Much like I expected labor to take 11 to 12 hours, I expected pushing to take maybe 30 minutes. After about 2 hours of pushing I became convinced nothing was really happening. I mean, how far does the baby really have to go? The midwife made me reach down and feel the baby’s head. The whole team was cheering me on telling me I was doing an awesome job during each push. A Jack Johnson CD was playing on repeat— as it had been throughout much of the labor. I had an oxygen mask on at this point and was covered in wet washcloths that would fall off me every time I leaned forward to push. The baby nurse started setting up and the pediatrician finally arrived. Forty-two hours into labor and 2.5 hours into pushing, our baby was born at 1:28 AM on February 23, 2010.
date Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 3:57 AM
subject Update 06: 42 hours had to end somehow!
Start: Sunday 7:00am
End: Tuesday 1:28am
We pushed and pushed and pushed for two and half hours.
Meet our new baby boy!
Name to come.
Love you all!
We were hoping he would not immediately cry so that he wouldn’t breath in the meconium. He came out screaming. Kenny cut the umbilical cord. It took him three tries because he was so nervous. They took the baby over to the warming table and began working on him. According to our birth requests, Kenny was supposed to announce the sex. Baby was at the table, and I had to ask what it was before Kenny looked and told me it was a boy. They worked on him for what seemed like forever. Kenny took pictures and brought them over to show me. I could already tell he looked just like Kenny.
I thought it would be a while before the placenta came, but it was like 5 minutes later. Finally something happened quicker than expected! I asked to see it and demanded that Kenny take pictures as I was quite proud of it. It was a good looking placenta. Then the student midwife stitched me up—only two stitches, so I thought that was pretty good.
Baby was a bit pale, and they weren’t sure about his breathing so they needed to take him to the nursery to monitor him. They brought him over to me for a minute before—Kenny had to hold oxygen over him while I held him. For some reason, I wasn't too worried though. I just knew he was strong and healthy and would be fine. Perhaps its because of the strength of the force with which he'd been kicking and punching me for weeks.
The nurse and midwives were eager for me to try peeing. I had to take the nurse with me to make sure I didn’t collapse or something and to be shown how to deal with the lovely aftermath (a multi-step process involving many products). All dignity had been lost along the way anyway.
Elias came back with a clean bill of health after an hour in the nursery. I held him and maybe sort of nursed him. I was relieved and of course exhausted. I handed him to Kenny and promptly passed out.
A few days after we’d been home from the hospital I was recounting what labor was like to my friend Megan (who was curious because she was a few weeks away from giving birth herself). When I finished the description she said that it sounded pretty terrible. I was surprised when she said that, because for me it really wasn’t terrible. Reading it here, I can see how maybe it sounds pretty terrible--but really, I feel like we had a wonderful birth. When possible all of the plans we had made were honored. Labor was long and during parts of it I began to wonder if I would ever see my baby, but man was it worth it. I wouldn’t change the place or the people who were a part of it. I was disappointed to be taking a morphine nap at the time, but in retrospect I think it was the right choice. In movies the pushing stage always seems terrible and horribly painful—but for me it was the exciting part. Labor was painful, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The doula told me that several times--that the pain would never be so much that I couldn’t handle it. Immediately after and for the days following, I was on such a high. I always treasure the time when Excedrin kicks in and takes away a headache and joke that a headache is good in that it helps you appreciate when you’re not in pain. This was like that for me but a million times more. After the birth the nurses kept asking me to rate my pain. I found that odd because I really wasn’t in any. Did I mention we got to take this wonderful creature home with us?