the birth story

i mentioned earlier that my doctor had said the thursday before ronin was born, that i was already dialated to a 3-4. i also had a leakage of something that is gross. starts with m and ends with ‘ucus’, but again, any day or weeks from then something could happen. i was large, uncomfortable and not so patiently waiting for this little boy to show up.

tuesday morning, jan woke up to get ready for work, and i half woke up to say goodbye. while he was getting dressed, i said, um, i think something just happened and i don’t think it was pee. i went and stood over the toilet and saw fluid slowly draining out and thought, this is my water breaking or my bladder is totally shot. the contractions started almost immediately, but weren’t too bad yet. i called the dr’s office, which wasn’t open, and waited for a call from the on call doctor to confirm or deny my suspicions. i waited 20 min’s, no call. called back, and the lady said she thought he might be in the delivery room, but if i was worried, to just come in. i thought i would take a nice hot shower, but it only lasted 2 minutes because the pain was getting worse by the minute. we gathered all last minute supplies, inhaled a bowl of cheerios and off we went. by the time we were close to the hospital (about a 40 min drive) my contractions were 3 minutes apart and hurting pretty good.

at the hospital, i was the only person in the waiting room, and it took ages for someone to get a wheelchair, slowly…slowly wheel me to the elevator to get upstairs, have the nurses slowly, slowly put me on the fetal monitor and check me just to say, oh, hm, you’re already at a 6-7. (i thought i would have gotten an epi at a 3-4!) it was 9 am. i was bent over in pain while jan was trying to figure out why nobody was hurrying. i finally got into the labor & delivery room, and had to wait for the drugs. the anesthesiologist said it should kick in in about 15. that turned into close to 30 with an extra dose of the epidural.

but once it kicked in….i was great – see? beyond great. pain? what pain? i was still contracting every 2-3 minutes but didn’t feel a THING. life was good. i facebooked, emailed, called friends and family. hello people, i’m happily in labor – i survived contractions! (barely, all the while previously telling jan that this was it, we were going for nothing but adoption the next time) i didn’t get just ice chips, i got italian ice. cherry. then lemon. then lemon again. all i wanted. mmm.

the time ticked by. 11:00 i was dialated to a 7 for sure, 2pm, i was at an 8, 4pm a 9, and by 6 pm i was at a 10, no pitocen. pushing started around 6 ish. the nurse said it can take 1-2 hours depending on how you push. jan and i looked at eachother – let’s do 1 hr – i’ll push hard. ok? ok. before i started i looked at my drugs, and it was empty! wait, before i push, i need to fill this up! oh no, it’s fine, it lasts for quite awhile. i believed them. bad, bad idea. i pushed for an hour. after 1 1/2 hrs of hard pushing, she said, well, you’re still at a 2 (as far as his body placement – the goal is to go from -2, to -1, to 0, to 1, to 2, all the way to 4 when he’s crowning). after a whole hour of hard pushing i hadn’t gone anywhere. i kept going. half an hour later, barely at a 3. not even close. then he got stuck on my pelvic bone. more pushing, nothing happened. i was starting to feel more and more pain but they said they were letting it wear off a little for me to push. they kept telling me i was doing great, oh, julia that was a good one! (don’t ever listen to these people). nothing happened. i got to the point where i was running out of strength at the count of 7 instead of 10 on each first push and the epi was wearing out fast. they offered the vacuum and i said yes please. suddenly, vacuum man and a whole team of pediatric people come in. it was a circus. my body started to feel the urge to push on it’s own, and the pain kept increasing. (my friends told me epidurals = pressure, no pain!) vacuum man’s hands didn’t help at all, i could feel everything. but together, we got the baby out.
i saw the back of his head and this long body and that was it. he wasn’t crying enough so they didn’t put him on me, they took him away and tried to clear his lungs. i laid there, totally in shock and exhausted. jan came over. ‘is he cute?’ i asked. with tears in his eyes, he said, ‘he’s beautiful’. i said, oh, ok. out came the placenta, and they stitched me up on my small tear. can you feel this? the dr. said. yes, i said, but at that point, whatever, right?jan cut the cord, and they finally gave me my little boy. puffy eyes with vaseline, yet perfect little features. the circus left, and my aunt said, are you hungry? are you kidding? nozomi and aunty broke out korean sushi, fruit, hawaiian chips and we all ate. food was wonderful.

(late the next day)

i have to admit it took a little while to adjust to being a mom. to realize he was mine, and mine only. i wasn’t holding a friends baby. it wasn’t a nephew. he was part of jan & i and needed me for survival. he is 2 weeks old. he has the softest skin, especially his feet and his shoulders. he smiles when he sleeps, which is a hint of what’s to come when he does it because of us. we love it. i was so worried that i would be too tired at night to take care of a baby. my body does it. i jump out of bed and comfort him. feed him. change him. jan has become and expert shusher and swaddler. his arms create the perfect swing. we didn’t know if we would be able to have kids (another story), and yet we were blessed with this little boy. we couldn’t be happier.


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