Saturday, September 8, 2012

L&D and Everything After, Part III

So it's been a LONG 24 hours since Tori's water broke.  I am aching, stumbling around from exhaustion and stress, hungry, and my hands are shaky from the excess of coffee that's kept me awake. But respite has finally come in the form of powerful medication delivered into my wife's spine.  It's as weird looking at it sounds, and it made her pretty much numb from the waist down.  The angelic creature that was our nurse, having carefully supported us all the way through this ordeal, kindly helped me when I couldn't figure out how to convert the chair in the room into a fold-out bed.  She really made a world of difference that night - thanks, Skye.  We both settled in for a solid 3 hours of sleep.

Tori reminded me of another lovely detail that happened just before the epidural - I guess I'd blocked it out because it was terrible.  She asked for some lesser pain medicine, to see if we could take the edge off of these contractions, but not do an epidural.  So they gave her demerol, a fairly potent synthetic opioid drug, in her IV.  Not only did it not take her pain away, it made her throw up, almost immediately.  If you know my wife, you may know how she'll do

We were awoken at 7:30, just before shift change, so the doctor could check Tori's progress again.  After her seven hours of misery, she'd barely progressed, and was at just 20% dilation at 3am.  But by 7:30 she made it to 50% - a huge milestone, and the beginning of "active labor!"  I wasn't awake enough at the time to recognize the irony of "active" labor arriving in her sleep, while all the squatting, standing, back-rubbing, chair-rocking, moaning awfulness was not considered "active."  Anyway, what that meant was, we were getting somewhere, and were now likely to be getting there faster.  Great news!

I went out to tell everyone, because despite making multiple beds at our house (5 miles away) for family to stay in, they stayed in the waiting room chairs all night.  Dad did go to the house eventually...only to sleep on the couch.  So they were very excited, and my parents and I ate breakfast with a side of hope and optimism.

A little after 10:00, the new doctor on duty came in to check her out again.  She got down in front of Tori and started to laugh.  "Well, I don't need to talk in centimeters - I can see hair.  Let's deliver a baby!"  Tori had no idea.  This is the weirdest part to me - I guess it means she had some pretty powerful drugs.  I know we didn't want to use them, and some of you women reading this had natural births.  But you weren't there, and can't know how awful it was.  That night, God's mercy was truly manifested in a chemical being dripped into my wife's spine.  And being able to relax, her body was able to do its work, and the baby was all but out.

It was REALLY strange to see the top of a head sticking out of my wife.  But I didn't have time to contemplate it.  Nurses were quickly called in, and we cut in line in front of a c-section next door.

I think the pushing part is the worst part of labor for a great many women.  I've heard of pushing for multiple hours on end.  Thankfully, for Tori, this could not have been easier.  She pushed for under five minutes - literally three big pushes, and Fiona was out!

If you've never seen this happen, it's an incredible thing.  This little girl, who spent nearly 10 months as a lump inside a belly, is now out in the world.  She has never breathed before, but she starts.  She has never pooped, but that happened within 5 minutes, too.  She's never seen the world, never touched anyone.  It all just happens.  It's awesome.

It's also weird and gross and kind of unsettling.  I have much fonder memories of my wife's ladyparts than delivery, I'll tell you.  And while it's awesome that the baby is out and all humanoid, she's also grey.  Not just because she's covered in grey stuff, which is nasty, but her skin is grey for a few minutes.  She's wet, slimy, discolored, and the cord sticking out of her belly is kind of off-putting at first, too.  I cut it.  But it hangs on for days, and at first I was afraid to touch it.

All that grossness was vastly outweighed by how grateful we both were that she was out, and both mom and baby were safe and healthy.  And when I got to hold her in those first minutes, I cried several times.  I loved spending the first few minutes holding her all wrapped up, just whispering to her all the things I've wanted to say for months.  This was worth the terrible night, and more.

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