood loss, so they kept a close eye on me for a bit, but ultimately I was fine aside from having a gray tint for the first couple days. And James? Well he was, and is, absolutely incredible. A quiet, sleepy baby…so sweet and snuggly.
He measured 21 1/2 inches long (tall!) and weighed 7lbs 14oz. Our hearts are full of love for the tiny little being. We’re shell-shocked and fumbling new parents, but somehow we feel certain we’ll do just fine and laugh a whole lot along the way.
We are blessed. So very blessed.