So I'm feeling really amazing today, on Cassius' 3 week birthday/anniversary, so I thought I'd write the story from the happy, happy, joy, joy perspective (with a ton of honesty thrown in too!) and from my somewhat sketchy memory.
Contractions were mildly intense but not so bad that I couldn't talk in between. Sue came over and hung out a bit. Matt and Sue went to Triple A to get the car seats adjusted in the car. Up until about 2 minutes before they left, I was going to go with them, but then I had another contraction and decided I didn't really want to go through that in a AAA parking lot, so I stayed home. Sue went to get Brett from BART and they came over for a bit. I think Brett was a little floored that I was having contractions with him at the house. Around 11:00am or so, Matt started timing them again and they were getting closer and closer together- about 4-5 minutes apart so we called Tenaya. She came over around noon and just hung out. Brett and Sue went to China Town to get out for awhile. Matt stayed with me and was an amazing support (figuratively and literally) the entire time. Around 4pm or so, the contractions started to get more intense- so much so that I wasn't able to talk much in between. Brett and Sue left around this time, I think.
Around 7pm or so, I started to go through transition. Of course, I didn't really know it at the time but the contractions shifted. During the prior contractions, I was able to moan deeply (with Matt's coaching) and really turn inward. During transition, I just couldn't get my voice to deepen and was screaming more and more. The pain was more intense and I could feel it/him move down my back/pelvis. That part was "kinda" cool. I had to keep repeating to myself...."My body was meant to do this. My body is strong" just to make it through the next contraction without giving up completely. I wanted to shut down and shut it off! At one point I said "I just want to curl up and die!" and I truly did. I have never had pain so intense and not be able to turn it off. I often thought my migraines would prepare me for birth... and they did- for the first part... but during this time, it was so different. When I have a migraine, it's intense, I want to die- but the pain waxes and wanes. I often can go to sleep and feel a reprieve. Not so much with labor. It's constant with a 10 second reprieve before it starts up again. By 8 or 9 pm, I was really, really tired and just wanted a little break- but no such luck.
Tenaya had suggested that I get in the tub- and I did- 3 different times throughout labor. Around 9:15pm, I got in the tub for the last time. It was immediate relief, but the pain came right back within a minute or so in the tub.
Tenaya had checked me around 9:30 or so and I was 8 cm on one side and 9/10 on the other side, so I still had a bit of cervix in the way that needed to go away before I could push but the pushing contractions were there and they were strong. It took me a good 10-15 minutes to get up the nerve/energy/stamina to try to get out of the tub so that she could check me and/or push that last bit out of the way. Just as I was getting ready to get out of the tub so that could happen, she asked if I wanted her to check me in the tub and I agreed. Hallelujah! I was 10cm all around. Good thing too, because the contractions to push were nearly impossible to stop. To me, they felt like you had to take the biggest poop in the world and oh, shit! you aren't on the toilet, so you try to stop it, it doesn't really work and it hurts like hell to actually let it push out. Nice picture, huh?
After about an hour of pushing, I felt his head crown and let me tell you- it's one weird feeling. Like you are pushing a giant cantelope sized tampon out of your vagina.... and then it goes back in... and comes back out....and goes back in. He crowned and went back in about 4 or 5 times and by this point I was D.O.N.E. I wanted the little fucker out.. and that's what I kept saying to myself. I had told myself... this time he'll come, but in reality it was 3 or 4 more times but on the last push, I pushed with all my might and his head came out. Tenaya wasn't quite ready for that but alas, I wanted the little fucker OUT! Once his head was out, I wanted to be done (see a theme here?) and pushed his shoulders out without a huge contractions but it needed to be OVER!
After all was said and done, Matt joked that he hadn't seen my eyes in over 8 hours because I was so internally focused I didn't even look at him!
Cassius was born at 11:07pm in the birth tub in our dining room. He weighed 8lbs, 14 oz about an hour after he was born (She also weighed him in a 9lbs, 2 oz 30 seconds earlier but declaired his weight the lower one so that weight loss in the first week would not send him to the hospital). He was 21" long and I believe his head was 13" around. His second APGAR score was a 9 and was/is beautiful! He has a Dohlman "butt" chin and lots of dark hair!
And out he came, perfectly healthy and perfectly pink. You might remember the little heartrate scare that had us (and Tenaya) a bit worried... Well, it was all for naught. He was perfect. He got a 9 on his APGAR and they put him in my arms. Right after I delivered him, I was bleeding quite a bit (the photo of us in the tub is not a pretty one) and so Tenaya pushed on my stomach to encourage the placenta to deliver. I didn't really have a contraction (or at least it was about .00001% of the intensity of what I just went through) so when I felt a slight twinge, I pushed to deliver it. Then Michelle (the baby midwife) handed Cassius and the placenta to Matt and off they went to the couch to hang out (and let the cord go limp) while I got on the floor to try to stop the bleeding (pic above it me hanging out on the floor, holding him after the cord was cut). I hung out there for awhile, then went to the bathroom to try to pee (a full bladder does not allow your uterus to contract) to no avail, and then ended up in the bed.
Tenay and Michelle did an exam on Cassius and determined all was well (I remember her specifically saying both his testicles had descended!). At this point I was too weak to hold him much or care about much, so after an attempted catheter and some contracting drugs and more clotting/bleeding, the ambulance was called around 3 am and off to the hospital I went.
Meanwhile, Michelle got Cassius dressed and ready. (I managed to have the energy to tell her that he had a matching hat that went with his outfit!) and he and Matt followed the ambulance. His first car ride into Berkeley at only 3 hours old! Ron and Sue met us (and Cassius) at the hospital.
At the hospital, they gave me a few drugs via IV and monitored me (aka I sat in bed and they came by every few hours) and I was discharged around 8am. The best part of the hospital visit (other than that they didn't have to do an ultrasound) was that I got two amazing cotton blankets out of the ordeal! Cassius was able to be in bed with me the entire time, even though he wasn't interested in nursing.
As I write this 3 weeks to the day after he was born, I'm finally feeling mostly "healed" down below after a rough couple of weeks and since he slept for a 4 hour and then a 3 hour stretch last night, I feel I can conquer the world (or at least our little world).
So glad to get this down in writing.... Welcome to the world little Monkey! We love you!
This might be a blog about parenting, pregnancy, my life or my opinions... I haven't really decided. I just know that it's a place to put my thoughts and things I want to remember when the Alzheimer's kicks in. Updates will come not too frequently and of random nature.