After the midwife declared I was at 10 cms and ready to push, I pushed for about 15-20 minutes and made zero progress. Once again, my midwife asked me to lay back on Chuck again so she could check me and discovered I had a lip of cervix that was preventing the baby from moving down. She had me roll on my side and hold my right leg in the air and push while she held back the cervical lip. Because we were in the tub, within a dimly lit bathroom it was impossible for her to see what was happening so she asked me to move to the bed. There was literally nothing that sounded less appealing than leaving the prospect of my desired water birth to go labor on my back on the hard bed so like the warrior woman that I am, I whimpered and pleaded for them to let me stay in. Clearly, it was a battle that I did not win.
I was helped out of the tub and someone helped remove my sports bra and wrapped me in towels as I was shivering like crazy. I was laid on my back in the bed and Cat was able to hold back the lip as I pushed with all my might until Charlie finally passed through my cervix. It took about a half hour of pushing, holding the backs of my knees and thrusting my body forward to bring him down and if I'm being 100% honest here, I totally pooped. (I feel like this is the one big concern that all pregnant woman share, and I am here to say that yes, it did happen. There was nothing I could have done to stop it. And it was totally not that big of a deal- Chuck didn't even know until I told him.)
Once Charlie had descended, my midwife asked me if I wanted to finish pushing on the toilet. HALLELUJAH! Yes, anything to get off of my back on that damn bed. I moved to the toilet where I proceeded to push (what felt like a massive poop) until he began to crown. I could feel my lady bits getting stretched as the midwife told me I needed to get off the toilet to deliver my baby. Once again, completely rational laboring Kaity whimpered at the thought of getting off my sacred throne while two nurses grabbed me and guided me to my hands and knees on the bathroom floor. He was nearly there but the pain of pushing him out all the way was completely hampering my ability to do it in a timely manner. I gave one or two more half-hearted pushes through the next contraction while screaming, "IT HURTS!" until I had finally worked up the courage to finish the dang thing. (They don't call it the "ring of fire" for nothing). I knew the only way to get him out was to face the pain head on, so I took a deep breath, pushed as hard as I could and out popped his head...followed by the rest of him.
At 2:22 AM, Charlie was born and I couldn't believe his whole body had shot out so quickly. I didn't even see the midwife catch him until he was already safely in her arms. I heard his first cry and just muttered "Oh my god." I had just delivered a human. My human. From my body. And it was completely surreal. The midwife placed my gooey little newborn son in my arms and I had no idea how to hold him. I pathetically cried out that I didn't know how to hold a baby so they placed him in my arms and I just sat there staring at his wailing, red little face in complete disbelief.
Once my cord has stopped pulsating, the midwife clamped the cord and gave Chuck the responsibility of cutting it. I always thought the cord-cutting would be much more ceremonial, but Chuck was as equally stunned as I was and cut the cord almost apathetically as he tried to absorb what had just happened. I began to feel really shaky and weak, so they handed our little Baby Pep to his Daddy and proceeded to help me up and assist me back to the bed to deliver the placenta. I laid on the bed, shaking like I was having some kind of seizure, as the midwife encouraged me to push out the placenta. It was not a particularly difficult task, but felt much more taxing because I was officially done with this whole pushing nonsense. So after about 5 minutes of pushing, the placenta came out while Chuck stood by holding the wee one. My midwife inspected me and told me I had one small tear that didn't require stitches but she could give me one if I desired. I'm hoping you can guess how I responded to that. I was done with everything down there and passed on the stitch in hopes of lying down and passing out as soon as possible.
The nurses helped me to sit up in bed and attempt to nurse my son for the first time. Although he latched right on and breastfed like a champ, I was less than excited about the fundal massages my nurses proceeded to give me to ensure my uterus was contracting and returning to its former size. Nor was I at all crazy about the fact that they were making me sit on my bottom- the same bottom I had just pushed a human being out of. So after about an hour of this, the nurses and midwife left us and we invited our parents and my sister in to meet our new addition. It was 3:30 AM and our families had literally been in the waiting room all day. Despite their excitement to see his sweet face, they didn't stick around long as all parties were effectively pooped and ready for bed. After the minor introduction, our loved ones departed and we discovered that in the midst of all the craziness of bonding with our Charlie, the nurses had not yet done all his stats, etc. so we had no idea how much he weighed. We invited them back in where they weighed and measured him at 6 lbs 7 oz and 20 inches long. They showed Chuck how to bathe and diaper him, administered his first shots and by 5:00 AM our little family of three was finally left alone to get some much-needed shut-eye.
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Having a Baby: Expectation
Having a Baby: Reality