Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ryder’s Birth Story Part 2

mexico city 001We entered the taxi and I was noticing that we were driving what felt remarkably slow. It was after one am, which was a blessing because it can take 2 hours in Mexico City traffic  to get to Medica Sur Lomas. The streets were empty, though, so when the taxi driver asked, “Should I drive fast or slow?” I said “fast” at the same time Jacob said “slow.” Smart man, he listened to the woman in labor. Jacob felt like he drove recklessly, but I was just glad he got us there in 20 minutes because I didn’t feel like singing through contractions in the cab.
When we arrived at the hospital they sat Jacob down to do paperwork and wheeled me away to another room, which I did not like because of the language barrier. They set me up with the fetal heart rate monitor and brought in a doctor with limited English who began by asking, “What is the purpose of your visit?” If I’d had a sense of humor at the moment I would have answered something like, “I broke my nose” instead I said somewhat wryly “I’m in labor.” He then asked me about 20 other questions like “Do you have any diseases?” the whole time I was wishing Jacob was there. He finally showed up and the doctor checked my dilation. I screamed. There is something barbaric about a man you just met shoving his hand up you. When he said “Seven!” I breathed a sigh of thorough relief. If I’d had that kind of pain for that length of time and only had been at a two I don’t know what I would have done.
We waited quite a while as they fussed about setting up my antibiotics. I had tested positive for Group B Strep and my doctor had told me it was unnecessary to treat during labor; I could take ampicillin for 5 days and it would be gone. When I researched it on the internet, however, I discovered the official position of Australia, Canada, and the US was that it had to be prescribed during labor. That it can regenerate within hours so it is pointless to treat before labor. Group B Strep is harmless in adults but is the leading cause of serious infection in infants. Thus I spent hours of studying on the internet about how it was to be treated because my doctor and doula didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. This was an example of how healthcare in Mexico is substandard.  I didn’t want to admit that—I wanted the best hospital in Mexico to be equal to the US but in this case it seemed quite lacking. Only 1 in 200 infants gets Group B Strep of untreated moms, so it’s still rare, but it was something I decided I didn’t want to mess with. So I made the doctor promise I could take penicillin with 5 million units  at the initial dose and 2.5 million every 4 hours thereafter.  It was a little stressful to feel like I had to administer my own medicine but in the end it wasn’t important because it took so long for my water to break. As long as your water is not broken your baby is still protected. So I got the IV put in and it helped to be listening to my meditation CDs as she did.
My meditation program was one bought last minute. It’s called Hypbirth and it’s supposed to be started in the second trimester. Instead I bought it about a week before my due date because I was starting to get scared about labor. I listened to it that week but I didn’t give it my full effort. I didn’t do the “finger drops” and I didn’t stop the tapes and do the things she asked. During labor, though, it was nice to have a voice in the background telling me to relax. I found out later Jacob thought she was annoying for saying stuff like “you’re a thousand times more relaxed then you’ve ever been right now.” He thought, she is in labor, why should she be more relaxed than she’s ever been, that’s not realistic. I found out later the same track played over and over again during my labor, but I was distracted and didn’t notice.
Glenda Furszyfer, my doula, had arrived but my doctor hadn’t yet. They led us to the laboring room. I got in the shower and despite the water being warm I started to shiver uncontrollably. I believe that was me entering transition phase which is dilating to an 8. I asked Jacob to turn on my Princess Bride playlist on Grooveshark. My doctor arrived and greeted me when I was shaking like mad, nude, in the shower. I didn’t care. It’s amazing how your inhibitions disappear when giving birth. I got in the laboring tub and almost fell asleep. My contractions stopped. Glenda thought I should get out then. I started kissing Jacob through the contractions which helped to distract from the pain, and also it’s supposed to help speed labor along. My doctor and Glenda left to give us some privacy. My contractions were still slowing down, so we decided to go for a walk around the hospital. Because I was still singing through my contractions, Jacob told me we should probably go back to the laboring room because I was probably disturbing the other hospital guests—it was the middle of the night after all. When we returned he went to the room where my doctor and Glenda were convening together. Later I would find out they were deciding to break my water. Jacob tried to talk them out of it but they had already made up their minds.
My doctor checked my dilation. I screamed through his check as well. Glenda told me that my doctor was out of all ob gyns a very gentle doctor. I told him not to take it personally. He said he didn’t. I was at a 10. He told me he thought I should get my water broken and use some progestaglandins to start contractions. I resisted weakly. I said, “I’m scared.” Glenda said, “You’ve already done the hardest part! Don’t you want to meet your baby?” My doctor told me it would be bad for the baby not to. Of course Jacob and I were powerless to argue against that. He got out the hook. After my water was broken, and after allowing them to make that invasive procedure, they really began to take charge of my labor and I no longer felt in control. Glenda kept having me do full squats. I’d hold Jacob’s hands and do them, but she was a tough taskmaster. She was correcting my form, telling me to keep my feet flat and go all the way to the ground. It was torture. I could feel the baby pushing, pushing his way down the canal. It was definitely the most athletic thing I’ve ever done. I drank nearly 3 full large bottles of Gatorade. I kept asking to get in the water and for whatever reason, Glenda kept turning me down.
mexico city 008
The tub I didn’t labor in.
I also kept asking if I could lay down and rest. Finally Glenda agreed to let me get on the bed. She then had me start pushing through contractions. It was certainly not resting. I felt no urge to push, but she and my doctor kept shouting to push harder. I was pushing with all my might laying down against she and Jacob with my feet in the air. It was so hard. I was roaring through the pain, I was no longer singing. My voice would feel hoarse for the next 24 hours from this 45 minute experience. I remember saying, “I know I can’t get the epidural, but don’t you have anything else you can give me for the pain?” and Glenda saying, “No, there’s nothing.”  She also told me, “It’s almost dawn! Babies come when the sun arrives.” Finally they had me get up on the bed into squat position and that’s when they could see Ryder’s head. They told me to feel his head with my hand. It didn’t feel like a head to me, it was too soft and squishy. I knew it was finally going to be over soon, though, because nurses and the pediatrician suddenly came into the room and were bustling about getting prepared. My doctor was stretching me down there manually with his hand, Glenda was saying, “Don’t forget this moment! You are going to meet your baby soon” and I was sweating. The intensity of that experience was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. The so-called “ring of fire” where the baby’s head exits stung but compared to the pain of the moments leading up to it it wasn’t so bad—after all it only lasted a few seconds. Once his head was out the rest of his body slipped out easily. Glenda had helped me take off my sports bra moments before so he could be skin to skin and we could start breastfeeding right away, which is what we did.
He was screaming and purple when they put him on my chest. My first impression was, “Is that really my baby?” I didn’t recognize him. He was covered in slimy stuff and his face was swollen and puffy. I don’t know why but I was thinking I would recognize him when I saw him. I thought his nose, especially, looked very swollen. Now I know that he has Jacob’s nose—an alpha nose, Jacob calls it Smile I anxiously awaited to hear that he was healthy and sound and all in one piece. He latched on and had a healthy appetite immediately. I was struck how he seemed to have his eyes wide open and that he was looking me right in the eye. I thought his eyes would be closed and I certainly didn’t think he would make eye contact right away.
ryder right after birth
glenda and i
Glenda’s visit the next day

Glenda kept saying, “Talk to him! Talk to him!” I was mildly annoyed. Of course we were going to talk to him. I was still in shock from the overwhelming experience of before, so all I could manage was, “Hello baby. Hello baby.” Jacob tells me he was laughing joyfully but my experience was not over. I still had to birth the placenta. I had no idea how huge that thing would be! I had Jacob take a picture of it. I had to get stitched up. I had 10 stitches. It hurt a little even with the local anesthetic I was injected with but there was plenty to distract me while it was going on. They told me it was a medium bad/deep tear.  I also had a shot in my side to help prevent hemorrhage and help shrink my uterus. They had taken him away and started doing things to him, like clean him up and give him his Apgar score (9.9).  They also gave me some pain pills (after it was all over, ha!) I was finally finished, 27 hours after my contractions started. I hope the next time I have a baby it goes a little faster. Ryder arrived on June 9, the day after my mother-in-law’s birthday and the day before my dad’s birthday. We took pictures, which are inappropriate to share since I don’t have a stitch of clothing on. I had a breathing strip on the whole time I was laboring too—my nose is still not breathing well after my rhinoplasty back in July.
Jacob, before the birth, had said he was just going to stand at my head so he didn’t have to see anything. I think he imagined he would just be playing on his phone during labor. But it turned out he was involved in every step of the process, from massaging me through contractions to allowing me to clench his hands as I did squats to holding my legs as I pushed through contractions. He watched Ryder come out and was surprised at his greenish purplish color. He cut Ryder’s umbilical cord. He handled it all very well. Then they had me move to another bed, I could barely move and they had to help lift me, and they wheeled us down to our room. The next stage of our little family began.
Jacob says he looks swaddled.
little family 2little family

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