Friday, January 7, 2011

Welcome Daphne

Every woman probably thinks her labor story is the most fascinating story anyone has ever been blessed to hear. I say this because every time I'm with a group of women and one woman starts to tell hers, every other woman is seemingly compelled to one-up her. Then the listeners in the group get to hear such statements uttered: "Well, my contractions were off the charts, the doctor said he's never seen anything like it!"

The problem with this is that no one really wants to hear anyone else's labor story. Early in the first trimester, pregnant women find out that everyone else knows everything about their pregnancy. How many times do we hear, "Oh, your morning sickness will get better. Mine did." or "When I was pregnant I felt the baby kick at 15 weeks. You should go to the doctor!" Whenever I shared my experiences, the other ladies would at best nod knowingly or at worst say, "Just wait until the kid is here! Blah, blah, blah." It got to the point where I would just not share anything for fear of hearing something stupid in return. And, I certainly didn't want to hear anyone's labor story, because after hearing all their pregnancy stories, I knew mine would be different. I didn't want them to freak me out and I didn't want them to dampen my excitement. 

Now that I've been through labor, I can understand why everyone is itching to tell her story. Maybe it's the most amazing experience many of us will ever have, maybe it's the most traumatizing thing that's ever happened to us, whatever the case may be, once you have a story, you want to share it.

So, even though I know it interests no one but me, I'm going to write my labor story, because I don't want to forget one blessed, traumatic minute of it.

First, Life Before Daphne included a miscarriage, which was early on and yet so heartbreaking. I remember crying in the ER hospital room, asking God just to give me strength, which He did on so many levels. My husband Jon and I were devastated but we wanted to be parents so much that we tried again. I have to admit, I am one of the lucky ones, as I was pregnant again by my next cycle, and so began Life With Daphne.

In the womb, Daphne was a day sleeper and a night partier. She let me know that she was strong enough to kick at about 17 weeks, and she never stopped. She was modest at her first gender ultrasound, but after 45 minutes, the tech was pretty certain our baby was a girl. She loved Mexican food and gave me heartburn so bad that I drooled pink in my sleep from the many Tums I had to take. We were pretty sure she was going to think her dad spoke in falsetto, because Jon put his face on my belly and talked to her in the silliest voice every day.

I had a very easy pregnancy, with just occasional bouts of nausea and pickle cravings. The only concern was my giant feet, but the Dr. assured me I didn't have preeclampsia, so I just wore flip flops and went on my merry way.
I regret this is the only picture taken of my giant feet. You get no real sense of the insane proportions.

When my due date approached, my OB mentioned inducing the baby, which I guess is common practice? I had no intention of picking her birthday, so Jon and I decided to wait. When I was 9 days overdue, my water broke at 8:30 a.m. but Daphne wasn't descended and I wasn't dilated. So, the Dr. said we had to use pitocin. I entered the hospital around 10:30 a.m. and Jon, who works a midnight shift, promptly went to sleep, first in my room and then in the waiting room.

His mother stayed with me for a short time and at about 6:30 p.m., my mother and grandmother came. They were starving, I wasn't progressing, so I told them to go get dinner. At 8 p.m., my contractions became intense.

I don't remember my exact dilation at this point, I just knew that it was starting to hurt and I was alone. I paged the nurse and asked her to find my husband. Thirty minutes later, Jon came in and my mom and grandma were back. I used my breathing exercises to get through the pain because I was determined not to need an epidural.

Time passes, it's starting to be nearly unbearable, and the nurse asks me if I'm ready for an epidural. No! Instead, they give me Stadol and, really, have you had this? I pretty much pass out in between contractions. I remember having anxiety about the next contraction even though I couldn't keep my eyes open or my mind focused.

By 2 a.m., I'm finally dilated to 10! No epidural! If you've experienced this you know that when your body says push, YOU HAVE TO PUSH, even if the nurse continually forgets that you didn't have an epidural. Seriously, a handful of times, the two nurses said, "Just wait this one out and push the next time, we're not ready." Umm... no.

So, I'm pushing. Grandma, Mom, and Jon are all screaming, "PUSH, PUSH, PUSH," and the nurses tell me I'm just not pushing hard enough. So I change angles, I grab my legs, and I PUSH. Grandma later told me that the dials on the pushing chart went way up at this point.

Unfortunately, Daphne's head was stuck. How did they finally determine this? After two hours of pushing, she didn't come out. I'm EXHAUSTED and in SO MUCH PAIN. The Dr. comes in and says, "You have a 5 % chance of pushing her out in the next hour. After that, I'm doing a C-section."

Umm, hello. Do the C-section NOW! But, there is no anesthesiologist, the operating room isn't ready. So, in full labor, pushing contractions, I wait. and wait. for 40 minutes.

Finally, at about 5 a.m., the anesthesiologist yells at me to sit up better so she can get the needle in. Immediately, I'm euphoric because there is no more pain and ten minutes later, Jon and I hear Daphne's first cry. We both looked at each other and laughed in relief and awe! We couldn't fathom that she was here! I heard a nurse say, "Oh, my goodness, look at that hair, look at those eyelashes! She is so pretty!"

And this is the saddest, worst part of my labor: I didn't get to see her for another 20 minutes. For some reason, they took her to the nursery to do all the weighing etc., and though Jon got to go with her, I was laying there being sewn shut and didn't see my daughter until she was wrapped up like a burrito and brought to me later.

Daphne looked at me, and I swear, she recognized me. It was like she said with her eyes, "Oh, there you are! I was wondering where you were! Phew!" Then, she nursed like a champ and we all went back to my room for introductions and some blessed sleep. 
 Grandma Lil

  Gigi Joan

 Grandma Joan and Great-Grandpa Thumbs

 I've never looked worse or felt better

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