So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

05 August, 2009

Enter Little Foot

WARNING: The following post contains descriptions of a reasonably difficult labor and delivery. If this is liable to distress you, just scroll down to the photo. ;)



The contractions started at midnight on 31 July, but were spaced out at an hour and a half or two apart, fairly dull. In fact, early labor is pretty much entirely boring, as far as I can tell; just this sort of anticipatory waiting punctuated with the occasional contraction. I called my parents to chat, thereby weirding out my father. ("I don't think I've ever had a phone conversation with someone in labor before. I'm sure they happen, like, in the movies, but generally with the father, not the grandfather..." "Star Trek!" "RIGHT! Star Trek! ...still the father.")

Midwife arrived at about 1am on the first of August, after a day I'd spent feeling kind of at loose ends, really. I believe I was in the birth pool when she got there, I seem to remember floating there and hearing her voice say, "Yep, looks like labor." Various things happened over time. Mostly I tried to rest between contractions, though I got increasingly irritable by little things. (Like, "Do you want some [insert foodstuff here]?" "No." A little later. "Do you want some [different foodstuff]." "No." A little later. "Do you want some [food of some sort]?" "I WANT PEOPLE TO STOP ASKING ME!")

I didn't feel like labor was actually going anywhere. The midwife said I was doing fine, that things were progressing well. I was getting tired, mostly, and aggravated, and frustrated, and finally we did an inspection to see how dilated I was, and the water broke. Which was a fascinating sensation....

Contractions got worse. Working theory is this thing called "back labor", generally caused by the baby position being unideal in a way that approximates agonising. This was not helped by the fact that, like my mother, I do not have normal-duration contractions (something like two minutes); mine ran to 4-5 minutes straight. And there was Stuff (subtype: green) in the waters. We first decided that the Stuff was not a risk to the baby, and then, a while later, found fresh meconium - perhaps caused by the stress of the long contractions.

After some discussion, discretion was declared the better part of valor, and we packed up and went to the hospital. There was ... mild drama, that I fortunately found out later; the hospital didn't want us. They spent a while trying to convince us that another hospital was closer than they were, but eventually relented before the information that our chosen pediatrician was on their staff.

How much of this has to do with an idiot midwife who only transports to hospital when things have already gone to hell in a handbasket and has afflicted that particular hospital twice (as opposed to what we did, which was say, "Hm, that looks like a handbasket; let's avoid it with caution") and how much has to do with local politics regarding midwifery I do not know; I suspect a fascinating combination of things.

Anyway, it was for the best that I was unaware that my condition and my child's health had been treated like some kind of hot potato as I limped up to Labor and Delivery; I might have killed something during a surge.

There was initial friction with the OB - he was hostile to our midwife coming in (see above paragraph) up until he sorted out that we had transferred as a precaution, not because I was about to detonate or something, and got a look at my prenatal medical records and saw that they were, in fact, competent. And that we weren't going to refuse all interventions like the filthy hippies we were, or something. I curled up on my side and listened to him talk with my lion (formerly referred to as legalhusband). Paperwork was wrangled. Every so often someone wanted me to lie on my back, which I find uncomfortable at the best of times, and which at that particular time was roughly like being drawn and quartered.

They put monitors on me, which I disliked, but wasn't really up for arguing about, and it didn't matter, I wasn't going anywhere. They put an IV in me, which I also disliked - I hate the damn things, though it was less bad than the one when I got my CAT scan, it just left my hand feeling bruised all to hell - but that enabled me to get some fucking painkillers, which at least removed me from the state of "Kill me now and extract the baby from my steaming corpse."

Forty hours of back labor are disrecommended, by the way. Which is about where I was by that time. Exhausting, unproductive, discouraging, and it fucking hurts.

After that, I floated on some narcotics, half-listening to paperwork wrangles and family support, waking up for only the most intense contractions and snarling for assistance getting through them, for about two and a half hours, at which point I was nearly fully dilated. They wanted me to hold back on pushing for a bit, and taught me some breath techniques for that, which were hard to focus on but manageable, more or less. Somewhere in there I got a second dose of the painkiller, and vehemently refused an epidural. (I was not allowed to sign a health care proxy giving medical decision-making power to the whole family because I was stoned, but I could consent to an epidural while stoned. I don't know, man, I didn't do it. I can sort of see the sense in it, but at the same time, if I'm not competent to consent, I'm not competent to fucking consent.)

After a bit, I stopped having the capacity to restrain my reactions to the surges, and we worked out a position for the actual labory bit, with the advice of the nurse on duty.

And my liege held me cradled against his shoulder, and my lion supported my leg so that I could work and helped me when my hip siezed every so often. And going through the experience between my husbands, held, supported, ... now, okay, I've hit the moodswingy bit of post-partum here, but it makes me all weepy, okay?

The doctor had mellowed out a bit and at one point said, "I see green hair!" Apparently the rest of the family chorused "It's a Muppet!" whereas I, on the floaty strange space of the labor, just driftingly thought, "Probably just more stained mucus" and carried right along with what I was doing.

Tearing during labor is like lines of fire. And nowhere near as horrifyingly squicky as being cut would have been.

I had to hold for an infinite while while they cleared air passages, and then there was a little more, and then the release, and another rush of fluid, and there was the other side. It was a strange, spent, empty space on the other side.

People were talking, bustle, I was following half-threads of conversation, bits and pieces. Eight pounds, fifteen ounces. I had two tears, a small one and a moderate one (I presume it wasn't huge, there was no drama about it, just a "... not so small..." sort of flavor). I needed to lie on my back, could I do that? It didn't hurt horribly. I could do it.

My liege was on my left. He had knelt for most of the seriously active part of labor, to hold me, and his knees were wrecked. My lion was on my right, stroking me when he could, when he wasn't needed to answer questions, or taking a few photos. The OB sprayed something almost hot on me, and started to stitch me up.

(Turns out lidocaine isn't effective on me for more than a couple of minutes. They sprayed me with it three times.)

They put pitocin in the drip to make me pass the placenta faster so they could do the stitches properly without the cord in the way. I barely noticed, still in the dreamspace of post-labor, still there. I had wanted to let the placenta empty its blood supply into the baby, and there was a part of me that was angry and frustrated at that failure, a distant, shouting, too-tired-to-speak part.

I wanted to hold her.

Eventually I could, hold her, hold her with all the agitated medical mess done with, feeling the flow of everything around me. Feeling in love with the universe, with my daughter, with my mates. Her skin was soft against my skin.



Do not offend the baby. She can kill you with her mind. See?

37 comments:

Dalandra said...

Congratulations, and welcome to the world, little one!

violet said...

Amazing. I weep.

Tiger Spot said...

Best last paragraph ever.

Lissy said...

She's beautiful... dammit I'm feeling all clucky now... good thing I've got an IUD....

Ranat said...

Littlefoot! Heee!

I'm glad for you all, and relieved that the hospital stint turned out reasonable.

Man, gal's got a mop of hair on her already.

DaisyDeadhead said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! ((((huge wet sloppy grandma kisses for adorable babeeeeee~~~~~))))

A Leo with lots of hair! Watch out everybody, she will whup your ass!

:D How wonderful!

(((cries)))

MP said...

YAY!

Tirani said...

She is beautiful. And your story, while filled with pain, is filled with love, which is just as beautiful as your child.

May she walk with wonder, wit and courage for all of the days of her life. Goddess bless you all.

devastatingyet said...

Yay :-) Congratulations.

chinders said...

ohhhhh yay for baby. Congratulations.

Orlando C. said...

This is a longer comment than you are probably interested in reading right now, let alone have time to. I grew up on a farm. In round numbers, I've been involved in about two thousand births. I know what goes on, mechanically anyway. We get horrible breach births. We use drugs. We see pain. There's death, sometimes, and worse horror. We argue about how much to intervene. (Your midwife sounds a little sketchy, huh, and I wonder why she wasn't there earlier??) In the year of that dude, 2009, we are all of us apt to be very far removed from the fact that life reproduces itself only in the company of death and at great risk and cost and reward. And we are supposed to say congratulations, as we would if you got a promotion at work or won the fishing derby. Hell with that.

My blessings on your child, for what they may be worth. I don't know your child, I don't know you, except through your words, but I hope your words are enough of a grip for a blessing to attach to. May your child be joyous and brave and honest and strong; may they know prosperity and understand sorrow; may they remember what our generation already forgets, and be valiant in the struggles that our generation has not yet imagined. And may they always force their parents to join them in all of this. All this.

Janet said...

Congratulations!

Thene said...

Oh, I am cowering before the deadly mind that lurks behind those seemingly shiny and beautiful eyes.

Blessings to all of you.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Orlando -

Why on earth would she have needed to be there earlier? One doesn't even think about calling medical professionals before contractions are five minutes apart.

K said...

Congratulations. I hope she grows up happy & healthy & that you recover swiftly.

Orlando C. said...

Oh, I'm sorry, Dw3t, I am conflating the two midwives in your post....please ignore.

labrys6 said...

Congratulations! Having done the back labor thing (My uterus apparently likes resting on my coccyx)...yes, it is beyond misery. But hey, what a "consolation" prize at the end of it, eh?!

Kristin said...

Awww... Cuteness! Glad to hear about how it went--and that you're both okay.

Aishwarya said...

That is an amazing head of hair!

She's lovely, and congratulations. :)

Natalia said...

Congratulations, beautiful!

And welcome to the party, baby girl! :)))

Cereus Sphinx said...

Congratulations!
Litte foot XD. Great name.

Donna said...

I had a really long labor with my first too, and it sounds so much like what you went through, except I got a c-section out of it.

Glad it's all done and you have a beautiful baby to make it all worthwhile. You have so much happiness ahead of you! Congratulations!

Ruth Moss said...

Congratulations on your beautiful baby. And although the labour was long and difficult it sounds as though you received good support from your husbands. Back labour is horrible. Hope you manage to recover speedily and that you're being well looked after.

Sarah J said...

Congratulations!!

belledame222 said...

AHHHHH!!! -flail- Congratulations!!! Welcome, little foot!!

Deoridhe said...

She is BEAUTIFUL! Oh my, blessings upon you, little one. Welcome to the world.

I'm so glad you had your husbands with you, too. I can understand tearing up a bit at the thought.

EthylBenzene said...

Congratulations to mum, and welcome to the world, little one! ~sniffle~

Eyebrows McGee said...

:)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Bright blessings on your gorgeous girl.

Seven

Eagle said...

Congratulations to ya both! What're ya gonna name her?

Drakyn said...

Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Awwww, very sweet picture, congratulations!

-A.W.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Eagle --

I'm not willing to put her name out on teh public intarwebs for privacy reasons. When she's old enough to give some form of informed consent, she can say how much of her name people can use.

Eagle said...

Ohhh. Duh, me. Sorry. I have brain farts sometimes...

Jennifer said...

Respect in your direction for the work of giving birth. Glad to hear the baby got here safely.

Welcome to the world little one!

Rootietoot said...

Welcome to the world, little one! D- I'm glad you made it through in one piece- congrats to you and your family on this new addition, and may you all be richly blessed by her presence!

mamacrow said...

belated but heartfelt congrats and blessings to you all!

I had a long uncomfortable exhuasuting first labour too - nothing like as bad as this tho! Hope you're getting plenty of rest (not going back to university after one week like i did :-O)