We are still trying to figure things out as first time parents. Sleep-deprived as hell, but completely worth it. To quote the pediatrician, “Francisco is doing tremendous. You two have done a great job.”
It seems so long ago, but I wanted to share the story leading up to Franco’s arrival. Ya ready? It’s a doozy.
I mentioned in my last post that I was working like a madwoman up until I delivered. Dean and I hadn’t gone on a babymoon like most couples do these days, nor were we willing to fly during the pregnancy given the two miscarriages I’d had. So 10 days prior to my delivery date, we decided to tempt fate and spend two nights at the historic Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, which is a 30 minute drive away from the hospital. We even brought our hospital gear…just in case!
I envisioned spa treatments, gourmet meals, soaking in the sun. Here’s a snapshot I took lounging by the pool after we had checked in.
After dinner, we watched The Grand Budapest Hotel at a theater in downtown Berkeley. It was a good movie, but I squirmed my way through it, I felt so uncomfortable. That said, at 38 weeks, I was already leading a very uncomfortable existence, waddling around everywhere and needing to be by a bathroom at all times!
I woke up at 3:30am that night with really bad cramps that got progressively worse. I kept going back and forth between the bed and the toilet, and eventually I passed my mucous plug. We called the advice nurse and explained the situation.
Dean does a parody of the call that goes like this:
Hi this is Catherine Gacad. I’m 38 weeks along and I passed my mucous plug. I have really bad cramps, but I don’t think they’re contractions. Nah, couldn’t be labor. Pain on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst? Gosh, I’d say a 2 or a 3. It’s really not that bad. I probably don’t need to go to the hospital. Wait, there’s a baby’s head coming out of my vagina. Do you think maybe now I should go to the hospital?
That wasn’t too far from what happened because when we eventually decided to check out of the hotel, and make our way to the hospital at 7:30am, the medical team said I was already 7 to 8 centimeters dilated.
Dean had temporarily parked in the Emergency Area and said, “Well now that she’s here, I’ll go move the car and come back.”
The nurse quipped, “You’re not going anywhere. This baby is coming out right now!”
They asked if I wanted an epidural, but I was intent on doing the delivery naturally. Another jovial nurse hollered, “Drug-free and a surprise gender baby! I am digging this family!” I laughed, which was the last moment of calm before I descended into the nadir of labor. I screamed bloody murder so loudly so often, it was a warning call to the other women in labor: GET AN EPIDURAL!
I went drug-free without any of the perks of going drug-free. It didn’t matter that I wanted to walk around during labor, I had to be strapped to the bed. For a short while, the nurses let me labor on all fours, I felt better that way. But once the OB walked in, they flipped me around and I was beholden to the hospital way, with the OB wearing her umpire outfit, sitting comfortably in her chair, and preparing to vacuum my baby out. It didn’t matter that I screamed NO CUT! If the OB wanted to cut me or use a vacuum, she was going to do it her way. No discussion.
Dean’s concern, of course, was for the health of the baby and he deferred to the professionals. At least if I’d had a doula present, I would have had someone advocating on my behalf.
My advice? If I had to do it all over again, I’d go drug-free, but have the delivery done by a midwife. With an OB, I’d either hire a doula or get an epidural.
But the most important thing is that I delivered a healthy happy baby. Period. I am obviously working through some bitterness over my labor experience, but I need to realize that for the most part I had a natural, normal delivery.
The baby came out at 8:31am on Mother’s Day. They placed the baby on my chest and Dean smiled, “It’s a boy.”