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A glimpse into the brain of a writer-momma-nerd.

Nick’s Arrival

Posted by nattya61 on February 26, 2010

The morning of April 4, 2009, three days after my due date, I start having contractions.

I had experienced braxton hicks contracts on and off for about three weeks, but these were more regular, and I just felt like Nicholas was on his way. Bryan went ahead and went to work that day, but he was on high alert for any phone call from me telling him to come home. I never had to call him. The contractions stayed regular, but at least an hour apart that whole day. He got home at 4:30 that evening, disappointed that I didn’t have to call him to rush me to the hospital yet.

The contractions got stronger that evening, but less regular. Sometimes they would be eight minutes apart and sometimes thirty. We were able to sleep a little that night. I continued to have contractions. We knew Nicholas would be born eventually, but when you’ve been waiting for something to happen for almost 10 months (yes, what they don’t tell you is pregnancy is closer to 10 months than it is 9…just one of the many things people don’t tell you before you get pregnant) you get really anxious. We wanted Nicholas with us, and frankly, I wanted him out of my body.

The next morning we got up around 7:00, with contractions coming about every fifteen minutes now. They were getting stronger. At this point it felt like menstrual cramps. But, imagine a uterus the size of a watermelon instead the size of your fist, so they didn’t exactly feel like cramps, but it was still the same idea. By 9:00AM they were about ten minutes apart. By 9:30AM, eight minutes. We decided it was time to head to the hospital. Back at one of my many appointments I tested positive for Group B Strep. No, it’s not an STD, you dirty minded people, even though it does sound like one. It’s just something some women have. It can come and go in anyone. But, I just happened to have it. That meant they had to hook me up to an IV antibiotic about an hour or so before delivery. Now might be a good time to tell you what my birth plan was at this point:

No IV – which went out the window with the Group B diagnosis.
No induction.
No drugs.
No epidural.

Essentially, I wanted a labor and delivery that was as natural as you could get. I watched The Business of Being Born and everything.

Now, back to getting to the hospital. I get there, they hook me up to a monitor. Yep, contractions and dilated to a 4. They decide to admit me, tell me to pee and put my gown on. Next, in goes the IV. They move me to the labor room and we wait.

We wait an hour. The nurse comes in and says the doctor on call doesn’t think I’m progressing fast enough and he wants to give me pitocin. “Oh hell no,” I say. The nurse tells us it’s pit or go home. What?! Seriously?! We argue. The doctor (Dr. Hamilton, if you want to make sure he’s not the guy to deliver your kid.) reluctantly agrees to break my water first and see if that speeds things up. See, the kicker, once your water’s broken, you can’t leave the hospital if it doesn’t work, but we still figured it would be a better option that pitocin or having the IVs ripped out and going home only to have to come back later and be stuck again.

When Dr. Hamilton breaks my water nothing happens. Well, a string of blood and other oozy stuff comes out that Bryan thinks is from Nick’s head (it wasn’t…just normal birth stuff), but no water. Nada. Dry. The doctor says, “Oh, don’t worry, all the water must be behind the baby. It’ll gush out after he’s born.”

The contractions don’t speed up. They get stronger, but stay about 5 minutes apart and I’m still at a 4, but remember, we’ve only been at the hospital about two hours at this point. We agree to the pitocin. The doctor says some crap about a c-section since my water can only be broken for a certain period of time, and by this time, I realize there is no arguing with this guy. I was hella pissed, but ready to have Nicholas at the same time.

The pitocin kicks in. These contractions are different. There is no build-up. No, here comes the pain, it gets worse, it peaks, it gets better. It’s just, bam, pain, pain, lots of pain, and sorta gone. Then the cycle starts again. Then, the pitocin really kicks in. PAIN. All the time. I think I’m going to die. I’ve dilated to a 7 now. The contractions, or better yet, the one long contraction is unbearable, but I stay dilated to a 7 for an hour. I can’t take it anymore. I ask for an epidural. I cry. I feel defeated. I feel cheated of the birth I wanted to have. I feel like a failure for not being able to stand my ground long enough and then for not being able to handle the pain. I feel like my body is going to squeeze Nicholas to death. I break the blood pressure cuff that’s on my arm because I can’t take pain in two places at once right then. I didn’t just rip it off. I broke that sucker.

It takes about 15 minutes for the anesthesiologist to get there with the epidural. Then it takes him about 15 minutes to get it in. He kept asking me, “Are you ok?” while he was putting it in. No, I wasn’t ok, but dude. I asked him, “Are you ok? You’re the one who’s putting a needle into my spine. You tell me if you’re ok.” The nurse laughed. I guess no one had ever said that before.

An epidural is not pleasant. My mom always told me she didn’t care about the pain of the epidural because she was in so much pain because of the contractions. Oh, I cared. It was the oddest sensation I’ve ever had. I could feel the needle go in, then I could feel the cold medicine dripping down my spine. It didn’t necessarily hurt, but it didn’t feel good either. It only took about 10 minutes for it to kick in. Once it did, I could breathe. I didn’t realize that I was holding my breath, but man, once I was numb, it was great. Then, I got really numb. Boobs down, I felt nothing. Talk about awkward. The nurse would tell me to roll over. Then roll over again. Then scoot up. Scoot down. I’m like, “Exactly how do you expect me to do this?” Yeah, just another joy of pregnancy and birth.

The nurse checks me again. I’m finally dilated to a 10. It’s after 5:00PM now. She tells me to do a test push. Pushing when you can’t feel anything is as difficult as trying to roll over when you can’t feel anything. I didn’t know if I was pushing or not, but I guess I did a good job because she made me stop and ran to get the doctor. Bryan said he could see Nick’s head. “He’s got a lot of hair!” The doctor came in, I pushed. I think I pushed about ten times. All of a sudden I had this strong fear that Nicholas would get stuck. I was terrified. I pushed as hard as I could, and then all of a sudden there he was. The nurse put him on chest and I was in shock. I couldn’t feel him come out. I just stared at him. He was perfect.

While all of this was happening, Bryan again got a scare. At that last push, the doctor also pulled, and a lot of blood came out when Nicholas did. Bryan read too many stories of women hemorrhaging during birth. What actually happened was I tore, a lot. I don’t know if it’s because I pushed too hard too fast, or if it’s because the doctor pulled on Nick too hard, or if it just happened. But, I tore. I asked the doctor, “How bad? What stage? How many stiches?” I had done my research…on everything. He wouldn’t answer. “Oh, normal for a first birth.” Let’s hear the chorus again, “Bastard!” I found out later from my OBGYN that I tore to a stage 2 and had ten stitches. Not too bad. Nothing near as bad as my mom tore with me, but still. My goal was to come out intact. But, I healed. It sucked, but I healed.

Nicholas, on the other hand, was perfect.

First picture!

Nicholas Lee Kendall popped out on April 5, 2009 at 5:52PM. He weighed 8 pounds and was 20.5 inches long.

Most of what happened next was a blur. Eventually we got back to our room. The pediatrician confirmed that yes, Nicholas is perfect. The epidural wore off, but in stages. I couldn’t feel my left leg for about 6 hours after he was born. So I’m bleeding, sore, have to pee, and have a new baby to take care of, but I can’t walk.  I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: people ask why I only want one kid. Hmm…I wonder…

In the end, I didn’t have the earth-mother-goddess birth experience I wanted, but I’ve worked through that. However, I got to have the experience of being pregnant and giving birth. I would go through it all again a million times over to have Nicholas if I had to. But, I was lucky enough to have a perfect child the first time. I don’t need to temp fate and do it again.

I am so lucky to have Nicholas and Bryan. Bryan was such a trooper through everything. When I cried, he cried. When I felt pain, he empathized the best he could. He was and is there every step of the way.

It was almost a year ago we got to take Nicholas home from the hospital, and it’s been an amazing adventure every day since. I love you, little guy, my perfect little baby.

April 7. In the car coming home from the hospital.


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