Monday, January 10, 2011

Baby E's birth story: Part II

When we got to the hospital, R was just being moved into a regular L&D room, so we had to hang out for a few minutes. When we finally got in, her mom, A, was in with her. She said she'd been having contractions since before midnight the previous evening. Funny, I can't remember now whether she ever got an epidural. When we'd first met her she was emphatic that she wouldn't get one because she had had negative experience with it after the birth of her daughter. Seems like maybe she did... (See this is why I'm writing this now - so I don't forget anymore of it!!)

The social worker showed up just about the same time and we all hung out in the room, just talking a bit and getting to know each other better. The doctor came in to check her and we decided to go get something to eat to give R a chance to check in with the social worker, L. It was very important to us throughout this whole process that R have time to talk with L frequently. We didn't want her to feel pressured into a decision she didn't want, just because we were there. We also wanted her to be able to change her mind about us being present in the room, if that's what she needed.

We were kind of in and out of the room for several hours, letting her rest and have some time to herself. It was nice to sit in the waiting room some and chat with her mom. L had to leave at some point, because she had plans with her family. Hubby and I went down to the cafeteria to have dinner and when we got back R was going through Transition Phase. Now that is the part of labor when (on TV) women are screaming at their partners, cussing and threatening to cut off their man parts. In reality, transition doesn't usually go like that, but it certainly tends to be one of the most intense and painful parts of labor.

R decided that she wanted me and her mom to stay in the room with her. Hubby went to pace it out in the waiting room. I kept picturing him walking around, waiting to hand out cigars, like in the "old days". In reality, I think he was watching TV and talking to a guy who'd been in there for more than 24hrs waiting for his daughter-in-law to have his first granddaughter. I'm sure he was rather anxious and nervous though!

I was standing on the other side of the room, trying to be inconspicuous and out of the way while the doctors and nurses rushed around trying to get everything all prepared. Funny story (ironic, not haha), one of the doctors walked in and we gave each other a double take. Turns out he worked the prenatal clinic at the health department where I'd worked for 8 years. We knew each other. And he was only the first a several people who I ended up knowing at the hospital. This is such a small town (even though it's the 2nd biggest in the state).

The main nurse was wonderful - turns out she is also a midwife. She was bossing the baby (baby as in brand new) doctors around because it really seemed they had no idea what they were doing, as in she had to tell 1 of them (the one who actually delivered baby E!) to put on her gown and booties. R was really in pain and the nurse/midwife started rubbing her back and reminding her to breathe. She did that for several minutes and I noticed that it really seemed to help R relax. The nurse had to get some other things prepared and I saw that R was starting to lose focus. She called for me to come over and hold her hand. I went and started copying what I'd seen the nurse do with her. She quickly calmed down and seemed to become really focused. A was holding her other hand, but she was rather focused on her cellphone, keeping family and friends updated, I think, on R's progress.

I'm not sure how it happened, but I ended up holding 1 of R's hands (and legs) while she delivered while the nurse held the other. A was on the phone and taking pictures. She had put a family friend on speaker phone. The friend was rather distracting to all of us, saying "push, R, push", like in between the contractions. It's kind of funny now, but at the time everyone was irritated by her. Overall, I was excited though very calm. R was intently focused and silent.

R pushed just a few times. Baby E came out completely in 2 pushes. I was amazed. I was in awe. I was happy for R. I felt like I had been a good support for her. I did not cry. I did not feel overwhelmed. I did not feel connected. I did not feel like this was my child. R cried. She looked at me and said, "why am I so emotional about this?". I reassured her that it was a huge thing having a baby. An emotional thing. A thing a mother cries about. At that moment, she was E's mother. I was not. She should cry. I wanted to be able to, but I was holding back. I wasn't ready to attach to him. I was too afraid. I was terrified that she would want to continue to be his mother. That I would never have the chance. I didn't want it to hurt any more than I already knew it would if she were to change her mind.

More to come tomorrow...

Today's lesson - my friend Leah (as in Princess, not "Leigh-ah") is a profound kind of person. I can't think of any examples of her profoundness right now, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

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