Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Labor Day

I want to write this stuff down before I forget it ... bc if there's one thing that I know from women who've had children, you totally forget the entire labor experience very quickly. Not that I should hang on to the bad memories, but it would defeat the purpose of a blog/journal if I don't write down my memories.

Friday after my doctor's appointment, I was determined to further my 3cm dilation ... the contractions had been happening since 5am that morning, and I figured if I could just make them more regular, I would hit 4cm and go into active labor. So I was walking for an hour, which helped. I went and got a foot massage that evening. I started timing my contractions and they were steadily increasing. Note: these contractions were like Braxton Hicks -- not painful, just tightening and slightly uncomfortable.

I must've gone to bed around 2:30 am, and woke up around 4am as my contractions were continuing-- by 5:30 am, they had turned into what I knew were 'real' contractions, bc they started hurting. They say that if you're not able to talk through your contractions, that's a sign that they're real. My game plan was to hold out for one hour of the strong contractions, and then head out to the hospital. I woke up King and told him to shave and start getting ready for the hospital.

By 6:10 I was in extreme pain. While the initial strong contractions felt like really bad period cramps, and then there would be down time (3-4 mins) before the next contraction -- pretty soon, the 'down time' was the feeling of really bad period cramps, and then a strong contraction would come, and the deep breaths I was taking weren't helping anymore -- I was wriggling around in all sorts of positions (on the exercise ball, on all fours, squatting, anything) to find something that would make me feel in less pain. At this point I told King -- let's go to the hospital. I wasn't waiting until 6:30. But it took me long to get ready bc I couldn't do anything until I was in between contractions -- I stopped timing them at this point bc it was pretty obvious I was in labor. That and I was in so much pain, I couldn't give a sh-- about hitting start & stop on my iPhone app. My teeth started chattering really hard, and my whole body was shaking violently -- but I wasn't cold. Mummy woke up at this point, and decided to join us at the hospital as well. Once we got in the car, King started coaching me through the breathing as we made the 10 minute drive there.

We reached the hospital at 7am, and just as I stepped out of the car, my water broke. Mummy wheeled me into the hospital while King parked. Each moment was so incredibly painful and long lasting for me -- I was so irritated by everything being done around me bc I felt like everyone was taking too long to make simple decisions and do the one obvious thing that needed to be done -- get me into the freakin' hospital.

On a side analogy ... you know when you're so incredibly drunk that you have no idea what the hell is going on around you? You are concentrating so hard on just making it from point A to point B (which is usually to the bathroom, or back to your bed, or wherever it is that you are planning on passing out) ... and when you think back to that experience, you have no real recollection of the events happening around you, except that you somehow made it from one event to the next. That's how I felt about the pain. It was so intense that I have no idea what was happening around me, all I could concentrate on was my breathing.

I was 5-6 cm dilated at this point -- my goal was to make it to 4cm (lol, which is just the start of active labor) so I requested the epidural. It took about another hour for the epidural to finally get administered and take effect -- the contractions got REALLY strong at this point. And on top of that, I had to stay still for the administering of the epidural, which was really hard to do, esp with all my shaking. The more I was tensing up, the more the epidural was hurting when he was putting the needle in.

Finally, the epidural was in, and while I thought it would take 30 minutes to take effect, it took more like 10. Oh my God --- thank the Lords of Kobol for modern medicine. Those of you who did this without an epidural -- I bow to you -- bc I don't know how you could withstand hour after hour of that pain -- 2.5 hours of that was my upper limit. At this point, I could still feel the contractions, but it was the head pushing down on my cervix -- which kinda felt like I had to go #2. I knew I wasn't supposed to push at this point bc I wasn't fully dilated, so I would just ignore it, and let it  be.

I had the best 2 hour nap of my life. I seriously hadn't slept this well my entire pregnancy, and I remembered thinking to myself, 'I hope the nurse doesn't wake me up; I could sleep for another 3 days like this -- maybe we can deliver the baby in three days?' It was around 10am at this point, and I told King that I'd probably be ready to push around noon (I was 7-8 cm dilated, but baby's head was still far up). King thought it would be closer to 3-4pm. The nurse woke me up around 1pm and checked and saw that the baby had descended, and I was fully dilated. So we did our first practice push. At the end of the push, she said to King (who was holding one leg while the nurse had the other leg) 'See that black part? That's the top of the baby's head.' I was really encouraged, I figured, it can't be that far if they can already see the top of the baby's head. We did a few more pushes, and I was gaging how it was going based on King & the nurse's reactions and expressions. King said to me in Hindi at this point 'Don't push so much, let's wait for the doctor to come.' I was thinking to myself 'Uhhh, I'm not waiting. I'm gonna push if I feel like pushing.' The doctor arrived, and we did a couple of pushes more, and then she said she was going to go take care of some paperwork. The nurse quickly called her back saying 'Come back, the baby's coming.'

The last push was really the most memorable. Because I could see from King's expression that the baby was coming out. And I could feel the pressure of the head coming out, and gave an extra hard push to just make it happen. I could feel the whole shape of the head coming out, and then the small body sliding out after that. And that was that -- it was over, I couldn't believe it (my placenta came out shortly afterwards, and I gotta tell you, that was the best feeling -- I felt so light and relieved afterwards).

Baby wasn't breathing properly, so they had to resuscitate him. The doctors & nurses weren't worried so I didn't stress out either. After a couple of minutes, I was feeling sad because I still hadn't heard the baby cry, and I couldn't see the baby because he was at the table with the nurse & pediatrician. A couple of minutes later I did hear him cry, and then they brought him to me and put him on my chest. It was so strange -- I had a hard time associating that the same baby that was inside me was this baby that was in my arms. It just felt like somebody had put a baby on me and told me 'this is yours,' and I'm supposed to believe it.

After that I was supposed to try to feed him. I honestly don't remember much of that, except that I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, but again, just being told what to do. There was surprisingly a lot less motherly emotion flowing through me at this time than I had anticipated. When I was pregnant and would sometimes think about the baby inside me, I would get emotional and even cry -- but there were no tears during the delivery, or upon seeing the baby. I was feeling a crisis of faith so to speak, abt the fact that I had named him 'Puchku' already, bc I would look at this baby, and think 'this is Puchku?' Because I had created an imaginary baby in my head that was Puchku, and the two images were not coinciding for me. I told myself, it's ok, I can give him a different nickname. The only place we've written it down were in the books that Priti got for him - but that's ok,  babies have tons of nicknames. I thought to myself, for the next baby, I'm not giving him a nickname before he's born. But that soon passed -- because as my family came, and they all repeatedly referred to him as Puchku, the name started to stick, and I was ok with it.

I also told King, within minutes of giving birth "Babe, I could do this two more times." :-) 

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