Winter blew in on the second day of spring, in a swirl of big beautiful snowflakes. When we left the house in the morning at 8 o’clock, the sky was clear, blue early morning crisp with a partial moon showing. I remember saying to Ben, “It’s beautiful out here! Today is a good day to be born.” By the time we went into surgery, there were big white flakes of snow falling to the ground. By afternoon, it was back to sunshine and I had a brand new baby boy.
This birth was a little bit crazy. At 38 weeks, 1 day my water broke at 6 am. I had woken up with a contraction that wouldn’t go away and so was sitting at my computer in the dining room. I went upstairs and woke up my husband. Then told him to stay in bed a little bit longer because I was going to lie on my left side for a bit and try to figure out when I was supposed to call the midwives and find a sitter for our toddler.
While we waited for the sitter, when I would have been doing something like packing the hospital bag we never packed, my husband cut his hair, took and shower and shaved. Since this was our second babe, I knew we didn’t really need anything and living 10 min. from the hospital we could always come back and get it, but I still found it hilarious. I was texting back and forth with a friend who was coming to the birth who is also a doula.
Right as we were about the leave I downloaded an app for keeping track of contractions, but it was destined to never be used. The car ride to the hospital was like one big contraction. If I had thought about it, I would have known that’s not really how contractions work. But I am destined to never feel quasi-normal contractions… because every bump and every turn hurt.
By the time we got into triage at the hospital, I was moving right along. I think I was only 4 cm when I got there, but my contractions were strong and a bit wild. One midwife who came to check on us after the birth said to me, “I looked at your chart and it was crazy.” More than one person, including the midwives and my friend asked if I’d thought about pain killers. I responded, “Isn’t this the point when everyone thinks about pain killers?”
So. I was having crazy painful and abnormal contractions and the baby wasn’t thinking it was the most fun he’d ever had either. Thus began the process of trying to figure out what was actually going on. They checked to see if I had any water left, which would have told them something. They clipped a monitor onto the baby’s head because I was fully effaced and they wanted to monitor him better. Eventually, he wasn’t doing so hot, so we ended up going the c-section route.
I knew something wasn’t quite right when I noticed I was breathing through a contraction and I had 2 midwives, my husband, and my friend all there touching me and telling me I was doing a great job. At some point, someone on the anesthesiologist team came up and started talking to someone right next to me about my surgery. No one had talked to me yet about it yet and my friend whipped around and said loudly, “Maybe someone should talk to her about that first.” It made me chuckle inside.
So there was an epidural and a room full of people hurrying to get the baby out. There was tapping on my shoulder and on other parts of my body to try to determine when the epidural had worked enough. Then there was a c-section, and teams of people to give my little guy oxygen and work his limbs over a bit and after that there was no crying, but a distinct baby yelp.
Apparently there were also things such as Ben having purple fingers from my squeezing his hand so hard and someone telling him to get out of the way in the operating room. And in the end, diagnosed after the fact, my placenta had started to separate from the wall of my uterus and that’s what caused all of the problems. And it was separating in the middle instead of the top or bottom, which made it hard for them to know what was actually going on. The technical term for this is placental abruption.
But at 10:57, with a spring snow flurry came Winter Dorain, 8 lb, 11 oz, and 21 inches long. With small angular ears, a sweet little lower lip he likes to suck in, and lots of little sneezes, grunts, and noises. From 6 to noon and it was over.