The young nurse literally has her hand still in me, and is calling for the older nurse. (I NEED AN OLD PRIEST AND A YOUNG PRIEST).
They explain to me that the baby is ready to pop out and that the Dr. is on his way, we're just going to hope he makes it.
There is a flurry of activity around me - they're setting shit up for an actual BABY TO BE IN THE ROOM.
Let's pause on how strange that is. 5 years of trying to get one of these things, a pregnancy that went by in the blink of an eye (during most of which I was completely insane but we'll get to that in another entry) and there's going to be a baby soon. My baby. In the room. Just like we were. I had spent all night looking at her little bassinet in the room not being able to put that together.. and now she was going to be here. It was like if someone authoritatively said "the unicorn and leprechaun will be here soon - we need to get the pots together to collect gold and chop chop with setting up your cameras so you can take pictures of their choreographed dance of celebration". WHAT. ARE YOU. TALKING. ABOUT.
I remember the nurses hand was in me as if she was holding things together (it was awhile - if it were the 50s she would have had to have pinned me by now so as to not create a social scandal). Around this time Bub started to look peaked.
Correction... Looking back, Bub looked increasingly peaked that whole night starting from when my water broke and I completely went off the pain rails. It's a moment where I completely and utterly handed over alpha status to him, I think (normally we're pretty even stevens - I don't do damsel in distress, but boy was I in distress). They say that a woman becomes a Mother the moment she learns she's pregnant (and in my experience, years before then, really) but a man becomes a Father when his child is born. This, in my experience, was 1000 % true. I don't think Bub viscerally got what was happening until those last few hours (which makes me pity men, really, because that's quite a short little period to have it sink in). So I didn't really notice it at the time, but in hindsight he did start to get this wild, panicked look in his eyes when things started moving along.
And he's a type 1 diabetic so looking peaked generally means shits hitting the fan, anyway. So I remember even though I was about to push a HUMAN BEING FROM MY LOINS they were thrusting juice at him and insisting he sit down because he would not be the first father to hit the ground.
I was aware of way more people being in the room than moments before, and that this was probably the most attention I was ever going to get in my life. The older nurse sort of took over in the event that Heisenbaby popped out while the Doctor was parking.
I was on my back, a nurse holding one leg and Bub holding the other. Mind you, after an epidural your legs are USELESS. And I was approximately 948 lbs at this point and Bub was on the particularly useless right side (I don't think the epidural fully kicked in on my left side) which meant I was not helping him at. all. She explained to push like I was going to poop.
I realize poop is taking a larger part in this story than one would perhaps think.... I would like to assure any pregnant women reading this that I in fact DID NOT POOP on the table. I think it was in part because I have endo and am always to some degree constipated, and I had had drugs that stopped me up pretty good. But a poop free experience is possible!
I can also thank my endo and constipation because pooping a particularly tricky poop is something I have experience in. So I started pushing right at 8 AM.
The older nurse who was seemingly less nervous than the younger nurse kept saying "wow! you are a GOOD pusher!"
Honestly, the pushing part? Easy pacheezy. After all the needles, heartbreak, chemical pregnancies, a miscarriage, Pitocin, getting pre-partum OCD and wondering if I would ever have anything that resembled a real family - easy. Easy, easy, easy.
I couldn't really feel too much of what was happening, but I was familiar with the concept of poop, like I said. So I just went like I was constipated. Wouldn't have known anything was happening except for the shouts of 'good job!' and 'wow we have a pusher on our hands!'. Bub to my right, looking increasingly gaunt.
The Doctor arrived, the nurse told him I was a fantastic pusher, he said 'oh great', and she shuffled to my side.
He told me I was making great progress with every push. They asked me if I wanted a mirror to see the progress I was making... Now, for the entire 37 weeks I was shouting about how I would NEVER do this but the beauty of not having a birth plan is I was playing it by ear. So I said no the first time, and then I asked for it. I won't lie to you - it was really gross. But there was HAIR coming out of my patootie. HAIR. I was actually doing something.
When my nurse discovered the baby's head was in my vaginal canal I had Bub text my Mom to tell her we were getting to the gory part. So around this time she arrived, while my legs were akimbo and there was a mirror at my crotch. She came teary eyed to my head and brushed my hair out of my face and I had never been so happy to see her. We didn't have her for the actual birth so we just said our hellos and that she loved me and I was doing great - and that really was the last push that had it sink in that this was happening. (We didn't have her there for the birth only because we figured it'd be gory - and now that I have Heisenbaby I dunno if I'd be able to see her in that kind of pain.)
So when Mom left the room it was like 'okay, everybody's here... here we go.'
They would have me take a deep breath, let it out, take another deep breath and hold it while I pushed while they counted to ten. I remember staring at the ceiling and thinking I wasn't doing anything, but they kept reassuring me that I was doing great and I was meant to push.
On my second to last push I remember them saying "waaaaait! stoooooop!!!!!" which I didn't think too much of at the time. They paused for a moment, said it'd be one more push and she'd be out.
There was a great big gush - even greater than when my water broke. HUGE. Like you wouldn't think a human being could hold that much water, even knowing how much water we are. (As Bub so romantically put it later - it was like watching the people shoot out of the mountain at the end of Splash Mountain at Disneyland). And out she popped, and it was like a huge relief like you had had a 7 lb splinter someone finally removed in one, long piece.
The Doctor held her up, and she made a little squeak at which point Bub started to cry. I don't remember this part except Bub's reaction because I couldn't. Believe. It was happening.
At 8:27 AM I was 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant. At 8:28 AM on July 26, 2014 she was born 7 lbs 10 oz. They put her on my chest. She didn't cry, she just looked like she was sleepy (and covered in goo since she was early). I stared at her for a solid minute I couldn't believe she was here. The only person I could coherently address was God.
At first everything was hunky dory, we were in mommy and baby bliss. Then she started panting. The nurse at first said it was normal - then when she kept doing it and doing it a little faster, they took her from me and called in one of the NICU Doctors.
They started sewing me up (the "waaaait! stoooop!!!" part was my being a little too good at pushing and ripping my inside a little bit) and my Mom came back in the room. I said "the baby is over there!" and pointed at her little nook, and realized I was talking about my baby for the first time as a person.
They wheeled her out, and Daddy and Grandma followed. This was the loneliest time in my entire life. It was just me, thinner and with some nurses who suddenly felt like strangers.
A million years later when Grandma and Daddy returned, they were both in tears. I asked how she was and my Mom said she was fine, they were doing x-rays, they just think her lungs weren't quite prepared for out-of-the-womb existence quite yet. I pointed at Bub who is an eternal pessimist and said 'I want to hear what he says. How is she?" and he said "I don't know".
In short, her lungs were just adjusting to being outside. There was a day of fast breathing and looking like this which was terrifying -
(That's her with her Daddy's finger).
She was the biggest and the loudest in the NICU. They frequently called me in the middle of the night exasperated to tell me my child was making a ruckus. It was terrifying and she was there for 6 days, and it was a heart breaking place to be. About once a week I think of a Mom who daily would hold her tiny, tiny baby and sing these heartbreaking lullabies to them. Or the YOUNG couple who a day later were in the same boat as us - seeing the painfully young Father in basketball shorts looking completely bewildered like he didn't realize where he was.
Someday I'll write about that week. Someday.
BUT... she came home after a week and has been a completely healthy, crazy ham ever since.
At least once a day it strikes me how fucking lucky we are and I could just weep.