Sunday, July 1, 2007
My daughter Journey cannot make up her mind. She changes it all the time, from one minute to the next. This can be funny and sweet or it can be very frustrating. And, it goes all the way back to her birth story. I think that most children's birth story--the way they came into the world--is related to their personality. Directly. Let me explain.
I was 39 weeks and still counting. I had been having good strong contractions for a week and it was getting me nowhere except impatient. I was ready to meet this little girl and so were her two brothers! Finally, I woke up on a friday morning to what I thought was my water "leaking". In this case it was the day after Thanksgiving so the Dr. office was closed and I had no choice, which was fine with me, except to go to the hospital to be checked out.
Upon examination it was determined that my fluid was not leaking, but was very low so it was time to induce. That word scared me a bit because of the horror stories I had heard about being induced. At the same time I also was NOT going home with this baby still inside. So it does not end there. No Ma'm.
The doctor realized that Little Miss had managed to turn herself from birth position to transverse--which meant that she was cradled in my belly instead of doing a headstand as she was supposed to be, and was doing the day before. Thus began the excruciating process of turning her around. This was as uncomfortable as it sounds and consisted of four people pushing on my swollen belly in a rotating motion to force her back around. Pushing. Hard. Like, I wanted to slap them away. You moms know what I mean. How tender the tummy is around the end of the pregnancy. And they were pushing with their weight against me--four sets of hands on my stomach. This occurred around 10 a.m. and was successful. We thought. Nurse started the Pit drip and induction commenced. La De Da...or?
Dr. came in to examine again and guess what? Yep. Little Miss Thing had turned back around. I asked him four times if he was sure because even he appeared astonished that the baby had accomplished that feat. Apparently that never happens, he explained. Now, there was concern because of the fact that my water had been broken to induce labor and with the baby turned around again, there was considerable danger of cord accident. He left me no option except to have a C-section. At that point, with my planned natural water-birth down the tubes, I was just ready to be on the other side of all of this and a C-section sounded like the fastest, safest route to that goal, so I was in agreement.
I was taken to the OR and prepped with the spinal procedure for pain, as customary. As they were putting the drape up, the nurse looked at my stomach and whispered something to the doctor. His eyes widened and I will never forget the look on his face as he checked my belly. All of the people in the room fell silent and I was just ready to cry. They brought the ultrasound machine in to the room and began to check. I was wild with terror at that point and all I was searching for was that little blinking spot that was the heart. My midwife was sitting there with me the whole time as support and she ever so slowly began to smile. She explaind to me that my little girl apparently like to change her mind and play games because she had turned herslf back around into the birth position. If babies can smile in there, I know my daughter had a huge grin on her little face right about then. I was shocked, but no more shocked than the room full of OR staff and doctors. Even though we were all relieved, apparently now we had a new dilemma, they explained to me.
Since there was no medical 'justificiation' to perform the C-section--as in no one's life was in danger now--they could not complete the operation. I was incredulous. Here I was ,totally numb and mentally prepared for surgery not to mention emotionally ready to meet my baby within a couple of minutes, and now was being wheeled back into the labor and delivery room to have a vaginal birth after all. What?!
The midwife preceeded to tie a cloth around my stomach to keep this little mischevious baby from doing any more acrobatics and labor began. I was taken back to the L&D room around 230 and the contractions began to accomplish something around 330.
My little girl made her appearance at 530 p.m. that day--all 8 lbs 13oz of her-- and all the doctors that had been present that morning for the 'entertainment' came by to meet her. Looking at this big baby and the fact that I am petite, we all wondered how she was able to flip around in there, but some things are simply unexplainable. Unfortunately, because of the medication used to numb me for surgery, my BP plummeted and since I was already anemic, I was very sick for awhile after the birth. I had to lie down for 24 hours and could not hold my baby on the way upstairs to the Mother Baby suite. Instead I was holding a big bucket in case I threw up on the way up in the elevator because I had to sit up long enough to transfer. Fun.
But all is well that ends well, right? No lasting health problems for either of us. My little girl is 4.5 years old now and is a little spitfire to say the least. She is certain about something in one minute and the next full of uncertainty. Yes. No. Wait! She has a vibrant personality that captures people's attention. She is very demanding and very strong-willed.
I gave her the name "Journey" because I feel that it fit her journey into this world, and I wanted to convey to her how important the 'journey' is throughout life. Stop to smell the roses. Pay attention to the little things along the way, they matter the most, I tell her.
Oh, and her birth story is posted in the book at the Dr. office where I went for prenatal care and the midwives all know who Journey is...and share this story often with patients who are feeling overwhelmed and impatient.