2 weeks ago, on august 25th, at , my precious alma was born.
that was for sure the most surreal experience of my life.
it was such a powerful experience.
i couldn't wait to share it with you.
so here we go...
(prepare yourself, this post is going to be long...)
night, i went to dinner with jesse and his dad.
we had burgers.
since i've been feeling small contractions for the past month and a half, on and off,
i didn't want to read too much into the fact that i've felt contractions that evening.
(especially since i've basically stopped believing i'd ever give birth.
finishing week 40 was very frustrating!)
so as i was saying - we had burgers.
i told jesse i think it might be a bad idea, because "what if
i give birth tomorrow? i really don't deal well with digesting meat"
(i've been a vegetarian for years, and i only started eating meat again
during the pregnancy, because i felt a strong physical need for it.
but i'm going back to vegeterianism, and eventually - veganism, soon enough)
we got home and went to sleep.
at , i woke up from the contractions.
they weren't very painful - they felt like menstrual cramps
and they were about 10 minutes apart.
i couldn't go back to sleep, so i sat at the computer,
and consulted a couple of my girlfriends who are moms,
who said this indeed might be it.
all the while - i was hopping on a physio ball i borrowed from my neighbor.
i had cereal (my last meal as a non-mom)
the contractions started coming a bit more frequently - about 7 minutes apart.
i called the natural birthing center in tel-hashomer hospital
(i signed up to give birth there just a few weeks earlier)
and spoke with the on-call midwife. she told me to call again
when the contractions are 5 minutes apart, and are too strong for me
to be able to continue to do day to day things.
i woke jesse up at about 5 and told him this might be it, and i let him sleep some more,
while i was chatting with my friends.
(i even put nail polish...)
at i woke jesse up again, and told him this really seems to be the real deal.
we talked in bed for a few minutes, and i went to pee.
when i got back, just before i got back into bed, my water broke!
(not on the mattress, phew....)
i couldn't believe it; this was real!
i noticed that the water on the pad i put, weren't completely clean -
i was worried it might be meconium fluid.
i called the birthing center again, and let them know we were coming soon.
jesse and i did some last minute preparations and packing
(we had a bag packed for a month and a half already)
and my mom came to pick us up.
ever since the water broke, the contractions became a lot stronger
and much more pronounced.
whenever i felt one coming, i leaned forward on a wall \ closet,
and moved my pelvis in circles, to ease the pain. the contractions were 3 minutes apart now.
at we arrived at the hospital, and i was connected to a fetal monitor.
i was very happy, anxious and excited.
the contractions became even stronger and were about 1-1.5 minutes apart.
i had a 2 cm dilation.
the midwife looked at my pad and confirmed that indeed - my amnionic fluid
had meconium fluids in it, which meant i couldn't give birth in the natural birthing center
(but i could still give birth naturally, with my own private natural-birth-oriented midwife).
at this point, perhaps because of the worrisome news (meconium fluid might indicate fetal distress)
and perhaps for some other reason - my contractions became extremely strong,
and they came one after the other, with little to no gaps between them.
i was literally on my hands and knees with each contraction,
crying to jesse, saying i can't do this, it's too painful.
jesse and my mom and the on staff midwife, ofira, reminded me to breath deeply with each contraction,
which helped a bit, but still, the pain was overwhelming.
after a while, they told me i could go to my birth room and meet my midwife, iris.
i went into the room with my mom, jesse and iris, and i requested that they would fill the hot tub.
in the meanwhile, iris also gave me an internal exam - i was still 2 cm dilated.
the contractions were unbearable.
once the hot tub was full, i went in. the water certainly has a soothing effect.
iris kept reminding me to fill my stomach with air like a balloon every time i had a contraction
(meaning, all the time basically).
even though the water helped some, the contractions were still too much for me to handle -
they were too strong, too close together, and i couldn't recuperate and catch my breath between them
(since there was barely any time between them).
i remember seeing my mom standing next to the tub, with her hands on her face
and a shocked expression - and i told her "wipe that expression off your face NOW! i can't deal with you having that expression!"
(at this point i will tell you, that apparently, surprisingly, i managed to be way more polite
than i expected to be, throughout the contractions and the pain.
i didn't curse anyone's mother, i didn't swear at all, shockingly.
the most i did was to shush jesse and my mom, or to remove their hands from me,
if the way they touched me or caressed me wasn't helping)
iris checked me again, and told me i was still only at a 2 cm dilation.
at this point, i decided that despite my preconceptions about epidural,
i had to get it.
i couldn't, for the life of me (literally) take the pain anymore.
i got out of the tub, dried off, and had an IV of fluids put in, in preparation for the epidural.
i was sitting on a physio ball, moving in circular motions with each contraction.
jesse was pressing on my lower back, to help me focus on something other then the pain.
at one point, i felt so sick, i told them i needed to throw up.
remember i told you about the burger...? well, let's just say,
it wasn't as good the second time around....
afterwards, i had to pee. i went to the bathroom and iris came with me to support me
during the contractions.
she then took my hand, and told me she truly believed i made the right decision,
in opting for an epidural, since the contractions were so strong and painful,
and in the two hours since i got into the delivery room (i couldn't believe two whole hours had gone by already) - my dilation hasn't progressed one bit.
after a few *long* minutes, iris asked jesse and my mom to leave the room,
and the anesthesiologist came in.
i have to say, he wasn't nice. at all. if i weren't in that much pain,
and if i weren't dependent on him to relieve my pain, i wouldn't have let his rudeness just slide.
but since i was dependent on him, i did what he said:
i sat on the side of the bed, curved my back, and tried to sit as still as i could,
considering the fact that the contractions kept coming with no break between them.
he cleaned my back, and told me not to move, even if it hurts.
i held iris's hand, and he gave me a local anesthetic shot.
of course, it hurt like hell, and i moved and cried, and he told me off.
but what could i do?
he then gave me the epidural shot, and taped the tiny tube to my back.
iris helped me lay back down, and soon enough, the contractions got more and more bearable.
i felt warmth spreading down my back - and i started shivering uncontrollably -
two effects of the epidural shot, that showed that it's working.
from here on out, except for at one point, when i felt pain (similar to the pains i felt after my water broke - meaning, relatively tolerable) - which was probably because alma's head pressed a nerve
on it's way down - i only felt a slight pressure whenever i contracted.
no pain, and a lot of relief.
my mom and jesse came back into the room, to find a newly relaxed me.
i could see how relieved they felt.
they later told me how nervous and uneasy they felt, seeing me in that much pain,
and not being able to do much to help me.
the epidural made me very relaxed (after feeling so much pain, any relief would have that effect)
and that had a great effect on my cervix: i went from a 2 cm dilation to 4 cm,
to 7, to 9.5 and then to a full 10 cm, in a matter of 2-3 hours.
apparently my body was so tense from the pain of contractions before the epidural,
it just couldn't relax enough to dilate before...
after a while, iris decided to put an internal monitor on alma, since the external one
wasn't getting a good enough signal.
this meant a tiny electrode was attached to alma's head, inside the uterus.
iris also used a disposable catheter to help me empty myself,
since the epidural didn't allow me to do it on my own.
i'm glad i couldn't feel that.
at around , iris checked me again
and told me that on the next contraction, i should try pushing.
so i did, for a number of contractions.
it took me a few more contractions to realize, this was *it* -
i was pushing my baby out of me!
i still didn't feel any pain - the pushing was hard and exhausting, but not painful.
i also wasn't sure when my contractions ended, only when they began -
so iris told me when to stop pushing each time.
between contractions, i felt something pushing it's way through my birthing canal,
a few millimeters at a time. it was the strangest feeling.
at some point, after one contraction, iris took my hand and let me feel alma's head
in the birthing canal.
it was surreal and amazing.
iris was massaging me with almond oil between and during contractions
and i kept pushing with each one.
jesse and my mom were holding my hands
and they kept encouraging me (as was iris).
iris put on a robe and called a pediatrician (because of the meconium fluid complication,
alma would have to be immediately checked by a doctor) and i knew - this was it!
at this point, alma's head was crowning. i touched it again, amazing!
every time i pushed, it went out a bit more, but between contractions,
it went back a bit.
(my mom made a few very graphic videos of these final stages of the birth)
by now, the pressure of her head was strong enough for it to really hurt again.
but since i got a few good hours without having to deal with pain -
i could deal with it much better now, when it was most important.
iris told me that she will instruct me when to stop pushing, and start breathing
quickly and deeply (so that i won't put too much pressure on alma's rib cage, i presume)
a few more contractions, a few more looooong pushes,
and the head was out.
iris told me to breathe as she had told me before, and i did.
it was so hard not to push, when my body basically told me to
but i didn't. i just begged to iris to let me push, but i was a good girl and i didn't.
at , in one swoop, alma was out!
she immediately cried, and boy, so did i!!! the happiest tears i had ever cried...
it was the most amazing feeling. i did it! i gave birth, and became a mom!
words will never be enough, to describe this....
iris and the doctor took alma and checked that she was ok. i told jesse to go and look at his daughter.
my mom stayed with me.
they cleared her airways of amnionic fluids, and then brought her back to me.
they laid her on my chest.
i was speechless.
i didn't know how to touch her, because all i wanted was to hug her so tight and never let go,
which was clearly not really an option.
she laid on me for a while, but then they had to check if i had torn, which i did.
i had a few superficial tears, so they took shrimpy (i'm so used to calling her that,
it's still weird to say "alma") away from me, and started stitching me up.
exactly one hour after the birth, they had to take alma to the nursery,
to be checked by another doctor, because of the meconium fluid,
and also because of some medication that i was taking during the pregnancy.
the thrilled father took her in his arms, and went with the midwife (and his dad as well)
to the nursery, while they finished stitching me up.
unfortunately, i didn't have time to try and breastfeed her before they took her.
when jesse came back, we decided to raise a glass of lambrusco with iris
(we brought the bottle so that i could have a glass to help me relax during the contractions,
when we thought i would give birth naturally - without an epidural)
then i sent jesse off to get me a sandwich and some iced tea,since i hadn't had anything to eat or drink except for water, in about 13 hours.when jesse was away, about 5-10 minutes after i drank a full glass of lambrusco,i felt extremely dizzy and sick.it turns out that having not consumed more than a sip of alcohol once a week (at most)for 9 whole months, on top of not having eaten a thing in 13 hours, made me not handle that one glass of alcohol so well.so when jesse came back with my meal ("look what i got for you, shmoves")i was busy throwing up.
alma and i stayed in the hospital for 2 days,
in which we got to know her a bit.
i learned how to nurse (i'm getting better at it, though it's still hard,
especially since i had a breast reduction, which means i have less milk, and it's harder to get it out)
and jesse and i debated on names for alma (only on her third day did we decide).
jesse's dad treated us to a night at the hospital's maternity-hotel (where jesse could also spend the night with us).
on wednesday, we checked out of the hotel and came home.
it was so nerve-wracking to have alma in the car on the way home,
and at least as nerve-wracking to not have medical staff nearby, for the first time in alma's life.
the first night home was extremely long and hard - we only managed to put her to sleep at !
but since then it's been getting better...
|swarley is guarding alma like the best big sister that she is|
of course, i've contracted something at the hospital (i assume) -
so right now, aside from the regular postpartum pains, i'm also dealing with an aching throat,
coughs, and a runny nose (and jesse got sick too...)
however, between jesse and my mom (and a delivery of soup from my father in law) -
i'm being taken care of.
|after a bath|
alma is adorable and delicious and so very precious.
she is so worth everything and anything.
i would do it all again in a heartbeat!