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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Raphy's Birth Story Part 2

I know you all (my two readers!) have been waiting on bated breath waiting to hear the rest of Raphy's birth story. I can't say that there hasn't been anything on my mind (more on that later), but I figure that it's better to get this all written down before I forget it. Some details are already a bit foggy! So, without further ado, the most exciting conclusion to my fifth pregnancy!

One thing that I have been very blessed with is a good instinct about when my labors would start. On Tuesday evening, April 8, I just had the feeling that I might be having a baby the next day. It felt like that moment when you are on a roller coaster and the train is plugging away to the top of the hill, click click click, and then, there's a brief moment before you go back down. That sort of sigh, that breathless, almost weightless moment when the real ride is about to begin. I must say that what followed was really a roller coaster.

I told Nate about my instinct and he encouraged me to try an get some rest in anticipation. I did try to sleep, I got a few hours, but woke up in the wee hours of the morning. This is very familiar to me as it followed the same pattern as the labors with Frederick and Cordelia, but that is about where the similarity between labors ends. For a few hours, my contractions were pretty consistent. They were increasing in frequency and seemed to be going the way they should be. I called my midwife, Cindy, and let her know what was going on. By about 9 that morning I was ready for her to come. I didn't want her to miss it! She arrived, but by the time she got there, my contractions had petered out. It was a bit discouraging, but I was still in that mindset where I wasn't really ready to be giving birth. She checked me, and I honestly can't remember how far dilated I was or anything, but it was still fairly early. She went home and told me to keep her updated.

I had contractions off and on all afternoon and got in a short nap. My dear friend Marcie came by and picked up the kids when the girls had returned from school. More contractions and more contractions that evening. Nate made soup. I didn't want to eat it but I was starving and tired, so I did. It was good. Nate and I talked in the quiet house. At this point, I was getting rather discouraged. I would get lots of contractions, then they'd stop. I experienced a bit of this during labor with Frederick, but I always felt like I was moving forward. I just didn't feel like I was getting anywhere.

Eventually, Nate tried to convince me to get some rest, again. I tried laying down at around 11 pm that night. I couldn't. I was uncomfortable and just couldn't understand what was going on! Why weren't things progressing? They were, but I just had no idea how much! I did some googling, as is my way, and read several women's experiences with this stop and start labor. I was resigned to the fact that Wednesday wasn't the day and maybe Thursday wouldn't be either. I felt reassured that it was within the realm of normal and that many women have a similar labor pattern when they have already had multiple pregnancies.

I decided once again to lay down when we got a call from Marcie. Frederick was very upset and would not fall asleep at their house. I had figured that might happen, and by 1:30 am he was back at home. We tried lying down with him, but my contractions were starting to get intense and it was extremely difficult to just lie there. A bit after 2, Nate tried to get me to call my midwife. I should have listened! I kept saying "not yet", because I didn't want her drive all that way for nothing. Again! (She would have done it happily, but it was just my insecurity talking). After about an hour of very intense contractions and Nate telling me that the contractions were "definitely doing something", I finally called her. I think Nate knew that I was moving toward transition, but he is gentle and kind and I think he wanted me to make the call and not step on my feet. It was nearing 4 am when I called her (she probably knows the times better than I do!). It was going to take her 2 hours to get there, and I just got the feeling that she might not make it about a half hour after that call was made.

I had sort of planned to do a water birth. I say sort of because it sounded interesting and I thought it might be helpful, but I didn't really go into it with my heart set on it. After I called Cindy, I wanted to take a shower/bath because I remembered how calming and helpful it had been with my last labor. As I was sitting in the bath, Nate hooked up the hose to fill up the birth pool. I hadn't really thought the whole warm water thing through. Ha!

4:30 am. Then it came. Pop! My water broke. Here's about where I start to freak out. My water doesn't break until the very end. Cindy was still at least an hour away. I was still in the bath an the fluid looked clear. I tried to calm down. Nate was still filling the pool. I got out of the tub and dried off. I told Nate that my water broke. My contractions were very intense with very little break in between. Poor Frederick was awake because of all the commotion watching Spiderman cartoons. I stood in the hallway outside the bathroom and would lean against the wall when the contractions would come. Standing was the only position that felt comfortable for me. This went on for about 20 minutes. Every contraction telling me that baby was going to be here. Soon! In the back of my head, I knew we were going to do this on our own, but I kept thinking I needed Cindy there. She'd tell me what to do!

It was probably about 4:50-4:55 when I started to feel the urge to push. Other ladies may understand that sometimes that comes along with feeling like you need to use the rest room. So, I went to sit on the toilet, after about a minute sitting there, I knew the baby was right there. I got off the toilet, knelt down with my hands on the side of the bathtub. I yelled at Nate something akin to "I'm pushing!". He came over and I pushed. Raphy's head was coming out. I reached down, something I had never done before and felt the top of his head come out. i remember feeling his squishy hair and then another contraction came and he just sort of fell out. Thankfully Nate was there to catch. Frederick was outside the door, watching, completely baffled by what happened. Raphy looked around and I rubbed him and just kept saying things like, "Hi baby!" and "I did it!". Nate ran to call Cindy to tell her that the baby had been born. We weren't sure of the time, exactly, but it was right around 5 am.

Frederick, still in the hall, was a bit reluctant to come see the baby, but he did and he approved and said it was a "good baby".

After a few minutes, I moved to the bed. Cindy and the other midwife, Nancy, arrived about 20 minutes after he was born. He was a little blue for her liking, so he got a bit of oxygen and the room was warmed up and he looked great. We were all a bit baffled by the fact that he was born with a very intense looking rash. It looked like chicken pox several days in. We contacted the pediatrician's office and they recommended we transfer to the hospital.

Sigh. I must admit that it was very nerve wracking and stressful to be back in the NICU. I had to mourn a little bit because I missed out largely on the first couple days of bonding that I wanted. In the end, after testing negative for everything, just like I thought would happen, his final diagnosis was pustular melanosis, a benign newborn rash. Funny, because it was exactly what Dr. Google told me! It was fine, though, and everything worked out in the end. A real roller coaster.

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