love, life, and the pursuit of liberation
the newest member to the A family. yes her name starts with an A too.
here’s her brief birth story that some of you know if you’ve been following twitter.
A started early labor Saturday morning at 8 am, which was coincidently the due date. Later that evening she felt they had changed so she called for our doula. We went to the birthing center about 4 am Sunday morning only to be sent home because she was dilated 1-2.
The doula went home to rest and we headed back home with instructions to drink some wine. We stopped at Whataburger and had some Patron when we got home, thinking that would work better. It didn’t. I pulled out some Ethiopian honey wine around 8 and A drank that and slept wonderfully, except for the 5 minute apart contractions.
Around noon her contractions changed and she was grunting through exhausting contractions that were about 3 minutes in length and only 5 minutes start to start. So that meant only 2 minute rest time. We called midwife and doula and head back around 1:30 pm. We get there and learn she’s fully effaced and dilated at 3. We’re instructed to walk the park across the street or go home. We chose the park. Several people stopped to ask if we were okay. I guess the sight of a very pregnant black woman hugging the curb and grunting isn’t common.
We have to wait a couple more hours (midwife went to teach a yoga class) and find out that she’s now at 5+. Later on around 9 pm, we find out that A is 9.5 dilated, meaning almost 10 but there’s a “lip” of cervix all around. After a lot of pushing and the midwife trying to push the cervix away, she decides to break the water bag. By this point, A is in transition labor and each contraction is sending her reeling. But she was AMAZING. I could NOT have done it. We try shower, bath, all kinds of things and 6 hours latr, we’re in the same place. Yes, 6 hours of excruciating transition labor.
Finally at 3-4 am, we’ve done everything and I damn near cuss out the midwife for putting my wife through all the bullshit of “this is the last time you’re pushing, the baby is coming out with this set.” We transfer to the hospital and they are very welcoming of us as a gay couple, even allowing me to be listed as “spouse.” We get upstairs and the transfer doctor confirms that the lip is still there and Pepita is not coming down. She’s at station -1. At this point, we learn a vaginal birth isn’t possible and A feels confident that she’s done all that she could and concedes to a c-section. Again, I’m astonished by her strength.
The doula is exhausted, as am I, and she heads home. Just as she leaves, there seems to be a code alarm coming from the OR and I realize that something’s wrong with either A or Pepita and no one will tell me anything. I start to panic and break down, so I call the doula back who turns around and comes back to be with me. All I know is that they’re bringing in cardiac and respiratory people, the staff from the nursery and there are alarms and people running.
Finally, they allow me to come back and tell me that Pepita’s heart rate and dropped dangerously (from 150s down to 60s and falling) because she had swallowed a lot of meconium. They suck out 4 oz of it and then she is fine. I see that my beautiful baby is a girl and they allow me to go back to the nursery with her while Mom is being stitched up. She was born at 7:20 am CST, March 16, 2009 (that’s 47.5 hours of labor if you do the math), weighing 7 pounds 15.8 ounces, stretching 20.5 inches long.
So that’s the birth story in a nutshell. Currently, I’m at the hospital while A and A sleep. She is so alert and beautiful, and I’m honored to be her mother and A’s wife.
I will blog later about my thoughts and emotions surrounding all of this..