As I prepare for a new arrival, it is fun to talk to the kids about their own birth stories and reminisce a bit. And wonder which, if any, will the new one be similar to. Each time I approach it looking for ways to make it better, add new things to my 'just had a baby' list etc., and realize there will be some surprises completely out of my control. Not just like broken appliances. Things have naturally progressed in a helpful way. Audrey's birth was not complicated, but definitely had room for improvement.
She was born the middle of October. We didn't know she was a she. Shane and I had discussed our options, but it being our first we both felt more comfortable planning for a hospital birth. I went to a regular OB at the nearby hospital and got a run-of-the-mill rather impersonal treatment plan. She weighed me, poked me, told me not to eat too much of the summer fruit, scoffed when I told her I did not want her birth control. I just smiled and ate all the peaches I wanted. But it does not matter who you see for you maternity care, you get whomever is on call when the baby finally arrives.
I had no prior signs it was going to be that night. At least not that day. She was born on a Sunday and for the two previous Sundays I as having contractions and feeling like this is it. So my mom came and stayed the night with us each time. At least we got to have coffee in the mornings each time.
Finally the third Sunday, I awoke at 3:30 to the feeling of having wet the bed. I reached over to Shane to wake him up.
"Sweetie, my water just broke". He was up in an instant. The contractions started right away and I knew this was not another test run. We grabbed the diaper bag and ran out into the very fall night, cold, dark, and misty I encouraged Shane to run the red lights and not to worry about the speed limit. But neither of those could lessen the intensity of what my body was doing on its own. We got checked in, I got dressed in the lovely gown they offered and hooked up to every monitor they had.
The nurses were all very nice and I wish we could have just kept the staff to them. The OB on call was Dr. LePonto. Or something like that. I just remember when I heard her name the refrain from Chesterton's poem came into my head "Don Juan of Austria is riding to the war." Followed quickly by the thought that this lady didn't like babies, women, or birth. A thought that was confirmed over and over as the time wore on.
My mom showed up shortly after we arrived and I was so thankful to have her calm, supportive, experienced, presence. The Dr looked over my chart and saw I didn't want an epidural, and would rather tear a little than have an episiotomy, and would like to have Shane participate. And she pretty much took a stand contrary to all that. I don't think she liked fathers either.
I don't recall the following hours being too traumatic. The beeping machine was annoying. And poor Shane thought it would be helpful to let me know what he was seeing on the monitor, "Ok, here comes another contractions". If it weren't for that monitor I don't know how I would have known. Did David Banner have to be told he was turning into The Hulk? Shortly, I let him know, in some not uncertain terms, that he didn't need to keep me apprised of the situation, I could pretty much tell.
At some point the "Dr" came in to check progress. She recommended an episiotomy. I said no.
"It is going to take another hour if we don't and your going to tear anyway".
My mom stepped in,
"She is doing just fine. Tears heal better than slices. Leave her alone."
The Dr left, but unfortunately came back for the delivery.
I could not see, but Shane reported that she all 10 fingers between Audrey's head and me. I have never heard of that technique, unless it is to cause more discomfort and increase the chances of tearing if things are going smoothly. Despite her best efforts, things went smoothly and at 9:04. weighing 7lbs 7oz, Audrey made her entrance.
She did 'allow' Shane to cut the cord. Then asked in a very condescending voice as she readied the sewing kit,
"Do you want me to numb you or would you like to feel the needle?"
"Actually, I'd prefer to stab the needle in your stupid face, if you don't mind" I felt like saying. But I refrained and just said,
"Oh, you can numb me first. That would be fine."
She finished and left and we got on to enjoying Audrey as grandparents and aunts and uncles showed up with flowers, coffee, and scones. Which we really appreciated. In the entire hospital stay we were not given anything to eat or drink. Maybe they were trying to get rid of us, not that I needed encouragement, but looking back I do think it odd that in our 12 hr stay not one bit of nourishment was offered. We were packed up and ready to go as soon as we could. But the hospital wanted us to stay until Audrey peed. Her pediatrician had already come by and checked her out and given the all clear so we felt fine leaving. Then they threatened to call CPS if we insisted on our departure plan. Apparently they were not finished starving us yet.
Shane ran out to get some lunch for us. By the time we finished Audrey had obliged us with a wet diaper, and Shane and I were committed to never darken the doors of the maternity ward. Which led to the search for and discovery of the amazing Puget Sound Midwives and Birth Center. Which is full of lovely women who respect women, the birth process, babies, and don't treat father's like guilty criminals.