How it went, the first time, just in case I forget when there's a next time

(WARNING: This post contains details of labor and delivery. [NO, NOT LIMA BEAN'S DELIVERY. The last one. LB's will come in a month or so, thankyouverymuch.] Read at your own caution.)

Dear Zoe,

Two weeks before you were born, I had my one and only birth dream. I was hiking over tall red rock formations, like the ones in Sedona that your Daddy and I hiked over when I was about 5 months pregnant with you.

(looks like a great place to give birth, doesn't it?)

My mom was a few steps ahead of me, jumping from rock to rock. The afternoon sun warmed us from above as the rocks radiated heat up from below. I squatted on a rock and glanced down. There you were, emerging, looking up at me, with a full head of hair and a perfect little face. I sat down next to you, picked you up and held you to my chest. I closed my eyes, overcome by my instantaneous and overwhelming love for you, and felt the warm sun on my face.

As birthing dreams go, it was extremely comforting. Though I should have known that having you come out face up was not exactly IDEAL. Since it was prophetic and all....


It was Friday April 28th 2006, 9 days past your due date, when I woke up around 3 am to a wet feeling. I knew I hadn't wet the bed because even with your whole weight on my bladder, I had never wet the bed. (Well, okay, there was that one time when I was reading David Sedaris late at night but that doesn't count. His books should come with complimentary Poise pantiliners). I snuck out to the living room and popped in the lighthearted movie I chose to relax with in early labor: "Anchorman". Glancing at my watch every time my belly tightened, it became clear that this was, in fact, some form of labor.

Around 5 am, my mom, your Gramma, woke up and wandered out of the guest room, eyes wide and fingernails in her teeth: Is this it?

Yes, Mom. I think this is it.

I told her about the wetness and we agreed to get CG up and call the doctor and our doula. It was time to let them know we thought the water might have leaked.

They all agreed I had to be checked out so we got into the car and drove to the hospital. Around 6 am, they checked me in, at which point my contractions promptly stopped AND the doctors confirmed that my water had leaked. Not the best combination for someone hoping for a natural labor.

I was there to stay, hooked up to IVs and monitors, until you came. This was not AT ALL like my dream.

They moved us to the labor and delivery room and started my IV antibiotics (for group B strep) and reluctantly agreed to let me walk around for a while to see if I could get labor going again on my own. As the hours ticked by, I crab-walked up the stairwell, bounced on the birthing ball and ate some lunch sucked on purified ice chips, all to no avail. They finally told me that they HAD to start the Pitocin as they were worried about infection and wanted to get you out. And so the party really began.

The Pitocin contractions took a while to build but when they did HOLY HELL they REALLY DID. They were one on top of the other and I was getting overwhelmed by the pain in my back. Poor CG, who'd been so sweet and supportive, coaching me through it all, didn't recognize his wife. I think I remember some exorcist-like head spinning and furious words about ripping monitors off with my bare teeth. I definitely remember being on hands and knees and grabbing the high end of the hospital mattress to pound it rhythmically into the bed frame all while I made dying llama noises. Finally at 7 cm, I lost all control and BEGGED for an epidural. Which everyone must have agreed was necessary because I got it quickly (and immediately understood why some laboring moms want to french kiss their anesthesiologist. Not only was mine cute but he SAVED MY LIFE. [Or so it felt.])

I'm told that at this point my blood pressure went through the floor and they ushered my crew (CG, my mom, the doula) out of the room to medicate it back up. I was snoring at this point so I'll have to take their word for it. Next thing I knew, it was 9:30 pm and nurses woke me up as they cleaned up the rest of my "water" which had broken on its own.

I was dilated and effaced and you were ready to be pushed out. Or so they said. I felt nothing except a strong urge to go back to sleep.

So I started pushing. I couldn't feel anything and being the mind/body professional that I am, I overintellectualized it: "Should I push with my abs or my diaphragm? My rectus abdominus or my obliques? Should I try to activate my multifidus at the same time??" The nurses all looked at me with weary faces and told me to just push DOWN.

Thanks for that. Because I was going to try to birth my child UP, through my MOUTH. (Actually that's not a bad idea since it may be a bit bigger than the other option!)

My doctor came in and told me you were going to be born "today". I looked at the clock and agreed. I mean, how long could this take anyway?

At around 10:30 pm, I started pushing . And pushing. And pushing. And pushing (as the clock ticked past midnight and 1 am.). It felt like you were still stuck under my ribs and you kept moving around as if trying to get a better position to BE STUCK in. Your Gramma and Daddy were champs, each holding one of my numb, useless legs and cheering you on: "C'mon Zoe! C'mon out Zoe!".

Somewhere around 1:30 am, one of the nurses glanced down and exclaimed "I see some hair!". Which, you know, really ticked me off. Because it had been MONTHS since I'd been able to actually shave my bikini line so OF COURSE there was "some hair". Sheesh.

(It was only several days later that I reported my annoyance to CG who gently informed me they were talking about you and your full head of hair emerging NOT me and my bikini line. Oops. I gave that nurse some seriously dirty looks for nothing.)

Finally they called the doctor back in, my poor doctor who had serious bedhead from trying to get some sleep. She told me they would have to cut you out or suck you out. That it was time.


So they used suction on your poor little soft head. And I pushed. And still you were stuck.

So they sucked again and I think I remember my doctor leaning way back and grunting as she pulled you out.

Turns out you were sunny side up, just like my dream. And you had a full head of hair and a perfect face. Just like my dream.

And I loved you intensely from the instant you came out. Just like my dream.


your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


My Buddy Mimi said...

Awwww, what a sweet picture of your little Zoe.

desperate housewife said...

What a GORGEOUS baby! I think I'm going to keep havin' kids till I get one with a head of dark hair!
Addy had to be suctioned a bit too, though I have no idea WHY since I'd only pushed twice when the doctor decreed that. I was either a terrible pusher and he could tell right away, or he was seriously tired from being up all night with me and wanted her born ASAP.

Hillary said...

That is a LOT of pushing ... goodness. But what a gorgeous baby Zoe was.

PS My word confirmation is "blessu." Yes, bless you and Lima Bean with an easy, quick birth.

bat7mess said...

Thanks for posting your story! Actually, it was pretty similar to my L&D with Sophie. I hope Lima Bean's is similar to Lilah's since it was so much easier. Can't wait to read about it next month!
PS: Zoe was a BEAUTIFUL newborn!

Michelle said...

What a gorgeous baby! I'm impressed that they didn't make you take the Pitocin right away. I think they had that in me before I even had the hospital gown on.
Hoping you have an easy labor with Lima Bean - as easy as any labor can be at least :)

Sas. said...

Funny, all I remember about that night is being in the 500 Club for K-rock's b'day, sucking down numerous Jack & Gingers (mmmmmmm... Jack & Ginger, how I miss thee...) and getting updates from Wyatt. Oh, and the birthday girl rooting for Zoe to be born on her birthday...

Every birth story is a blessing, and I'm looking forward to hearing Lima Bean's soon!

parkingathome said...

Can you imagine how very much it would have sucked to give birth au naturale in the middle of red rocks now that you know how it feels? Oh god, the echoing screams would terrify the animals in their dreams for years to come.

What a beautiful and happy baby

parkingathome said...

PS my word confirmation was "dissed" ha ha

miyoko said...

aaaw seeing Z all newborn makes me all teary!!! Sooo amazing how even now that they're big, they look exactly the same and so different all at the same time!

Kira said...

I ditto's Sas's memories! I remember waiting to see if Z was going to be born on my birthday. Wyatt kept calling with updates and told me that you told him that you were doing your best to push her out on the 28th, so we'd have the same bday. Close! Very close. I'm sure you would have preferred a shorter labor, but apparently Z decided she needed her very own special day, which she undoubtedly deserves!

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