Milestone Monday March 10, 2008/Jaden’s Birth Story

I was inspired a few weeks ago by another mom-blogger to re-tell Jaden’s birth story.Why I’m doing this in the milestone entry is because, in all honesty, my fear of the coming delivery is all I can remember from this week. I need to get this out. Bare with me.

Some of you already know the story but for those that don’t know me and/or have been lucky enough to escape my retelling I will only say this: It’s not a pretty story but let’s face it, most birth stories aren’t. The only thing that’s beautiful is the baby itself and even that is all covered in nastiness you’d rather not read about.

Jaden Sophia Bingmar was due to arrive June 22, 2005. We all know that due dates mean nothing and do nothing except give the mother-to-be a goal to reach before she can demand they take the dang thing out already. For those of you who have never had a child it’s all too easy to say, “The baby will come when it’s ready. Just hang in there and be patient.” Bollucks to being patient I say! And I did say it on June 21 when I could’ve sworn I was having real live contractions.

I was at work and all morning had been experiencing some very noticeable tightening of my belly. I was one of the “lucky” few who never experienced Braxton hicks (false labor) contractions and seeing as it was so close to my due date I naively thought, “OH! This is it!” Never mind that every single appointment of the last month had shown my cervix to be stubbornly closed and Jaden to still be resting rather high up for a baby in the last month of incubation. Whatever, it was my first, I was friggen huge and I was hoping. So I left work and went home to monitor the contractions. After a couple hours I called the doctor who told me to come into his office (note that he said “office” not “hospital”. Bastard knew all along.) So I called Matt who came and got me and we made the trek across town to be told, “Sorry. You’re not in labor.” I lost it. “How do you know?” I meant it in all seriousness. “How can you tell it’s not the real thing? I think it’s the real thing.” He smiled a little and said it just wasn’t but we can schedule an induction if I’d like. Or maybe I demanded an induction. I don’t remember. What I do remember is saying, “Let’s go tomorrow.” The doctor smiled again and said, “That’s your due date, we can’t do it then.” “Ok, then Thursday!” He actually SIGHED like he’d been giving in to crazy pregnant ladies all day and scheduled us to check in to the hospital the day after tomorrow at 9pm.

“HA!” I thought victoriously, “I win! This baby’s coming out, dammit!” More than the feeling of being unbelievably uncomfortable, I wanted to meet Jaden. The curiosity of what she looked like and who she was was overwhelming. But the day after tomorrow, it was going to happen.

Matt and I both took that Thursday off so prepare the house. And we did. We cleaned the shit out of that place! We made sure the overnight bag was packed (even though I’d packed it a month before) and had all our provisions: Playing cards, ipod, Kids In the Hall’s “Brain Candy”, “Keeping the Faith”, and some other crap. I think I actually threw a book in there. I’m so silly. Then we sat around waiting. And waiting. What time was it? “5” Shit! It’s so not time to go yet. We’ll skip the waiting part and get to us in the car all excited and jabbering about how we couldn’t meet the baby. Well, I did most of the talking. I do that. But I did get some video of Matt talking about his feelings so I gave him his time, don’t worry.

We get to the hospital and in all our glowy new parents to be glow we declared to the receptionist that we were there to get induced and have a baby. She wasn’t nearly as excited as we were. I remember her being every sitcom hospital receptionist cliché but, again, that memory may be distorted. We get up to our room and they give me the standard hospital gown and I got changed and made myself comfortable in the bed. (I still remember how that bed felt. It was surprisingly comfortable and almost sinky in its softness.) Then we waited some more. I think it was around 10:30 when they told me the couldn’t give me the first type of medicine to start the induction (I can’t remember what it was but I think it was the one where they soften the cervix in the hopes that it’ll kick start everything) because I was already contracting. “What? Contracting?” I said. I looked at Matt who looked at me like, “Don’t look at me, it’s your uterus.” I didn’t feel anything. I thought you were supposed to feel contractions, like how I felt the liar-ones the other day. Regardless of what I felt, the machine said I was contracting so we had to wait some more.

And wait. And wait. Apparently I was contracting every two minutes but I still wasn’t feeling anything. I don’t know what time it was when they found a break long enough to start the pitocin, but they started it and Matt and I went to sleep.

Now this is when my time table starts getting a little hazy so instead of saying exact time, I’m going to go with time spans.

I woke up the next morning actually feeling something! Yay! It’s working! “Matt! It’s working!” And like every other father on the planet he became entranced by the contraction monitor machine thing. They checked me and I was only at ½ or 1 cm. Something really small and insignificant. So around 8 or 8:30 the doctor broke my water. It trickled at first but then all of a sudden it gushed out and I had a horrified moment of “Only shit I just pissed the bed!” I didn’t though, don’t worry.

That seemed to do the trick though because the contractions seemed to pick up some energy. As they started getting stronger, Matt and I went for a walk. It didn’t last long because I’m a wuss and wanted to go back into the comfort of my room. The nurse suggested a warm bath. “Oh!” I thought, “I’d read about those! They’re, like, the miracle of pain relief.” So even though I can’t stand baths, I sat in a nice warm bath while Matt sprayed my belly with the weird shower head sprayer thing. It worked for awhile but then I didn’t like it at all so got out and ended up on a giant ball bouncing away and really really hurting and, I SWEAR, crying that I wanted my mom now. So Matt called my mom and told her I wanted her there now. My mom, who’s had four children, didn’t show up for another hour. I don’t know what she thought I meant by “Now” but she obviously didn’t think it was urgent. Maybe she knows I’m a wuss.

I still didn’t want drugs. I remember bouncing on the ball while the Price is Right was on (I love that show) so it must’ve been around 10:30 or so in the morning. The ball wasn’t working anymore so I told Matt to put in Brain Candy to try to distract me. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Brain Candy, but it’s rated R for a reason. Matt and I weren’t thinking about that when we put it in the bag and certainly weren’t expecting our nurse to be 7 months pregnant with her 6th kid and to give off a very religious vibe. Imagine our chagrine when she kept walking in to check on me at the most inappropriate times: The cab driver talking about his theory that Gleamonex was made from monkey comes; the closet-gay dad suddenly comes out of the closed and leads a parade down the street singing about how gay he is. We turned it off shortly after that but only because it wasn’t distracting me.

My mom had shown up at that point and was rubbing my back soothingly while I moaned and tried to breath through the pain. Matt, bless his heart, was doing everything the books say to do: offer to play soothing music, hold up my focal point (a little stuffed frog we’d gotten for her that he’d christened Louie the Frogteenth), help me count through my breathing. But it didn’t matter. Both he and my mom were just plain annoying me. I was very nice though. I didn’t yell once. I just told them it wasn’t working and to please stop.

The doctor came in at some point to check and I had only dialated to 2 or 3 cm. I suddenly had a mental flash of the Friends episode when Rachel’s in labor and Ross yells “I’m 2 centimeters!” If I wasn’t so disappointed I would’ve laughed. I’d been experiencing really painful contractions for many hours now and it was getting me nowhere. I caved in and asked for the drugs.

The first batch they gave me was intended to just take the edge off a little so I’d still feel the contractions but they wouldn’t hurt as much. “Yes! Please! Give me that one!” I really wanted to hold off on an epidural. My naivete kept saying to not get the epidural at all but reality was starting to creep in. The reality that said this was going to take a long time and the pain was going to get much worse seeing as the contractions weren’t doing what they were supposed to. So I was resigned to the fact that I would get an epidural but dammit, I was going to hold off as long as I could.

Then my cousin called and said they were on their way. They meaning her and her husband and my brother! Are you kidding me? I said from the very beginning that I didn’t want anyone there except Matt and my mom and Matt’s parents could come and visit but then they had to leave. What the hell were the godparents doing coming? “Your mom said you wanted us there.” WHAT?! I was mad, but they were already on their way and the drugs were starting to take affect so I didn’t end up caring that much. I vaguely remember them coming in to say hello, leaving to get a beer, and coming back for a spell as the drugs were wearing off so YAY! They got to see me writhing in pain. Fun for all, especially my little brother who stayed far away. I can’t blame him. Leah rubbed my back and gave me a hug and asked if I wanted her to stay. “No!” I whined. She respected my wishes and got her husband, my brother, and herself the hell out of there.

They gave me a second dose and warned me that it wouldn’t work as well but I said I’d try it and then do the epidural.

Time passes. It’s around 9 I think at this point and they give me the epidural. I was worried about it hurting but it didn’t at all. I think I was just so happy to have the promise of relief that I didn’t care. Those contractions were mean sons of bitches. And did I mention I was only at 4 cm?

My mom went home. Oh, I think Matt’s parents had come to check on me at some point earlier but I don’t really remember. I was exhausted and drugged. Matt and I settled in for some sleep. EXCEPT the goddammed epidural didn’t friggen work!! Well, it worked as far as me not feeling the contraction pains EXCEPT for one tiny little point on my left ass cheek. And my contractions were still happening every 30seconds to two minutes so with every contraction that I didn’t actually feel, I felt a stab in my ass. All night. ALL NIGHT. So I got no sleep, and neither did Matt because I kept moving around and whimpering at the injustice of it all. He didn’t complain once. He really is a saint. The nurses kept checking me but I wasn’t getting past 7cm. At least I was moving but I was running out of time. My 24 hour window from when they broke the water was closing.

At 7am the doctor came in and I was at 8cm. He sat on a chair at the foot of the bed and  looked up at the clock with a very serious expression on his face. He didn’t say anything for a long time. I’ll never forget that look. He was seriously contemplating how to proceed next. He said he’d give it one more hour. If I wasn’t dilated to at least 9.5 he’d have to do a c-section. Oh and the baby was sunny-side up instead of down so we had to worry about that to. What that means is she was facing up instead of down. I don’t know why that’s important but optimum delivery position is face down.

Now I was scared. Matt was scared too and he sat next to me and held my hand while we waited. I can’t remember if I cried. I was just so scared. I didn’t want a c-section. Not because of any rose-colored visions of having a vaginal birth (although I’d read plenty of articles about c-section babies having more respiratory problems than vaginal delivered babies), I just didn’t want to go through the recovery process. I’d seen my mom go through it and she’s a much stronger woman than I.

We called all the grandparents and told them to come to the hospital now. Matt explained the situation and they were there right away.

All we could do at that point was wait.

At 8:15 the doctor came back and checked. I was at 10! He said they were going to do the delivery in the operating room just in case they had to do an emergency c-section. I was still at a very high risk. My mom wasn’t allowed in the room. She was very sad but gave me a kiss and squeezed my hand and said she’d be right here when she came out. I can’t imagine how scared she was to see her first born child wheeled into that bright room and only able to watch through the tiny window of the doors as her daughter screamed in pain.

The doctor had requested forceps to assist with the delivery. The nurses (I found out later) didn’t like that. They weren’t used to forcep deliveries and the doctor was new to the hospital (I also found out later that he’s the leading expert in forcep delivery in Minnesota so I really was in no better hands) but they did as he requested. I think I was only in there for twenty minutes or so. It didn’t seem that long. I pushed as best I could, the doctor turned the baby around so she was facing the right way and I took care of the rest. I wanted to give up at one point. I sobbed, “I can’t do it anymore.” Matt wouldn’t hear it and I had already been trained to listen to the counting so I pushed as soon as I heard him counting. I’ll never forget that. He looked right into my eyes, squeezed my hand and said firmly, “1-2-3…” I latched onto that strength and pushed. It took two more rounds of counting and at 9:01am Saturday June 25, 2005 she was there. And she was huge. The doctor actually said, “Woah.” Matt and I both stared at this tiny yet huge and gunk covered baby.

She didn’t cry at first but after the doctor cleaned out her air way, it came. That beautiful tiny cry that said she’d arrived. He placed her on my chest and I weakly placed my hands on her gross skin. Only it didn’t feel gross to me. I had her at last. Her she was. The thing I’d devoted the last 9 months of my life to. The thing I’d spent every waking thought thinking about and dreaming about. She was here.

And I was too tired to hold her. All I could do was touch her gently and stare in awe.

Then the doctor delivered the placenta and Matt stared at that in awe. I guess I’d forgotten to mention that part to him.

Matt went with the nurses to watch them clean and measure her: 9 pounds 10 ounces and 23 inches long. See? HUGE.

Then I was shaking and freezing so the nurses put some warm blankets on me while the doctor sewed me up and then they wheeled me back into the room. Then they brought me the clean version of Jaden and I wanted to hold her. More than anything I wanted to hold her but the strength it required to do that simple act was too much for me and I almost threw up. Matt held her for awhile and I fell asleep listening to the quiet hum of grandparents cooing over they’re first granddaughter.

 

At one o’clock I started bonding properly with my Jaden.

The doctor came in the next day to check on me and said my delivery was incredibly difficult and on a scale of one to 10 it’d be a 9.5. Glad he didn’t tell me that at the time.

Then came the recovery period but I won’t go into details. It just hurt like a mo-fo. That’s all.

Thank you for letting me tell this story. I needed to. I’ve been so scared this weekend thinking about how hard it all was and all the disappointment when my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to and dreading what would happen the second time. Then I got to the part where Jaden was actually born and it all seems so small compared to that moment.

 

And I get to do it all again. How lucky am I?

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5 Responses

  1. ummmm HELLO MCFLY!!!! what food size is Nibbler today???

  2. Oops! Ok, I updated on the “Guess the Gender” Post. My bad.

  3. Oh my, I’m crying. What a beautiful story. I just know that you will have the strength, fortitude, and the sense of humor (yes, sense of humor) to do this again. I’m pulling for ya!

  4. Wow, I’m still amazed by all of that. Good lord, you’re a strong person! You’ll get through it again, and it will all be worth it when little Lando M. Bingmar is born. 🙂

    I can’t believe they wanted to do a c-section! Was it that an arbitrary amount of time had passed and he wanted to get on with things, or was it possible that you and J could be in trouble if he waited any longer?

  5. Dr and I were on the same page (still are) about not doing c-sections if they can be avoided. The mortality rate is higher for mom (it’s safe, don’t worry but it’s still higher than vaginal delivery) is his reason. Me being a wuss is mine. We were running out of time due to the water breaking 24 hours before; the baby was in danger. That’s why he may have had to do the c-section if I hadn’t been so awesome in my pushing.

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