Sunday, July 22, 2007

Roslyn, Part 3: "Showtime"

Nuke: Were YOU ever in The Show?!?

Crash: Yeah, I was in The Show. I was in The Show for 21 days once - the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in The Show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains.

I love that little exchange. I hate sports, but I LOVE sports movies, especially good ones, and I think Bull Durham is about as good as it gets. The gist of this exchange is that, no matter how great you think it is in the minors, once you make it to the big time, things are noticeably different. For me, that's how Tess' pregnancy was: the nine months leading up to Roz's birth were like the minors. We bought preggo clothes, we took the classes, we read the books...but it's all minor league stuff compared to being in that labor & delivery room. That The Show.

Monday, July 16th 2007

3:30am: I am awakened. I do not LIKE to be awakened, really for any reason other than natural causes. Upon said natural causes, I like to lay there for awhile, maybe 20 minutes, and really get the sleep out of my eyes. I like to repeatedly crack my toes, and whatever else I can get to crack: hips, knees, whatever. I may fart a little. Then I like to get up, wander Ozzy-style downstairs in search of coffee and eggs. This time, though, it's the middle of the fuckin' night, and Tess is leaning over me saying "Scott, I think my water broke, I felt a pop." Actually, she was AWAKENED by a pop, which, since we just read about this online earlier in the evening, I am convinced she dreamed. But whatever: she is clearly anxious, and since this technically IS Roslyn's due date, I grumble my way out of bed, pee, make some STRONG coffee, and prepare to head to Lansing: feed the cat, close some windows, grab the camera. The traffic is, obviously, sparse, and we make good time, all the while with me thinking we'll be back in St. Johns around 5:30, just in time to try the breakfast at this seedy little diner we've recently discovered.

5:30am: Tess is admitted. Guess I bet wrong on going home today! After checking Tess' leakage, the nice (impossibly young) resident on call came out and announced "You are ruptured!" Uh...WOW. Okay. Um. Yeah. Whew. Tess signs the necessary paperwork, then we wander dazedly down to the caffeteria for breakfast...likely Tess' ONLY meal of the day! Dr. B is on call today from Tess' ob/gyn, and she wants to immediately administer prostaglandin to "ripen" Tess' cervix; however, we feel like we don't want to start medical intervention quite so soon, and instead walk around after breakfast in an attempt to get something going. It's sinking in...holy shit! We. Are. Having. A. Baby. TODAY!

Two hospital gowns and big ol'baby belly...
and STILL hotter than hell!

10:30am: Tess is only at 1cm. She has been so consumed with Braxton-Hicks contractions for WEEKS now, I've taken to calling her Contracto, which of course I find hilarious. "Her uterus has the strength of 100 men, it's...Contracto!!" But, once the game is on, nothing much is going on down there. We finally submit to the prostaglandin suppository, which bums Tess out because now she is trapped to the external fetal monitoring machine. We need to give the goop 2 hours, and then we'll see.

12:30pm: We got nuthin'. The hormone bullet gave Tess some regular contractions, but nothing to write home about: still only at 1.5cm. NOW Dr. B would like to start a pitocin drip, and Tess & I look worriedly at each other; we were warned during our preggo classes that oftentimes, one medical intervention brings on another, then another, and pretty soon you've bought yourself a C-section. We stall on the pit, electing to walk around for another hour. This has two negative consequences: 1) Tess doesn't get any lunch beyond a peanut butter Kashi bar, and 2) her contractions stop completely.

A black line of itty-bitty contractions,
which ain't enough to do squat.

2:30pm: The pit drip is up & running. Our nurse, the very calming and capable S, has indicated that it'll start at 2mL per hour, and increase 2mL every 15 minutes. Tess is still cabled to to the monitor, and now the IV as well. She's not happy about this, wishing instead to be able to walk around and/or get on her exercise ball. But whatever: we're approaching 12 hours since we KNOW her water broke, and for infection purposes it's standard to try to shoehorn the baby out before 24 hours has passed. Tess' mom & sister settle in to chat, and we wait.

5:30pm: Tess is still smiling & chatting. Every once in awhile she will stop her incessant popsicle consumption to stare off at the ceiling with a focused and faraway gaze, but she's back within minutes. Nurse S disapproves: a laboring woman shouldn't be able to smile, but a cervical check shows Tess dilated to 3cm. Not the greatest progress, but some. Tess says something that upon later reflection will show the very greatest heights of naivetée: "If this is as bad as the contractions get, I think I can handle it!"

6:35pm: Mom & Sis leave. Tess finally decides that maybe she's getting enough pain to "not be fun anymore" and sends everyone out of the room except me. I promise Sue & Amanda that I'll come out to the waiting room every 20 minutes to give progress reports.

7:00pm: I deliver my first progress report. I never go back for another one.

7:10pm: I take a pee break. I've been hanging out in a chair at the foot of Tess' bed, feet propped on the unused labor ball, just kind of watching her. As one contraction ends I quickly take a potty break. Upon returning, I find Tess in an alarming state of pain, using the "three hee's and a whooo" breathing technique we learned at preggo class. We rather joked about the "focus techniques" that were taught, Tess preferring instead to let her body do "what felt natural at the time." I move to sit at her side, offering my arm for grip support; it is used in that capacity for the next two hours.

7:30pm: Dr. G has replaced Dr. B. It's tough to play favourites with a physician staff whom you trust completely, but both Tess & I are VERY happy with this development. We both bonded with Dr. G immediately, and now her trusted face and no-nonsense approach are utterly soothing. Dr. G measures Tess at 5cm, halfway there, and offers up that sometimes women shoot off and are done in 2 hours...others can go for 7 hours. That's an unpleasant thought. Discussion of pain management begins to take place. Nurse S stops in before she leaves for the night. She takes one look at Tess and a wry smile appears: "Now THIS is the face of a woman in labor!" she declares. She wishes us the best and takes her leave.

8:30pm: I am stunned by my wife's fortitude. I've always known Tess to be an incredibly strong and capable woman, but seeing her surf these increasingly rough contractions is beyond description. I suspect the pain is also beyond description, but all I can do is coach her through each one. I now understand the whole "ice chips" thing: she's emitting a ton of heat & energy, and between contractions I spoonfeed ice to her. As Tess is doing, I allow my coaching to develop as events warrant, taking my cues from her. Pain management is again considered, but I secretly suspect we've passed the point of no return: I doubt Tess could sit still long enough for an epidural to be administered, as she is spending many contractions simply thrashing her legs back & forth. There is a near-constant stream of activity in the room now: P is our new nurse, and she's nattering about the room in a calm but efficient way. Instruments are brought out (and discreetly covered), the warmer is turned on, a scale is brought god, my god, we are having this baby. SOON.

8:45pm: Tess is overtaken by an incredible urge to push with each contraction. She is quickly measured, and is told NOT to push! She's not fully dilated yet, and pushing against her cervix at this point would only cause the opening to swell and puff up...exactly what we DON'T want! I'm now in the unenviable position of needing to coach her three ways: 1) breathe & focus!, 2) open!, 3) HOLD! The pain is incredible, and Tess is pretty much moved to a place beyond speech. Dr. G stops in frequently, never offering sympathy, but a constant stream of support, plus assertions that the baby is handling the contractions like a champ.

Tess is measured at 9.5cm. So close...

9:30pm: Tess reverts to a cavewoman. Two contractions after the last measurement, she makes a wholly inhuman sound. It is part grunt, part howl, and all animal. I've never heard anything like it before. Dr. G, who happened to be in the room for this audio display, turns with interest toward us and announces: "Tess, you are fully dilated and ready to push. I can tell by the sound you just made." She tells us that Nurse P will teach Tess how to push, and then takes her leave. Thankfully, we've known all day that Roslyn's head is right down at the cervical opening, so we're hoping Tess won't be pushing for another couple of hours.

It's showtime.


Blogger Tess said...

The suspense is KILLING me! Oh wait...

12:20 PM  
Blogger Kim said...


2:37 PM  
Blogger Gknee said...

...and?? well....what happened next!?!

3:12 PM  
Blogger Suze said...

Hey there, so many congratulations!! I know how the story ends (Steph fwded me pictures)...
I hope you're having fun with Roz. Scott, treat your wife like a queen. She so deserves it.

9:28 PM  
Blogger L*I*S*A said...

Yes, the rule we give our new moms upon discharge is no housework or cooking for three months.

The moms love it.

The dads aren't so sure. ;)

11:11 PM  
Blogger Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Oh, congratulations! And Happy Birthday Roz!

10:50 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

it's all a big conspiracy. Child birth must be pain-free and women use the guilt forever.

That's what is really discussed in 5th grade know your body class.... boys hear about nocturnal emissions and girls...

...they get clued in to the greatest conspricacy ever spun...

Aaah, the great memories you've stirred.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

I hesitate to harangue you, since you are all busy with parenthood and treating your wife like a queen, and I do know how this story ends, of course, but come on, dude, give us the next installment!

2:16 PM  

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