Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Sweet Pea is Four.
Ella turned 4 years old today.
Four years ago from right now, 10:28am, I was in a ~hard~ induced labor, naturally. My god, I wish epidurals worked on me. I get no credit for making it through naturally because I got an epidural, it just didn't work. So yes, I endured all the pain of a pitocin labor for 22 hours, but I certainly didn't want it.
At this time, I still had another 9 1/2 hours to go. It was the most painful experience of my entire life, hands down. Worse than breaking my leg in half on top of the mountain. Worse than ripping all my ankle ligaments apart in my friend's front yard. Worse than ripping all my girlie parts open, requiring plastic surgery, when I fell on a chair when I was 8 years old. Worse than waking up from any of my 15 surgeries in that post-surgical pain. Worse than OHSS.
Good lord, I'll never forget that pain. The old adage "You forget the pain the moment the baby is put in your arms" is utter and complete bullshit. I remember the pain more than I remember the baby being put in my arms. Okay, so I was lying a bit about that one. Laying the baby on my belly, all covered in goo, will be a moment impressed in my memory forever.
Actually, the birth was a much different experience than I had ever imagined. First, I wasn't ready for the actual amount of pain I was in. It was so overwhelming and I couldn't do anything about it. I actually told the doctor while pushing that I had changed my mind and wanted to go home. And I was 100% serious. I was beside myself in pain. I got through it, yes, but damn.
The second part that was strange for me was when Ella made her way out. I saw the films, I knew what birth looked like, but it wasn't like those films. Because it was my first baby, I was unsure how I would react. Due to this, I decided against a mirror. I let my doula and husband take a look, but I didn't want to watch it. I'm very visual and was afraid that would be stuck in my mind forever.
When she crowned, the nurse asked me if I wanted to touch her. I was in so much pain I just wanted her out. I didn't want to stop and touch her head. In fact, I found that a little freaky. I have a baby sticking out through my vagina and the next moment was a moment I'd been waiting for. I had waited 6 months from getting married to get to the starting point of trying for a family. Another 18 months of trying to conceive. 9.3 months of gestation. All for the next moment. So no, I don't want to stop to touch the top of her head. I want her out. Now.
Then, when Ella's head made it through, they stopped for a moment to clean her mouth and nose out. She immediately started crying like most newborns do. The weird thing was - she was still INSIDE me! Her head was sticking out from between my legs, her entire body inside, and she was crying. Bizarre if you ask me. When I had Allison the next year, they didn't stop and do this with her, so I don't know how common it is to have this happen. Since it did happen to me, I can tell you how creepy this felt. Having a crying baby head sticking out of my vagina.
After the crying head thing, with no more than a simple sneeze, the rest of the baby came sliding out. I remember thinking how odd this was because it was ~so~ hard to push out her head, pushing out her entire body should of required some work. But apparently it doesn't, as both babies slid out easily.
And this is when my first born daughter was given to me. She was laid on top of my belly, still attached to the placenta via the umbilical cord. In that single moment, I knew I would give up my life for this little being. I was overwhelmed.
Tom cut the cord and Ella was swept up and taken over to the warmer to get cleaned up. As Tom went over to watch the process, I then had the uncomfortable process of continuing the birthing process as I delivered the placenta. That thing doesn't simply slide right out after the baby - you still have to contract and deliver it. It was painful, but comparatively speaking, it was a cake walk.
I also felt a great sadness the baby was no longer safe inside me. And I was keenly aware of the change of focus from me to the baby. Just a moment ago, I was the center of every one's attention. Now it was on the baby. Only my OB sat with me, but really, he didn't have much choice as his arm was currently inside me trying to help the placenta come out.
A few minutes later, I was given the baby back, all bundled up in a blanket. Everyone in the room promptly left, leaving our new ~family of three~ time to meet each other. Ella was wide awake and very alert, as she had no medication in her from my labor. She latched on to my breast and I fed my daughter.
And while I'll never forget the pain, this moment was worth it.
Happy birthday my dear Ella.
You are my everything.