Monday, April 13, 2009

Herein will be the day-to-day (mis)adventures of myself, the Mighty Finn, and newborn Rosemary. I'll try and keep the navel-gazing to a minimum and upload pictures daily, you know, because I'm going to have so much free time on my hands. I've got two kids under two for the next few weeks; wish me luck. After the 27th, Finn turns two, and then, I'm sure, all will be orderly and sane around the Leite house. HA!

Rosemary Anne Leite was born April 8th, 2009, at 10:41 p.m. Here is her birth story. Early in the day, I had a doctor's appointment and happily found out I was 4-centimetres dilated. All I could think was, "Thank freaking God," because I was, as they say, so over being pregnant: up to there, done like dinner, over it, kaput.

After an anxious day of waiting for labor to start -- "Now? How about now? Is that a contraction? WHAT ABOUT NOW, KID??" -- my labor began at 6:45 p.m. just as I was putting Finn to bed. This timing was perfect because it meant as little disruption to Finn as possible, something I had been worrying about. He would simply wake up and find his world forever changed. What a relief.

After 7, my contractions were getting closer together quickly, and in hindsight, I should have gone immediately to the hospital right then. Instead, we had to wait for our babysitter to come. She arrived at 9, and at that point, my contractions were 4-to-5 minutes apart. I was still talking through my contractions and not laboring too hard; I was not worried. We had plenty of time. This point in the movie version, Rosemary, The Baby, will have increasingly foreboding music.

At the hospital, when I was examined at the labor-and-delivery triage, I was deemed 5-to-6 centimetres dilated, and things were picking up at that point. I told the nurse the contractions were getting closer and that my first baby came quickly. This was my way of saying, "Come on, French nurse whom I can barely understand. I am telling you this baby is coming quickly." She sort of got it because I was wheeled up to the labor room immediately.

I had not been admitted at this point. I don't even know if they knew my name. Three nurses were trying to set up the room for me as quickly as they could. They explained they weren't ready for me yet. They were running around, dropping shit everywhere, looking harassed. Later, Dylan remarked that these three stooges had no idea how not ready they were for me.

The contractions worsened at this point. I start asking for the epidural in an increasingly whiny and annoying voice. I am no good at pain. I have no pretense about that. I am not stoic. I hate pain. When I am in it, I want it to stop. Immediately. I tell the nurse a few dozen how much I would like the epidural now. She tells me the doctor is in the OR and that it will only be a half-hour at the most. The movie will cast an ugly, mean, terrible woman for this role. I hate her, but this sounds reasonable, doesn't it? I've only been there 10 minutes. I can surely wait a half-hour. The voice in my head says, "You can do this. You can hold on till then."

The contractions are getting very close together at this point. Someone is trying to admit me and is asking me my medical history. I tell him in between excruciating contractions. He leaves. It's just me, Dylan, and my nurse who is frantically setting up the room and, for whatever reason, trying to start up her computer. This is apparently an important part of baby delivery in Ottawa. I almost suggest Dylan, computer guy, to help her, but then suddenly the contractions are not one minute apart or even 30-seconds apart. There is no apart. Cue horror-movie soundtrack.

This is the part where things get gross. I really feel for Dylan. He has such a weak stomach. Once I had to pop this gigantic pus-blob that was festering on our cat's back. There was maybe a teaspoon of blood and pus that gushed out, and Dylan turned white and almost passed out then. I'm just glad I didn't have to watch the following few minutes. Yep, that's right -- FEW minutes.

I feel her head drop into the canal, and I have to push. I remember telling the nurse, "I have to push." She calmly told me that no, I didn't and that she would check to see how far along I had progressed, but generally, she doesn't like to check too much because blah, blah, blah. This too seems reasonable. I've been at the hospital -- oh -- a half-hour. Surely not time to push.

She checks. She runs away. I hear her yelling into the hallway that I have completed, the baby is coming, and we need a doctor right now. My water breaks suddenly. I think I scream this little fact out. The nurse says, "Greeaaat." I am still able to appreciate her sarcasm at this point, but soon, frighteningly soon, everything other than me and the coming baby will fade away.

The doctor is still in the OR. This is when it really sets in that I will not be getting that epidural. There will be no pain relief. I am going to have to do this without any help. The two Tylenol I took before leaving for the hospital are not cutting it. Is the voice still saying, "You can do this"? That voice is stunned into silence, I am afraid.

The nurse puts a fetal-heart monitor on my stomach. People run into the room. Legs up, gross stuff happens, some more gross stuff. Suddenly, there is a doctor telling me that I have to get this baby out now. I cannot wait for contractions. I cannot catch my breath. I cannot do anything but push her out. Now. Right now.

There is a lot of yelling at me about getting mad, get her out, get this baby born, blah, blah, find the motivation. The voice in my head says, "Quit fucking yelling at me, people. Giving birth has not affected my hearing." Her heart rate was dropping. Really dropping. Of course, it was. What kind of movie would this be without at least a bit of drama?

Now it stikes me hard that I really, really am going to push a baby out of my body without drugs. There will be no epidural, no morphine, nothing. It is soberingly clear I really have to do this alone. I wish I could say I handle this realization with grace and calm. Not exactly.

Then from somewhere deep, deep inside of me, I find the whatever the fuck it was I needed to push her out. With three long pushes, out Rosemary Anne Leite came. The cord was wrapped around her neck twice. The doctor released her from it and asked Dylan if he wanted to cut the cord. I think he was crying too hard at this point to say no and just shook his head. His stomach is weak, remember, but they are tears of joy.

I had given birth to another child. I had a perfect, beautiful baby girl. All I could say was, "I can't believe I just did that."

The director will want a rewrite on that line, but I really still can't.


amanda said...

Congrats Jenn! Great story! I knew you'd go quickly and handle it well. As someone who has assisted with 100's of births, it is much better to just get it over with instead of going through hrs with an epidural. I know it doesn't seem like it at the time! Even if the anathesiologist was available, at the rate you were going, there is no way it would have had a chance to work. As soon as they would have sat you up for the epidural you would have likely felt the urge to push and at that point you might as well just have a baby. It is weird about the computer...maybe I don't want computer charting.

Ada Saab said...

Oh man, I'm crying. Eliza is throwing her lentils all over the place and I'm reading your post and crying. Way to go, Jenn!

Sheila said...

Well done Jenn! That sounds pretty damn scary...& yet you managed to make it funny at the same time :-P Congratulations on not being preggo anymore. Welcome to the world, little Rosemary- I'm loving the story so far...

lolly said...

Wow, yes, there is no shortage of drama when it comes to labour, that's for sure. So glad to hear everything worked out for you and Rosemary, and I feel like I can feel your relief at no longer being prego from here. I can't wait to feel it too!

Erin said...

Holy Shit, JAL! Sounds like quite the crazy experience but you seemed to have come out with flying colors. Yay for the Leite family!! Congratulations to you all, but especially to you for pushing that kid outta there on your own! Well, and to Dylan for witnessing it. :)

Jenni said...

what a great birth story!