Hi all! Bumping from my phone is a pain in the rear and never seems to work quite right, so this had to wait until I made it back to my desktop. Baby Daniel was born just about exactly one week ago--he arrived on April 16 at 9:23 AM, weighing 7 lb 11 oz and 20 inches long. Apparently he didn't get the memo from my Hypnobabies affirmations about being in the perfect position to be born easily and quickly. My labor was very Jekyll and Hyde. It started at 1:30 AM on the 15th and proceeded normally and manageably with my doula by my side from about 5:30 AM on. We decided to head to the hospital mid-afternoon. I did not want to know how dilated I was but was told that I had come in at just the right time (I later found out I was at 7 cm). My doula said I would have my baby by sunset, and I was so excited. I survived the strip and then got to relax in the tub, which was pure heaven. My doula and the midwife know each other, and they gossiped like old women and did the hip squeeze during contractions. I remember that time very fondly, easily the nicest part of my labor--cozy and comfortable despite the pretty intense contractions.
And then the sun went down and I was still in labor. He was in some screwball position way off to the right, and the midwife thought he had turned posterior, so we tried her and the doula stretching a towel behind my back and basically rolling me back and forth trying to get him to move. We did the cold Coke can on my back, we tried various positions for contractions, all kinds of things. Finally the midwife was getting worried and checked me--still only 9 cm, not complete. (The number slipped out, oops.) I asked if I could just nap for an hour and get a second wind. She agreed, and I had the Hypnobabies First Stage track playing and did indeed have a nice nap that left me refreshed. She checked me again. 9 cm with half a lip, so some improvement, but still not complete. She suggested breaking my water to help the baby move down. I reluctantly agreed. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to help much. I was told not to push, which was difficult to impossible to sustain. Finally I bounced on a birthing ball in the shower for about an hour--the warm water felt good, but I still couldn't stop the pushing completely. Things got increasingly miserable, and at last I ended up on the bed with nearly continuous contractions I couldn't help but push against and shaking so hard the bed was moving. And still not complete after so many hours. Clearly something was not right. I reluctantly agreed to an epidural just before 4 AM as a chance to sleep a little, escape the relentless contractions, and hopefully crawl over the finish line to complete and push the baby out. The anesthesiologist had to stand there waiting for 20 minutes while I tried to regain enough control to be still for the needle to be placed, the absolute rock-bottom moment of this whole ordeal. Fortunately it worked, I slept for an hour or two, and the midwife came back and pronounced me complete. I tried to push the baby out for an hour in the hated lithotomy position. Didn't work. The midwife said she thought the baby had an asynclitic head (cocked to one side and crooked so it does not press on the cervix properly) and that was why we were having so much trouble. The backup OB came in (fortunately the nicest of the three at the practice and my MW's favorite) and examined me and said he was wedged so tight she couldn't even get her hand around to get past him. I asked if I could try pushing in a less idiotic position and she said sure, but that she didn't think even a vacuum could get him out at this point (almost 32 hours after labor began). I said, "So you're throwing in the towel and calling for a C-section?" She said, "I'm not throwing anything, but I don't think he's going to be able to get out in the position that he is in." She clearly felt bad for me but also clearly felt it was pointless to continue, and so I had a complete bawling meltdown. My parents called the room in the middle of this meltdown--worst timing ever--so I bawled all over them for a while, and my doula and my husband and the midwife all tried to comfort me. I knew the midwife had tried her best to give me some semblance of the natural birth I wanted, but it just wasn't going to happen. I understood that a C-section was genuinely necessary, but I felt so cheated and bewildered that everything had started so well and then turned into complete and utter $hit.
I agreed to the section, and we hit the OR and got underway just after 9:00. My husband, midwife, and doula were all there, and my doula took some amazing pictures for me. The nurses were very nice, and after not too long, there was this baby being held up above the drape. It felt so surreal, like someone had just pulled a rabbit out of a hat. It didn't really seem like that was MY baby, but it was, and he filled the room with a window-rattling cry, so he was clearly in good shape despite everything. My husband and doula went over to the area where he was being cleaned up, he got an Apgar of 8, and within five minutes he was skin to skin with me above the drape, which almost made up for the fact that I had been sliced up like a fracking ham steak. He was just beautiful, with a lovely head of hair and gorgeous features. With some assistance from the doula and nurses, we had him nursing within ten minutes. It took another hour to finish sewing me back up, but being able to have Daniel skin to skin made everything so much better. The doula said she had never seen a c/s team get a baby on Mom's chest so quickly before. I got to keep him right there on me for over an hour in recovery before the pediatrician examined him, so although I feel like a got a whole damn barrel of lemons from my labor, I set to work making a nice batch of lemonade.
Here's a picture to reward you for making it through my novel-length birth story: