Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Birth, Part 3

So I was out of the water and getting ready to push. The midwife I had for pushing I'd met before, and I thought she was my least favorite: she was very bossy in a way that felt slightly condescending. It turns out she was the perfect pushing coach: she was maternal and bossy, and I was in no position to ask questions or disagree. She coached me to my limits--always asking me to push one or two more times through a contraction than I thought I could. She was grunting and yelling right along with me. (I had a sore throat after the birth.) She suggested new positions every three or four contractions so that it didn't feel too monotonous. In the midst of pushing, she would teach me how to hang on Francisco for a supported squat or tell me about gorilla pushing. It was an education.

At some point, it seemed to me that the pushing wasn't going anywhere, because I remember asking, "Is he stuck?" Her response was, there's no such thing as a stuck baby, which convinced me that he was indeed a little stuck. And he was--he was in the posterior position and wasn't making his way out that way (and had quite a bulge to prove it when he finally did emerge). After lots of squatting and wiggling my hips to help him turn, he finally did turn, and my pushes started to move him down.

The feeling of him coming out was unlike anything I'd anticipated. Everyone said that the baby comes down so gradually that everything is numb; this wasn't exactly how I felt. I felt like I was going to split in half, like there was no room at all for him to come out, like I wasn't sure I wanted to keep pushing because I might just break open. Francisco agreed: the midwife had him look at the head emerging in order to encourage me and get me to keep pushing, but later he said that he only saw a tiny part of the head, and even as that part emerged, he wondered how in the world the whole head would fit out.

When Baby Leopard was born, they put him on me for a moment, although they were worried because there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, so they whisked him off to suck it out of his lungs. My mom and Francisco were pretty worried at this point, but I remember not being worried at all: I think I had no emotions or energy left. When they finished, they brought him back and he crawled up my chest (they're supposed to crawl right up to the breast and start nursing, but he was a little mad and just kept crawling up me). I was surprised (and continue to be) at how strong he was.

When the baby was born, I looked at Francisco and saw tears in his eyes. I was surprised that I didn't feel more emotions--I'm probably too selfish and concerned about my own physical trauma. I remember thinking that everyone says that you don't feel the stitches afterward, because you're so happy that the baby has arrived. I had to intentionally focus on the baby because I was annoyed at the stitches.


hopkins said...

you're amazing. can't wait to meet him.

Hannah said...

Selfish?? I think not!! You just spent 2 days laboring to bring your son into the world! That has to be just about the most un-selfish thing one can do. I don't remember feeling any particular emotion when Zork was born. I just kept saying "Oh". I think I was more surprised and unwilling to believe that labor was actually over!

And the stitches. Ugh. That was my only interaction with a doctor (versus a midwife) during my whole labor and I was SO mad. I came away from it hating OBs. He was the most insensitive person I've interacted with. Even with all my yelps and jumps and grabbing for Jayber's hand, he just continued on like I was a thing and didn't even acknowledge me.

But anyway...I agree with hopkins. You are amazing!!

Emily Hale said...

Aw thanks--I was just surprised at how emotionally dead I felt. You always hear about this blissful post-birth moment.

Wow--that sounds terrible about your stitches. My mother said she had someone who was in training for her first birth and he took 40 minutes to stitch her up! Horrible.

Miss Self-Important said...

I'm so happy for you! But also so terrified to have children from this saga. Two days of labor, and this was when all was going well! My goodness.

Emily Hale said...

It gets worse in part 4. And then it is all better. I am in awe of every woman who has had a child, and even more of women who go through all that repeatedly. I'm also in awe of the body's ability to heal itself and to, after all that, wake up a million times a night, all the while making milk for the baby.

I wonder if women don't talk about how traumatic labor and delivery are because they don't want to terrify other women, or if they do actually talk about how hard it is, and I just didn't believe them/didn't play close enough attention/couldn't fathom what they were saying.

Miss Self-Important said...

I think there are corners of the internet where women do talk about it, and in great detail, but I haven't frequented these corners, and prefer to read your accounts since you are not an anonymous person with a screenname like ProudMamaofThree2012. But in real life, no woman has ever offered a detailed account of pregnancy and labor to me. I don't even know there was stitching involved! Terrifying!

I await Part 4.