The Pregnant Waddle

Pre-Pregnancy Weight Just Around the Corner (It's Trying to Run and Hide)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Birth Blog

Ngaire was due Thursday, July 14. On the evening of the 14th, we left Vacation Bible School around 9:30 and drove to the airport an hour and a half’s drive away to pick up my parents. On the drive, I started having contractions about every four to six minutes. They weren’t painful, but they were fairly regular. We arrived at the airport around 11 p.m., only to find out that the plane was delayed and was now due at 1:30 a.m. So we headed to Husbandlet’s aunt and uncle’s house, where we had arranged to spend the night. Husbandlet took a nap; I took a shower, and the contractions stopped. Whew. No wee-small-hours runs to the hospital for us.

On Saturday night, right after I went to bed, I started having contractions again. This time, they came every four minutes for six hours. I finally fell asleep around 4 a.m. When I woke up around 6, the contractions had stopped again. I nearly cried from disappointment.

The induction was scheduled for Monday, July 18, at 7 a.m. We left for the hospital bright and early, and for the entire hour-long drive, I had four-minute contractions. They stopped—of course—as soon as we got out of the car.

The doctors were in a meeting at 7, it turned out, so a lovely nurse, Beth, showed us to our room and I put on my hospital gown, got into bed, and waited. A little before 8, a doctor showed up. So did our pastor, who got kicked out for a few minutes while the doctor broke my water and examined my rash (more on the rash later). Our pastor came back in and prayed with us, and then he left and the nurse came back and started the Pitocin drip. Even without the Pitocin, I was having my old friends the four-minute contractions again, and was dilated 3 cm.

For the next couple of hours, Husbandlet read out loud to me and we just enjoyed our time together. The contractions were certainly more painful than false labor, but nothing too terrible. Around 10, though, I started to become more uncomfortable. Also, at that point, my parents arrived, and all was bustle and squeak for a few minutes. I had been debating whether to ask my mom to stay for the birth, but at that point I just wanted to be with my husband, so I asked my mom to stay with my dad in the waiting room, which was fine with both of them. After they left, Beth came back and told us that the anesthesiologist had a pretty full schedule, so I would have to decide if I was going to want an epidural. I wanted to make it through without one, but at that point I was only dilated 4 cm, and it wasn’t a decision I wanted to make just then. Beth offered to give me a narcotic in my IV to take the edge off the pain; then I could decide if I could make it without the epidural. I was totally in favor of this idea. Beth hung around for a few minutes after this conversation, which was the only time in the proceedings that I was tempted to scream, “Get me the drugs!”

The narcotic was fabulous. You should go get one now. It made me happy and dopey and sleepy to the point where I was slurring my words and Husbandlet had to stop reading out loud because I just couldn’t follow. I still felt the contractions, and they were still painful, but I could drift happily between them, and Husbandlet says I started groaning later in each contraction, so apparently the drug made my pain threshold higher. In any case, it relaxed me completely, and I dilated to 7 cm in almost no time at all. (Or so, in my drugged-out state, it seemed.) Meanwhile, Husbandlet happily read the latest Harry Potter book by my side, and lent me his hand for squeezing.

The anesthesiologist came in around the same time I hit transition. The narcotic was starting to wear off, and while transition wasn’t nearly as horrific as I had been led to believe, I was still hurting, especially when the nurse put my bed flat so she could check my dilation. There are few things more excruciating than having a contraction while one’s stomach muscles are stretched out. If I hadn’t reached 7 cm by then, I might have caved and asked for the epidural, but at that point I realized the end was in sight … Husbandlet helped, too, by reminding me that I really wanted to get through without the epidural, right? And yes, he still has all his teeth. The anesthesiologist departed without having the joy of puncturing my spinal column. Beth gave me another shot of the narcotic; I don’t think it had much effect at that point, though.

Then I started feeling the urge to push. I fought it for awhile, and then I called Beth, who checked me and found that I was 9.5 cm dilated. She didn’t want me to push too soon, but I was having a difficult time resisting, so she had me push through one contraction. After that, I hadn’t dilated any more, so she told me to turn on my side through a couple more contractions to see if the pressure of the baby’s head would help things along. In that position, I completely lost control; when contractions came, I had to push. And it worked: two contractions later, I had dilated that last half-centimeter, and I was ready to start pushing For Real.

The doctor, by the way, was otherwise occupied. A third-time mother had been half a centimeter ahead of me, and so most of the 20 minutes or so that I actually pushed were punctuated by cries from the nurse to hold back because we had to wait for the doctor. (Beth: “Stop!” Me: “Why, am I tearing?” Beth: “No! The doctor isn’t here!” Me: “Can’t you deliver babies?” Beth: “Yes, but try and wait!”) Apparently, complacent in the knowledge that first labors drag on, the poor doctor went to take a short break after delivering Third-Time Lady’s babe. We paged him, and my parents later reported that, from their vantage point in the waiting room, they saw him rush past, wringing his hands, to deliver my child. He whipped in and suited up, answered my cry of, “I really don’t want an episiotomy!” with a cryptic, “We’ll see,” and two contractions later, Ngaire was born.

A seven-and-a-half-hour labor. No epidural, no episiotomy, one tear so superficial the doctor didn’t bother to stitch it. Ngaire weighed 8.5 pounds at birth, and I’m glad I didn’t know that ahead of time … the doctors had been guaranteeing me a 7 to 7.5 pound baby, which sounded totally doable to me in a way that 8 pounds plus did not. Husbandlet got to cut the cord. My parents were there moments later to welcome their grandchild. All in all, it was a tremendously wonderful labor and birth experience.

A friend from church asked me, 40 weeks into my pregnancy, if I enjoyed being pregnant. She seemed a bit shocked when I answered that I had enjoyed parts of it, but certainly not all. I would have been happy to do without the Bone-Melting Nausea, the huge weight gain, the swelling, and the rash (I think that may need its own post). The third-trimester multiple bathroom trips per night weren’t such a thrill, either. But I hope I can redeem my womanhood when I say that I absolutely loved giving birth. No kidding.

This birth story leaves out a lot … but it shouldn’t leave out the fact that my husband was a wonderful cheerleader. I might have been able to do it without him, but I wouldn’t have wanted to. He made the whole experience a lot more fun. And yes, fun it was indeed!


At 6:31 PM, Anonymous peter said...

Did husbandlet get to use his Leatherman to cut the umbilical cord?

At 10:11 PM, Anonymous That other Jordana said...

A beautiful story! I'm glad it was such a great birth.

At 12:03 AM, Blogger Neb said...


At 7:54 AM, Blogger Jordana said...

Peter--alas, no, on the Leatherman. And he had sterilized it just for that purpose!

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Why, you write so nicely of the event that I think I'll have to try it out for myself sometime.

What's that? Husbandlet doesn't do that kind of biology? Maybe one of his buddies could hook me up with the right parts?


Oh, well.

At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Husbandlet said...

Yeah, their so stuffy in those hospitals about the whole sterility issue. 'If it wasn't sterilized in our autoclave ain't nobody using it'. Oh, and sorry Nate, I only specialize in clam gonads, though I could give you a good deal on those. . .

At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Husbandlet said...

Whoops, I meant they're, not their. . . Sorry Jana, please don't tickle me, I'm only a poor biologist.


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