Mixon T: The Birthening

We’re 2.5 weeks into babyhood, so I think it’s time to write the birth story. Warning: there will be blood.

After a night of what I wasn’t entirely sure were contractions, peeing every hour and hypno-ing through the pain, I spent the next morning in the bathtub, debating when to go to the hospital. We finally made the decision to go around noon.

I thought I was just going to be able to go right in, but there were 10,000 forms to fill out first. I got through it with the hypno and my birthing ball, and when I was done, I threw up. I managed to get a trash bag in time. Yay, me! PERFECT PATIENT!!!

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In triage, the nurses were surprised to find out I was 6 cm dilated, so we went straight to labor and delivery. We were able to get a room with a tub, which was pretty much the only thing I had been focused on up to that point. Warm water makes everything better.

I have no idea what my husband was doing – he must have been so bored. We’d be talking and I would suddenly close my eyes and start breathing like a nutjob. If someone else was in the room, he’d tell them I was going through a contraction and talk softly to them while I did my thing. If no one was around, he’d just… I have no idea what he did.

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This lasted for around 6 hours. We had the lights low and my iphone was shuffling. As the pain increased, I decided to try nitrous oxide. Vanderbilt is one of I think 6 hospitals in the US to offer nitrous, and I like to try new things. There’s no harm to the fetus and it leaves your system quickly, so I figured I’d check it out.

It wasn’t exactly seamless – they thought my face might be too small for the mask, and then one of the nurses decided the machine I had was leaking, so they got a new one. By that time, I had sort of a rhythm going with the nitrous, and it felt like a million years before they got the new one working. It didn’t really do anything for the pain, but it was nice to have control over something when the little one was running most of the show.

No one warned me about the time when you really REALLY want to push, but you have to resist. That is a decidedly not fun time. It is like trying to stop explosive diarrhea from escaping out of you, if your diarrhea was a very large fetus.

That period didn’t last for very long, though, and soon it WAS time to push. I had my own imagesnightgown on and someone started asking about what I wanted to do with it when it came time for skin-to-skin. I ripped my nightgown off before they could finish talking and went full-on amazon woman. My husband grabbed one leg, someone else grabbed the other, and I started to push.

That’s when they realized something was wrong. The baby wasn’t coming out. Most of the rest of this I know second-hand, so I’m not sure I have it all straight. At some point, they realized the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and torso, so every time I pushed, another part of me was pulling him back in. If that’s not a metaphor for smothering-to-come, I’m not sure what is.

The midwife quickly called for backup and ultimately there were about 12 people standing around my vagina. The commands to push suddenly got a lot more urgent, and I started pushing like I was trapped inside of a locked coffin slowly filling with water. In this scenario, the top of the coffin is the air directly outside of my vagina. Try to keep up, I’m on little to no sleep.

Back to fuzzy details, the midwife had to rupture something to get to the baby’s head. Then the doctor attached a vacuum to his full head of luscious locks and tried to suck him out as I pushed on the coffin lid/outside air. We’re talking saving-an-old-woman-who-is-trapped-beneath-a-car force. I don’t think I opened my eyes the entire time.

The first vacuum suck didn’t do it.

I remember the fear in the midwife’s voice, the plea to push that clearly meant it was up to me to get this kid out so he could breathe, or else… what? I still don’t know if they could have done a c-section, but at the time it felt like life/death. The doctor told me to wait for the Mixonurge to push, but the midwife told me to just go ahead, so I did. I pushed the coffin lid open, the vacuum sucked, and after a moment of terrifying silence, Mixon came shrieking into the world. All 8 lbs 12 oz of him.

As they put the screaming baby onto my chest for what Vanderbilt calls the ‘golden hour’ (skin-to-skin with little to no interference from the medical guys), the midwife reversed her command. Now, she urged me NOT to push. The placenta had to come out, but there was another problem – all that pushing, all that life-or-death momentum had resulted in a third degree tear. They explained to me very calmly that a fourth degree tear means that there is one hole – no division between lady parts and butthole. I had a third degree tear, which is just a tiny bit of skin better than that.

The screaming baby on my chest was crazy hairy and alive, so I focused on him as I tried not to push. “What is it? What is it?” I yelled over the shrieks, because my traumatized husband had forgotten to announce what the sex was. It’s a boy, but honestly, I didn’t really care at that point.

During my not-so-golden hour after the placenta came out, I lay there with a very loud, very gooey baby on my chest while a midwife and a surgeon stitched me up. They forgot I didn’t have an epidural, so I had to tell them it hurt before they gave me a localized anesthetic.  It took them the entire hour + to get it all straight down there.

Finally, the A-team left and we were left alone with one nurse to get ready to transition to the postpartum room. I had no handle on how I was feeling – there was just too much MUCHness. I think the nurse asked me if I wanted to walk or wheelchair it to the room, and I THINK I said walk. That is hilarious to me now.

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Before we left L&D, she wanted me to pee. Sure, why not? We went into the bathroom and I sat down on the toilet. “I think…” I said, and promptly fainted. PERFECT PATIENT!!!

She caught me, thank goodness, and they caught me again in postpartum the next time I tried to pee. Super-human nurse strength, I guess. I spent the rest of the night in bed with a catheter.

They thought the fainting was probably due to blood loss, but no one was really sure. I probably just did it because I love attention so much.

I’m still not back 100%, but I no longer walk like an old lady and I can now sit on my couch without wincing. Mixon is a really good baby (he’s been sleeping in his bassinet the entire time I’ve been writing this post) and I think he’s doing well (he pooped on his own for the first time since the hospital yesterday! i’m so proud!). Sure, he ripped me open on his way into the world, but let’s go ahead and blame that one on Ziggy.

Thanks, ZIGGY!

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