This won’t be a chronological retelling of what happened after the birth, but I just wanted to type out a few other random things that I don’t want to forget:
I was apparently very polite during my labour. I remember apologizing to Chris for freaking him out (“I’m sorry, I know this is scary honey”), saying “no thank you” when offered a popsicle, saying “yes please” when asked if I would like some ice chips, etc. But I did lose my cool once: during all of my contractions, Chris was saying breathe, breathe, remember to breathe, and finally after forty minutes of pushing I screamed at him, “SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!” I remember everyone laughing, and the shocked look on his face — and then I apologized for yelling at him.
My legs were trembling — from exhaustion, anxiety, and god knows what else, after Maia was born. At some point as she laid on my chest, I felt a jabbing pain in my left thigh, and yelped. The midwife had jabbed me with a needle to inject some sort of hormone (I could look it up, but I’m lazy — pitocin?) to help ensure contractions would bring out the placenta quickly, but she hadn’t given me warning that she was about to do it right then. We’d discussed beforehand that she’d do it, I just hadn’t expected it at that moment. I was kind of caught up in my baby.
I have no memory of delivering the placenta at all, but I do remember the umbilical cord stretching down my stomach and into my body. It was hot and pulsing, and unexpectedly grayish and translucent looking. Chris did not want to cut it, so once it stopped pulsing, the midwife did. I don’t think any of us even paid attention to the placenta coming out or what happened to it afterwards, so when I found it in a tupperware in the freezer the next day, well… I was pretty surprised, to say the least. Our initial plan had been to give it to our primary midwife, Georgia, who couldn’t be at the delivery, and she could take it to the hospital and burn it — but our plan has been revamped, and my mom has it in her freezer in Connecticut. When we go down to visit this summer, we are going to bury it and plant a tree over it. It will be awesome!
We all chuckled about her being born on Friday the 13th, but at one point the midwives all gasped, and one said: “She’s a very lucky girl indeed” and held up the umbilical cord. It was knotted. One good yank and my baby would have been in distress. The thought still haunts me.
I dealt with the discomfort of stretch & sweeps just fine, as well as, obviously, labour — but when, after the birth and some skin-to-skin time, Sarah took me into the bedroom to check out my tearing and see if she could stitch it, I had a hard time. She and the other midwife poked at my coochie, running their fingers along my tears to check their depth and length, which really fucking stung. I said, “Sarah, that’s REALLY uncomfortable,” and it was — like what I imagine being jabbed with searing, red-hot needles in your most sensitive, battered area would feel like.
What hurt more was when I got to the hospital to be stitched, and the doctor sprayed saline over the tears to clean them. I honestly thought I was going to jump through the ceiling and need to be sedated.
I was separated from Maia because I was at the hospital from 2:30am (she was born at 1:07) until 5am. It felt like an eternity. A midwife stayed at home with Chris and the baby until 4, but he was alone with her for the next 90 minutes. That must have been so crazy for him. As for me, I started to get pretty grouchy with my doctor and her student (the student was doing the stitching) because I really wanted to get home to my family.
That’s all I can think of, for now.