(continued from last post)
I had contractions every ten minutes on the way home from the hospital, but the ride was quick and pleasant. And I was so happy to see my kids when I got back! I was really, really exhausted mentally and physically from my hospital experience, so I went to sleep soon after getting home. I had some contractions when I was sleeping, but I hazily thought to myself it was lots easier to deal with without the monitor on me. Then suddenly I had a huge amount of pressure and woke up enough to call my husband, who rushed in and immediately called the midwife and told her to come. I wasn’t quite awake yet and was wondering why he felt so urgent about it, and was having an unwilling sense of deja vu from my past birth. This all felt very familiar but the likelihood seemed to be very small of a repeat since that was such an unusual scenario that would have been very, very difficult to replicate even if we tried, and I wasn’t really wrapping my mind around the current scenario.
I asked dh to get some things ready for the birth, while still in bed with my eyes closed and wondering if things were really moving as fast as it seemed. Within a short time – I didn’t have a watch or clock to look at, but less than fifteen minutes from when I first called my husband– our baby was born with dh once again being the baby catcher! It was just an hour after we had gotten home from the hospital.
However, what followed was very different from our last birth, which was a relaxed and beautiful experience for us all. This time, dh told me it was a boy, and then a minute or two later in a worried voice told me something was wrong, that the baby wasn’t breathing. I told him to pass him to me while dh called the midwife to ask her what to do; the baby was floppy and hardly made a sound, just a little gurgle. (Dh later told me he had unwrapped the cord from around his neck right after he was born.) I was suctioning his nose and mouth when she said to put him on his stomach at a 60 degree angle facing down, to massage his back and then to breathe into his mouth. I had such a sense of being disconnected from reality while this was happening, like I was watching myself from ouside of my body doing all of this. While we were doing this, I told dh to call the ambulance. The midwife arrived a few minutes later, bursting into the room and quickly grabbing the baby to get him breathing. This was an intense few minutes but thankfully he pinked up and started breathing on his own.
A couple of minutes after this, the ambulance crew arrived and all four of them started trooping into my bedroom. This was a bit much for the small space we had, since there were already three of us there, and it was also mentally a bit too much for me, since I had just given birth less than ten minutes before and wasn’t exactly interested in visitors! So I asked the two young female volunteers to stay outside.
The baby was already breathing normally before they arrived, but we couldn’t cancel the call once it was made, and they refused to accept that we didn’t need their help. The male ambulance volunteers assumed a very commanding attitude which didn’t exactly enhance the atmosphere for me – when they were about to cut the cord, I asked the one doing it if he could do it over a chux pad so blood wouldn’t get all over, and he told me, “Geveret (Mrs), I’m in charge here.” So he cut it and blood got on my clothes and on the sheets. It was distressing to me how very hectic and disorganized the physical and emotional environment was and there was nothing I could even say, without being told, “You just had a baby, we’ll take care of it (our way).”
They insisted on taking us to the hospital right away which wasn’t a bad thing since I was going to have to go to the hospital to register the baby anyway, but I would have chosen to go a little later and have time with my family before rushing out to have some emotional closure and time to process the birth. I told them I needed to change into fresh clothing and sent dh to the living room with the baby so that the kids could see him before we left. Usually everyone comes into my room and I speak to each of them and let them hold the baby, but it was really different for them this time with the ambulance volunteers telling my kids to be careful, me not anywhere in sight, and the littles didn’t have a framework to process what was happening. Ds3 looked at the baby and said, “I want the baby to go back”. I think the littles were expecting an older baby that crawls around and were kind of put off by the newborn size!
The volunteers were getting antsy about how long it was taking even though I really wasn’t taking long at all, but I managed to get a picture of everyone before we left, including the volunteers. Ds13 carried the baby to the ambulance and all of the kids followed and watched them load me onto a stretcher and lift me into the ambulance, and as they closed the ambulance door I saw the first of my neighbors walk over to find out what was happening. Dh was trying to get some things together for me to take to the hospital because without thinking he had unpacked the bag that I had packed for the hospital when we got home, and ran out when the ambulance started leaving without him!
I couldn’t hold the baby since I had an iv in one arm in a location that made it impossible to bend that arm, and then a blood pressure cuff on the other arm, so all I could do was to hold both arms straight in front of me. Since I couldn’t hold the baby, one of the young female volunteers did instead, and I asked her if dh could hold the baby and sit in the back of the ambulance with me. But she said there was no room so he stayed up in the front and we couldn’t talk to each other at all. But he was able to pass the arnica back to me and I took several doses of that every fifteen minutes to help with shock/trauma/bleeding until what was left in the container was finished.
We decided to go to a different hospital than where we were at earlier, because I wasn’t interested in dealing with the staff at the first place and felt it would be easier in the second hospital, which also is closer to our home. So off we went, and when we got there they took me (again, on the stretcher) to the labor and delivery ward while I instructed dh to stick to the baby like glue and not let them do anything to him that we didn’t want done.
When they finished processing me, I was taken to the maternity ward but there still no sight of dh and the baby. The person who transported me insisted that I needed help in moving to the bed from the bed they ‘drove’ me there in, as well as with more personal needs, and when I told her that I was thought I could manage on my own and that I’d let her know if I needed help, she was a tad indignant. But I felt entitled to at least a tiny bit of dignity, even if I had to be in the hospital, don’t you think? I assured her that I’d knock on the bathroom door and let her know if I needed help.
I waited and waited for dh, and when he finally came, it was without the baby. He told me they were bringing the baby right after him. But they weren’t. After waiting a while, I sent dh back to the nursery to get him. After a while, he came back saying that they needed to warm him up and we could have him afterward. Some more time went by, and I asked dh to go get him again. This time he was gone even longer and when he got back told me that the baby’s heartrate was fluctuating so they said I couldn’t hold him yet. A few hours after the birth, and I still couldn’t hold my baby…I was feeling so sad then, when a little later dh came in and told me that the staff told him I should come to the nursery to nurse the baby.
It was a long walk to the nursery but they said he couldn’t be brought to me, and when I got to him, he was already five hours old and I had missed the initial alert stage of a newborn. He was sleeping deeply and I could hardly get him to even partially open his eyes. But I was really glad to be able to see him and hold him against me….