Finally. "One or two more like that and I can call the doctor in," encouraged Jessica. Push, push, push. The doctor, a new one I'd never met before, came in. Push, push, push. The same words. "Like that first one. Again." The minutes ticked by. "I can't tell what direction the baby is facing," said the nurse. "His heart rate dropped for a few minutes a while ago, but it went back up." Push more, Beth. Did you hear that? The Peanut needs you.
He was about to come, the doctor said, and she needed to do an episiotomy. Fine, I nodded. We just need to do this. Push, push, push, and there he was. "Oh, that explains it. He's sunny side up." Such a simple statement to explain such a long, stressful experience. The excruciating pain earlier in the morning? Back labor, thank you very much. My furious five hours of pushing? He was face up, of course. "If we'd known that, we might have done something else hours ago." Oh, thank you for telling me.
A flurry of activity. The Peanut wrapped up and on my chest, Husband standing right next to us, a huge, purple bruise covering Peanut's whole forehead. The doctor examining me, the placenta being delivered.
I cried partly because he was here and I was happy, and partly because it was over. At 10:00 am exactly, it was over. And I was so relieved. Pictures of our new family.
Baby and Husband went to the little "baby station" with the nurse while the doctor still worked on me. "Do you know what a tear is?" she asked? "You have about a 3 and half degree one. That means it didn't go all the way from the vagina to the rectum, but close. I'm going to have to stitch you up. Then, "Is she on medication?" to the nurse. "No, she's off right now." "Beth, push that button right next to you. Push it again," said the doctor, telling me to dose myself with a little medication through the epidural. (Educational moment for me - I didn't realize exactly how it worked before then. The catheter was in the epidural area of my spine, but the pump with the meds had been turned off so I could feel to push. The button worked just like you see in the movies.)
I was paying attention to the doctor and the nurse as they worked on me and trying to pay attention to what was going on with Husband and the baby over in the other part of the room. Wincing as she sewed, trying not to cry, asking Husband questions about the baby. "He's 19 inches long, and 6 lbs, 15 oz."
The doctor was showing the nurse a different technique for some certain type of stitch. "I appreciate a teaching and learning environment," I thought. Then my two men were both back at my side as the doctor finished up. "He's just fine," said the pediatric nurse about the baby. "There doesn't appear to be any damage, despite the bruising on his forehead." Relief. Then nausea and light-headedness. "I think I'm going to be pass out or be sick," I told Jessica. "I feel faint." Juice and some trail mix. My color returned a little, and I felt less light-headed. We hadn't eaten since 5:30 the night before.
Cleaning up, putting things away, and eventually the doctor was gone. Still sipping on juice, holding my baby. Husband's parents and sister came in, along with my sister. I held in the tears. I probably would have bawled had it just been Sister, truthfully. They oohed and ahed over the Peanut, over Will. Sister asked how I was doing. "I'll tell you about it later. It was hard."
They left, Husband going to find something to eat as Jessica helped me try to nurse for the first time. Quiet. Blessed quiet, with this small, tiny baby at my breast. Unbelievable, beautiful.
Eventually Husband took the Peanut to the nursery for some tests, shots, and his first bath. More juice and food for me as I tried to rest. My parents arrived with lunch in hand, my mom's first concern for me and me alone. The Mama Bear in her re-surfaced big time, her first priority to protect and take care of me. Jessica came with the wheel chair to take me to my post-partum room, and Husband followed behind with our baby - our baby!- in the bassinet.
Finally, settled into our room, the room where we'd spend the next couple of days, learning how to feed my son, trying to get some rest, healing, seeing family. Nurses in and nurses out. Tanya, my favorite and most helpful post-partum nurse. Bridget, our overly talkative night nurse who treated me like a celebrity. Comments from everyone I met. "We were here when you were in labor. We kept waiting to hear you were going in for the C-Section. We can't believe how much of that you did without medication. You're such a rock star." It was therapeutic, my "I failed" mentality slowly being replaced with the affirmation that I had not, in fact, failed, and that instead, I had done well.
The Peanut was here, our William John, after a long night of hard work, and after many months of praying. We were tired - no, exhausted -, and we were in awe. Our teeny tiny baby was with us, snuggled in our arms, relying completely on us.
Resposibility, and Joy. Still the two overwhelming emotions, but beautiful, amazing emotions.
Welcome, Peanut, baby Will.