September 23, 2014


Sooooo.... I had a baby.
Kinda obvious, eh? Also extremely typical that it would take me 7 months to write about it.

It = Her.

Yup. Her. Like fate laughing in my face. I have videos of her doing super kung fu moves in my stomach while I exclaim about how he is beating the living shit out of my ribs. Gawd, you should've seen the 'I told you so' grin on Mr. Right's face when he failed to find a pair of balls on his icky, slimy red daughter.

Remember it, honey. It's the first and only time I'll ever be wrong.

Hannah Grace was born on February 13, 2014 at 11:09 pm. Yup, I kept her from being a Hallmark Card Birthday baby by a whopping 51 minutes! My first Big Parenting Success!!! I'd love to sit and tell the whole painful birth story, but frankly it would probably take me hours and it's 12:30 am and I'm tired and I have a pile of laundry to fold before I hit the sack.

So, without further ado, here's the short and sweet version of the birth of Hannah Grace:

Monday: Weekly growth scan. Baby's gone off her growth curve significantly. Major panic ensues, seeing as I'd had the evil baby-killing flu from hell just a few weeks before. My induction is scheduled.

Wednesday (crack-of-WTF-early-am): Get the call from the hospital. Call Mr. Right at work, who rushes home and drives us in, where some gel is shoved up my hoo-haw to get things going. I'm not dilated at all and barely a fingertip effaced.

I walk. And walk. And walk some more. More gel. Our Doula comes in. The on-call Dr. decides to break my water (boy oh boy, the things I know now that I wish I'd known then!!!), clock starts ticking. Did I mention I'm GBS positive? Contractions of EPIC proportion, helped only by either walkingwalkingwalking or bouncing on the ball. Walk, bounce, walk, bounce. I face off with an Endo and 3 Perinatologists after informing the nurse that I will not be removing my Insulin Pump, thank you very much. Sign their 'We Are Not Responsible' form. (Definitely more detail for later, here) I'm only dilated 3 cm, so the synthetic oxytocin is fed into my veins. Finally moved to the delivery room, where they expect me to sit on a bed so they can attach a fetal monitor. Dudes, BACK LABOUR. {OK, back labour is worse than any labour, EVER. If you've had it, you'll know. If not, you have no idea} She's flipped back to back and  my only relief is this wonderful hip pressing thing my Doula does, and WALKING. I'm determined to go drug-free. I'm doing a pretty good job of it too, so long as the freaking medical staff will just Stop Trying To Get Me To Lay Down!

Then, they start double-dosing the synthetic oxytocin. So now not only do I have back labour, I've got continuous contractions. As in, 30 second contraction, 10 second break.

This is probably the only time in my life that I can actually distinctly remember the exact feeling of pain. While my wisdom teeth being pulled under local freezing was terrible, I just remember that it hurt. Back labour with huge amounts of synthetic oxytocin... I remember exactly how it felt. OUCH. FUCKING MOTHERFUCKING OWWWWIEEEEEEE!!!
{I never yelled once. Never screamed. According to my Doula, I did, however, mutter the f-bomb repeatedly. I was pretty ashamed when she told me that}

Unfortunately, the contractions were so intense that they started to affect baby, badly. I remember having 6 nurses in my room at one point, all of them - and even my beloved Doula - urging me to take something for the pain. ANYTHING. After I said no, somebody brought in my OB, a wonderful lady who I trust implicitly. She laid it on the table for me - get an epidural, or be prepared to be taken for an emergency c-section. She tells me unequivocally that the only c-sections she ever does are Absolutely Necessary.

I hadn't slept in almost 24 hours. I was harming my baby by being so damn stubborn. I was risking having my chance for a vaginal birth - hell, by that point I still hadn't even dilated enough to start pushing! So I gave in.

Epidurals suck. I mean, yeah it was awesome not to have the awful pain, but my body doesn't react right to drugs. I could feel and move my legs (wrong), but I couldn't feel a single contraction, not even a slight bit of pressure. Oh, and when you're having off-the-charts contractions continuously with only 10 second breaks... it takes WAY longer than ten seconds to get an epidural and you have to hold still the whole time. Thank gawd for my Doula, that's all I have to say.

Anyway, at some point we slipped into Thursday. I finally slept, for 2.5 hours. When I woke up, my awesome OB (who was actually in lieu of my normal OB, who was on holidays, which was fine with me because I ADORE Dr. T!!) decided it was time to try and turn baby. Now, Dr. T is a little Asian lady who doesn't have a practice here in Canada - instead, she fills in for my regular OB and travels overseas to help with obstetrics in third world countries. So she knows all the old-school tricks that OB's nowadays aren't taught. Like making me lay on my side for an hour with my left leg up on one of those bed trays that hospitals have. After which, Dr. T reached up into me and, using one hand under my breasts, turned the baby around so that she was in the proper birthing position. Super cool. Oh, and I felt that. I wasn't supposed to lol.

Fast forward and I've finally dilated to 7 cm... and I'm on the max dose of sythetic oxytocin and going nowhere. Baby is still doing the boot-and-scoot-boogy in my stomach, kicking and punching and generally having nothing to do with her eviction notice. They hook these electrodes into baby's head so they can better monitor her. Dr. T decides it's time to give it the old college try; she tells me that often, the simple labour process itself can help with the last stages of dilation. So, I start to push. And I push. I'm hacking and coughing the whole time - I'm not allowed to have any water because of the high chances of a c-section, but Mr. Right and my beloved Doula slip me ice chips on the side.

Oh, and I'm vomiting. I think I forgot to mention that - not only did I vomit through my entire pregnancy, but I continued to vomit all the way through labour. Push, puke, push, puke, push, puke. I continued to joke with the medical staff the whole time, though I can't for the life of me remember what I was saying that had them laughing so hard. When I remember it now, it's like watching myself from behind a fogged mirror; hazy but recognizable. I remember it all, but almost as though I was outside of my own body, a separate observer. I think it was those damn drugs.

On it goes: push, puke, push, puke. For 3.5 hours I try my hardest to push this kid out. Dr. T tells me that there's no physical reason for baby not to come vaginally. Hell, I was pushing so hard and so well that I blew the damn catheter right out! I'm doing everything right, we're all just waiting for baby to finally make her appearance...

And then I spike a Really. Bad. Fever. The talk turns to infection. I keep on pushing, willing baby to please just come out already... and then her heart rate drops badly. Everyone's looking at the monitor connected to those wires running into my va-jayjay, watching as with every contraction baby's distress gets worse and worse. My fever goes even higher. Dr. T looks at me with sympathy and says, "Tiffany, it's time."

Then everything gets foggy. I'm wheeled into the OR without Mr. Right, sheets are draped, I take out my continous glucose monitor, remove my engagement ring, and wait. The first cut is made without my fiance, and it HURTS.

"I can feel that and it HURTS," I say urgently to the Anesthesiologist.
"You can feel that or it hurts?" is his response. ARG.

He looks at me over his mask, bafflement in his eyes. What can I say, drugs and I don't mix. "Please hurry," I tell him. I can hear him muttering to himself, wondering what he can give me. He finally depresses a plunger on a needle, telling me the name of some narcotic that I forget now. Eventually I stop feeling Dr. T cutting open my stomach, and they let Mr. Right in. First thing he does: checks my blood sugar. Gawd I love that man.

I don't know how much time passed - when I asked to watch them pull my baby out, they told me they couldn't let the sheet down or the sterility would be compromised. So my first glimpse of her, after Mr. Right's shit eating grin when he told me "IT'S A GIRL!", was this long, scrawny red creature, all legs and arms and putting me in mind of a spider. They walked her past me, gave me a two-second look, checked her over, declared that her blood sugar was low, put her on my shoulder for 15 seconds, and then whisked her away to the NICU. Mr. Right, at my urging, followed.

So, I was alone. They put my parts back together, yanked all of my drugs and wheeled me into recovery where I spent the next 10 minutes practically begging the nurse for a tylenol, trying to relax my vibrating muscles, and asking for updates on how my daughter was. The pain was phenomenal - I felt EVERYthing. It was so intense that every muscle in my body tensed up in response, like fight or flight but heavy on the please-fly-me-the-FUCK-away-from-this-pain! C-sections are no fun, let me tell you. Eventually she gave me a shot and I was wheeled into our private room, which was the last place I wanted to be until a nurse that I will never forget walked into my room with a HUGE plastic cup of ice water in each hand. I burst into tears and told her that I would love her forever. Seriously.

It was almost 12 hours before I finally saw my daughter, and believe me, I'm not happy about it, nor were the NICU nurses. I cried to 2 different nurses - and I hardly ever cry - to just please take me to see my baby. The next morning (Valentine's Day), I was making threats if anyone else prevented me from getting to the NICU, so they finally helped me to get on my feet. Except I couldn't. My left leg was completely dead. So I got a wheeled bar for my catheter bag, and a kindly nurse found me a wheelchair, and Mr. Right took me to my baby.

That moment... it's indescribable. Wonderful. Beautiful. Sacred. Bittersweet because I'd been kept from having that moment for hours up until then. I stripped my gown off without a care and set her as close to my heart as I could, and I cried. In joy, and sadness, and the intensity of wanting her so badly and finally having her. In missing out on having that closeness when I should've, when she was mere seconds in this world or minutes in this world, when every baby needs the skin and touch and smell and warmth of the body that housed them for an eternity. Of all the things that I regret about Hannah's delivery, that's the biggest. I was wronged, Hannah was wronged, and it was just inhuman.

The NICU nurse came after an appropriate time and checked all of Hannah's vitals. I'll always remember her turning to me upon looking at the results, a big grin on her face, and saying "She just needed her Mama."

Instead of spending the usual week in the NICU, she spent only 2.5 days. We worked on breastfeeding (epic fail, though I pumped for 4 weeks) and just cuddled as often as I was allowed. I requested a walker to get my dead leg working again, and after 7 days in the hospital we were finally released to go home.

And now here we are, 7 months later, and I've been gifted with this wonderful, chatty little creature who defies all of the milestones (she started rolling over at 9 days old, talking at 4 months, and is, according to standard measurements, months ahead in terms of development). She's in the 90th percentile for height and the 50th percentile for weight, so tall and slender and beautiful and SMART. My little extrovert, not a shy bone in her body, loves nothing more than to be out and about meeting people and slaying everyone with her killer smile. I'm truly, irrevocably in love.

I'm a Mommy. And it's awesome.

{On a side note, my fight to stay on my pump kept my blood sugars between 4.5 and 6.0 for the entire time I was in labour. Not one single hypo- or hyperglycemic episode! The NICU nurses told me that they see low BG's often in babies whose Mom's have had long, hard labours augmented with a lot of drugs.}

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