Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Taylor's Birth

By Lydia

As I had been for months, I woke up and got up to pee every so often. After a trip to the bathroom around 2:30 in the morning, I got back into bed and noticed a popping sensation "down below". It was like no other sensation I had felt before, and I wondered if my water had broken. I felt for moisture but didn't feel any, so I made my way back to the bathroom. Just as I pulled down my panties, a clear liquid flowed from my body. I called to your dad, "Babe, I think my water just broke." He stumbled to the bathroom and groggily asked if I was sure of what had just happened. I explained that I hadn't peed on myself and couldn't imagine what else it could be.

Once our moment of shock and disbelief passed, we called Staci and finished packing our hospital bags for the next hour or so. Knowing that I might not want to eat later in labor, I drank a cup of miso soup and ate a few hard boiled eggs (for what I thought to be the marathon ahead).

As much as I wanted to rest during this phase of labor, my body wouldn't allow it. I had to keep walking. It just hurt too much to lie down or sit. It also hurt my feet and back to remain upright, but I had to choose the lesser of the discomforts. Each contraction was fairly mild at this point, and I had a difficult time telling Dad exactly when each one came and went. Around 4 o'clock the contractions took on a new level of intensity, and I could no longer signal to Dad; it took too much energy and concentration. He just had to watch my body language and decide for himself. As Staci made her way to our house, she was in communication with Hokhmah, checking in with new information and seeking advice. Hokhmah wondered if my water had truly broken and suspected that it may have actually stayed intact.

Because I was riding each wave so well, Dad, Staci and I had no idea how far into labor I was. I found comfort leaning on our buffet in the dining room, leaning against walls and door jams as I made my way through the house and leaning on the bathroom vanity. Throughout labor and during the final moments at home, I pooped (4 times) and vomited once. Although sitting on the toilet was uncomfortable and intense, my body had to release what was inside. Throwing up felt so good. It was a physical and spiritual cleansing.

Around 5:30 a.m., contractions took on yet another level of intensity. Dad, Staci and I were in the bathroom together. In between a contraction, I turned to Staci and said matter-of-factly, "I see why women give up." At that moment, with contractions coming so closely and with so much energy, I understood how easily women succumb to the "comfort" of medication. I didn't realize it as it was happening, but this was my Transition, the phase when most women lose faith in themselves. Seconds later, I expressed my need to leave for the hospital. While Staci and Dad were concerned about getting there too early, they respected my request. Dad loaded up the car, and we made our way to the garage.

I wedged my body in the back seat of our Highlander, between the door and your car seat. Facing backwards, I leaned over the seat, hugging a pillow. As soon as we were in motion, I felt the urge to push, but I couldn't tell Dad because I didn't want to worry him.

Today is Saturday, June 3rd, and you're almost five months old. It's been a busy few months, to say the least, and I'm finally finding some time to continue writing your birth story. My memory may not be as clear, and my writing style may not match the level of poetry above. But I do want to finish this story for you.

Determined to hold you inside of me until we reached the hospital, I just buried my face in the pillow and moaned through each wave. Hearing the rumble of our tires on metal grates was a welcomed sound. I knew we were finally on the (Golden Gate) Bridge, and I looked up to see the most beautiful sunrise. The City skyline was set against the sky ablaze with pinks, reds and oranges. Just as quickly as I emerged, I retreated to the comfort of my pillow once again until we reached the hospital.

As soon as Dad pulled up to the curb, I finally expressed my need to push to Dad and to Staci. The contractions were so intense that it took me an extra moment to get out of the car. Once on the sidewalk, another wave came rushing through me, and I leaned into the cold, brick wall just steps away from the sliding entrance doors. I waddled inside the hospital, still clutching onto my pillow as I passed the reception desk. In between a contraction, I mumbled something to the ladies behind the desk, and they replied, "I think they're going to keep you (and not send you home)." I guess it was pretty obvious that I was in active labor. From the lobby to the triage room, I stopped wherever I could during each rush : against the wall in the elevator, at the counter of the nurse's station, anywhere.

As soon as I stepped into the triage room I asked if I could push, but I was told to wait. The nurses wanted to check and measure dilation. Still not wanting to sit or lie down, I asked Dad to raise the bed up as far as possible for me to lean on. The bed moved painfully slow, and before the bed could be raised to where I wanted it, a nurse told us that I was fully dilated, and you were at +2 station. Relieved to hear the numbers, I thought I could finally push, but no, I was again told to wait. They wanted me to be moved to a labor and delivery room. In came a giant wheel chair, and I was hurried down the hall to a delivery room.

The nurses tried to get me into a gown and preserve whatever modesty they assumed I had, but I couldn't care less about being naked in front of all those people at that moment. I was more than ready to push you out, and I wasn't going to worry about what I was or was not wearing, so I stripped my clothes off and leaned over the bed, convinced they would surely let me push. No. They wanted to check for your heart tones, first with a fetal scope. No tones. Then they prepared to prick your scalp with an internal monitor. Just as they hurried to do this, Staci looked to Dad for approval, just to make sure he knew what the nurses were intending to do. In went the monitor. No tones. I knew you were O.K., but I just didn't have the presence of mind to say so. Besides, why would they take my word for it?

They told me that I couldn't push you out while standing. I had to lie down to push you out. At this point, I knew it was in your best interest for me to follow their instructions without hesitation. I didn't want them to cut you out of me. I didn't want them to suck you out with a vacuum. I didn't want them to pull you out with forceps. So, with Staci holding my left leg and Dad holding my right, I pushed with all my might when they told me to push. Your head wasn't coming out as quickly as they would have liked, and the midwife informed me that she had to make a small cut. This was the first moment in this whole process that brought on a sense of panic. I thought to myself, "I'm not under any anesthesia, and you're going to cut me with scissors?!?!" Surprisingly, it didn't hurt at all. I felt the snip, but it didn't hurt. Quite simply, my body was doing its work because it had not been injected with drugs.

Today is March 28th, and you're almost 27 months old. So much time has passed since your birth day that my memory is less clear. That, and my perception of the events that unfolded that morning have changed. Oh, how I wish that your entry into this world was so much more gentle and peaceful.

After 30 minutes of pushing (which felt more like 5 minutes) you were born at 7:59 a.m.

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