December 13, 2010

the birth story of georgia grace

I’ve waited an entire year to write this story.  In some ways I don’t feel like it’s quite time to do it, but that is only because this first year of Georgia’s life has passed by faster than I ever could have imagined. 

So finally the time for my 40 week midwife check-up came arrived and I was completely crestfallen when I was told the baby wasn’t fully engaged and I was barely dilated.  I was told to go home and relax, enjoy some peace and quiet before the craziness began.  Instead I opted to drive out of this town and visit my family.  I was so sick and tired of just waiting for something to happen; I needed to get away for the night (I think you can see where this is going, right?).
I get to my grandparents house, cozy up in front of the real TV at watch some true crime deal while my family heads out for an early Christmas dinner at the church.  While they’re out I decide to do a few lunges, you know, just to let that kid know who the boss of this body is.  And so it began.

Almost immediately I was in labour.  So I sat back and waited, just like the midwife told me.  The family came home and I didn’t say a word.  The family went to bed and I didn’t say a word.  Around 11pm I phoned Jesse and told him I was going to come home in the morning and pop out a baby.  He was panicked (to say the least) but I told him that I’d had a Gravol already and there was barely any gas in the car.  I was fine for the moment and I was going to try and get some sleep.  

Around 4am I got up to start timing my contractions.  They were still about 7 minutes apart so I decided to try and get some more rest before I started my 90 minute drive back home.

Around 7:30am my grandmother came in my room to see why I was groaning like a dying cow.  “Oh, this?  I’m just in labour.  It’s cool, don’t worry about me.”  Slowly I got myself ready to go.  My grandparents (understandably) followed me around the house wringing their wrists asking over and over again if they could drive me home.  But my adrenaline was pumping and I insisted that I was totally fine.

The drive home was intense but somehow I made it.  Thankfully the other drivers couldn’t hear me screaming (or see my white knuckles).  By the time I reached my front door I was in serious l-a-b-o-u-r! (to my American friends, that is not a misspelling)  I timed my contractions and they were 5 minutes apart.  It was time to call the midwife.

When Alison (our midwife) arrived she checked me and I was 2 – 3 centimetres dilated.  It was a disappointing number considering the pain I was in, but then again I had no idea what was coming.  She let us know that we should call again when the contractions were 2 – 3 minutes apart and warned us that this could be hours and hours away.  This was not an idea I was stoked about.

I lasted maybe another hour and a half before I was begging for drugs.  I was screaming for the hospital and dreaming of a C-section.  Jesse tried giving me acupuncture but I couldn’t stay still and the needles weren’t safe.  When he offered me a Tylenol I tried to summon the strength to throw him out the window.  “Call Alison!  Tell her to bring the gas!”

When she arrived I slapped that gas mask on my face and refused to let go.  Finally I was feeling some relief.  Actually, I was feeling kind of nice, fuzzy, warm, HOLYCRAPCONTRACTION, fuzzy, nice and warm again.  Thankfully this is the time that I begin to lose track of time.  At some point I have an IV put in (an antibiotic to treat any possible issues with a Strep B infection).  Around 7 centimetres we decide it’s time to break my water.  I laugh as we do this on the couch.  And I think anyone who crochets would find this process particularly interesting.

For a while longer I continued to yell.  Actually, I yelled a lot.  This is the part where I begin to sort of feel bad for the neighbours, but then again...not really.  Soon enough I hear the midwife ask if I feel like I’m ready to push.  Oh yea, that’s what that feeling is.  She calls in the secondary midwife and after a bit of discussion we convince my cervix to fully dilate so we can get this party on the road. 

When I start pushing I’m not feeling the relief that so many people describe, but I am happy to know that we’re in the last leg of this thing.  I remember in the early part of the pushing hearing my midwife say that she could see the head.  To me this means the baby is almost out (What the hell do I know?  I’ve never done this before.).  I beg Alison to get her out.  She kind of half laughs and explains the whole situation.  She can see the top of her head but that doesn’t mean she’s anywhere close to out.  My crafty brain begins to scheme.  Can we turn a coat hanger into some sort of makeshift tongs?  Do we have a vacuum?  Would a snake charmer be available at this time of the night?  Is there any way at all of expediting this process?

I pushed and pushed and pushed.  All the while I kept trying to convince the midwives that they could probably just pull the baby out.  This felt like the longest part but in actuality it last for about an hour and forty minutes.  The contractions were brutal.  It began to feel like they were playing an evil game of leap frog.  I felt like I hadn’t even finished one before the next would start.  At least I was able to use their nastiness as motivation to just get this done.  And you know what?  Eventually I got there.  We could see the top of her tiny little head.  Actually, her scalp was all mushed up and it really messed with my mind – was I giving birth to a tiny rat?  The midwives kept encouraging me to touch her head and when I finally did all I could saw was “Ewwwwwww”.  During the next contraction I pushed her out enough that we could see the entire top of her head.  That’s when the contractions decided to take a break.  Seriously, we all sat there and watched her head.  It was about as comfortable as watching 9 ½ Weeks with your grandparents.  

The pain finally reappeared and with one or two more pushes we had baby.  I don’t really think there are words for this part.  I was in awe.  I couldn’t imagine that I somehow grew this tiny human.  I couldn’t imagine that she would someday call me Mama.  I couldn’t imagine the overwhelming love I would come to know in the next twelve months.

Today I look back on the past year and I am still in awe.  And so in love.  And such a mom (without the jeans).