… if by coconuts you mean BOYS.
Gabriel Robert was born on Friday evening – yes, his due date, after all that angst about will-he-come-early or will-I-be-pregnant for ever the joke was on me – after a whirlwind labour. He was 8 lbs 6 ozs and 20 inches long, so a goodly size.
He’s very cuddly. And he smells like butterscotch.
I worked all day Friday and had no indication that anything was coming… in fact my overwhelming feeling on Friday was one of boredom, and as I had long owed my mom some of my time to help her set up a website for her HR training business, I called and asked her to come for supper and an evening work session.
We had curry, and wine, and a lovely time. Mom and I got to work. And I couldn’t think. I couldn’t remember my WordPress password. My tongue kept getting tangled up when I talked. And then… pain in my stomach, sudden and intense. Felt like really bad indigestion. “Huh,” I thought, “guess the baby doesn’t like curry”. Went to the washroom and… “huh,” I thought, “that seems awfully damp.” Stuck a pad in, went back to the computer.
“I think I might be going into labour, but I’d like to finish this website first”, said I. Because that’s how I roll. I eyed the clock on my laptop and did my best to breath through the contractions, which were a) in my back b) incredibly intense and c) fucking painful, you guys. And hey! they went from being non-existent to being four minutes apart.
I asked Hubs to throw some things in a bag for the boys. I made my way down the hall to my bedroom and no word of a lie, every step felt like a hundred and those contractions were getting closer together. Without really focusing I threw some things into a bag for me and managed to hug the kids before they left.
In the minivan on the way to the hospital, every pothole felt like the Grand Canyon and every corner felt like we were flying around it at unsafe speeds (and I think we might have been, actually). I was doing my best to remain calm, but everything was happening so fast I really couldn’t process it.
By the time we got to the hospital I could barely walk. Hubs tossed me into a wheelchair and ran me to the admitting office. I’m pretty sure my last rational act was finding my health card in my wallet. After that, it’s a blur.
I know they rushed me upstairs to the ‘early labour assessment ward’, and I know a nurse checked me. At that point I was 6cm and 100% effaced – back into the wheelchair and hustled off to a delivery room. With no pants. I barely had time to take off my bra when my very nice birthing nurse had my IV in and a drip started, because I had tested positive for group B strep and needed antibiotics. By now there was almost no pause between the contractions, and they were getting the better of me. I was terrified. The rest of my water went in a gush, triggering even stronger and longer pains. I had back labour with Harry and I was not ready to go through it again… but I knew time was running out to have an epidural and no one was suggesting anything else.
Turns out it was a busy night on L&D, and the anesthesiologist was already there and ready to go. At this point the whole scene veered off into Hollywood absurdity… I started yelling at the poor man to HURRY UP AND STICK YOUR CRAZY NEEDLES INTO MY SPINE RIGHT NOW, and when he asked me to lie on my side so he could do so I *may* have cried and insisted that such a thing was impossible. I managed it, somehow, and when he hooked it up…
I was like every actress you’ve ever seen, suddenly drunk with relief and in love with everything and everybody. I praised the Bringer of the Marvelous Epidural in fulsome language. I offered to let him deliver the baby. And this is why I will defend epidurals forever. Because I could still feel everything… the urge to push was still strong… but the back pain was gone. I calmed down. I breathed easier. And in that frame of mind I said I was ready if everyone else was.
Three pushes. THREE. That was all it took. My doctor worked with me in a way I’ve never really experienced, cautioning me to push slowly and steadily to minimize tearing. I was in a more comfortable position than my other two labours and felt very much in control of the situation. I felt the baby leave me with a wave of relief and the chorus of “IT’S A BOY!”
The most intense joy washed through me. I was laughing, and crying, and when they laid him on my chest he was instantly mine.
I’ve recovered well. I ended up with stitches but they aren’t painful. My milk hasn’t come in yet but he’s a good nurser, with a reasonable latch that doesn’t hurt too much. He’s borderline jaundiced and will need a follow up blood test in the morning, but otherwise is in perfect health.
My other boys haven’t met him yet – they’re still at my mom’s and have asked to stay another night – conscious I think of the fact that once they come home things will have changed for good. So I have another 24 hours to settle in to life with a nursling again, before we are all back together. I can hardly wait.