But how did we get there?
It's a story I've been meaning to tell for a while. Like most events in my life, it's not a straight shot to the intended destination, but, instead, it's ripe with turns and switchbacks and unexpected detours.
I've already mentioned here how it took us a while to get pregnant.In fact, we were scheduled for IUI in August (only because the July dates fell over the holiday weekend - ugh) and I was surprised by a positive blood test during a physical for the Navy Reserve at the end of July.
"Ma'am, you knew you're pregnant, right."
After the initial shock wore off, more shock took its place. And then fear. Interspersed with joy. And then peace.
That peace lasted until about the 20 week mark. I didn't start worrying, really, until we were walking into the hospital for the ultrasound.
It was strange. After denying all prenatal testing, I was now going to allow something to take place that could possibly end up taking us down a path I didn't want. What if a marker showed up? Then what? Would I be strong enough to make it through the second half of my pregnancy weighed down by all the "what ifs"?
But I did. The baby appeared happy and healthy, developing typically.
Just as Playette had.
It was a great pregnancy. Aside from some back pain in the second trimester and that pesky walking pneumonia situation in the first trimester, I was fine fine fine.
But it was long. Like, really long. Seeing that I found out as early as one possibly could and then he was forcibly evicted at 41 weeks, 5 days gestation, we're talking LONG.
I'm getting ahead of myself though.
My plan (hahaha!) was to give birth in what is called the Midwifery Center. It's a separate wing off of Labor & Delivery, inside the hospital, that's reserved for women attempting unmedicated vaginal births. In order to deliver there, one must meet a bunch of criteria and I was happy to have made it to my due date without getting the boot.
For me, as I've mentioned before, I was attempting for an experience that would be pretty much the polar opposite to what I had with Playette. Instead of three epidurals, I was going for none. And they could also keep their pesky IV. I dreamed of a baby-led labor, something that would be brand new to me as I was induced before. Plus, the idea of a water birth sounded so enticing.
I knew it would hurt, sure, but that fell secondary to everything else in my mind.
Besides, I had a chew toy that I made myself.
I'm not kidding. Braided colored handkerchiefs.
I guess it was supposed to be more of a focal point, but I figured that no one would stop me if I decided to chew on it. And "chew toy" sounded more entertaining than "focal point."
But when it came down to it, it was declared that my happy, healthy baby was too big to be delivered in the Midwifery Center. *side-eye*
I got the boot after my due date because I was "closed, thick, and high" and he appeared to be much larger than Playette had been. The Midwifery Center was not into taking a whole lot of risk with me. They gave me five days to either schedule a c-section or go into labor. Otherwise, I would be induced at 41+4.
I went home and promptly began the following:
All fours in the tub
Rocking on a ball
Walking around the neighborhood
Walking in the mall
By Sunday, the deadline, I was slightly further along, but not much. So in I went. First was the IV. Then, the Cervidil, followed by the sleep aid, Ambien. The idea was that I would rest while my closed cervix ripened and then, hopefully, I would be at three centimeters by morning and the Pitocin would start. Or something close to that, depending on how things went.
Except I never fell asleep. I ate half of the lasagna BD had brought me and tried to focus on The Amazing Race, but I was really uncomfortable. In pain, even. Little did I know that BD was texting a friend of mine that I was sleeping at the time. Because I so was not. I gripped that bed and watched the monitors. He slept.
After a few hours, I think I must have piped up because the nurse checked me and said that I was 8cm.
"You're gonna have a baby in the next three hours, I'd say. Let me go call the midwife."
(I got to keep the midwife even though I got the boot, so that was good.)
BD then called my doula. We all thought it was go time.
I did a lot of standing and rocking around that time and then the details get a little fuzzy. At some point, I went to use the restroom and became afraid that I was losing the Cervidil (I was loopy. The Cervidil was long gone.) and tried to hold it in only to fail and realize that it was my bag of water.
So that's what that's like.
Lucky for them, no mess.
But there was meconium. Back to bed for me. I was re-checked and the baby was still as high as he could be so now there was a fear of a prolapsed cord.
Oh, good grief. I was stuck in the bed for sure now. My doula tried to help me change positions in the bed that would help facilitate Dez dropping down. I proceeded to try to break that $8000 with every surge. BD told me to breathe way too often for my taste. The doula said I was doing great, but I didn't believe her. It hurt and I wanted it to be over. It was only a matter of time, right? All I kept thinking was EIGHT CENTIMETERS --> TRANSITION --> BABY.
I could do this. Where was my chew toy? I wasn't sure. I bit BD instead.
Time passed and the next big moment came at 6am. So, yeah, I didn't have the baby by 3am.
Turns out that I went backwards. WHAAAA?!
I felt what little energy I had left leaving my body.
The midwife talked to me about an epidural. I remember being told that I could use it as a tool. I didn't want one, but I understood the logic they were presenting. There was no doubt that I was not exactly relaxing. Maybe it would help? Was I willing to try?
Feeling defeated, I said yes, thinking it would be over soon and none of this would matter. Chances are, they wouldn't screw up my epi like the other hospital had.
And they didn't. It was fine. I could feel enough to push, but I was no longer trying to dismantle the bed or BD's hand.
And that's when Dez started expressing his displeasure.
BD and I were really calm about it. We were thinking that Playette had decels for months. What was the big deal?
Apparently it was a really big deal.
Midwife entered. "Chrystal, I need you to process this quickly. Your baby is in trouble and I think the best option is to get him out of there soon via c-section. You can wait, but then it may become emergent and that's a much more serious situation."
I was done. My plan? Gone so far in the other direction. I joked internally that at least I got to try every option they offered. I could be the posterwoman for the hospital. But, really, I was sad. I resigned myself to the surgery, knowing that if I didn't go home with this baby that I would never forgive myself for making the wrong choice. I still don't know if that was the right thing to do, but that's what I did.
And thirty minutes later, Dez was born. All 9+ pounds and 22 inches of him.
I was loopy, but he was amazing and alert. They put him on my chest in the ER. I looked at him and wondered if someone would catch him if he fell. He was wonderful and I didn't want to break him.
I spent time in recovery while BD escorted Dez to all of his checks. He appeared to be perfectly healthy and came back to me with no preliminary concerns or diagnoses.
So now I know what that feels like.
Here's what he looks like closer to now. Those other pics are from Day 2.
Last month, he started cutting teeth. I've never had a baby that teethed before. Playette was so calm with hers. Dez...was not.
And these were taken yesterday.
That's my Dez.