The Birth of Bear
Let me start at the beginning. After moving away from McKinney and finding our new place on earth here in the Hill Country, I felt a little more than lost when it came to my new (third) pregnancy. I was, quite frankly, in love with the birth center that I used for Augie and Nash and the people in it. I missed them and really couldn't imagine doing this in a new place. I also knew I wanted to try an epidural for this birth (gasp!) because I had done it twice the ol' fashioned way and the reasons I began my natural birth journey with no longer existed. Having had two previous births under my belt I didn't feel like a c-section was going to sneak up on me unexpectedly, and I also felt a lot more in-control and powerful as woman (in case I needed to assert what I did or did NOT want for myself or my child). So, as such, I thought why not try this whole deal without the pain an anxiety bit and see how that goes? There was still a problem though. I did not want to miss out on my journey being guided by a midwife. I love midwives and knew I still needed that to remain the same about this kid's journey into the world. I set out to find a CNM in my new area and did, but the only problem was they were about 45 minutes from my house. I didn't realize until later what a problem this would be. So here we go...
From the very start this pregnancy was DREADFUL. The intense nausea lasted a month longer than my previous two pregnancies. The first two trimesters were absolutely fraught with illnesses in our family. I peed my pants from coughing more times than I can count. My body ached the entire second half of the pregnancy and I was essentially bedridden. Towards the end of the pregnancy it hurt so much to waddle around I could barely make a grocery store trip. Finally I was in the last month of my pregnancy, weighing in at a grand total of 218 pounds. More than I have ever weighed in my life and my feet cried themselves to sleep every night. Ever heard of a humbling experience? This was one of those. I was miserable. When I got to about 38 weeks I started having prodromal labor on a nightly basis. Sometimes for twenty minutes and sometimes for an hour. One night it lasted for several hours and got so intense that I called my parents to come, thinking that we would need them to watch the kids when we went in that night. Well, by the time they were on their way it stalled out but they decided it would be "soon" so they continued on. This all took place during the week that our area was experiencing days and days of flooding. We live in the country where the roads are rolling hills and sporadically through the weeks of flooding different roads and water crossings would get police blocks. I was extremely preoccupied with the idea that I was going to be stuck at home in an unmedicated-involuntary-unassisted-birth-from-hell. Say that ten times fast. Friday, when I turned 39 weeks I had an appointment at the hospital and it was still pouring rain but luckily my parents were already there to watch the kids. I set out on my way.
Starting out to my appointment I was already a nervous wreck but the drive didn't help. I went about two miles down the road to find the bridge I usually take was police blockaded for flooding. Okay. Breathe. I turned around and went the longer way and got about a half mile down the next road before I came upon another police blockade. BREATHE. DON'T CRY. GET IT TOGETHER. There was only one other way out of the neighborhood and so I started down that road. I had to drive through several bits of rising water (don't worry-- these were not attached to rivers so no one was going to get swept away in the making of this story) and before I made it to the highway I was sobbing. Sobbing because I wanted this pregnancy to be over. Sobbing because I was scared of getting into a wreck 39 weeks pregnant. Sobbing because I wasn't even sure I would be able to come home after this appointment, since the only road back to my house was currently flooding over.
When I arrived at the appointment and the midwife I was seeing that day entered the room she asked how I was doing. "Not too great." I was holding it together. Fantastic. Then she followed up with "What's wrong?" Come on. I'm not super-woman, lady! Why would you ask me such a question!? So that's about when I broke down. I just kept repeating through sobs "I can't (sob) go home (sob). I can't (sob) go hooooome (sobsobsob)." Based on that thorough explanation I am sure she thought I was a battered wife with nowhere to turn but I pulled it together enough to explain that my area keeps getting flooded in and I was basically 100% positive that I was going to have a baby on the side of the road somewhere while I look longingly at the ambulance who can't make it to me from the other side of a raging flood-road. She took pity on me and replied "Well, I never want to pressure anyone, but we can try and get you in today for an induction of you want."
YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES. YOU ARE MY BEST FRIEND FOREVER FROM THIS MOMENT ON IF YOU MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
At 6pm there would be a bed ready for me in L&D. Cue the audible sigh of relief. I waited in the hospital for a while and then spent some time at a nearby friends house before meeting Forrest for the induction. That evening they gave me Cervadil and checked my progress at 6am. Nothing. Still only about 1cm. At that point I got started on a gradual Pitocin drip, and as soon as I started to feel the contractions intensify (and we are talking, mild discomfort) I was ready for the epidural. Aside from the pain management throughout the process, the most incredible thing about the epidural is that it comes with a catheter. If you have ever been 39 weeks into an awful pregnancy you know what I mean. I was released from my inner conflict of "Should I just give up on life and start living in a pool of urine just so I won't have to walk on my aching feet to the bathroom for the millionth time this hour?" I mean, I could be like a deranged mermaid. Flopping about and making walrus noises. Gross. Anyway the epidural kicked in and I was so numb that I couldn't move my legs. Not at all. Not even if somebody yelled "FIRE!" or even "CHOCOLATE OVER HERE!" The midwife then decided she would help me out by manually dilating me a little bit. Well, let me tell you, had I been un-medicated this sensation may have actually killed me, because when she did it my eyes went dark and my head flopped back and I essentially passed out. She said it was likely due to a nerve response and that sometimes happens. Creepy stuff, but if we can get this ball rolling, then fine. So as I lay in bed, Forrest and I watched TV and I secretly snacked here and there and then in the afternoon I started to feel some pain. I told the nurse and she said maybe the catheter had become misplaced, to which I replied "I don't care WHAT it is, I should be able to feel NOTHING down there!" Basically I was scared the epidural was wearing off and stated my fears. She tried to fix the catheter but the pain didn't change, it just came and went. It was late afternoon now and the midwife came to check me and told me I was 8cm and that she had to go assist with a c-section and would be back to check again in an hour. After she left I suddenly had what Oprah would call an "Ah-ha!" moment. The pain that I was feeling was my cervix vs the baby's head. I decided I would push a little to test this theory. YUP! This was a very familiar feeling. The first familiar feeling I'd had since going numb. It was have-a-baby time and I was all systems go! About 3 minutes had passed since the midwife had told me she would be back in an hour, so I told Forrest I needed her back now. He ran out and she came back in immediately and checked me and confirmed that it was, in fact, baby having time. They broke down the bed, put my legs in stirrups, I pushed twice, his head came out, and then there was a change of tone. The nurses went from "Okay, mama! Good job! You can do it!" to "PUSH! You need to push hard NOW!" I didn't know exactly why but I knew I had to get the kid out of me immediately so I pushed with all my might and his body was out. Apparently when the midwife tried to unwrap the umbilical cord from Bear's neck, it just snapped in half. That's no bueno. The nurse apologized to Forrest that he wasn't able to cut it himself, to which he replied something like "Yuck, no, Really I'm fine." And basically that is how I got my sweet little third born boy out of my nethers and into my arms!
I have to say, that for being the pregnancy from hell, I have had the postpartum from Heaven! I have fallen in love with this child so swiftly and easily and there has been not an inch of postpartum anxiety. I feel energetic and (aside from a normal amount of trauma learning how to parent three boys) could never have imagined how lovely the newborn phase of a baby could be. He is incredible in every way and fits into our clan perfectly. His brothers dote on him daily and Nash has only almost squashed him a few times. We love our Theodore Auberon and he is our Teddy Bear.