That Time Abram was Born

Family Photo after Abe was born

Often, life on the farm or around animals can give you unique insight on how to address certain situations, how certain cycles in life work, and how things like having a baby will go down. Or how you hope they never go down. At my doctors appointment yesterday I realized that since there are trends in gestation length between siblings, I have about 6 weeks to come to grips with the reality that there really is only one way out of this. Yes I have done this once before. But to bring the farm analogy full circle, let’s just say that when I gave brith to Abram, I was worse than a first calf heifer with major dystocia {difficulty birthing}. I would have been a cull cow faster than you can say hamburger and my only saving grace may have been ridiculously over-ample milk production. Maybe. 

This time around, I’m approaching labor with a bit of anxiety. So I decided it may be therapeutic or cathartic or maybe just hilarious to write about it. And share it with the thousands of people who read my blog. Because that’s how normal people deal with things.

Ha! But in reality, it is quite funny to look back on.

I’ve mentioned before how birthing Abram was basically the least graceful thing I’ve ever done. I mean, I know labor and delivery isn’t exactly glamorous but some women just breeze through it. Heck, most animals do. They wander off all alone, go through some discomfort, but manage to bring a healthy calf or foal or kid into the world all by themselves. Sure, they have a few moments of eye-bulging pain. They may even bellow a few times. But in the end everyone is always so impressed with the miracle of animal birth. And yes, I know that they can need help sometimes. But the point is that most of the time, they just have it handled.

And then there is me. My pride will be forever checked every time I think about giving birth. It was not graceful. Or beautiful. Or miraculous. I mean, my child was. But birth was not!

I started having regular contractions when I was pregnant with Abram at 38 weeks. At my doctors appointment, I was dilated to a 1 and 90% effaced. Sweet, I thought, this could happen soon. About 5:30 pm that Monday night, Andy I were shopping for shower tile in Home Depot and my contractions got more uncomfortable. {Fun side-note: I tiled our entire bathroom floor and shower while very pregnant with Abram and immediately after he was born. We are good planners.} So we went home and I tried to relax and rest until 6 am the next morning {Tuesday}. Since the contractions were the right length and number of minutes apart, we decided to head to the hospital. You do silly things like that when you’re having a baby for the first time.

Something was weird though, because I was only feeling them in my back and I really couldn’t lay down or sit very comfortably. Ha. Oh, sweet bliss. Little did I know back labor was about to get 10x more fun.

So in Labor and Delivery, a nurse of whom I was not a fan came and checked me. And while I’ve never actually watched my Doc check me, I was certain he had never done it that way before. I mean, really, was there a treasure chest up there she was trying to find?! I’m pretty familiar with checking cows, too, and while different I knew enough to realize that either she wasn’t doing it right, or something weird was happening up in there.

But the baby wasn’t stressed and I was still only dilated to a 1, so home we went.

Which made me very angry. Sending women who are in pain and very pregnant home should be against the law. At least for the sake of the husbands.

My anger led to some great decisions that day, a few of which included dropping Andy off at work because, “Well, I guess I’m NOT in labor!” which meant that I was going to be home alone, all day, actually in labor with both of our vehicles. Some of the other choice decisions I made that day were walking my dogs 2 miles, cleaning the entire house, organizing hay bales in the barn, and doing all the laundry. Because why not? Apparently I wasn’t in labor!

Around 4:15 pm I realized that I’d need to go pick up Andy from work. At this point, I couldn’t sit because of the contractions and our car had a bad injector which meant I needed to drive the truck. Which is a very bumpy ride and was also very low on gas. Like the gas light had been on for a few days. Or a week. You pick.

So I loaded my actually in labor, very uncomfortable {and still angry} self into the truck, turned on some Garth Brooks as loud as it would go, and awkwardly half-sat as I drove to the gas station.

But not the little gas station in our small town. I wanted to use my rewards points at the gas station in the big town. Because doing things like that makes perfect sense when you’re in painful back labor, dangerously driving a large truck in a half-sitting position, blasting Garth Brooks with a husband at work who has no way to pick you up if you do run out of gas.

I make good choices when angry, remember?

But don’t worry, I made it to the gas station. And then to Andy’s work. And then we made it home again even though Andy tried to get me to just go back to the hospital. To which I replied, “I’m NOT in labor, remember?!” I was still angry.

And then I think he was pretty quiet the rest of the way home, probably contemplating how he had gotten to this point in his life: Driving down a small backroad with a crazy pregnant lady who was, most certainly, in labor.

At home, I wandered aimlessly around our little house for the next 6 hours, becoming increasingly less tough and increasingly more whiney and obnoxious and labor became increasingly more painful.

I used to think I was tough and could tolerate pain well. Which now seems like a really funny joke.

At about 1 am Wednesday morning, Andy told me that we needed to go to the hospital. I told him I wasn’t going back there because I could tell I wasn’t dilated anymore. He tried to convince me a few more times, at which point I’m pretty sure I shouted that he better call and make sure they wouldn’t send me home then, because I wasn’t going in again until I had that confirmation. He may have shouted back that I should get my sweet butt in the car because he was not capable of delivering a baby at home. I may have ignored him.

And then he actually called the hospital. Which is pretty big news for Andy, he really hates doing things like that. They told him if I couldn’t walk to bring me in. Or if I was asking for pain medication.

Which I had basically been crying for since we drove the truck home from work.

So I huffily and obstinately got in the car {which he had quick-fixed at this point} and away we went. I remember nothing from the drive. Except that I was going to loose it if they sent me home again.

All I remember from checking in to being admitted into a bed was bursting into tears when the nurse asked how I was feeling and begging her not to send me home. I also think I begged for drugs.

You should be starting to understand why this will be a forever humbling experience for me to recall. Most of the finer moments in my life happened on the Labor and Delivery floor of the hospital.

Good nurses should have castles and shrines and replicas built in their honor. And cities should be named after them. And they should all get private islands. And win the lottery. Twice.

This nurse was the best. She checked me and I was a 1.5. But she did inform me that my baby was so far down she actually had to reach around his head to check my cervix, something that she had never experienced before. Turns out that can feel like someone’s looking for buried treasure up there. Which would have been nice to know 30 hours earlier the first time I came in. My body just had no idea what it was doing. Literally. I mean come on cervix, 1.5?! That’s all ya got after 38 hours of this crap?

She personally called my doctor {who wasn’t on call, and it was 2 am at this point, I think I won the Favorite Patient of the Day Award} and didn’t ask if I could stay, she just told him she had started my IV and that I’d be there when he did rounds in the morning. Praise everything.

I promptly fell asleep after receiving some IV pain meds, which is unusual considering they just take the edge off and according to the contraction monitor there was no break between my contractions. But at this point, the last time I’d slept for more than an hour at time was Sunday night. And it was now Wednesday morning. When I woke up two hours later, I was dilated to a 3. Praise everything again.

That morning basically went like this: We will give you pitocin and you will dilate. And then I wouldn’t. We will break your water and you will dilate. And then I didn’t. Do you want an epidural?

Yes. Yes pretty please. I would love one.

{I also need to note that I had another amazing nurse come shift-change time. Again, castles, shrines, replicas, cities, etc.}

And then the anesthesiologist went in early for 3 C-sections so I had to wait longer than expected for the epidural. And by this time, the IV meds weren’t taking much of an edge off anything. And I was starving. Ice chips are the dumbest substitute for food ever thought of.

Oh, and, I was trying to arrange getting my cats to the vet to keep their neuter appointments that I had set up weeks earlier. Yes, I worried about that while in labor.

After pitifully trying to breathe through contractions for a few extra hours {my mom should be a doula} poor Andy was about to have heart attack from the stress of watching me in so much pain and I was about to have a heart attack {not really} from being in so much pain and wondering WHY the blood pressure cuff had to stay on my arm and go off every 10 minutes and WHY there covers on the hospital beds and WHEN WAS THE ANESTHESIOLOGIST GOING TO BE HERE?

He arrived shortly after I ripped the blood pressure cuff off and kicked all the covers onto the floor and before he even had his little table set up I was sitting up, hunched over and ready to go. I don’t think I have ever felt such a relief from pain as I did when I got that epidural. Modern medicine is my favorite.

Then I slept. And when I woke up a few hours later, I was dilated to an 8. Apparently my body just can’t relax on it’s own. Which isn’t really a surprise, I’m not a super mellow individual. Hopefully the second time around it will get with the program a little sooner, though.

Then the pushing started. After we were into it 2 hours, I vividly remember informing my doctor that when a cow has this much trouble, we just throw some chains on in there and give that baby a little tug out. If he was game, I was game. He wasn’t game. And he thought I was kidding. Which I didn’t really find funny.

And who, by they way, had the wonderful idea to put a mirror down there? I mean, really. First of all why would I want to witness how swollen I could become over the course of three hours? Additionally, please tell me how it is possible to push your brains out and keep your eyes OPEN so you can see your child being born? It’s like sneezing with your eyes open, totally impossible! No mirror this time around, thank you very much. OBGYN’s and Labor and Delivery nurses must want to burn their eyes out at the end of the day.

At three hours, I was ready to give up. I was exhausted. I’d accidentally ripped my IV out from pushing, my epidural was wearing off because I couldn’t remember to push the dose button and push a child out of me and want to puke all at the same time and I kept almost passing out.

Finally, after 3 1/2 hours, Abe decided to squeeze past my pubic bone and be born. The poor kid was a little crooked in there and had a pretty awesome gash on his head from being pushed against it for so long.

I laid back, tried to remain conscience, immediately sat up way to fast once I realized he was actually out of me and then laid back down, held the puke in, and forced my eyes open to watch my new little baby be weighed, wiped a little and then placed on my chest.

That’s where the story becomes magical, miraculous, and all the wonderful things birth is supposed to be and feel like. And that’s where I’ll end it. Because there are no words on earth to adequately describe what becoming a mother feels like. Suffice it to say, it’s the best. And under the right circumstances, you should do it. Because all the pain and fear and stress you feel doesn’t even come close to the joy you experience.

Abram tiny face

Oh, one more small and funny tidbit. In the animal reproduction class I’d taken a few years ealier, we discussed how new research is indicating that the hormone oxytocin may contribute to mothers having “mothering instinct.” This piece of information found it’s way to the front of my mind as I was falling asleep with an IV drip full of pitocin {oxytocin} after we’d been moved up to Recovery. All I remember thinking as I drifted off was that could finally rest PLUS I had an entire bag of mothering instinct going straight into my veins. Did I mention I really love modern medicine?

Hopefully this next baby will have a very dull birth story that won’t be funny {or traumatic} to look back on. I’ll let you know in about 6 weeks.

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    A Tale of Two Bees • Longbourn Farm
    August 22, 2016 at 3:22 PM […] All the calm went to, well, more swear words, and I just wanted to get out of there. I was trying to jump the electric fence netting {4 ft tall, I’m 5 ft 4in – you do the math} and rip off my bee suit at the same time and decide where the bee was and run far away. It was almost as graceful as that one time I had a baby. […]
  • Reply
    August 18, 2016 at 8:41 AM Oh my goodness, I'm so glad I read this after my little one was born. I too had terrible back labor and was sent home from the hospital once. But luckily I was able to go back and have her that same day. And I felt the same about the mirror situation - they asked if I wanted one and I said no. I didn't want to see, nor could I keep my eyes open while pushing. It takes every ounce of concentration possible. Better luck this time around!
    • Reply
      August 18, 2016 at 12:41 PM I am glad you read it afterwards too! Back labor is no joke. I'm so glad you were able to have your baby the same day! That's awesome. And good foresight on the mirror :)
  • Reply
    August 17, 2016 at 10:14 AM Wow! And you are doing it again. This sounds a lot like my first, back labor and posterior presentation with long labor and no progress. Luckily I was somewhat prepared with Lamaze and quiet music to help with relaxation. 12 hours at a 2 and +3 station and then they broke my water and I did improve. 6 hours later Katy was born with 2+ hours of pushing. Because of Lamaze we knew counter pressure helps a lot so the next day Eric was as sore as me. Haha. We were in Hawaii in a Kaiser hospital that doesn't do epidurals unless medically necessary but I knew this so I was ok with it. The next one was 3 hours. You got this!! I suggest a very soothing bath at home when you feel labor start and labor in a tub if available at the hospital. Makes a huge difference!! Super excited for you.
    • Reply
      August 18, 2016 at 12:42 PM I think the first is always rough!! I do have those options at the hospital and I'll be looking into everything this time around to hopefully make it a better experience :) Thank you!

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