Let me be clear on one crucial point: the first word my sweet baby Holden heard on his earthly existence was shit.
More specifically, SHIT.
Okay, fine: SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!
He looked so much like Hutch when he was first born we almost couldn’t tell them apart.
Here’s how it went down:
Because Hutch weighed 10 pounds 2 ounces when he was born at 41 weeks, and I had third degree tears from pushing him out (oy vey), my doctor was concerned that another baby that size would do similar damage…and apparently the second time around, third degree tears can be a lot worse in the long term.
Thus, despite all my best efforts (literally, all the efforts) to get this kid out of me, we decided that by 40.5 weeks if he wasn’t born we would induce. I was seriously displeased with this child because I hated being induced with Hutch. But the thought of a lifetime of rectal…issues…was compelling enough to agree to it anyway.
So Saturday, December 5th rolled around, and Kyle and I rolled to the hospital.
Side note: my angel mother had come up to visit us on November 20th, and like a roach motel, we sort of made her check in and refused to let her leave. I kept reassuring her (and everyone) that the baby would be born before his due date (December 1), so she just kept waiting it out. In the end she stayed a total of 3 weeks and her help with Hutch, both before the baby was born when I could barely walk, and after the baby was born (when I could still barely walk but for different reasons), speaks volumes to how much she loves me. And all of us. I seriously could not have made it through November and December without her help here.
We left that morning knowing Hutch was in good and loving hands, which made me feel calmer throughout the whole ordeal.
Anyway, the induction was set for 8. According to the notes I took on my calendar app, the rest of the day proceeded as follows:
8:00 AM: Check in, urine sample, monitor baby’s heart rate (all is fine). Dilated to a 1.5.
9:30 AM: Nothing yet
10:00 AM: Take drug to induce labour; doctor informs us that this drug can be taken once every 4 hours, up to 4 times; if nothing happens after 16 hours (!!!) then we will start oxytocin. Say WHAAAAA?
11:30 AM: Baby’s heart rate drops extremely low. Nurses freak the hell out and call in other nurses and the doctor. *TRIGGER WARNING* I get finger raped as one nurse rams her hand quite far up my hoo-ha trying to stimulate the baby and get his heart rate up. I am sobbing because of 1) the pain, 2) the fear, and 3) the fact that I really really need to pee.
11:45 AM: It is determined that the low heart rate was probably the monitor accidentally picking up my *own* heart rate, and that the baby was probably fine the whole time. I am now allowed to pee.
12:00 PM: I’m allowed to go for a walk for 45 minutes. I do so, and get lunch at the hospital cafeteria, enjoying the best bowl of cream of cauliflower soup I’ve ever tasted. It was so delicious and I’ve actually considered going back more than once in the past few weeks just to get some more of it. Kyle takes the opportunity to go buy me a push present and then comes back and joins me for the last 20 minutes of my walk. We roam the halls looking at pictures of nursing school graduates from the 1900’s and contemplating how weird it will be to have a second child.
12:45 PM: Make it back to the room, nothing changed except I am now dilated to a 2. I’m feeling great, having enjoyed my walk and thinking how lovely the whole morning has been. Kyle and I discuss possible name options and finally settle on Holden…probably. We laugh and joke and all is right in my world.
1:45 PM: My doctor decides to forgo the 16-hour process and just break my water and give me the oxytocin, because of the scare with the baby’s heart rate. Even though it was probably nothing, she wants to move things along. She says if the baby is at risk then this way, if we have to have an emergency C-section we will know sooner and just get it over with. I cry. And then pray. I really really don’t want to have a C-section.
2:00 PM: Moved from induction room to delivery room, next door to the one where Hutch was born. It’s nice to feel a bit more settled. Kyle is giddy to have a reclining chair again.
2:20 PM: Oxytocin starts.
3:20 PM: Mild contractions begin. Kyle and I hear the horrific moans and groans from a lady giving birth next door. She sounded like a terrible sort of animal. We chortle smugly because when Hutch was born my epidural was so strong I literally could not feel any contractions. I only grunted when I was pushing him out.
At this point my notes disappear, so I’m recalling the (already hazy) rest of the experience to the best of my ability:
4:20 PM: Contractions sort of start to hurt. My doctor recommends I start with morphine for the pain rather than the epidural, because of my “high risk” situation. I ask if morphine will make me feel better and am told “it will take the edge off.” Liking the sound of that, I agree to the morphine.
4:45 PM: Twenty five minutes into the morphine nonsense and I have gotten zero pain relief. I ask my nurses WTF is wrong with the morphine and I’m told morphine actually only helps relax the patient between contractions, and in fact does nothing to dull the pain. I say, and I quote, “I don’t need help relaxing in between. I’m perfectly relaxed. I need pain relief.”
5:00 PM: Contractions have become more and more intense. They feel exactly the same as they did with Hutch (like a terrible need-to-poo stomachache and a horrible UTI need to pee all at the same time). I am now making my own animal noises, moaning really loudly and embarrassingly during each contraction. I try different positions and hate them all. The only thing that helps a little is Kyle pushing on my back, but eventually even that starts to bug me. As soon as they become really horrible I ask to get checked. I am dilated only to a 3, so I officially ask for my epidural. The nurse tells me she will check on it.
5:15 PM: I’m notified the anesthesiologist is in the OR with a C-section patient, and his understudy is eating lunch. Looking really sorry, the nurse tells me it will likely be at least 45 minutes before I can get the juice. I curse the woman getting a C-section even though I feel bad for her. I also curse the understudy for having the gall to take a break, and society at large for ever coming up with the concept of lunch in the first place. Panicking at the thought of no relief any time soon, or possibly ever, I resort to cussing my way through contractions. Loudly.
6:05 PM: True to his word, the anesthesiologist saunters in 45 minutes later. I hate the sight of him. But I also love his guts. But then he starts giving me a damn spiel about the risks of an epidural and I hate him again. But then he gets out his magic needles and I love him again. But then he takes FOR-DAMN-EVER to give me the epidural and I really, truly hate him again. I am fairly certain when I got my first epidural with Hutch it only took like 5 minutes before I felt relief; with this guy I suffer through what feels like 20 contractions (but I believe was 4 or 5) sitting perfectly still leaning against Kyle while that shit-ass anesthesiologist took his f*cking time getting me epiduralled up. I seriously hate him so much. Why is it taking so long? WHY?
6:25 PM: The anesthesiologist says, “Okay, that’s it, the drugs will start kicking in within 10 minutes.” And I say, “These contractions are getting really BAAAAAAAAAAAD!” And my nurse says, “Okay, tell me if you feel pressure in your rectum,” and I say “I FEEL PRESSURE! SHIT! I HAVE TO PUUUUUUUUUUSH!” And the nurse says, “Well let me check to see what you’re dilated to,” and I say, “CHECK ME THEN!” And she checks and quietly pages my doctor and I say, “WHAT AM I DILATED TO? WHAT AM I DILATED TO??” And she won’t answer me and [Kyle says] at this point the anesthesiologist books it the heck out of there. And my nurse still won’t tell me what I am dilated to.
6:26 PM: More contractions that make me say SHIIIIIIIIIIT, WHEN WILL MY EPIDURAL START WORKING? I HAVE TO PUUUUUUUUSH! And my nurse says, “You can push, you can push,” but my doctor isn’t there but a whole crapload of nurses suddenly appear and—
6:27 PM: I start to push. I literally cannot control it, the pushing. And I am not quiet and mellow and serene like I was when I had Hutch. I am ugly and scream-y and moan-y and cuss-y and I feel like it will never, never end and I hate life and the anesthesiologist for taking so long and especially that C-section bitch who stole my drugs from me.
6:28 PM: My doctor runs in and ties up her hair and immediately tells the nurses to turn on the vacuums. I don’t know why I care so much but that really pisses me off, that she doesn’t even stop to check things out without assuming I’d need the vacuums. For some reason I hone in on that one detail and yell, “NO! I DON’T WANT VACUUMS!” (I’m embarrassed now. I was embarrassed while it was happening actually.)
6:29-6:36 PM: I vacillate between yelling SHIT! SHIT! and apologizing to the nurses for yelling SHIT! so much. I also continue to ask when my epidural will kick in. The only thing—literally the only thing—getting me through each contraction is the hope that the epidural will have kicked in by the next one. In retrospect I don’t think anyone ever even had time to push the little button to make the drug drip into the tube. I never did get numb. I was beat when I was born.
6:36 PM: I CAN’T DO THIIIIIIIIIIIIS! I yell, and one of my nurses says, “Yes you can, you have to and as soon as you do it will all be over.” And it strikes me that I really need to make this end as quickly as possible, so I push the hell out of that next contraction.
6:36 PM: All of my hippie childbirthing reading from my first pregnancy rushes back to me when I suddenly feel my body being torn asunder from the worst place imaginable. I know immediately what everyone means by the “ring of fire,” and the minute I realize that’s what it is…it is over. Holden Fairbanks is born.
6:37 PM: HA HA, JUST KIDDING SUCKERS, that was only his head. Still have to push the rest of his squirmy little self out of my crotch. But I do, and this time instead of being whisked away for the NICU nurses to poke and prod at, they slap him right up on my chest, gooey and gunky and everything, two seconds after he’d been inside of me. It is the grossest thing ever but I also don’t care because it is finished. The pain is over. And I love my baby so much, not in that automatic motherly way (though that came very shortly after), but simply because he’d finally—gloriously—put me out of my misery.
When women give birth without an epidural and describe it as “euphoria” afterwards, I never quite understood that. But then I did it (well, annoyingly I *did* have the epidural, but I’m acting like I didn’t because I felt every damn thing [PLUS I suffered the misery of actually getting the epidural, so it was the worst of both worlds]) and I understand. For me, it wasn’t really euphoria in the sense that I was proud of myself or anything. But the idea that it had been so hard—SO HARD—and then it was over, just like that! I couldn’t believe it. I was in this blissful state of shock. I kept saying to Kyle, “Can you believe it’s over? It’s OVER! He’s born! This is so surreal. I can’t believe I’m not pregnant anymore; I’m so happy not to be pregnant anymore!”
I kept apologizing to Holden for scaring him by being so loud when he was being born. I think he’s forgiven me now, but who can be sure. I also ap0logized to the nurses and they laughed, saying I had every right to cuss so much and that it was nothing compared to a lot of ladies. And FYI: I only tore a little bit with Holden, and only had 5 stitches. The recovery has been leaps and BOUNDS better than it was with Hutch.
When Hutch was born he was really fussy for about 30 minutes—he whimpered on my chest for a long time and wouldn’t settle, probably because of the trauma of the NICU situation. But with Holden, after his first couple of cries he just settled right in on my chest and stayed there quietly, and has remained pretty much the same ever since.
He weighed 9 lbs 1 oz and measured 22.5 inches. And we love him to bits.