On July 1st, Chick arrived a fully 6 weeks earlier than he was scheduled. (Yes, it’s a he!)
I woke up at midnight feeling crabby. Crabby slowly but steadily turned into contractions until 2:30 when I could no longer deny I was in labor. As Mr. O and I drove to the hospital, I made peace with this early delivery. Like it or not, this was the labor I was getting. Being anxious about what happened next would do neither Chick or me any good.
Once at the hospital, the contractions were coming fast and furious. There was no resting between them– indeed, sometimes the peaks lasted longer than the valleys. Though I had wanted an unmedicated birth, Mr. O and I knew that wasn’t in the cards. At the rate things were going, I would have no energy to push. We opted for an epidural (which was inserted in the middle of one badass contraction– try keeping still for THAT.) At this point, I could rest a little and it made all the difference. Over the course of just 30 minutes, I dilated another 3 centimeters and was fully dilated about an hour after the epidural went in.
When it came time to push, I locked down and focused. Pardon if this is trite, but it was so much like running for me. In many races, I’ve hit a point where it just gets hard. All the preparation in the world can’t account for conditions– you have to keep yourself tuned into what’s going on, block out every doubt you have, and stay focused on that finish line. Less than an hour of pushing and Chick was born.
From start to finish, from crabbiness to actual baby, labor lasted 8 hours. We were nothing if not efficient.
When my doctor first showed me Chick, I couldn’t really believe it. Giving birth is sort of like being high (don’t ask how I know that…) I was totally aware of what was going on, but it all seemed other worldly. Because he was so early, they took him over to a warmer to check him over. I could hear him crying the whole time, which was absolutely magical. Babies at born at his age often have trouble breathing unassisted, and this clearly wasn’t his problem. His Apgar scores were fantastic. Once it was determined he was in no imminent danger, they brought him over to me, and I could hold him.
And there he was. This little person who has been with me since November, who has been there all along, was suddenly in the room with me. When I held him for the first time, I thought “Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.”
This story isn’t without complications, the biggest one that he has been in the NICU since July 1. Though he is healthy in every way possible, he is still learning to eat on his own. At the moment, he is 50/50, 50/50: 50% of his feedings are bottle and 50% are tube, and 50% of his food is formula while 50% is breast milk. (I’m pumping which is miserable, and my milk supply is taking its sweet ass time coming in.) Once he can get nutrition without the tube, he is mine to take home for good.
In the meantime, Mr. O and I visit Chick twice a day.
Love for someone so small can feel so big. It undoes me every time I see him– in the best way I could have imagined.
(As I’m still running back and forth between home and the NICU, my updates might be few. I’ll do my best to keep you all posted.)