28 hours later

Apparently my labors always last 28 hours and I have babies on Tuesdays. Who knew? Contractions started Monday morning around 8:30, spaced out, speeded up, and were generally inconsistent but painful enough to keep me from sleeping Monday night. By 4:30am contractions were consistently five minutes apart, so I gave my parents a call at 6:30 and mom arrived to entertain G by 7:15. Omer and I headed to the birth center, where Connie, the on duty nurse, told me that I was a mere 3cm dilated. She said that if this were a first baby she’d send me home, but given my last labor I could stay. So we stayed.

I spent the next two hours laboring in and out of the tub, made it all the way downstairs to the first floor in the hopes of taking a walk (contractions were 2 minutes apart, so I didn’t make it as far as the door), and feeling sorry for my doula, Jan, who had nothing to do. G had arrived at the birth center with my parents shortly after 8, but left around 10 due to boredom (“WHERE is baby brother? Where’s the blood?” he asked every time he came in to check on me) and the lure of Grammie’s house. By 10:30 or 11 my contractions were getting far more painful, and I called Jan in to apply counterpressure to my back and hips while Omer scratched my back to take my mind off of the pain. Things sped up from there – I could no longer make polite conversation between contractions, and merely directed Jan and Omer to where I needed them.

My water broke during one of the contractions and was thankfully free of meconium – my last hurdle to staying in the birth center for the birth. I started crying, partially because I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital, and partially because I knew the end was in sight. Two or three contractions later I could tell I was in transition. Transition was the most painful part of my last labor, with contractions almost on top of one another. This time I seemed to get through it in a few contractions. I went back to the tub to push.

At this point the midwife on call, Joyce, joined Connie, Jan and Omer in the very small bathroom to coach me through pushing. Connie took the lead, checked me, and found that I was only 8cm dilated with A’s head pushing on my cervix. For what seemed like the next dozen contractions I was told to NOT push and instead blow out with small breaths. This was nearly impossible, given how strong the urge to push was, and I remember yelling at people to blow with me because I just couldn’t do it by myself. I was finally given the okay to push, and it seemed to take ANOTHER dozen contractions before A was ready to be born. I give full credit to Connie and her amazing coaching – she told me when to push, when to blow, and let me feel A’s head while it was still far up in the birth canal – for the fact that I didn’t tear or require stitches. On the whole the pushing phase was much more painful with A’s labor – I think mainly because Connie made me do it on my back in the tub, instead of on my hands and knees as I’d done with G. I remember flipping onto my back and feeling Jan and Joyce pin my legs up and telling them “This is wrong!” but Connie told me I couldn’t birth on my hands and knees due to the shallow depth of the tub.

Once A was out we encountered the same problem we had with G – a very short cord. We could barely get A up on my chest, and held him awkwardly out of the water until his cord was done pulsing. At that point Omer cut the cord and took A out of the bathroom, and the midwives helped me out of the tub to birth the placenta. As with my previous labor, contractions stopped as soon as the baby was out, so the midwives eventually made me give three (very weak) pushes to get the placenta out.

The midwives then made sure A was able to latch on, and left us alone for about an hour while A nursed. They then took his vitals, weighed him (7lbs, 9.3oz!), and returned him to us so we could all have lunch and a nap. After naps I got to take a shower, and then our pediatrician came to check him out. I love our pediatrician, Dr. Meikrantz. He’s a family doctor (so he also sees Omer as well as G) and he’s got a great demeanor with kids. I was very impressed that he was willing to come all the way to the birth center to check A out!

After Dr. Meikrantz left we filled out our paperwork (most ironic form? The one to which I was supposed to attach A’s non-existent hospital bracelet, and certify that he was really my infant. The only time he was out of my sight was when Omer took him out of the bathroom, so I guess I’ll just have to trust that Omer didn’t make a switch on me), got a list of future appointments, and left! We were discharged 10 hours after we arrived, and less than six hours after the birth.

Big bruvver G met us back at our house, and I’m happy to say that he seems fascinated with A. So far he’s been great about washing hands before touching the baby, not putting any hard objects near him, and carrying stuff for diaper changes. We’ll see what happens when the novelty wears off, but right now I’m so proud of G!

All in all, I prefer the experience I had at the birth center to the home birth – mainly because of the coaching I got during labor and the excellent post-partum care at the birth center (it didn’t hurt that we were able to abscond with extra receiving blankets, pads, peri bottles and other assorted goodies!). I was impressed with how efficient yet caring the birth center staff were, and the speed with which they made follow up appointments for both me and A.

priorities, people!

Yesterday I overheard two women talking on the T. One spent a long time complaining about how comcast had screwed up her cable, and how the over-the-phone troubleshooting didn’t work.

“So now Comcast has to come to my house, and the first day they can come is Tuesday. I have a doctor appointment Tuesday. I’m going to call first thing in the morning and change my doctor appointment.”

Even better? The new poster up at Dunkin Donuts advertising their egg white flat bread sandwich:
“Eatin’ right. You kin do it!”

Somehow I can’t see this slogan going over really well at the Lexington Dunkin Donuts.

a bunch of random stuff

1. Mazda 3s might look pretty and drive well during the summer, but god help you if you try to drive one in the snow. “I am a leaf on the wind – watch how I soar” is not my quote of choice for navigating the roads of NH.

2. I love the fact that 90% of the time when I pick up a zipcar the radio is tuned to NPR.

3. Since I got back from my visit to Allison and Na’he, Mr. Fizz is the parent of choice for reading books and watching movies. In fact, he is doing bedtime duty right now. Clearly I should go away more.

4. A brief list of things in bed with G tonight:
– A toy supermarket scanner
– Marty, the zebra from Madagascar
– his “new” toy car
– a plastic dinosaur we call Aladar after the Disney character
– two dreidels
– a stuffed Nemo
– Pickles, a stuffed dog
– Milk a la G, made with 1% milk, ice and miralax. Yum.

5. G’s most frequent rant when he doesn’t want to see someone? “I mess him up! I wrap him up up up in towel and GRIND him up! I put him in trash and mash mash mash! I mess him up! Thbbbbbbt!” We think he might have a good career as a mob enforcer. And we have no idea where he got this little tirade from.

6. For the first time ever last night I was offered a joint on my way into a gig at a private party. I know that marijuana possession is decriminalized and all, but really?

misc

Did you know that I-93 crosses the Pemigewasset river five times before exit 42?

G experienced his first camping trip this past weekend. We made it all of two nights before G’s budding cold got the better of us and we packed it in. Apart from the sniffles he seemed to enjoy it, though!

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I love living in a city where a box of free books on the sidewalk draws everyone over for a look. I think it’s a combination of yankee frugality (free book? Saves me a trip to the library!) and the general over-edumacatedness of the town.

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From the mouth of a seven year belly dance veteran at today’s benefit: “I just can’t DO choreography. I need to dance in the moment.” The irony was that her improvised song SUCKED. Big time.

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I think I’m in love: I just bought a new macbook, and already I am in its thrall. Must go play with it.

insomnia

When I was 10 I had a bout of what I thought at the time was horrible insomnia – it kept me up until midnight or one most nights during the summer before I started middle school. My parents chalked it up to nerves about starting at a new (bigger!) school, and that may have been part of the problem – but whatever kept me awake to begin with always gave way to panic attacks as it got later and later and I couldn’t get to sleep.

I remember that I panicked because I thought I was the only person left awake. Somehow, to my 10 year old mind, there was a dead space in the middle of the night when nobody was awake (anywhere!) and I was left all alone. This caused me to panic a bit, which in turn kept me from sleeping, which turned into a vicious cycle. All this worry was reinforced by the fact that we lived on a very quiet street, so there was nary a car or an airplane to let me know that someone, somewhere, was still up.

I thought of all this tonight when I was walking home from dance class, over the BU bridge. Boston’s skyline twinkled in the distance – a hundred buildings lit up, the Hood Blimp floating over the Sox game. I still find it comforting to know that whenever I am up in the middle of the night there are thousands of people up with me, right in my own back yard.

Time for some letter writing

Mr. Fizz’s company recently switched health plans from BCBS to Harvard Pilgrim. We just received our HP introduction packet in the mail. Mr. Fizz was reading through it last night when he said, “Hm. It says here that HP does not cover planned home births.” And then he went on to read that HP DOES cover hospital births with a MINIMUM 48 hour post-birth stay for vaginal births and a 96 hour stay for c-sections. Why they’ll cover a birth that costs $50k but won’t cover a birth that costs under $5k is beyond me.

As I said to Mr. Fizz, maybe our next home birth will have to be an “Oops – did this just happen at home? Crap, too late to go to the hospital, but good thing I had this birthing tub all set up and the midwives happened to be here!” kind of birth. Or maybe my job hunt will involve only places that still use BCBS, as they re-imbursed us for about 80% of G’s birth.

I love this city, but holy christ there are some weirdos here

As I’m walking home from work my shoelace came undone. I bent over to tie it, and took a couple steps, heard someone approaching behind me and bent over to adjust it again so they could pass. The footsteps stopped right behind me. I stood up to find a middle aged guy staring at me.

“Can I help you?” I asked
“Do I look like I need help?”
“Uhm…no.”
loooong pause during which I wait for him to proceed down the sidewalk and he just stares at me.
“But I’m not sure why you’re standing there,” says I.
“Because I refuse to let you walk behind me.”
“Errrr…I’ll cross the street then.”

Weirdo.