Thursday, August 8, 2013

How Mothers are Made : Active Labor

I was so grateful for the time to relax and build up energy for the main event. I was so excited to finally meet Anna and see Zach become a father. It helped me feel more relaxed to know I wasn't the only one so anxious to meet Anna. Zach may have been the most excited I have ever seen him, but he did a good job keeping his cool. My mom was also excited and kept letting Anna know how ready we were to meet her.  Still, no matter my excitement or how real this was becoming, I could not comprehend becoming a mother. I could not imagine holding a baby I could call mine, in my arms. It all seemed so far away and too good to be true, so I stayed calm, and anxious, and when the doctor came in to check on me again I was 10 cm dilated. Finally.

We did a practice push. It was good, but it wasn't time yet. He left and came back an hour later, we did another practice push, again it was good but not strong enough, we needed to let the epidural ware off. No more happy button pushing for me. That scared me, knowing that the knock your socks off pain was going to have to come back, but I refrained from pushing that delightful blue button of joy. They checked my cervix again and broke my water. For the next hours I was amazed at how much liquid one body could hold. It truly felt like a gallon of milk was knocked over on its side and steadily sloshing out warm water that never really emptied. The doctor came back again an hour latter, my push was better but still not strong enough. I needed more control. They called in the anesthesiologist to bring down the dosage. I was now under orders to call when I felt a strong urge to push. Another hour came and went as we quickly approached late afternoon. Wow, there it was, I could feel that need to push kicking in. The doctor came back, another practice push was done and yes, we were ready, and yes, it was starting to hurt.

Zach stayed on my left, the doctor on my right. Both knees were brought back to my ears as I placed a foot in Zachs hand and one on the doctor to begin pushing with the contractions. The doctor coached, and told me how to push, Zach rubbed my head and encouraged me on. After pushing three times in a row we would stop, breath, and wait for the next strong contraction. When it would hit we would assume the knee to ear position, inhale deeply and push for ten seconds, quick breath, push for ten, quick breathe push for ten and break. I have no idea what was going on round me at this point. All of my energy was focused on feeling when to push and pushing. It was still inconceivable at this point how it would feel to see and hold our little girl. The doctor kept telling us he could see the head but it still didn't feel real. The head, he could see her head! It was time to get serious.

The final stages of pushing commenced. This pushing routine went on for about an hour and a half. Then I could feel it, her head dropped and she was in place. Quickly our room transformed, my legs were thrown up into leg rests that were elevated, nurses ran in, I gave the final pushes, Zach could see her now, it was real, one last solid push and her head was out. Another push and her shoulders were out. Another push and the placenta was gone. I loved hearing Zach tell me what was going on. In a flurry that lasted about 2 minutes the umbilical chord was cut, I was stitched up, Anna was weighed, throat cleared, eyes gooped with disinfectant, and she was placed on my chest. There she was and all I could do was cry. It was real, she was here, it was so much more meaningful and beautiful than I ever thought possible. She took my breath away and all I could do was stare and hold her. I didn't want her out of my sight.

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