round and round...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The best laid plans...

I want to write about Jude's birth. It's important to me to set it to words in this space. It will be a reminder for me of what I went through and how much hard work it took to get that little bean into the world. Everyone worked hard - Jude, me, Matthew, my sister in law, my parents, our doula, our friends. To say that it didn't go as planned would be the mildest way of putting it.

I labored at home for 24 hours. Matthew and I counted contractions for a day and then called our doula. We headed to the hospital 12 hours later and had to wait for a couple of hours to be checked in because all the rooms were taken. Nothing like leaking amniotic fluid and having very painful contractions in a waiting room. Nothing like it.

Several hours later we got a labor and delivery room. My contractions got progressively more intense and I was still only dilated a couple of centimeters. It stayed that way for a few hours. My midwife talked to us about using some meds to get my cervix in better shape to get the baby out because nature was not cooperating - I was having transitional contractions but I still wasn't dilated more than a couple of centimeters. She knew we wanted a natural birth and she gave my body lots of time to see if we could overcome what obstacles stood in the way, but it wasn't working. Cervadil, then pitocin, then an epidural... all things that I was staunchly against going into the birth. My contractions were so hard and fast I was exhausted and they were afraid I would have nothing left when it finally came time to push the baby out.

After 48 hours of labor it turns out that I had a dysfunctional labor because of cervical swelling (I finally got up to 7 centimeters, but then became very swollen and got back down to 4 centimeters). At that point I was getting into a high risk category and a c-section became the only option. It was my worst nightmare before labor started. I did everything to avoid it. My midwife gave me a lot of time to see if my body could overcome, but there was no chance. She explained everything and we both cried about it. I was so upset. She was upset for me. Everyone knew it wasn't what I wanted, but we all knew that the only real goal was to get the baby out safely. If we waited much longer both of us would be in danger.

Matthew got ready to come with me to the operating room. Our midwife helped him put on the scrubs and mask. His cool checkered Vans slipped into the shoe covers and he was ready - more or less. He prepared himself to see his wife and the mother of his child get cut open on the table. He always said he thought he would have made a good doctor... but he said later that he could never detach enough from the patient to cut into them.

So I had a c-section. At 2:48 on 3/12 Jude came into the world and my surgeon passed him through a hole he cut in the drape so I could be the first one to kiss him. The surgeon said he wanted me to be able to kiss the baby first, that just because I didn't push the baby out didn't mean I wasn't the mommy. That meant so much to me. He told me we had a boy and I got to give little, slimy Jude his first smooch.

The surgery was frightening and I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia - I got the shakes very badly and couldn't control the upper half of my body. I was twitching and jerking and it was very scary. I knew I was in good hands and that Jude was in good hands, but that was the hardest experience of my life.

In the end, we got our son. That's all that counts. I came to grips with all the medical intervention and was actually grateful for it afterward when my midwife told me how close I was to something disastrous. She explained that when you hear about women in remote areas developing fistulas they most often result from the exact scenario that played out for me. Except, those women don't have medical care, so the option of a c-section doesn't exist. If I were one of them I would have likely died. Matthew just kept saying, "I know you don't want to hear this, but we can make another baby but I can't make another you. I can't go through this life without you, so this surgery is what needs to happen. Please." That was all I needed to hear.

And when Jude cried for the first time and I heard that tiny voice coming from across the OR I knew we did the right thing. I tried and Jude tried and we did our best. All that counts is that we made it through and our family is at home, happy and healthy. The poopy diapers and the sleepless nights, the spit up and the endless burpings, the coos and cries, the sore nipples and the achy belly - it's all worth it. It's all worth it and I'd do it again tomorrow if it meant my little family would be as happy as we are right now.

Life awaits. The future is here. The three of us will face it together. Hey, ho! Let's go! As Matthew says, Ramones fans are born, not made.

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6 What people are saying:

Blogger Monogram Queen rambles...

Darling I know this must have been EXCRUCIATING for you. Thank you for sharing it. The pics are AMAZING. q

3/23/2009 08:58:00 AM

Blogger Marisa Starr Bardach rambles...

Even though I know this story it still makes me teary. Your fam is adorable and it makes me happy to be in your presence.

3/23/2009 09:31:00 AM

Blogger Jenn rambles...


Such a story - I know it's not what you wanted and I understand how hard that is.

But what an outcome! guys made one pretty (handsome!) baby!

3/23/2009 10:36:00 AM

Blogger Melissa rambles...

Patti - Thank you! I love these pics. I'm so glad I have them.

Marisa - SMOOCH! You make me happy, my friend.

Jenn - SO good to see your face in my comments! He's definitely the prize. No matter how he got here, he's my prize.

3/23/2009 04:37:00 PM

Blogger Lynilu rambles...

I'm glad you told the story. In spite of the agony you had, it is beautiful .... beautiful that you have your baby boy .... beautiful that you had medical science on your side .... beautiful that you have your wonderful Matthew beside you. My heart sings for all three of you. Be happy. :)

3/25/2009 02:27:00 PM

Blogger Angela rambles...

What a beautiful entry and baby. I haven't visited your blog in a long time. Wow, a lot has happened for you. Congrats!

3/31/2009 08:57:00 AM


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