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The Star Gazer

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Well, I wanted to sit here, drink my tea, and write during the first calm, solo, relatively well-rested morning hour I have had in six weeks. Alas, the baby monitor I bought yesterday keeps losing the link and so I’m completely paranoid that in my bedroom there is a shrieking baby, whom I’m happily ignoring to have a calm, quiet moment in which to drink my tea and write.

I shall be brief because there are so many things I want to write, but I feel like I can’t until I’ve written about the birth of my little girl. I don’t know my mind makes these sort of rules, nor why I follow them. However, here we are, six weeks later and my baby girl is in my bed asleep and she was indeed, born.

She was born not early, as I had suspected (why do I keep thinking that??), but not quite as late as her brother, either. It was a quiet evening at home. The boy had just gone to bed and I was sitting on the sofa, having just finished dinner, when suddenly gooosh. My water broke! I wasn’t sure if I’d recognize it (read too many “trickle” stories where people thought they were peeing their pants and didn’t want that to be me!) or if it would even happen. I was a bit worried that my body wouldn’t know how to go into labor on its own, as it hadn’t with the boy.

But it did. And as my mom quickly took the cover off the sofa cushion (luckily, I’d been sitting on a blanket as well), I called my midwife, jumped in the shower, quickly grabbed the last few things I hadn’t yet packed and we were off! Though I completely trust my dad, it was weird leaving the boy solely in his care. I don’t know why. Perhaps I was just concerned with the whole experience for him. It was the beginning of him not being the sole recipient of my love and attention, and that’s a real, palpable thing!

Once at the hospital, I was hooked up to the CTG and then promptly ignored. They were rammerjammed. At first they tried to send me off to a bed to sleep until I was in labor, but one woman thankfully understand that even though I wasn’t screaming, I really was actually in labor. I recall my mom constantly calling me stoic. However, they still had no place for me so we ended up pacing the hallways. I could still tell you the artwork on the walls and though most of it was local baby photographers, I still haven’t called one…

Eventually, we got taken into the birthing pool and I recall being surprised that it was still available (I believe there are two). Once there, we were again promptly ignored. And soon enough, that turned into a problem. I had already been afraid of the birth pains, now that I knew what I was in for and so, as the pain got worse and worse, I just kept telling myself that I was being a wimp. Then it got worse. And worse. I started to say it out loud, but only to my husband and mother, as they were the only ones around. My husband fell asleep. It got worse. I kept saying: This isn’t right. I can’t do this. Something is wrong. And my mom, bless her, kept encouraging me.

Until finally she believed me and went to get someone’s attention. At that point, I was practically out of control: pushing when I shouldn’t be, writhing in the tub and desperately trying not to bite my husband’s hand. The midwife convinced me to somehow get out of the tub, though I felt I could barely walk and we went to the birthing room. It was then she realized that baby girl was stuck and had been for some time. Of course, the CTG hadn’t been staying hooked up properly the whole time, so we couldn’t know (nor are we educated to know, anyway) whether or not she had been in distress that whole time. But she was now.

Yet still the midwife tried to convince me to open up my hips more and get her to move naturally. I told her I couldn’t. She practically rolled her eyes and told me that birth hurts. I wanted to punch her and cry, but instead I calmly told her that I did know that, that I’d already had a baby and that (again): Something wasn’t right. I couldn’t do this!

Luckily, at this point, there was a shift change. The new midwife was smiling and encouraging and positive and happy, but in a way that didn’t make me hate her. She also, more importantly, had a plan: we would stop labor, administer an epidural in order to give my body time and strength to recover a bit, move the baby and try again. If that didn’t work, we’d need to do an emergency c-section. I don’t think I said it out loud, but at that point I was praying for a c-section, even though I knew I didn’t want that at all!

My poor husband thought he was doing a good job because he was trying to convince me to refuse the epidural, as he knew it was important to me to have an unmedicated birth. I also wanted to punch him.

I found out later that the doctor had already started prepping the OR and that they were about 70% sure that I was going to need a c-section. I hope that they told that first midwife. IMG_1120

In the end, their plan worked. I was able to relax and she moved and though I was scared when they started labor again that it would feel like before, it didn’t and I was able to push her out and all the midwives and doctors went around the ward smiling big and congratulating themselves… which I was OK with because I was just so very grateful to be all done!

Of course, then came the placenta, which was just as much of a challenge as it was with the boy and there was just as much bleeding. This time we weren’t as concerned, though, as it had happened before.

In the end: I am fine, she is fine and that’s all that matters, I suppose. But since, when I’ve thought back on it, it’s surprised me how traumatic it was and how much anxiety I felt about it and in general.

This pregnancy was so much harder for me than my first. I don’t know if that’s because she is a girl, or if it’s just the second or if it just randomly happened that way. All I can say is that it has reinforced my desire to be done having babies.

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