Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Birth Coaching in a Nutshell

I just want to say that watching a child come into this world is an amazing thing. This is not for the faint of heart and swear words will be abbreviated. If you don't have a sense of humor and are too PC, stop reading. I had been on call for about a week when Amanda started leaking. Sometimes a woman's water really breaks, and sometimes it doesn't. The latter was one of those times.

Amanda went into the hospital on a Wednesday, so I picked up Maya and dad Dennis and we made our way to the hospital. From Dennis' place the GPS took us on a different route to the birthing center. It was getting dark and we were going through a not-so-great area. You could feel the tension in the car grow. Maya and I both noticed the rundown homes, idling cars by the curb, furniture on the curb. I was praying that my very old vehicle would not die on us. A vehicle with a black woman, a white woman, and a white guy. The next comment will set the tone for the rest of the hospital stay. I said, "We're in a dodgy neighborhood with a lot of shiny rims." There was a pause. I could hear the gears in Dennis' head turning and him wondering if he should laugh. Then Maya burst out laughing and then Dennis. We laughed the rest of the ten minutes to the center.

Now don't go getting your undies in a bunch. I'm originally from Detroit and there were some parts of it I didn't want to be in in the broad daylight.

We're still laughing when we check in at the desk, just about crying. We had our own personal bags, bags of juice and food for Amanda. People looked at us and thought we were staying for a week. We make it to Amanda's room and she's crying because they couldn't find a vein to start an IV. We were looking for that nurse. She settled down as soon as she saw us in a good mood. That night in the hospital was rough. Dennis had the sofa, I had a chair and Maya had a chair but ended up on the floor. And it was freezing in the room, something to do with putting the mom-to-be on ice. The next morning she hadn't dilated anymore and her doctor suggested to induce. The good thing was that she could get started on a low dosage and then have it go up. Amanda still didn't want an epidural, wanting the experience to be as natural as possible. Of course that first night the trio that was late to the party were cutting up something fierce and we were the loudest ones in the wing. There was an information board on the wall for the name of the patient, nurses, any special diet needs and questions. So Dennis wrote under diet, bacon and under questions, Who let the dogs out? We all laughed at that and in a very serious tone he said, "No, really... who let them out? No one knows for sure." The nurses wanted to be in our room and we also had fun teasing them. Thank goodness, most of them had a sense of humor and knew how to give it back. Amanda's team of nurses all rocked.

The next day and first part of labor went quite well. When the contractions were getting closer, Amanda would breathe, stand, walk, squat, sit on an egg ball, bend down on the floor, and do a position on the bed with her butt in the air. That one was most comfortable for her. Maya and I encouraged her and reassured her that she was doing well. Amanda's doctor showed up again and told her that she had to leave early because of a death in the family and that another doctor would be taking over the delivery and that she wanted Amanda well underway because the next doc was old school and wouldn't be too privy to a more natural birth. So the inducing drug was upped. The doc said that once Amanda started yelling and thinking about clipping her husband, that's when she would really be in hard labor. That's when things got interesting.

The contractions got a bit more intense and Amanda was really starting to feel it. She wanted to push but it wasn't time to push. The baby wasn't engaged just yet. Again, we were telling her what a great job she was doing and helping her breathe through her contractions. She had on an external monitor to get the baby's heartbeat and see what her contractions were like. And then we saw it on the monitor when the real, good contractions started. One huge spike on the monitor. Amanda still wanted to push and we told her she couldn't. She told Maya that she didn't like her. And Maya said that it was okay and we both said that we loved her. That's when she said it was okay for Dennis to get clipped. He responded as to why he had to get clipped and she yelled, "You're the one who's gonna get clipped because I'm the one having the baby and I'm not going to get my tubes tied after all of this!" Then he said, "Okay then, I guess I'll be the one to get clipped."

Amanda had gone to the bathroom and on her way out the doc came in and Amanda lost it. The doc helped her gain control and got her back in bed. The head nurse at the time told the doc about the clipping conversation and the doc said, "Yes!" Once again, the doc told Amanda that she had to leave and Amanda said, "No, you can't leave." Up until that time Amanda was being a trooper and the monitor kept dislodging because of the position that was most comfortable for Amanda wasn't suited for it. So the doc decided to put in an internal monitor on the baby's head. The baby's head! Yeah, I watched. That was pretty fascinating. I even asked the doc about it. That's when we really got the baby's heartbeat and the contractions. Contractions that finally started coming in consistent waves. I should've gotten a pic of it because that was kind of cool too. And that's when Pulp Fiction met Deadwood.

Here are some of the things Amanda said during the three hours of hard labor. She was given a pain medication so she could rest between mega contractions and we knew one was coming because she started swearing.
"I made a mistake." We told her that she didn't.
"I don't want to do this." Well, it was a bit late for that one.
"I don't want her in me."
"Get her the f*** out of me!"
"Cut her out!"
"Oh sh**, hell no!"
"F*** this!"
We continued to work with her breathing and Maya told Dennis to stand by her, hold onto her arm and tell her she's doing a great job. Dennis: You're doing a great job honey.
And in her most sweet angelic voice with a golden aura around her head she said, "Thank you." She did that several times.
Now Maya and I just looked at each other and wondered where our love was because the next contraction Amanda started swearing at us again. Little 5 feet 1 inch Amanda. I never thought I'd hear her swear like two drunken sailors on shore leave. It gets better.

In between those massive contractions shes rests but when one came around, look out.
"F*** hell no!"
Along with more of wanting the baby out, why was she doing this, she made a mistake. The coup de grace was... drum roll please...
"Oh f*** hell, m*****f***** G**d*** Je***Chr***!"

My eyebrows were singed off. That was totally EPIC!

There were a couple of times Dennis had to leave for air but he was right back at Amanda's side, telling her she was doing a great job. Maya and I wanted Dennis to concentrate on being husband and dad and not having him to worry about telling her to push. Having her hate him because of the work she had to do. Then it was time to really push. And we could see the wire to the internal monitor sliding out bit by bit. I saw the baby's head crown and continue to come out. Amazing! The new doc finally came in, poked around and asked for her chair. They gave her her chair on wheels. She poked around again. Amanda screamed and the doc asked for a mask. Another nurse came in and asked Amanda if a newbie nurse could watch the delivery and Amanda said, "I wouldn't have known if you hadn't said anything." Which was a yes. Watching the newbie's face was classic in itself. She was in her early twenties and probably won't be having any kids any time soon.

Amanda pushed for the third time with new doc and Zanna Joy flew out like the squid baby in Men In Black. 
The doc caught her and her chair had rolled back several inches. Totally amazing! What a catch! Then Zanna cried. That was the most beautiful sound. I started crying, Maya was crying, Dennis was crying and cut the cord. I almost hugged the newbie. It was just great! I saw the placenta and it looked like liver. I will cherish that time for the rest of my life. She's a beautiful baby, with dimples to die for. I get a baby fix one more time. I am so grateful that Amanda and Dennis let me be a part of that. My new family.

And she did it all without an epidural. The nurses were all impressed. It took a couple of hours to clean up and check the baby and clean up Amanda. When she was allowed to go to the bathroom, we told her some of the things she said. Do you know what she said? "Oh, no... I would never say anything like that." We all laughed. Boy do we have stories to tell. Thanksgiving will never be the same.


Kim said...

this was wonderful- thank you so much for sharing this. I have tears in my eyes reading it-both for the humor, the braveness of Mom and the miracle that it was. I know I said it before, but I think you are very lucky to have been a part of this Wendy and Zanna Joy is beautiful ♥

Salem Stitcher said...

She is beautiful! And, what an incredible experience!

Wendy Luane Barber said...

You are so welcome Kim. I will always remember it. Thanks Salem Stitcher.

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