And Then There Were Three {Part Two}

If you missed it, click here for part one of Ethan's birth story.

I must have drifted off into a light sleep as I was startled awake when my two night nurses, an aid, and my doctor flew into my room.  The lights flared on and someone was yanking my out of the recliner. I was faintly aware of alarms beeping in the hallway. As soon as I stood up, a contraction hit. They were telling me to crawl onto the bed and get in the all-fours position. I stalled, hoping to get through this contraction before I moved to the bed. One of the nurses brusquely demanded that I get to the bed and that I couldn’t wait to finish the contraction. Once I was on the bed, they started shoving all sorts of wires into me. It was chaos. They attached the fetal monitor to Baby Gooch’s head and also ran a tube that would put fluid back into my womb. Someone was taking my blood pressure while yet someone else was readjusting the external monitors, all the while my doctor was asking for vitals. When the tension had cleared long enough for the doctor to explain what had happened, I learned that my baby’s heart rate had dropped dangerously low. They needed to get a more consistent monitor of his vitals, hence the new wire taped to my legs. The Pitocin had been turned off and now it was decision time. My doctor was recommending an epidural. I knew that if I didn’t get the epidural and stayed this course my labor would most likely end in a cesarean section. I was not willing to give up on my hopes of a vaginal delivery. I asked for the epidural and my doctor and nurses seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

The next 45 minutes I spent waiting for the anesthesiologist were the most excruciating part of the labor and birth. The long, sleepless labor coupled with the fear of losing my baby had triggered my body to release immense amounts of adrenaline coursing through my body. I was freezing cold and shaking uncontrollably. The constant shivering prompted contractions, one long continuous contraction to be exact. All I could do was clutch the side of my hospital bed and pray the anesthesiologist had a fast car.

The epidural procedure went off without a hitch, but by this time I couldn’t help but think how silly getting an IV was compared to what I had experienced in the past 40 hours. By now wires and tubes count was up to 8 or something. I was still shaking uncontrollably and Dan and my dad were trading off nuking a tube sock full of rice to warm my core. I was able to drink some chamomile tincture which finally helped my relax enough to process the adrenaline and gradually ease the shaking. {I learned to make the tincture here as part of my labor kit.} The epidural was done perfectly! I finally got some much needed rest, 8 blissful hours, for the first time in 40 hours.

Early in the morning, even with the epidural, I had the slightest urge to push. I let a nurse know about these new sensations and she thought it was a good time to check me. Lo and behold I was at 10! Hallelujah! She said the words I had been eagerly waiting for, I was ready to push! The next half hour was spent getting the room prepped for the baby. My midwife from my birth center arrived to help with the delivery; it was so good to see a familiar face! Dan was by my side, holding my hand, encouraging me with every contraction and push. My midwife and a nurse helped me hold my legs and “told me when to push.” We ended up deciding that we were going to switch exclusively to mother-led pushing because I could tell when the contraction was at its peak better than the monitor. I am so thankful for the flexible and understanding staff at Hudson hospital.

Pushing was exhausting, but it felt good to finally take an active role in the birth. I was determined. Like most women I hit the “I don’t think I can do this anymore” point, which my midwife excitedly told me meant I was almost there. After two and half hours of pushing, at 9:31 in the morning, our sweet baby boy took his first breath. He was gorgeous and completely perfect! I was ecstatic to finally have him snuggled on my chest. Dan released my hand for the first time to cut the umbilical cord.  I was crying, Dan was crying, and my midwife was snapping tons of inappropriate pictures {that I am so thankful to have}. Up until this point Dan and I hadn’t settled on a name. Dan bent down and asked what I thought our baby looked like; Ethan, he looks like an Ethan. My beautiful Ethan Pierpont, weighing in at 8 pounds and 4 ounces and 21 inches long. When Ethan was getting cleaned and wrapped up, Dan slipped from the room to tell our family.

We spent a total of five days in the hospital. This was drastically different than our birth center birth plan that only had a 4-6 hour recovery time before being sent home. Our hospital birth had been a huge pendulum swing that took me about 40 hours to come to terms with. I needed to deal with the “how” even more than the reality of being a mother. I was an insecure, fresh mother but I was ok with that. I owned it. Once I was holding my wrinkly wonder, I finally realized in my heart that the “how” doesn’t matter. Hospital or not; medicated or not, at the end of it all I was going home with a perfect, healthy boy. We were no longer a couple, we were finally a family.
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