Thomas's birth journey...from fetus to baby.

The computer is dying, the baby probably won't be sleeping for long but 8 weeks ago Thomas was born and I have yet to write about how he emerged from my body.

So here goes....

When you are trying for a VBAC (Miriam was a successful VBAC) they make you schedule a cesarean at some point in case you don't go into labor.  So we looked at our calendars, looked at when we had childcare to watch Junia and Miriam, and looked at what was the longest possible time we could give this boy to cook...and set a date.

He was due on Monday January 19.
We set the date for Friday January 23.
It was the ONLY day that we had where we could have 3 consecutive days of childcare.

So the week before he was due I had contractions- ALL WEEK- and every evening they would start to form a lovely little pattern.  So thus, every evening Sean and I would have a conversation like this, "should we go to Seattle?"
"Lets wait until Midnight and decide."
"Well we could reserve a hotel room now."
"Yeah, maybe we should. But lets wait an hour and see if they intensify."

You see there is a 3 hour gap where no boats leave the Island for Seattle in the middle of the night.  We both quite concerned about getting stuck on the Island in the middle of the night.  We weren't scared so much as we just didn't want to end up having to cope with a lousy situation as much as being poised to be in the situation we wanted.

Well alas every night my lovely patterned contractions stopped in my sleep.
Every single night.

Uggg. It was wearing me out.
But really, I was so so so bloody sick of being pregnant I was ready to resign myself to a c-section.

So his due date came, and went.
The next day.
The next day.
The next day.

And there we were twiddling our thumbs.
Taking walks. Having sex (to get things going more than for fun- sadly)
I had acupuncture two times.
And exactly the same pattern happened.

So Thursday night we went to Seattle because Friday morning our C-section was scheduled.  I had some serious contractions in the car. We went to dinner with a friend.  We went to a hotel.  I didn't sleep- because I was so so so uncomfortable.

The next morning we arrived at the hospital.
Checked in.
Did vitals.
Met with the anesthesiologist.
And got ourselves ready to meet our little one.

And then, the OB arrived at work.  She and our nurse met to talk about the plan for the day.  The OB looked at our chart (and through a series of events from the days before) and knew that we didn't want a c-section. At least not ideally. She basically said,  "No. they don't want a c-section.  They should have their midwives break her waters and see if things happen."

So that was the plan.
It was a total mind shift.  After all, I came in for surgery.
I came in to recovery from that surgery.
Honestly, I wasn't planning on working hard, coping with labor, or anything.

But okay. Sure.
I had a round of antibiotics.
Sean and I played gin rummy.
Some other woman down the hall had a baby.

And finally somewhere around 4pm they came in to break the waters.
They did...and then nothing happened.
No water.
No contractions.

His head was so far down on my cervix he had sealed up his own sack.
They popped it again- thinking that maybe they hadn't done it.
Again, nothing.

At least not for awhile.
Finally, once I was up and moving around for a bit he shifted and we knew that the waters had broken.

2 hours later contractions started.
Slow and steady at first, and as they started to take on new intensity I told our midwife, "Just get ready, I know I will want an epidural."

I got in the shower with the hottest water I could stand and put it right on my back.
Between contractions Sean fed me soup from the Hopvine (a great bar in the neighborhood of our hospital).
When I finally got too hot to stand the shower anymore I got out and spent the next hour leaning on a yoga ball, doing squats next to the bed, and in general trying to cope with back labor.

Oh back labor how I detest thee.

Then at around 8 or I declared it was time for an epidural.  Yipee.  Sweet relief.  They anesthesiologist was ready before I was.  And just as it was with Miriam I was still feeling each contraction on my back with the epidural.  It certainly took the edge off but didn't make labor invisible.

We rested; we listened to music; we let my body do it's job.

Around midnight I was 10cm, fully effaced, and ready to push.
I pushed for an hour, and then our midwife suggested a dose of pitocin to strengthen the contractions.

Somewhere between 8pm and before he was born- though I cannot remember exactly when- his heart rate dropped quite dramatically.  There was a fair amount of tension in the room.  Our midwife did a quick explanation of what would happen if they needed to do an emergency C-section.  I know the anxiety was high in the room.  Sean was nervous, our midwife was nervous, and our nurse was nervous.  But I wasn't.  There was this weird sort of moment where I felt like our baby looked into the vast room that is death and met his grandfather (who is dead).  I felt this deep sense that we were in a space where life and death meet. Where the vulnerability of human life is made visible and in that space this baby was named.

I know it sounds a bit kooky.  And, maybe it is, but clearer than any other time since he has died I felt my Dad.  Tom Doll was right there in my hospital room, in my body.  So there is my baby, with a startlingly low heartbeat and I felt my Dad right there, and I knew that Thomas David Doll O'Mahoney had been named.

His heartbeat went back up and was find for the rest of delivery.

After I had the pitocin to kick in the contractions (oh man did they kick in too! I hate back labor!!) we were ready to push again.  Somewhere in the 3:00am hour I started pushing again and several pushes later with the help of a carefully placed mirror I saw his fuzzy little head emerge.  It was so cool.   So our little Thomas David Doll O'Mahoney was born at 3:33am on January 24.

Lucky to not have a tear in sight the delivery went CRAZY well.  He rested on my chest for 30 minutes or so, nursed for a bit, and by 5am or so we were resting again.

We didn't tell anyone for several hours.  With the girls we learned there is this cool window where you have had a baby and no one else (except health care providers) in the world knows.  There is something beautiful about that time where the window of your news is 10am we were awake again and ready to make some phone calls.


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