Monday, July 30, 2012

If you are still tuning in...

It's been over a month. That isn't to say that the birth was that terrible that it has taken me a month to sit down and write about it. Mostly, I have no time to just sit down and bang out this birth story although it is written down in my journal and Fiona's. Until today. Cameron is working late and all 3 kids are snoozing (hopefully). So I will try to get down as much as I can before someone wakes up.

I had been having false labor contractions for almost a week starting on Father's Day. I would start timing them and gear up for it, but then night would come and contractions would stop. After 2 or 3 days of this I began to get really annoyed. I walked. A. Lot. I did stairs in Morningside Park. Twice. Squats. Lunges. Heat. I tried it all. I thought she might follow her brother's footsteps in birth, but I should have known she would come of her own accord. Friday morning I awoke feeling a little damp. It had been hot, so I didn't initially think much of it until I considered that perhaps my water had broken. But it wasn't a huge gush of water right before pushing as it had been with the boys, so I was a little skeptical. I had a doctor's appointment that morning anyway and decided to just ask the ole midwife. I explained the situation, and she looked at me kind of puzzled. She wasn't sure. It didn't sound like my water had broken, but it could have. Because I had tested positive for Group B Strep (normal for adults, bad for babies), she couldn't really check me until I had received the antibiotic. Conundrum. Solution - we would wait a few hours and see what happened. If I continued to "leak" water and start having contractions, I was obviously in labor. If I continued to "leak" water with no contractions, I would need to go in, get the antibiotic and we'd break my water if it wasn't already. Either way, she was going to come out within 24 hours.

I went home and sent Cameron to work. I took the boys to the playground for an hour or two. It was unbearably hot. I was sweaty. Still leaking. Took the boys home around 11 so Grant could take a nap. After getting John lunch and setting him up to watch a show, I started timing my contractions. They were coming around 4-5 minutes apart. Around 1pm, I told Cameron to come home and then spoke with my midwife. She told me to get myself to the hospital for the antibiotic quickly, not because she thought I would have the baby in the next 2 hours but because she wanted to make sure they would allow me to go to the birthing center after getting the antibiotic. So, I called our friends Ryan and Kimberly who love our boys and agreed to watch them in this situation, and Ryan came over. I left the house around 2pm, met Cameron on the corner and together we caught a cab to the hospital. The cab driver looked a little nervous, but I assured him I was not going to have this baby in his cab.

Once at the hospital, we had to go to triage to get the antibiotic. We met my midwife there, who is totally awesome, by the way. She runs that place. I hate triage. I remember being there with John. I luckily didn't have to go there with Grant. My contractions were still consistent but pretty bearable. Once that business was done, we went to the birthing center to finish up this birthing business. I hate being at the hospital that early in labor. I like going at the last minute because I hate the hospital. I would much rather be at home. And even though the birthing center is kind of like being at home... it's still not home. I think we got to the birthing center around 3 or 3:30. Georgia (my midwife) wanted my contractions to speed up, so I started pacing around the room. It didn't take long for the contractions to intensify and speed up. So she wanted me to get in the tub for a little while, which I wasn't too excited about since that was the worst place for me in my other 2 births, but I was tired of walking around, so in I went. That lasted maybe a half an hour. Then it got harder. As it always does. I was dreading the pushing. I hate pushing. It's so awfully hard. For me, anyway.

So there I was managing the horrific contractions as best I could while dreading pushing. Not a very happy place to be. But as in all births, pushing becomes inevitable. I don't recall the length of time I pushed... maybe 45 minutes, maybe less. All I know is that I bruised Cameron's arm by gripping him so hard. But eventually she came out at 7:23, around 5 hours after arriving at the hospital and only around 8 hours after I first started timing the contractions. Cameron and I celebrated with mediocre milkshakes and a hamburger from a deli nearby. I was happy it was over. Happy not to be pregnant anymore. And so so happy to have this sweet baby girl finally with us. Cameron was immediately smitten, as I knew he would be. And I adored her. Her temperature was a little low most of the night, so I spent it trying to keep her warm. But by morning she was totally fine.

It's been 5 weeks and a few days since then. We love her more all the time. She is a joy to have in our home. The boys like her and pat her on the head occasionally. John talks to her sometimes and likes to share his toys and blanky with her, too. So far, she has been delightful. Mostly she sleeps. But she is waking up, and oh how we love her little eyes when they are open. I find myself just adoring her all the time. Babies are awesome. It's hard, these first weeks with no sleep and trying to find the time to do anything other than feed her, but it's so worth it. She belongs here in our family. She always has. It's so hard to imagine our family without her.

I feel so blessed to be a mom. It's the hardest thing I have ever done, and I think I fail daily on several levels. I am consciously trying to change certain things, which is hard, but that's part of learning and growing. I still feel guilty that I can't be all things to all the kids at the same time. I hate that I can't snuggle and hold Fiona all day every day. I hate that sometimes she just has to wait and cry while she does. I hate that I can't hold Grant when he wants me to because I am feeding Fiona. I hate that I can't hold John when he asks because his asking is becoming less frequent. He's growing up. But we are a family. John, Grant and Fiona are siblings, and they have each other. That's one of the greatest things I can give them. They may not think so right now, but I pray someday they will forgive me for my shortcomings because I gave them each other.

Some photos of the past month... lest you think our world revolves around Fiona, John had a birthday (how is it possible my first baby is already 4???), the boys started wrestling (and fighting over everything), we had visits from grandparents, etc. It's been a busy 5 weeks. And let's be honest, at this point our world revolves around the boys... but someday very soon I have the feeling Fiona will become the sun and we will all be revolving around her.


Mercedes said...

What a beautiful name for your daughter. She looks pretty perfect. Always love your writing. Glad you are still at it.

much love

Janice said...

This is Cameron's cousin here. Your birth story sounds strangely similar to one of mine in that I was Strep B with my last three kids. And, I am allergic to penicillin and have to take an antibiotic that is in my system twice as long but I have really short labors (under 6 hours all of them.) Anyway, I remember that conundrum very well and I empathize. So glad she is here safe. She is beautiful.