A week after our unexpected visit to the ER for kidney stones, Hero Hottie was finally feeling better and I was still pregnant.
Very pregnant. I felt about ready to burst like a balloon with too much air. I was so grateful to be nearing my due date; since for a few months there I was overwhelmed with worry that my torn placenta would cause us great heartache; but I was ready to have this Baby now.
That evening things finally started...but of course not in the way we expected. Did I mention I'm done with making plans and trying to have more Faith? My plans for delivery would have been a disaster; but luckily my actual birth plan wasn't decided by me.
I walked out into the yard to check on Bean and Abu who were enjoying the nice autumn evening. It was warm and relaxing. I felt a sharp, unusual pain in my back and then nothing. Strange but I didn't think much about it until a few minutes later when I realized that my water had broken. It wasn't a gush or dramatic or anything like you see in the movies. In fact, this heavily pregnant lady thought she lost bladder control for a moment.
Normally, I would be embarrassed to talk about such things, but heck, I had a full term infant resting on top of my bladder, leaks happen.
When I finally realized, that yes, my water had broken; I also realized I wasn't having any contractions. None. Zip. Zero. After three weeks of them, suddenly and strangely, they were absent. This labor and delivery was nothing like my other two.
We sent the older girls to Grandma, with a promise that as soon as things actually started to happen, we would send for them. They were hoping to be in the delivery room while I gave birth and didn't want to miss their sister's arrival.
Hero Hottie and I packed our bags and went to the hospital. Regardless of the missing contractions, my water had still broken and now we had to go deliver a baby. I was starting to feel excited. Baby Blueberry was coming!! It was going to be her birthday. And I was going to be able to hold her and kiss her and love her.
I will skip the next sixteen hours. It's quite boring. I was barely having contractions and in fact they were so mild, I was able to sleep through a lot of them. Sleep was good though. The doctor even let me eat, since I wasn't experiencing any real labor yet. Hero Hottie and I watched the Food Network and slept and waited for something to happen.
The next morning, after sixteen hours of labor, we agreed with the doctor, very reluctantly, that we should start the pitocin.
I hate pitocin. I had it with my first labor and it makes the contractions rough. They're harsher, more painful, and they leave me feeling like I'm totally not in control of my own body. I didn't want to take it, but I could not get labor to kick start and we were trying everything...walking, ankle massages, more walking...nothing.
The first few hours were still slow, since we had started with a low dose and were only slowly increasing it. I still wanted a natural birth and was even willing to try it, knowing the pitocin might make it more difficult.
Then with another dose increase, my old uterus, as the nurses so kindly put it (hey, now- I'm only in my early thirties.) finally decided to do something.
And oh boy, did it work then. Being the stubborn ass that I am though, I gritted my teeth through the wickedly horrible pitocin contractions, still determined to do this without an epidural.
Until it was too late of course. And I was stuck with these massive waves of sharp pain in my back and wrapping around to the front. They were not normal contractions at all. It was like my uterus was protesting the intervention and was refusing to cooperate but the pitocin was stronger and forced it to do its job anyway.
The nurses helped me climb into the bed, since I had been laboring on a stool. I scooted to the edge and clung to the railing. I should have asked for the epidural when I agreed to the pitocin.
A little bit later and after a bit of screaming on my part, it was time to deliver Baby Blueberry. Thank goodness because I was done.
And then that's when my past came to haunt me. The doctor, who knew about my Crohn's and my fistula surgeries suddenly realized that we might have a major disaster on our hands.
"Did you ask your GI doctor if you could deliver vaginally?" she asks, studying the fistula scars on my bottom under her huge, bright lamp. I don't think she had known just how intensive they were. Or how much area they took up.
"No." I managed to answer between contractions, wondering, even in my pain dimmed brain why it mattered.
"You should have. We have a problem."
"It's a little late now." I answered, feeling Baby Blueberry making her descent and getting ready to crown.
"If you deliver this baby too fast, than you could tear all this scar tissue. All of it. We have to do this very slowly and let things stretch or it's going to be really bad."
I had Hero Hottie's hand clutched in mine and I had it pressed to my forehead. I heard his breath catch and could feel his panic. It was my panic too. Healing from the fistulas had nearly ripped our family apart and destroyed my health. And here the doctor was telling me I risked ripping the scars open.
If they tore, it would be a disaster. They might not even heal this time.
At that point I really wished I had agreed to an epidural.
So, Baby Blueberry would have arrived in three or four pushes, according to the doctor. Instead, it took over an hour to push her out because I was allowed a little, tiny push on the start of the contraction and then I had to stop my body from doing anymore.
"Breathe." Hero Hottie kept telling me.
"Breathe. Don't push. Don't push. Breathe." The nurses kept telling me.
And I had to go against every natural instinct a laboring Mom has when her baby is crowning, and breathe.
Breathe. Breathe. Little push, hardly anything. And pray desperately for enough strength to do this.
If Hero Hottie hadn't been there, to hold my hand and keep my on task; I'm not sure if I would have been able to. The only thing that kept me from giving in and just allowing her to exit quickly was the fear that I would tear all that scar tissue and I would have...well, I couldn't even think about it, going back to that time period. So I didn't push.
Baby Blueberry was absolutely wonderful. Her heart is so strong and she never wavered or experienced any distress even though she had to wait so long to make her appearance.
Then finally, when I knew I couldn't do it anymore, she slipped out and was suddenly on top of my chest.
Beautiful baby. Our baby. And she was doing great. The twenty one hour labor didn't faze her at all. We let Bean and Abu into the room then. Originally, I would have allowed them to come in when I was pushing but with the extra complications at the end, we made them wait outside in the hall.
They were amazed. The nurse took a photo of that special moment, when they first see her and it's the most precious image.
So my plan for birth would have been as quick as Abu's labor had been and that would have been a disaster for me and my family. Instead, even though it was the hardest hour of my life, I had the labor I needed. With the help of the right doctor, I didn't tear or damage any of the scar tissue. I can't even tell you how many times I have said prayers of gratitude for that small miracle.
This entire year has turned out differently than Hero Hottie and I imagined it would when we were ringing in the New Year. We were blessed with an unexpected Surprise. And that's how we will tell her that story too. She wasn't an accident, that implies we would change things if we could. No, we will tell her she was a Surprise.
A wonderful, unexpected Surprise.
Welcome to the world Baby Blueberry.