Well, it’s been long enough. It’s time to document the birth story. I find myself really regretting not writing Coco’s down beforehand, because I think that in order to appreciate Chaucer’s entrance into the world you would have to know Coco’s story. That being said, let me briefly tell you how Coco’s went down and then we’ll move on to the little man.
During my pregnancy with Cosette, I avoided any thought of the ever-encroaching labor and delivery. I planned from the get-go to have an epidural. I’ve had lots of pain with multiple foot surgeries and I just figured that I would like to avoid what seemed like a really painful experience. When I was about a week away from my due date, the doctor told me I would most likely go past 40 weeks, so maybe we would talk about induction later on. I wasn’t too crushed, cause that’s the sort of luck I have so I just carried on with my week and then was pleasantly surprised when I woke up in labor two days later.
I got up at 4 am with contractions and they came pretty steadily measuring about 5-7 minutes apart. After a few hours we called the folks, I showered and did my hair, then we went to the hospital. I arrived at the hospital–still having contractions–getting more painful, but not really that bad. They checked me and lo and behold I was at a 1. Lame. They had me walk around for an hour and then I was at a 2. For whatever reason, they checked me in and gave me a bed.
Next up: pitocin. Things started to get really unpleasant really fast. Therefore, I got an epidural at a 3. From that point on it was pretty much a long, drawn out waiting game of lying in bed, visiting with family, and slowly dilating as my contractions grew and I blissfully felt nothing. I even slept! So, when it came time to push I still felt nothing, but I gave it everything I could and out popped Coco! Instant joy, instant bonding, yes, I’ll do that all over again in a heartbeat! (26 hours total)
That’s Coco’s birth story in a nutshell.
Ready for Chaucer’s? Well, throughout this pregnancy I’ve planned on again having an epidural. Since it took so long with Coco, I figured that even if it was half as long it would still be nasty. And it was so fun watching those contractions climb without feeling anything. Ha.
I also planned for Chaucer to be early. Coco was four days early, and with Chaucer I had SO many braxton hicks contractions and just felt like he HAD to come early. A word for the wise: don’t ever PLAN on having your baby early. Don’t ever THINK that they will come early. It just makes it all the more sucky when they don’t. Moving on.
I switched over to a whole new set of doctors (obviously) when we moved to Davis. And with the exchange came a group of major all-natural proponents. Each doctor that I saw in the last four weeks would ask if I planned to deliver naturally, and each time I felt a twinge of guilt and a great deal of irritation as I defended my planned epidural. They never checked me in the last four weeks, so I had no idea if anything was happening down there. But I walked every day–at least 3 miles, sometimes even 7. I drank red raspberry leaf tea, took evening primrose oil, and did a bunch of squats. Still he wouldn’t come.
My sister Kirsty spontaneously made a trip up to see us on the 13th–two days before his due date. We were really really hoping I’d go into labor while she was here because it would totally take care of the babysitter factor and she’d get to see Chaucer. She made the walking rounds with us, we went to Thai food and I had Red Curry–yum! No contractions. The next day we walked a bunch again, and started googling more ways to induce labor. Accupressure surfaced as an interesting option…who knows if it really works, but Matt applied the pressure (ouch) and we hoped that it would have some effect.
Woke up at 4 to pee, Matt shoots out of bed, “anything??” I feel like a failure. “No, no contractions.” We still have time though.
Woke up at 6 to, you guessed it, pee. This time I feel something. Hmmm. Ten minutes later that eerily exciting band of pain got me again. Still, I’ve had false labor, so this could be another one of Chaucer’s tricks. Five minutes later, another one. I also had a very jittery feeling come over me that I had with Coco. Of course I’m asking myself how much of this is a consequence of the jalapenos. I wake up Matt and tell him, wander into the living room to tell Kirsty. We were all thrilled! Matt gets out the old timer on his iphone and they started coming faster. At about 7:30 I called my parents to let them know I was in labor. I probably was on the phone with my mom for only 5 minutes, and in that time I had two big contractions–the kind that make it hard to talk. I got off the phone and told Matt to get his mom on a plane NOW. (The plan all along was to have Leann jump on a plane as soon as labor started so that she could watch Coco–she lives right by LAX so this wasn’t too much of a problem).
I had planned on staying home as long as possible for early labor with Chaucer. I didn’t want to get turned away (Sutter Hospital only admits you at a 3 or 4), and I didn’t want to be stuck in bed. However, my contractions started coming every minute and a half, and they were so bad that I was almost in tears. What the heck? I suddenly realized I didn’t have that much time so I just scrunched my wet hair into a bun, threw on some sweats, and grabbed our half-packed hospital bag.
Thank you, Jesus for letting Kirsty be there. She was able to stay with Coco and drive to Sacramento to pick up Leann.
The ride to the hospital sucked. I curse UC Davis for all their speed bumps. Ugh. And Northern Californians just do not drive fast at all. I had what felt like a bazillion contractions during the ten minute drive to the hospital. And I had three more just walking into the building. I cursed the cafeteria for making eggs in the morning. Why would they do that right by the Birthing Center??
We arrived at the hospital at about 8:00.
A wonderful nurse, who I would later come to know as Annie brought me into a room and gave me a gown. She put the monitors on and said, “Wow. Your son is a little rockstar. He’s moving a ton in there!” Not really a surprise since he’s been moving non-stop this pregnancy.
I puked. I cursed those jalepenos.
I was already sweating and looking like a wild woman. In my rush I had forgotten a headband or bobby pins. A nurse came in and brought me two bobby pins. Bless her.
The doctor came in around 8:30 and checked me. Oh dear. I ordered a female doctor and in waltzes the ONE male doctor on the whole staff. He checked me and then uttered the words that I still cannot believe:
“You’re at about 9 centimeters.”
I quickly told him that couldn’t be. That’s not my luck. I just started labor at 6:00. Was he sure?
Yep, you’re going to have this baby real soon!
So much for having an epidural. I felt like I had won the lottery and gotten a jury summons at the same time. Yay, but I dont want to do this without drugs!!! I’m scared. I want my mommy.
The nurse started prepping me for the delivery. She explained that I would need to push really soon and reassured me that she’d coach me through it. We were not at all prepared for a natural birth–even though I had had a birthing class with Coco, I had no idea what to do with these ginormous contractions. I wasn’t hooked up to anything except an IV with antibiotics, so I was able to try some different positions out. Nothing felt good. I think the birthing ball is a big phony. It doesn’t relieve ANY of the pressure!
An hour went by, still no need to push. Still at a nine. The doctor broke my water. Interesting sensation… Kirsten showed up with Leann within the hour. I desperately wanted to see Coco, and then as soon as they came in I realized I didn’t want her to see me like that. She is such a sweetie, too. She knew I was in pain and gave me some loves. I wanted Kirsten to be in the room for the delivery, so Leann took Coco and I educated Kirsten in all the horrible ways of childbirth.
I have to say, I was right about me and pain. We don’t go well together. I behaved like all those women in the movies. One minute I was begging Jesus for mercy and the next I was blurting out expletives. I almost laugh about it now as Matt tells me the colorful things I said during labor. Almost. Fortunately, I don’t get really mean when I’m in pain so I didn’t say anything awful to Matt or the nurse. I did tell Kirsten to NEVER have kids. That was a mistake, but what do you expect?
After another hour of staying at a nine, the doctor came in looking a little perplexed. He explained that usually it doesn’t take that long to go from 9 to 10. I had a few options: pitocin, an epidural, or I could try to push my way to a 10. I didn’t want pitocin, and I didn’t know if I could decline an epidural. A small part of my brain wanted to, but my gigantic heaving body wanted to get pumped up with all things numbing. After a minute of hashing it out in my head, Dr. Wilson made the decision for me. Let’s just start pushing and see what happens.
The hour it took to push was the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever done. I had no sensation that I needed to push, and so I was literally pushing Chaucer down millimeter by millimeter. I didn’t know what I was doing. Like I said, I had done no prep work for this kind of task. My doctor was amazing. He counted out how long I needed to push while Annie encouraged me with some heavy duty power talk. She also told me how to relax between contractions in order to gear up for the next push. Matt and Kirsty sort of stayed back, looking horrified. They had to bring Matt some grape juice because he got quite faint. Ha.
As I pushed, my mind settled in this really strange place. I guess when you’re in the grips of pain your mind will preserve itself elsewhere. I chose to concentrate on Coco in her “carseat”. I don’t know why but imagining her on the playground in her favorite toy gave me motivation to meet this unknown baby boy and learn to love him in that same incredible way. It worked. All of a sudden I mustered up some strength from an unknown source–actually it was God–and I felt him finally come down.
So–the need to push? Yah, pretty much feels like a spiked ball of fire ripping you in half. I imagined medeival torturing devices. If you have a better way to describe it, please share. Cause that’s what I thought was happening.