August 27, 2007

Annie's Day, Part IV

While your mother’s contractions started to progress Kim began suggesting ways for her to manage the pain. The first thing that we tried was some slow rocking on her big purple birth ball. They call it a birth ball, but it is in all actuality a yoga ball. If I owned one though, I would call it a lounge ball. Sitting on it feels like someone is bouncing you like a baby…you know? Anyway, the ball worked for about a half an hour and then it was time for something new.

We decided that some nice relaxing time in the shower would be best. So the venue switched to a nice steamy bathroom where your mother sat under the calming stream of water while I held her hand. At this point she was about five centimeters dilated and you were really cooking. The Pitocin was working faster than She or I would have guessed and I was thinking that you would be here sooner rather than later. Despite only being two hours into labor the contractions were stronger and closer together than you mother was ready for. It was time to change up the routine again…

It was time for my favorite labor position. One that your mom and I have been practicing for over five years and that we had perfected for our wedding. A good ol’ slow dance does a lot for relaxing her and I love to hold her close and smell her hair. However, I’m not much of a dancer, you’ll see this some day on our wedding video, but I can really find a groove when I’m slow dancing. Yes, I know that’s just what someone who can’t dance says, but for me it’s true, I swear. Dancing in labor has the added bonus of making the most of gravity. While we swayed the time away, Newton’s law saw to it that you were creeping your way downward. Knowing now though how much you like to be snuggled in warm dark places, it is a wonder you ever came out at all.

Okay, let’s reset the score here. It is now about 1 p.m. Mom has been in labor for about three hours and she is about seven centimeters dilated. We are much further along than we would have imagined. The pain that she was experiencing was beginning to take a toll on her, but if you progressed at this rate it would all be over pretty soon. Kim decided that things were going so well that it was time to start what would be our primary form of communication with the outside world, the text message. I wasn’t a big texter until your birth day, and now I love it. It’s a great way to keep conversations to a minimum while maximizing the information therein. In other words, perfect for that day. I sent your Grandma Liz the following…7cm…all is well…may want to get here soon.

The message got out to everyone, and our family soon began to take over the hospital. By 2 O’clock there were seven people waiting outside. They all wanted to come in and offer what help they could, but mom only wanted your grandma and everyone else had to wait patiently in the waiting room. Incidentally, patience may be something that you have to work on. I don’t know how impatient your Great Grandpa Lejnieks is, I could guess, but I can tell you for sure that your Grandpa Lejnieks and your mother fall just a little shy of what is deemed socially acceptable. Grandpa Ed wanted to come in and say hello and Kim had to run interference and stop him at the door. He seemed genuinely confused by this, but some private things are genuinely private. Just so you know, I am an exceedingly patient person, much to your mother’s chagrin, and I will be here to show you the path.

Now that the audience was seated, it was time for you to start making things a bit more interesting. You had successfully navigated the first four hours of labor and were now pushing on the door step. Eight centimeters. I really should pause here and let you mother jump in and describe the pain involved in this, but I’m not sure any of us could handle that. Best if we just stick to my generalities. At eight centimeters labor can go finish very quickly. We knew that very soon it would be time to push. I think that between eight and ten centimeters may have been the hardest two hours of my life. The pain was hurtling toward unbearable and in between contractions our team began to talk about alleviating some of it.

The idea of an epidural was still far from our minds, but it didn’t look like your mother would make it without some assistance. The answer hopefully lay in the use of Moutainside’s birthing tub. You haven’t seen one yet, but it is basically a dingy filled with warm water that allows a woman to relax by submerging herself, thusly lifting some of the pressure of a baby’s downward drive. We had heard that these little pleasure boats worked wonders for other mothers, and were hoping that this would hold true for us. There was one catch though, you can’t be on Pitocin and go into the labor tub. I still haven’t found out why this is the case, but even Joann (who has a liberal interpretation of the rules) wasn’t comfortable breaking this one.

The plan was to stop the Pitocin and see where mom’s contractions went from there. At the time, the contractions were less than a minute apart and wildly strong. On a scale of one to ten I would say they were a 9.5. Unfortunately, within in minutes of stopping the Pitocin your mom felt great. This, coincidentally, was not great. By 2:30 the contractions had spread to every six minutes. At this pace we would have been starting the whole process over again. There was no perceivable way that your mom was going to be getting into the tub. It was too big a risk, and factoring in her pain we couldn’t foresee extending the day any further.

This was about the time we all hatched one of the most ill conceived plans I have ever been a part of.


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