For once, she was wrong. And I am glad she was.
April 14, 2015: My due date
April 15, 2015: I started having contractions late at night (10:00pm)
From 10:00pm - 6:00am I stayed awake counting these contractions. Despite the good advice I received, I stayed up all night timing them. By morning, they were close enough together to warrant an email to my doctor - but, like I said, they were not intense.
April 16, 2015: 7:00 - My doctor asked me to come in to the hospital to check my fluids. I had heard that this was often used to pressure women here (in Mexico) to go for a cesarian, but you never know, so I made my way to the hospital. Still - the contractions were't intense - just a mild tightening sensation. Fluids were in check, and I was not at all dilated, so I was sent home. I took Aero to the dog park, and I silently cheered on the little baby inside who was about the transition into the world. I chatted with friends, and I tried to rest up for what was ahead. Ya right.
By 10:00pm, the contractions were intensifying. My friend Leslie came to get Aero, and as she cheered me on from the porch of the apartment building, I remember needing to take a moment to let the contractions pass as we talked. Had you asked me at that moment, what the pain was like, I may have said 4-5. If you asked me now, I would go with a solid ONE.
Again, I stayed up all night timing the contractions. I took child's pose in bed as I couldn't get comfortable any other way, and I breathed through what I thought was tough. By morning, we made our way to the hospital once again. This time, I was pretty sure, I wasn't going to be sent home.
We checked in.
The delivery rooms here in Mexico are wonderful. Its one advantage of having private health insurance, even though you end up paying for part of the delivery. There's no place quite like home.
I ran a bath, and got naked, and that's how I would spend the rest of the day - cruising from bath to bed to leaning on the wall wall - buck naked, not caring who was, or wasn't in the room. Believing, at 8:00am, that things were kind of intense.
My 3cm progressed from 3-to-4-to-5-to-6-to-7 ... by about noon or shortly thereafter. My contractions continued, often overlapping so that I never got that magical one minute in between to regroup. I forgot how to breath, found myself light-headed and wanting to pass out, and wishing I had created a birth playlist ... I remember NEEDING to be touching Ricky during each contraction. The knowing, that I was not alone was comforting.
By 7cm, I asked my doctor, "given my progress, when might I have the baby?
To which she responded, "Around 2 or 3:00pm."
Rule # uno of giving birth: NEVER ask the doctor when you will give birth
Rule # dos of giving birth: NEVER trust a doctor who tells you when you might give birth.
I could do that. I could last until 2:00 or 3:00pm.
At 1:00pm she came back to check me out ... 7cm
At 2:00pm (wasn't I supposed to be pushing by now?) she came back to check me out ... 7cm
At 3:00pm she came back to check me out ... 7cm
At 4:00pm she came back to check me out ... 7cm
At 5:00pm she came back to check me out ... 7cm
At 6:00pm she came back to check me out ... 7cm
... and it was at 6:00pm that I made the executive decision ... if at 7:00pm she came to check me and I was still at 7cm - I was asking for an epidural.
At 7:00pm she came back to check me out ... 7cm.
And I cried. I bawled. I sobbed. And just then, my water broke.
I cried partly because I was in so much pain, partly because I was completely exhausted, but mostly, because I had cracked. With my breath out of control, the sobs in my throat, the pain in my body, I said to Ricky, "I need the epidural!" And that was that. In a matter of 15 minutes, I was in another room, welcoming the needle in my back and finally able to wipe the grimace from my face.
I think I passed out.
By 9:30pm, I was finally fully dilated and told I would be pushing ... so into the delivery room I went, and though I couldn't feel shit - I pushed. I pushed so hard I sweat from every pour in my head. I was pushing so, so hard ... but not feeling a thing. My doctor was yelling at me to push with the right muscle ... but the thing was, I couldn't find them - the ones I needed to get the baby out. I felt like a blind person in The Library of Congress ... being asked to find a book. I simply couldn't do it. She told me she was getting out the vacuum and while I was ok with that, I decided that I would just push - continuously, not waiting for contractions I couldn't feel ... but that I would just push-push-push. So I did. I pushed, and pushed and pushed ... then she gave me a little snip-snip-snip, and I just kept pushing ... she never got the vacuum ...
April 17, 10:02pm: Cami was born ... with a nuchal arm. (warning - graphic and amazing content)
|Oh my - she still looks like this when she is upset.|
They put her on my chest, but we all agreed that I was in no condition to take care of her. So she was sent up to the nursery while I was wheeled into recovery. I know a doctor came in to check on me ... and all I could do was lift my thumb to show him I was coherent ... my eyes remained closed, I didn't move. I had never been more exhausted in my life.
While I was thrilled to have a healthy, happy baby ... I wanted to give birth, naturally - with no drugs.
June 13, 2017: My due date
June 1, 2017: I got a great manicure and pedicure. Unbeknown to me that the movie was just released, I comment, "These nails are WonderWoman nails."
June 2, 2017: I woke up and went to the bathroom. I noticed a rash on my legs and when I scratched it, it got much worse. Hives. An allergic reaction. So I texted my doctor (a new doctor) with a pic and she invited me into her office. I had a 10:30 brunch date with my friend Leslie, so I texted her that I would be late. I waited in the doctor's office for a solid 45 minutes and then she let me in. I showed her my rash and she was baffled. No idea what caused it. I also mentioned that I had bled a little bit in the morning, so she asked to check me out.
"You are 5cm dilated!" Was her observation. "You're going to have this baby today or tomorrow."
She suggested I go home, get ready, and if nothing happened before hand, to go to the hospital at 5:00pm.
I cancelled brunch.
I went home, finished getting my bag ready, called Ricky and scared the shit out of him with the 5:00 news, and then decided to go to the Baby Expo at the World Trade Center. As I walked around, I felt contractions happening, but nothing compared to the 3cm contractions with Cami .. so I was kind of annoyed that my doctor was making me go to the hospital at 5:00. I was sure this was not active labour ... even Googled it.
5:00pm we made our way to the hospital ... this is where it gets interesting. We check in, calm and composed, the doctor arrives, the doula arrives, and I am in FULL denial that this is happening. The contractions are not consistent, and do not hurt AT ALL. Like a 0.1/10. So I am sure that the doctor is going to check me and that I am going to be a -2cm.
|This is what calm and cool looks like at check in (Bravo Ricky for wearing a Leafs t-shirt!)|
She checks. 7cm. WHAT? I am the same dilated as my breaking point with Cami, but I feel nothing ... how is this possible? It just is.
My water has not broken yet.
I run a bath that I would find out later cost me $200 ... and I chilled out.
|Chillin in my $200 tub ... and yes, I have undies on.|
By 10:00pm, I am still hanging out in my room, playing on the birthing ball, on the little toilet shaped birth stool, I'm hanging off a thing on the wall, I am using a step and I am jumping up and down to try to break the water ... nada.
By 11:00, my doctor recommends that we break the water. That way, she can control the descent, and make sure that 2.0 hasn't pooped in there. She mentioned that although it's not ideal to break the water, the advantage is that we can control the process more this way should the baby start to show signs of stress. So, she breaks my water.
Zero to one hundred in 15 minutes.
That's what happened. All those blissful hours of laughing and joking and bouncing and climbing, and squatting and chatting came to a screeching halt and the freight train that I KNEW was coming, came. And it plowed right into me. The contractions came alright - in full force.
I breathed differently this time, so that I wouldn't hyperventilate as I did with Cami ... but hours went by, and 2.0 was still not descending. I had no desire to push. None. 12:00am, 1:00am, 2:00am, "she's still up high" the doctor repeated. And after the 2:00 news. I started to feel a tingling sensation in my hands and arms, I felt dizzy ... and I knew what was happening. I am no stranger to panic. It's happened three times in my life, and it is scary as all hell. I remember thinking, If I go crazy, are these people going to take care of me. And it was then, that I said, "I need the epidural."
I think Ricky pretty much screamed, "She wants the epidural!" Within minutes, the wheelchair was in the room, and I was being wheeled to that familiar place with the magic needle. I hopped out, jumped on the bed and got in position (all while screaming I think). In my mind, they couldn't give it to me fast enough.
My hand was ready for the IV and just moments before they inserted the needle, the most miraculous thing happened.
I felt the sensation to push.
"I need to push!" I winced as I withdrew my hand along with the need to use any drugs. The need to push trumped all, and I knew, this baby was coming - without drugs.
Then the circus started.
Ricky called out (picture hands at mount), "She needs to push!" The anesthesiologists backed up against the wall with their needles charged, the doula tells Ricky to get on the bed with me, the doctor comes in to feel a head making her way into the world and I feel elated that I get to push.
The doula tells Ricky to stay behind me so that I have something to push into, the doctors are telling him to get off the bed, the doula whips off his shoes, the doctors are dressing him in scrubs and I am annoyed with this position because my neck is getting crunched. The dudes who move the beds from place to place start wheeling me to the delivery room, and when we get there, Ricky jumps off (dressed in scrubs) and I shift from the gurney to the bed.
I place my legs in the stirrups and my doctor tells me that when the contraction is at it's peak, to push. The beautiful part about the pushing part (the second time around) ... is that it didn't hurt. It really didn't. I was so nervous about this part because I didn't feel it the first time around. But it didn't hurt. And I can feel the muscles this time - I am a little afraid to use them, but I can feel them. And they are working. I feel this head move down and press against my tailbone ... and I push, and I feel it making it's way out and sliding back in (continue for 15 minutes) ...and then finally I feel the whole head pop out. One more contraction - and the body is next. And there she is ... the baby who was called 2.0 for a long time.
June 3, 2017, 2:45am: Niva was born