02 September 2017

A Birth Story: Philippa Sarah Rose

I really wanted my little Pippa to come on July 20th. My other two kids were born on a multiple of 5 day and that’s exactly what I wanted for my third. Instead I had to settle for a hot and stormy July 21st, which was my due date, so I really shouldn't complain. I’m really glad she wasn’t overdue but still… a day early would have made all my neurotic number fantasies come true. 

The day Pippa was born was a good day. All the bathrooms had been recently cleaned, all laundry folded and put away, floors swept, mopped, and vacuumed, dusting complete, fridge full. Dan even took Jude to his school that morning for Kindergarten Screening and to our delight he placed in the gifted Kindergarten class! If I can’t brag about a gifted Kindergarten class, what is there actually left in life? Jude, 5 years old and already gifted. Gifted in yelling was previously what I thought, but I guess being able to count to 39 unassisted as a 5 year old gets you places. Really, I’d like to thank the poor kid that left his digital Timex watch at the park for that gifted placement. I heard what exact minute it was throughout the hours for days after that find and now Jude has to work extra hard in Kindergarten. How did this turn into a post about my sweet baby boyfriend? Pippa, back to you.

I went in for my 40 week appointment Friday morning and pleaded my case to the midwife about why she should strip my membranes. I have never been more swollen as I was during Pippa’s pregnancy. I swear I could barely recognize my limbs and face. My Birkenstocks were fitting super tight, and they have always been a safe bet, even for people with hobbit feet like myself. Those were just a few of my grievances, and also it was my due date. Apparently there is new research out that is showing membrane stripping to not be very effective or blah, blah, blah. It still sounds stupid to me. She checked me though and I was 5 cm dilated and 90% effaced, so she said as long as I swear to tell no other midwife at the practice she’d strip ‘em. Mischief managed! That was 9 am and by noon I was having contractions every 8-10 minutes.  They weren’t very painful though so I didn’t really start paying attention to them until a few hours later.

At around 4pm we took the kids to a dear friend’s house. Sweet little Greta could tell something was different and she was refusing to get out of the car. Of course it made me cry, cry, cry, and I just held her so dear and tight while she felt all her emotions too. But I guess 3 minutes after we left, that fair-weathered 2 year old forgot all about how much she loved her mama and went all Elmira on Maggie, my friend’s English Bulldog. I shall remember this, GRETA. Besides that, the handoff went really well and I knew I didn’t need to worry about my bigger kids.

Then Dan and I headed off to the hospital. Contractions weren’t too terrible, pain level was about a 6 and they were coming about 6-8 minutes apart. Triage was fun and I learned I was 6 cm and 100% effaced. I liked the triage nurse, met the midwife on call and her student, then off to my labor and delivery room. Contractions slowly started to progress but it took a long time. We hung out with the student midwife, Sydney, walked the halls, and rested. My water had yet to break and I think the cushion of the liquid helped my contractions seem more manageable than I had previously experienced. So that was a nice bonus. Dan and I walked the halls for a good 2 hours and I would slow down every time a contraction came or I’d lean against the wall. We walked the same loop, the chatter and busy computer noises from the nursing station in the background serving as good distraction, and wondering what some of the odd art on the walls was supposed to mean.

Now I just gotta say it. I LOVE hospitals. I also love midwifery. I’m so glad that I can feel 100% safe in a hospital with my choice of provider. I totally have anxiety, and for me, I just don’t think I could ever go on living if something happened to my baby and I did not have the option of surgical intervention at my fingertips. Of course, I’ve never needed that but I’m so grateful the option was always there. Becoming a mother changes you so much. All of a sudden you know exactly what you would be missing out on if anything happened to your baby or you. And all of a sudden you have anxiety. 

For me, a hospital + midwife is the best recipe to ease my fears and help my labor to progress. I love those fluorescent lights, the noise and chatter, I don’t even mind being woken up every hour to check my vitals and bleeding. I’m all like, “If I’m hemorrhaging, please let me know! Check again! Are you sure you got enough blood in that draw? Take a few more cc’s, you never know! Is that microscopic blood clot too big? Should you just confirm my blood pressure is normal one more time? My legs were crossed, let me uncross them and breathe deeply and this time I’ll stop talking.” Ha ha ha. Do all the things you need to. Do them twice! But give me my damn midwife, also. I have been fortunate to never endure a bad hospital experience, I admit. My dad is a doctor and I grew up around medical talk, a medical office, going to the hospital with him when he was on call, watching him stitch up a few people here and there… I guess I’m pretty used to it. So for me, give me all the modern advancements, because I want/need them when I want/need them. For me, midwives are the perfect liaison for that and although I’m a little bit of a medical neurotic, they’ve always put up with me. Bless their hearts. You should probably count your blessings I’ve never been a patient of yours. Maybe not though, cause I’m like really really good at doing everything a provider tells me to – I’m pretty sure it’s a side affect of my anxiety.

Okay, so. After walking the halls for a while we headed back to my room and I just wanted to lie down and rest. About an hour passed and then contractions started to get really intense. It was okay though, I’m a good breather. I’m concentrating through contractions, and trying to conserve my energy. All the while it felt so surreal to actually be in an L&D room, laboring to bring a child into the world. Laboring makes me feel so connected to every other woman that has ever given birth and also to every orangutan. Those grunts, lady. In between contractions I was dumbfounded that it was actually me. Having a contraction! About to meet another human being! Who was in my uterus! How did I turn into a laboring adult female so damn fast? And then I wanted some fentanyl. You know, I’ve heard so much about it on the news and I was just so curious. They had an IV catheter in a vein on my wrist, should it be needed, making it just so easy for me to give this famous drug a little whirl in a completely legal and supervised situation. And according to my itemized hospital bill one dose for me was only $72.15. What’s the going rate on the street? IDK, but $72.15 seems pretty good to see how it makes me feel. It made me feel really dizzy. Unfortunately my contractions still hurt like a contraction does during transition, but I got to be dizzy at the same time. I go back and forth on whether or not the fentanyl took the edge off and I guess because I’m still wondering I’d have to say no or only a very small amount.  Oh well. Glad I got to take a hit and try it out.

After the dizzies wore off I said “I want an epidural and I want it fast and now.” So in comes my midwife and guess who is 10 cm and whose baby would be born long before they could even run fluids on me and get an anesthesiologist for me. This girl was! I was so goddamn mad at my midwife when she told me that. “Lies!! All of them!” I remember thinking, why do I wait so long, and also frantically thinking there was no way on earth I could do what I had to do. And then the urge to push was so great I couldn’t even stop it. Pushing happens to me, like someone getting hit by a bus.

As Pippa was crowning I remember mixing in some really emotional tears with my pushing. On the third push my water broke and I think it was the fourth or fifth push that delivered my sweet Philippa. With Jude and Greta, my waters had broken well before giving birth. For Pippa, because my water broke like a freaking huge water balloon right before she was born, it felt like I was giving birth to a very slippery giant squid. At 10:34 pm she was born. I remember asking if that was it, and if she was okay. Dan placed a tiny little 7 pound, 9 ounce girl in my arms where I looked at her up and down and side ways, then, matter of factly, decided that even though I’m too old for this, I did love her, surprise baby and all. I was really, really rooting for those hormones to come through. Thank you body! Oh! I DIDN’T TEAR. I honestly cannot believe my luck.

I love being in the hospital snuggling my babies. For me, it’s really relaxing. I love to spend all the time there that my insurance company will let me. When Philippa was barely a day old I remember being up with her at all hours. The monsoons were so strong that night it smelt like rain in room number 110. I’d breathe in the fresh rain and then the fresh baby, with thunder in my ears and lightning in my eyes. Dan was sleeping at home with our big babies so it was just little Pippa and I – cuddling and loving on each other in the dim light during a big storm. So magical I’ll never forget it.

Now our sweet Philippa Sarah Rose is 5 weeks, almost 6 weeks old. She’s been a great little baby. We had her tongue and lip tie released at 1 week old, which was both heartbreaking and a smart decision, and she is nursing and growing really well! Jude and Greta both adore her and really don’t mind that she’s around. Jude loves her because she is so cute and doesn’t take his stuff (his words). Greta loves her because she’s a baby. I make enough milk to feed quintuplets but I’m working on decreasing my supply. It’s so painful and my poor boobs are really gonna take a hit after this nursing journey is done. SIGH. Having her around has been pretty good. Dan had 3 weeks paternity leave, and that was such a special time for us. The kids were so confused when he had to go back to work. So was I.

Things are going well though. I almost find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. Three kids is busy, but not bad at all. We just have to do things right then and there when the moment presents. I did have to get a day planner like some idiot though. Two kids was fun. I could handle it without a planner and I always liked it when I’d be “surprised” about something. Oh we have a play date today? A doctor appointment? It’s soccer registration already?! Huh? Now nothing is a surprise and these events emerge in a much more boring, less exciting, more calculated manner. I’ll miss being slightly surprised about most things in my life. Things must be written down, checked and double-checked now. I rather enjoyed my aloof days of 2 kids, but I guess if I get a Pippa I’ll take 3 any day. BUT THAT’S IT, WORLD.

1 woot-woots!:

Jasmyn said...

I love this and I love you! Birth stories are the best and you have such a great way of describing things. I want to snuggle a baby in a monsoon now. �� Love you, P! So happy those hormones kicked in and congrats on #3! ��