I now understand why cherubs are depicted as babies … Ethan is my little angel!
Over two weeks have already passed by since Ethan’s birth. M. and I are daily amazed by God’s grace and the gift of life he’s given us.
Here is the rest of the story …
The “birth team” (hubby M.; translator/labor coach S.; picture taker H.; and me, Mommy) arrived at the hospital at 10:38 p.m. after 5 1/2 hours of laboring at home. It’s funny that I remember looking at the clock in the car before getting out, despite having a strong contraction! Dr. Chavez greeted us at the door and looked into my face to reassure me that he was there. I was so thankful to see him!
After another very strong contraction just inside the hospital doors, with pain shooting down my lower body while I hung onto the necks of S. and H., the staff brought over a wheelchair to take me to my labor/overnight room. The nurse wanted to give me an IV, but S. graciously told them our doctor had OK’d me not getting one. She insisted, but S. continued to reassure her it wasn’t needed. Problem solved! (Check off #2 from our list – “no IV in hospital”)
M. and S. helped me change into the mandatory hospital gown and get onto the bed. Contractions seemed to be coming non-stop at that point and were quite painful! The doctor checked my cervix and exclaimed, “8 cm. She’s ready. Let’s head to the delivery room!” (Check off #1 – “labor at home as long as possible” – I don’t think we could have waited any longer, as I was already in transition!)
They transferred me to a gurney and wheeled me down the hall to the delivery room. Then I had to transfer again onto the delivery bed (complete with stirrups), across a bizarre “window” pictured at left. (Mexicans often have impractical solutions for simple problems. Why put up a wall of sorts to begin with? How about just having a bigger room? I think they were trying to keep the delivery room sterile, but it seemed odd to us and was quite uncomfortable to navigate!)
Now I was laying on the delivery bed with a male assistant (operation tech?) next to me and didn’t know where M. and S. were. I needed them! Everything was happening so quickly and the pain caused me to stay in my own bubble of senses. Too much stimulus was overwhelming, so I had my eyes closed for most of the time I was in the hospital until after Ethan was born.
The doctor had told M. and S. to put on the hospital garb over their clothing before they went into the delivery room. I was SO thankful to hear that they would be by my side with no hassles from the doctors or hospital staff. (Check off #3 – “have M. and S. in the delivery room with me”)
So far, labor was going well. We had made it to the hospital in time and I had not taken any drugs up to this point. The next contraction hit and I suddenly understood all the birth talk about “feeling the need to push”. It was incredible how my body was telling me what to do! S. told Dr. Chavez I wanted to push and he said to go ahead when I felt pain.
3, 2, 1, PUSH! I tried to remember what we had learned in the DVD series. I needed to relax in between contractions, then take a big breath and focus the energy of the push low in my body. A few of the pushes seemed, well, inefficient, compared to the others. I could just tell that my efforts weren’t getting the results we needed! Dr. Chavez was continually working to stretch the perineum as I pushed, hoping to not have to give me an episiotomy. The baby’s head was crowning and we were making progress. After a couple more contractions, he said he might need to give me a small incision to help the baby’s head come out if I couldn’t push low. That was all the incentive I needed! I gave my best effort and focused. Dr. Chavez checked the baby’s heart rate. It was a little low. He was concerned that the baby would be in distress if he didn’t get through the birth canal soon.
Well, a little snip (yes, Dr. Chanez gave me a small episiotomy – that’s #5 on the list) and one more contraction with big pushes from Mom … out he came! (Check off #4 – “no medication unless absolutely necessary” – we had a natural, vaginal birth with no meds!)
Our sweet baby boy entered the world outside the womb at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 18, 2011.
The pediatrician, Dr. Ulloa, had been with us during the delivery. He now took Ethan from Dr. Chavez and quickly used the nasal aspirator to clean out Ethan’s mouth and nose while Dr. Chavez cut the umbilical cord. In less than a minute after birth, Ethan was placed on my chest while Dr. Ulloa clamped the cord.
What a miracle! My baby boy was laying on my chest … and I was too exhausted to look down at him! All I could see was the top of his head and his beautiful hair. I told M. to help me hold him because my arms were so tired from holding myself up to push. It was wonderful to have those first few minutes with my son. Skin to skin contact is very healing for babies … and for mommies! (Check off #6 – “skin-to-skin contact with the baby immediately after birth”)
The honeymoon ended abruptly when Dr. Chavez began stitching me up. I had about four stitches – not too bad, but I felt quite a sting. A couple of them were for the internal tearing and a couple for the episiotomy. While I was getting stitches, I had Dr. Ulloa take Ethan to weigh and measure him, and check his APGAR score (8-9). He did this in the delivery room, and we were so thankful that they never tried to take Ethan away from us. (Check off #7 – “having 100% access to baby after birth”)
Dr. Ulloa brought Ethan back to me until Dr. Chavez finished stitching me up and getting me ready to head back to the overnight room. We were now a family of three!
So, back I went, across the “window/door”, onto the gurney while M. carried baby Ethan (who also received hospital garb!) to our overnight room. The room was surprisingly comfortable. Of course, perhaps I was just so exhausted that I didn’t care how nice the bed was! S. and H. said good night and let us rest.
One hour after birth, Ethan was rooting toward my breast. He latched on and fed for an hour. It was a beautiful experience! When he finished, I laid him in the bassinet the nurse had brought in. He slept soundly, and so did I. But his little tummy was hungry again an hour later (it’s only the size of a marble), so when he woke he again fed for an hour. Afterward, I laid him in the bassinet and he drifted off to sleep. This time I was hungry and wide awake, so I dug through our snack bag and grabbed an apple, some pretzel sticks, and a refreshing coconut water. I was a little restless, so I took my snacks out to the waiting room. It felt good to get out of bed! The nurses were a little surprised to see me. I chatted with them in my broken Spanish, then slowly walked back to the room. M. was still sleeping soundly on the couch, as was Ethan.
There was one more feeding and sleeping session and then the morning sun was shining through the blinds. A nurse came in to take my temperature and blood pressure. Another came later to bring me breakfast. A third nurse came to fill out the Registration of Birth form. She had her ink pad and wipes (for the foot print) in an adorable kid’s princess lunchbox. Only in Mexico!
At 8:30 a.m., Dr. Ulloa came back. He checked Ethan’s reflexes, abdomen, and gave us formula recommendations (which we won’t be using since we’re only breastfeeding). He gave Ethan a clean bill of health!
H. came back to the hospital shortly after with her hubby and a huge bouquet of beautiful flowers! Dr. Chavez was supposed to return around 10:00 a.m. to discharge me, but didn’t show. We called and found out he had attended to an emergency at a different hospital. He asked me a few questions, said everything sounded good, and gave us the OK to go home. Only 13 hours in the hospital and we were taking our little angel home! (Check off #8 – “short hospital stay”)
M. and I are experiencing the incredible bond that having children brings to a couple. He is a wonderful Dad – playing with Ethan when he is awake and cuddling him while he sleeps. I am getting the hang of breastfeeding and sleeping with my baby next to me at night. I’ve only had one break down so far – that’s pretty good, right?! After a good night’s sleep and some cuddles from my hubby, I’m feeling strong again and enjoying our time together with our family of three!