Sunday, November 24, 2013

Of Pride & Placenta: A Birth Story

Written by A, who is the husband of M, who both are the parents of O.

Having been together for a few years now, M. is used to waiting around a lot for a man that she loves, only to have him surprise her and come earlier than she excepted, which is to say...We’ve got a new baby boy!
Please welcome O, the newest cast member to our family. O was born on Saturday at our place, homebirth-style.

Chapter 1: The Water Breaks ( AKA Orinoco Flow (Preview) )
Here’s the scoop. M. woke me up at 3:00 a.m. Friday night/Saturday morning and said, “I want you to come and look at something in the bathroom.” I know what you’re thinking, AND? Happens all the time, right? But, this time – this time it was different. This time her water had broken! Also, that is kind of a misnomer because water doesn’t break, ice breaks, but anyway—the bag holding the water had ruptured/broken what-have-you. What this means for all you people at home without any kids, is that—It. Is. On.
At this point, it may help to picture the little digital clock from Kiefer Sutherland’s 24 counting down in the corner of your mind throughout the rest of this story. (Pro Tip: Once the water breaks, the sterile environment that the baby has been in during pregnancy is no longer present. This means you want to deliver the baby within about 24 hours so you don’t auto-infect the newborn with flora present in your own system or external bacteria.)
We called our fantastic midwife Maria, and UCSF at 3:15 a.m. & they both agreed that we should pop over to the hospital to get an IV with a little antibiotic cocktail (first cocktail she’d had in 38.5 weeks, poor thing). We also needed to confirm that the water had indeed “broken” and have the baby’s heart rate monitored.
We took an UBER Black Car, because we figured A) they would be cleaner than a taxi, B) nobody ever takes them (easy to get) and C) because we don’t own a car. (Joshua, I did actually suggest a Flywheel at this point, but M. wanted the leather interiors with the (likely false) hope that they had recently been wiped down...)
Chapter 2: The Hospital
We arrived at the hospital and the nurses ushered us into a little hospital triage room for a long time. The monitoring looked good, the IV was administered, and we were finally able to leave the hospital and head home at about 9 a.m. This means that we checked in at 4 a.m. and checked out at 8:45 a.m. for a grand total of *4.75 hours (did that in my head). Most of our time was spent hurrying up and waiting since they kept telling us to sit tight until we could talk to yet another doctor. But, we were kind of like, “If everything is good, and we already talked to the doctors, then why are we still in this room?” So we made our escape to the birthing center, AKA: our house! (*Pay attention to that that number, it comes in handy for comparison purposes later.)
Chapter 3: Home Again
When we got back home just after 9 a.m.,M.  wasn’t really having contractions yet and since that 24-hour clock was still ticking, we decided to do what anyone having a baby at home would do: give her diarrhea to kick-start the labor.
Chapter 4: Castor Oil
We explained the lack of contractions to Maria, our amazing midwife, so she told us about a popular old midwife’s trick: castor oil. This trick is very simple. Go to Walgreens. Get a little $5 bottle of castor oil. Pour the oil into the blender with a lot of orange juice. You’re now holding the world’s worst Orange Julius. Drink the foamy laxative Vitamin C mixture. The oil says it will start to work anywhere between 4-12 hours. Tick tock. We decided to add some exercise to the mix to expedite things, so we left home and started walking around the neighborhood.
Chapter 5: 10:30 a.m. Go-Time
We came home from the walk and M. very quickly began feeling increasingly intense contractions. We walked around the house between contractions and then M. would post-up and lean against things like beds, couches, chairs, and me while she honed-in on her primal mama grizzly bear growl. After about an hour of increasingly vociferous and thunderous grumbles, all the small woodland creatures in the neighborhood had fled, leaving the house oddly still, save for M.’s impressive impersonation of Grendel’s mother.
Chapter 6: 12:30 p.m. Calvary Arrives
Gabrielle (the great doula) and Maria (our midwife) arrived around lunchtime. Gabrielle began helping with encouraging words and a practiced soothing touch, that included hip-squeezes and a bevy of comfort measures. Maria moved about the house with the practiced efficiency of a Swiss timepiece, setting up her supplies and checking-in on M. and the baby with her remote baby heart-monitoring wand.
Chapter 7: Dilation: It’s In the Details.
M.’s contractions were epic. Like Epic of Gilgamesh epic, and so Maria decides to check the cervix. The cer-what? Ha! M. laughs in the face of bottlenecks like this. Her powerful timbre and focused uterine surges had decimated the cervix and prepared the baby’s escape route.
Chapter 8: Crowning Achievements
Maria tells M. that it’s now okay for her to push anytime she wants.She  is surprised. She asks, “Really? Already?” Maria nods, and M. continues her Ironman sprint towards motherhood. 40 minutes of pushing ensue over several venues in the house, and then…we see him. He’s out, his powerful lungs quickly began filling the room with dulcet shrills, and Mom and son are helped up off the birthing stool into the bed. Per everyone’s instructions, including second awesome midwife Michelle Wellborn (real last name), we go skin-to-skin and cuddle with the baby in the bed. The doula & midwife team proceed to clean up the house and make us some farm eggs and market-fresh veggies scrambled up from the fridge.
Chapter 9: In this corner…weighing in at…
Maria conducts the postpartum exam. She weighs and measures and listens. Here’s what she found out:
Length 20.5 inches
Weight: 6 lbs. 1 oz.
Hair: Blond
Eyes: (currently closed) Blue (at the moment)
Chapter 10: Dirty Diapers & the Revenge of the Castor Oil
Special secret chapter for baby class only!
So, everyone’s wondering, was there poop? Great question. Yes and no. The castor oil worked in that it caused her stomach to cramp up and jump-start the uterine contractions, but it didn’t have the bowel shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse that were promised by CAKE. Don’t worry, that oil was definitely going the distance, waiting until we thought everything had calmed down. At about 11 p.m., some 9 hours after the arrival of O., I was in bed holding him and M. said she needed to go pee.
After she finished she stood at the bathroom sink in her special post-delivery gauze boyshort undies – outfitted with a massive post-delivery maxi pad – calmly filling the rinse bottle that the midwife provided (she had been instructed not to wipe). At that moment, she felt a rumble. Before she could finish filling the bottle, or even move the 20 inches to the toilet, an explosive geyser of castor oil-lava spilled forth, quickly filling her boyshorts/pad with the house’s very first dirty diaper. Who knew? Don’t play around with castor oil, I think it’s from the same plant they use to make ricin.
Day 3: The Postpartum Script
The baby has quickly taken to his new San Francisco lifestyle. In fact, he’s already quite the foodie—he’s particularly fond of free-range unpasteurized organic breast milk.
Our house now looks like the Playboy Mansion. Everyone is naked and lounging around in bathrobes. M. looks like she just invested 50k in breast augmentation; apparently Mother Nature is a boob man.
Le Fin (and by that I mean Le Beginning)~

Hospital 4.75 hours, no baby. Home 3.5 Hours, baby.  Point for Home.

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