So, it was my first Mother's Day. Perfect time to reflect on being a mom, right? [Ed. Note: it's not Mother's Day anymore. It was when I first started writing this, but you know how that goes...] Where better a place to start than Claire's birthday. Or, the events leading up to Claire's birthday, anyway.
I blogged on the Thursday before Claire was born from the bathroom of my Dr. office. Classy. It was my 39-week appointment, and at the appointment, I was shocked when my Dr. said "so let's talk about induction." I wanted to avoid induction (this seems obvious to me, but some people schedule inductions out of convenience, or supposed need, or actual need), and after my Dr. explained induction methods, I REALLY wanted to avoid induction. Let's just say, I don't want someone's hand up my hoo-ha separating things from other things. Honestly, I still don't quite understand what it entailed, but OMG NO THANKS if it involves the aforementioend hand up the aforementioend hoo-ha.
Saturday morning was when it all started, in my opinion. The spicy food of Thursday and the long work day of Friday were the precursors of the beginning, but I wasn't contracting or anything. Saturday morning, I went to my chiropractor. He asked when I was due, I indicated "any day now", and he did an adjustment on my pelvis that he'd never done before. I didn't ask about it, but the moment after he did it, I thought "this is going to start my labor." I had spoken to a man in the chiropractor's office a month or so prior, who mentioned that his wife went into labor with both of their kids the day she went to the chiropractor. He even joked that for their second child, she wanted to deliver so badly that she drove to the chiropractor for an adjustment because she knew that would jump-start labor.
I had a couple more contractions sporadically, but nothing to indicate "this is it." Nick's friends came over and the three of them hung out in Ann Arbor for the afternoon. I was invited, but was definitely not in the mood to be traipsing around. Plus, they were going to get Indian food, and well, if I didn't want to shit Mexican food on the delivery table, I sure as hell didn't want to shit Indian food on the delivery table. Right? Right.
In hindsight, I can't believe I didn't realize that I was in "pre-labor" - I spent the rest of the day big-time nesting, pretty much just napping non-stop the rest of the day on the couch while I watched horrible (both in plot-line and execution) documentaries on Netflix OnDemand.
We went to sleep around midnight. Well, I should say, Nick went to sleep around midnight. I got into bed, had a few contractions, and said "aw hell naw" because laying down made them horrible to bear. I got an exercise ball, situated it next to my bed, and sat on it for 3 hours, contracting every 5-6 minutes. Nick was none the wiser. I figured I'd let him sleep, it's not like he could have helped anyway. Very early on in labor, I realized that I wouldn't be needing Nick's help other than to have him in the same room as me. I didn't need him timing, counting, massaging, or even coaching. I just needed him to be in the room with me. So there he slept, because I didn't even let him know that my labor was charging ahead full steam.
So when Nick woke up at 3:00 a.m., found me next to the bed contracting every 5 minutes, and learned that I'd been doing that for the past three hours, he jumped up and said "we're going to the hospital!" I dragged my feet big time, taking a long, hot shower, packing my hospital bag verrrrry slooooowly, and blow-drying my hair. He kept rushing me, and I kept saying "well, we still have time..."
We arrived at the hospital - it was a ghost-town - at 5:30 a.m. I was checked within an hour. 4 cm! Not being sent home! HIP-HIP-HOORAY! I could have kissed the Resident Dr. I couldn't believe I had actually started labor, and that this was the real thing. Contractions were definitely uncomfortable still, and painful. But I could walk to my hospital room, and still talk fine.
This nurse could not have been a more perfect match for me. Yes, it hurt, but she told me I could do it, and I believed her. I credit her with helping me to believe that I could actually do it.
Finally, after a brief stint in the tub, and more swaying and walking and out-of-body holy-hell-this-hurts pain, I was 8 cm. More walking. More eyes rolling back in my head. It never even occurred to me to ask for an epidural. I was so focused on getting through each contraction, that I didn't really even notice the time or how long I had been in labor. When Nick quietly asked me if it was okay for him to order some food, I couldn't believe that hours had passed. Labor was so strange, it was as if time stood still and I existed in some sort of parallel universe. I actually couldn't think past the next three minutes. With the end of each contraction, I just focused on resting for the brief 1-3 minutes I had until another one came. Sometimes they were back-to-back and it was just survival mode.
When I was finally 10 cm, my Dr. asked if she could break my water. She did that, and I went back to 8 cm dilated! I was FLOORED. THE HELL?! Contractions post-water-breaking were much more painful than before. (Which, side-bar, makes me wonder if my water had broken early in the labor... if I would have been able to go drug-free - because really - they hurt a hell of a lot more after my water broke!) It only took 20 minutes or so to get back to 10 cm.
When they say "you'll know when you need to push" - they aren't kidding. One second, I was in labor, having contractions. The next second, I was immediately feeling the need to push. The need to push? by the way, feels like you're about to shit your pants. I know, it's not really the romantic and beautiful side of childbirth, but I'm just being honest. It's that feeling you get (well, maybe you don't get it, but I get it occasionally) when you have to get to the bathroom quickly, or else. Except the release of that pressure feeling would take nearly an hour to get rid of! Can you imagine? Thankfully, by this point, though, I'd been in labor for 24 hours, and had already, um, gone to the bathroom while I could. And I hadn't had anything to eat in those 24 hours (no Mexican food, no Indian food, I was in the clear!) so thankfully there wasn't a whole messy mess to clean up. Well, it was messy, but most of the mess was due to the birth, and not due to my last 2 days worth of food.
I pushed for about 45 minutes. I won't lie... at first, I was fake-pushing. Because that shit HURTS. So I would give maybe 30% effort and then take a break. Luckily, the lights were low, and the nurses/doctors in the room weren't super loud or cheerleadery. I told Nick early into my pregnancy that I didn't want a cheerleadery nurse chirping at me to pushpushpush! It was pretty calm and quiet.
But after a few dozen fake-pushes, my doctor leveled with me. "Listen Lindsay... you're not really giving it your all. You're going to waste a lot of energy with these pushes, which you need down the road." I knew she was right, and I tried to give myself a pep-talk. "It's not like I can keep avoiding this pain, the longer I dink around with these fake pushes, the longer I will be in labor." I just had to accept the fact that I was about to endure horrific pain, and get on with it.
At this point, they took a bed sheet that had a bunch of knots in it, almost fashioned it into a rope, and had me hold on to one end of it while Nick held on to the other. He was literally standing at the foot of the bed, front and center right between my legs where the doctor normally is, coaching me through each contraction. I was kind of nervous that he would end up delivering the baby! Finally, the doctor told him he could resume his spot up closer to my head, and she prepped for delivery.
I honestly don't really remember many more details - lots of pushing, which is basically like you're constipated and about to have a human-head-sized-crap, if we're just being honest. Turns out it kinda hurts for a human head to come out of your nether regions. I am sure this is the first time you have ever heard that, I am a visionary, right?
And all of a sudden, I open my eyes, and there's a skinny, crying baby, arms spread out, covered in blood. My first question was "are you sure it's a girl?" because I had been terrified that all of our pink clothes and purple walls would be for naught, but I had no reason to worry. They plopped her on me, and there we have it - I became a Mom.
This was pieced together mostly for my own posterity... because while I had planned to write it down for within a week of the birth, here it is almost 3 months later and the details are already kinda fuzzy to me. (And truthfully, it took me 4 weeks to write. Yeah, this lovely piece of Nobel-prize-worthy literature took me 4 weeks to write. Call Stockholm! Or is it Helsinki? Some Scandanavian city, right? I am so smrt.)
Here is a picture of my kid as George Washington, because how else do you end a cluster-(swearword) of a post that really has no cohesion or flow?