Saturday, October 17, 2009

Adelyn's Arrival

As you can tell from the pictures, baby Adelyn made her debut to the world, safe and sound. She is healthy and I am recovering well. I've procrastinated filling in the rest of the details about her birth. I know I have a litany of good reasons (new baby, nursing, recovery...) for not jumping right back into my blog, but really I have been putting it off because I don't think I know how to write about it in a way that captures the experience.

Sometimes it still overwhelms me to realize that I am a mother.... Not just once, but four times now I have brought a new person into the world. A new person that I have the responsibility of raising and nurturing into an adult. A new person that is unlike any other, before or yet to be. I know that birth is one of the most common and universal of life experiences and yet it still amazes me. At times it seems like the most natural thing in the world and at other times I wonder when exactly I became old enough to be responsible for another human being, let along four of them.

But I digress... back to finishing my blog. When my contractions started to get more uncomfortable I decided to give blogging a rest for a while. The nurse offered to hook me up to a battery-powered IV and fetal monitor so I could walk around and get out of bed. I'd never had this option before, but the idea of not being stuck in bed pondering on how much this contraction was going to hurt seemed like a happy one. So Dave and I went on multiple very slow laps of the hallways, pausing every few minutes for me to hunch over and wait for the contraction to pass.

Finally it got to the point where even our very leisurely walking was too much effort, so we headed back to the room. The contractions were pretty painful by this point, but they passed fairly quickly and the space between them was enough time to recover and brace myself for the next one so I didn't feel like I really needed anything to help with them yet. But the pitocin kept doing its work and contractions steadily got harder and closer together.

One of the quirks of my personality is that I have a very strong need to appear "strong" and self-sufficient and "not be a wimp." I don't know who I was trying to prove myself to at the time (Did I think the nurse has a wimp-o-meter that she measures each patient with?), but I wanted to not get an epidural until I really "needed it." So I stoically gritted my teeth and waited for that "needing it" moment to arrive, feeling particularly proud of myself and my heroic self-control. But in a remarkably short period of time from when we got back into the hospital room, I felt the "need" starting to come my way... fast. Unfortunately, as the nurse had tried to warn me, the anesthesiologist was on call so it would take him 20 minutes to get to the hospital after he was called, let alone the time to actually get the epidural in and working.

I tried to hold onto any remaining shreds of self-control as I waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive, but any remaining heroism had taken a flying leap out the window. I was doubled over in pain and could hardly make it through one contraction and take a deep breath before the next contraction was hard upon me. They gave me some demerol through my IV, but it didn't really help much. The anesthesiologist arrived quickly and started working on my epidural. It was really hard to be still enough through the contractions for him to work, so finally, the nurses lowered the dose of pitocin so the contractions weren't quite so close together.

The anesthesiologist had hardly finished putting in the epidural when I started feeling the urge to push. Needless to say, the epidural had not fully kicked in at this point. It wasn't long before the baby started to crown. But once she crowned trying to get her past that point proved extremely difficult (it turns out that she was face up). I would push as hard as I could (making seemingly no progress) and then collapse and almost fall asleep from exhaustion in between contractions. Finally her head came out and a few more pushes got her shoulders out. According to Dave (I was a little bit preoccupied at the time), she was born completely alert, with her eyes and mouth wide open.

When she was finally born, I was completely exhausted, but I also felt this exhilaration... this feeling of excitement and even amazement that I had lived through the experience... and survived! Simply the fact that I was not having contractions any more made the world a wonderful, wonderful place. I eagerly appreciated my lunch of bland, unremarkable hospital food as much as any gourmet meal. Simply to be alive, eating and not in labor was a happy, happy thing.

And so it happened. The rest of our stay was unremarkable... sleeping on a hospital bed interrupted by ubiquitous temperature and blood pressure checks. Because of the swine flu threat, they only allowed two visitors the entire time (including Dave) and no children under 18 at all, so it was a very quiet stay. After finishing the movie we brought and a late-night rice-crispy binge or two, Dave and I were both ready to go home.

The kids were thrilled to meet their new sister. My mom stayed until Wednesday to help, allowing Adelyn and I had some welcome recovery time. I enjoyed having several days to just bask in new baby glow- holding, changing, feeding baby... watching her little movements and how she looks around, trying to make sense of what is around her. I know that the baby "honeymoon" passes all too soon and reality of dealing with night-time feedings and diaper blowouts settles in all too quickly, but for at least a little while, it was hard to imagine being more completely, perfectly happy than sitting in the family room, feeding my new baby, surrounded by the people that I love most.

1 comment:

Diana said...

My son was also face up. Don't know why they can't figure that out before when they do a ultrasound? But it lasted 2 hrs, so had a c-section.

Your girl is a cutie, good job! It did look in the pictures like you were having a grand time, blogging and as someone else said...Perhaps ordering a baby online, to have it Fed-Ex to the hospital! :)