Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And then along came labor

Since I'm reminiscing about pregnancy, for some very odd reason, I figured I should finish what I started the other day, and go straight to labor with the first child. This is mainly because the most interesting thing in that pregnancy was the pregnancy test, and after that, it was pretty boring. As in, the most perfect pregnancy on the face of the earth, which was just fine with me.

Along comes Sept 26th, at which point my doctor decided he was going to induce me, because he felt that Bubba was getting too supersized for my supposedly minimized pelvis, and waiting much longer could get problematic. So we did what one does in these situations, and showed up at the hospital at 6am, just like the doctor ordered, for the proverbial jumpstart. Did I mention that I drove there? Not sure if it was because Dan was drinking coffee or was too nervous, but I drove our little RX7, and showed up in the ER, where I was promptly whisked up to Labor and Delivery. If you ever want things to move along quickly in the ER, show up with a very ripe pregnant belly, because they will take absolutely no chance of delivering a baby there, and will get you the heck outta dodge. But I digress........

And so it was that I found myself Where The Wild Things Are. There was a lot of screaming going on, and when I asked why it sounded like some kind of asylum, my admitting nurse said, very nonchalantly, "oh, the midwives have several patients here today." Apparently that is code for natural childbirth, I don't know, but it was pretty loud. I changed my clothes and got ready for the big event. Laid back down in bed and was told that they would start my IV. We, meaning the new graduate nurse and her preceptor, who was right there to jump in if things went awry.

First stick: nothing. The nurse suggested to the newbie that she stick me again, at which point she stage-whispered "I don't think the patient wants me to." I thought this was kind of amusing and told her "how are you going to learn if you don't stick people? Go for it," and she set to it with some gusto. Somewhere, mid-procedure, her preceptor stepped out of the room -- maybe she figured that I would coach her through it, I don't know, but again, no dice on the IV. The poor thing looked at me with a deer in the headlights look, and said "hold your arm VERY VERY still," and went flying out of the room, leaving the needle still in my arm. Newbie and preceptor came back in shortly, and the IV was placed without any further drama, albeit by the preceptor, but who cares? An IV is an IV, in my book.

The resident came in to do my history, which was kind of cute, because it was obvious he was new. I found out later that it was his first day in OB, so apparently I was a newbie magnet. We did the history pretty easily because it was the first pregnancy and it had been really boring. He left, only to return pretty quickly, saying he had forgotten to check me for swelling. He took one look at my duck feet and cankles and proclaimed "wow! You really ARE swollen." "Nope, I'm just fat," I said, and gave him a look that was intended to translate as "you really need to learn how to talk to pregnant women, you big galoot." He skulked out of the room.

Fairly shortly after that, my BFF arrived. She was a labor nurse and was also my matron of honor at our wedding, so I figured this whole labor thing was going to be pretty fun. Things were clicking along until sometime in the midst of The Young and the Restless, I started getting pretty darned uncomfortable. Not "I'm going to rip off your jewels because you made me this way" uncomfortable, but not very comfy, so I decided it was time for some drugs.

This may not have been the best decision, in retrospect. I told my BFF/Matron of Honor/Nurse that I was a pretty cheap junkie, so not to give me much. She gave me barely a whiff of Nubain - 5 mg, which shouldn't have done much, but instead, I spent the next four hours feeling like I was attached to a ceiling fan on high, spinning up to the ceiling, then falling off the bed straight onto the floor. It was not pleasant. Not at all. On top of this, I was still hurting, so after an hour of this craziness, BFF suggested an epidural, which I was glad to accept.

The Nubain was still on board, so sitting me on the side of the bed may not have been the best idea. They put the fun little overbed table in front of me and told me to lean on it. You know the one. The one with wheels on it? The one that moves when you lean all your pregnant weight on it? I'm not exaggerating when I say that my last coherent thought of that labor was "OMG I'm going to fall on the floor" right before BFF jumped in front of the table, saving me from a faceplant (or belly plant, whichever the case may be). After that, I remember nothing except the ceiling fan that was jerking me about. Funny thing was that when I told them that later, Dan and the BFF said that I looked like I had just gone to sleep. If so, I had the most nightmarish Alice in Wonderland, hallucinogenic experience of my life, which also confirms that I could never be a child of the 60s.

A few hours later, BFF woke me up and said that she was going to take Dan down to get a bite of dinner, before I got too much further alone. Said she was going to check me before they went, at which point the dinner was off, and we proceeded to start pushing. Fun, fun. Fortunately, I knew how to do it, cause I'd seen it a million times, so at 6:29pm, it all came to fruition, and Thomas was born.

I know it was 6:29, because I looked at the clock and called out the time. BFF laughed, saying that she'd never had a patient do that before, but I was so used to doing it at work that I guess I thought I was working. Not that I work in stirrups, mind you, but old habits die hard. A few minutes later, I heard the resident asking for a cord clamp cutter. Then a bunch of soaking bloody towels got flopped up on my leg, and Dan started turning rather green. It never really registered with me what was going on. I was too busy assigning the Apgar scores.

A few minutes later, my girlfriend handed me the baby. She mentioned that "he might have a little mark on his belly." When I asked why, she mentioned that the newbie resident had accidentally clamped the cord too close to his belly, and clamped his belly into it. Oye. Then she mentioned that it had been a little messy, because he had also clamped the cord twice like he was supposed to, but instead of cutting the cord in between the clamps, he had clamped on my side, which caused blood to go spurting all over the place till the doctor stepped in and took care of business. Hence, Dan's green countenance -- he may've known that there was gonna be blood, but this was a LOT of blood, apparently. Oh well, it's just another day in The Resident's First Day in OB. I guess we were both lucky to be alive, which is stating it rather dramatically unless you're with a new resident. In that case, it could be that I'm spot on.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Day the Rabbit Died

Dan thought, when we got married, that he wanted six children. I thought he was crazy, because three, maybe four was perfectly fine, but six? No way. One day, about a year and a half or so into our marriage, we caught a portion of an Oprah episode about "older" parents. People who waited until they were 35+ to have kids. You know the ones -- they have white furniture, take great vacations, are always dressed impeccably, wondering what all the fuss in the world is about and everything goes to hell when they have a baby, when suddenly they are calling the crisis intervention line at least twice a week, threatening to jump off the garage roof because the baby won't poop in the potty. Well, it was at this point that Dan decided that he didn't want to be an "older" parent. He wanted to have his six kids whilst he was still young enough to play ball with him.

He was twenty six years old.

And so it was that we embarked about this journey of parenthood. I asked Dan at one point, "when I find out that I'm pregnant, how do you want me to tell you?" "Oh," he said, "just hang some little baby thing on the front door of the apartment, and then I'll know." And when the big day came, I stopped by the lab on the way home from work and had some blood drawn. They called me when I was walking in the door at home and told me that it was positive. Yep, the seedling of Utter Chaos had been planted. I promptly went right back out the door, went to the store and bought one of those "I heart Daddy" bibs, and hung it on the front door.

Half and hour later, in came Dan, who said "what the heck is this thing doing on the door? I was grinning when I said "I have no idea. What is it?" "Looks like a baby bib." "Yep." "What's it doing on the door?" ::sigh::

What we seemed to have here was a failure to communicate.

When he finally was told the big news, it became a rather rapidfire conversation -- all one-sided, all questions, and no waiting for answers: "how do you know? what test did they do? how accurate is it? How trustworthy is the guy who did it? How long has he been working there?" and on and on and on. Ending with "can I call my mom," which he proceeded to do, almost before the words were out of his mouth.

A few days later, we were enjoying laying in bed a little past normal, when Dan rolled over and looked at me. He patted my belly and said "yeah, gonna father me five children." My immediate response was, "who you gonna do that with" to which his response was "my wife." "Haven't met her yet, huh?" He just laughed, sure that he would eventually win the battle. He was still pretty sure about those five kids, right up to when the first one was born. But that's another story.