Jul 4, 2010

Elliot Jacob

I thought it was going to last forever. My due date came, and went and nothing happened and it seemed like a cruel joke! Julia had been early, with Max labour had started on the due date. Even with those pregnancies it felt like it was too late. Hey, YOU try being that big and that uncomfortable for week upon week upon week without getting a proper night's sleep to break the fatigue!

The days following 'the date' I tried to accept that this baby simply would not ever come out and resign to the idea of being the size of Russia for the rest of my life. You wouldn't think that such an idea would be a calming one, but it actually helped my mental state, which might just have been the trick that turned things around... 

On the third day I woke up at 7am with a contraction. I had felt ones like it before the previous days so I didn't exactly get excited straight away. But then the next one came after 8 minutes, and the next one 8 minutes after that, and so forth and so on for about 90 minutes. By that time I figured that taking a bath was the best thing to do, because if this was true labour then the contractions wouldn't stop when lying in nice warm water, and if it wasn't, then the relaxation would make them go away. 

They kept coming. Stronger. Faster.... And he was moving very strongly in between contractions, almost hurting me more with his movements than the contractions were hurting me.....
Sander and mom were busy making pancakes for breakfast which Lara, Julia and Max were VERY excited about, so they weren't there to watch my every move and time contractions, much to their dismayal. Luckily they have a helpful labourer in me, I called out to them each time a new contraction started, and when it ended I would yell 'IT'S OOOOVEEEER', hoping they would hear me over the breakfast bustle. They heard me most of the time. Enough to come into the bathroom at one point to ask me if maybe we should call the midwife. By that time I had reached that point in labour where you go from being excited that it's finally begun, to seriously just wanting to quit the whole thing before the next contraction starts up. You know, that point where it's officially become incredibly impossible to find a comfortable position that makes the contractions manageable.

9am: Sander calls the midwife, who tells him she'll be there as soon as she finishes up with the family she's at at the time

9.30am: I slowly make my way back upstairs and onto my bed, stopping every few minutes to breathe through a contraction, quite audibly. For some reason making a low monotone moaning sound helped.

10am: The midwife arrives and checks me. 4, nearly 5 centimeters dilated and fully effaced. This is good news! I'm still doing pretty well and I'm halfway to being able to start pushing after only 2 hours of real labour! Only one concern: baby has not descended at ALL. That means that if my waters should break with him being up so high, the umbilical chord could slip out before his head does, which could cause his oxygen to be cut off while his head passes through the birth canal. Very dangerous indeed...  The midwife decides to stay and check me again in a little while. 

11am: Second check, 6 centimeters now, baby a tiny bit lower but still way higher than he should be... and something else is wrong. The midwife looks at me with a concerned look on her face and says 'I'm not feeling a head, I think I'm feeling his behind...'. 

Not his head?? This baby has been in perfect head-down position the entire pregnancy and now suddenly he's done a complete flip?? Uh oh. 

Suddenly I realised that that must have been what he was doing while I was in the bath, what a naughty little boy! For some reason I had been feeling apprehensive about this birth from the moment I knew it had really begun. A fear had been growing stronger inside me as each contraction grew stronger, and I had told Sander and mom about it, and I had even told the midwife before we found out about the breech position. I had been adament about having a home birth (it had been such a wonderful and peaceful experience with Max) and suddenly I was sort of wanting to go to the hospital. That confirmed to me the amazing reality of a mother's intuition.

I had been so set on my home birth that we hadn't even packed an emergency hospital bag, so Sander got to work quickly as I gave him instructions on what we needed (if it had been up to him I would have left without clean underwear, and Elliot would have come out of the hospital wearing his birthday suit). I then faced the challenge of walking down 3 flights of stairs and crossing the street to get into our tiny car.
No speed records were set, but I managed to make it into the car without making a huge spectacle of myself (oh. huge. I suppose I was a huge spectacle per definition.).

I was under strict instruction to lie down IMMEDIATELY in the event of my water breaking before I was on a gurney. In the Nissan Micra that meant that I was to either break my mother's legs, or perhaps even kill her, by putting my seat all the way back because she was sitting behind me in the back seat. Sander went first and the midwife followed closely. She even continued tailing us when Sander ran a red light or two, or three. Bless her. My contractions were coming less often due to all the excitement (hey, I didn't mind!) and since the time we left home, to the time I was speed-wheeled into delivery room 209 by the midwife at about 11.45am, with mom running closely behind (I just giggled at the mental image of that, sorry mom), I had only had 3 contractions.

Lots of things happened in room 209, and by this time I had entered transition (final stage of dilation) and wasn't all there anymore, so this bit is a little fuzzy to me. I'm pretty sure I was given an ultrasound first to confirm the breech position. Breech position was confirmed immediately. I was then hooked up to the machine that monitors fetal heart rate and contractions. Then came the IV, just in case I was going to need a drip to make the contractions stronger (in the name of uncle sam's underpants NOOOOOO!!!). Finally I was checked again and told that I was at 9 centimeters (after only 4 contractions since home? cool!) and that it was therefore too late to try and turn the baby back around in the womb, which didn't seem like a very fun idea to me anyway. I was going to birth this baby backwards.

Suddenly all the doctors were gone, except for one. I name him: doctor 'Silence-of-the-Ethiopian-Desert'. It feels a bit weird having a big black man* in scrubs watching you. In utter silence. While you're exposed, sweating, and making low, monotone grunting noises every 3 minutes.
*I mean that in a completely non-racist way

 Luckily I started feeling the urge to push pretty quickly and other doctors started trickling back in one by one.
One final check to confirm the desired 10 centimeters and up went the stirrups. I can't tell you how much I loathe stirrups. But I had no choice, so up my legs went as well and the medical team had full view. It really was a team there, at least 3 doctors keeping and eye on... uhm... 'things', and a nurse and doctor Ethiopia keeping an eye on the rest I guess. I was told to listen carefully and follow up each and every instruction, and then I got the green light. It's a very liberating moment when you're finally allowed to actively participate in giving birth.

I was very motivated to get this baby out, so on the first contraction I grabbed my knees, took a deep breath and pushed so hard I nearly popped a vein in my forehead. During that first push my water finally broke, and I really wish I had had my eyes open when it did. Apparently I managed to cover a gyneacologist from shoulders to toes in amniotic fluid (I think it was karma's way of getting back at her for putting me on that contraction-intensifying drip).

On the next contraction I pushed just as hard and managed to get the baby to descend a little bit into the birth canal. On the contraction after that I got him down to where his butt was crowning - by far the most intense part of the whole experience because I was told to stop pushing as soon as his behind crowned, and to wait for the next contraction. That was the only contraction I was actually looking forward to, and when it finally came I gave it all I had and pushed him out, butt and feet first.

The rest of the story I can tell you in picture form, here are Elliot's first moments on earth:

Elliot was born on June 12th, at 1.15pm, after 20 minutes of pushing and 5 hours of labour, with a perfect side part in his long dark hair. He weighed 4520 grams and I didn't tear at all (much to the doctor's surprise). I was a happy mother, again.

A lot has happened since we welcomed Elliot into the world, but that's for another blog post. Yes folks, I am back, so expect regular updates again! For now I leave you with Elliot's first home video.

1 comment:

Thany said...

Karina!! what a Hillarious story!! adn this while its actually serious! I couldnt take the grin of my face in the whole thing! If it was a comdey I would be laughing my behind off! :D So exciting!!! Love it :D Im glad it all went good in the end! He's gorgous!

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