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4 kittens

How Rascal Was Born

Posted on 2014.12.06 at 08:58
How was Rascal born? Easily.

Recall, if you will:
1. With Hawaii, I had a natural, unmedicated childbirth out of dogged determination. It took about fourteen hours, and the two hours of pushing was brutal.

2. With Hokey Pokey, I wanted an epidural, so traumatized was I by the pushing. I got the epidural right at transition, and then took a nap. Then I pushed for a few minutes, and he was born.  There was plenty of hard labor pre-epidural, but the whole experience was ok.

3. With Ace, I thought perhaps I could try a tub birth. But she arrived before they'd even turned on the water. So she was also unmedicated.

"I do not enjoy unmedicated births" was my opinion in the waning days of pregnancy. (It is still my opinion.) Dr. K said I had a better chance at a tub birth than an epidural, time-wise, but we'd try for whatever we could. I was braced for another fast, unmedicated birth.

At three days overdue, I had a check-up. (All my babies were overdue.) They watched for five signs on the sonogram to make sure that Rascal was doing fine, and Rascal did not pass - he failed to "practice breathing" within a thirty minute window. So Dr. K said that we were inducing. (Actually, she said "He's got his eviction notice!" and the phrasing was so out of context for me that I had no idea what she meant.)

I was...pleased. I'd never request an induction, maybe out of force of habit, but to have one thrust upon me? Yes, please, let's get this baby out. Plus: guaranteed epidural.

I went home, we packed our bags and ate some lunch, and generally took our leisure getting to the hospital. (That is probably not how Jammies would describe things. I think he'd say, "I raced home from work, in a mild panic. I hate the whole L&D process. It's out of my control and things can go so wrong." Poor stressed Jammies.)

We checked in - my mother, Mimi, Jammies and I - and I got hooked up around 12:30. And then gradually the pitocin got cranked up. The nurse said that they couldn't administer the epidural until contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, and hitting level 5 on whatever yardstick they use for contractions.

But when Dr. K showed up, she shrugged and said I could have the epidural, despite not yet being at the target.  So I got one.

(With Pokey, the epidural was painless. Possibly because I was distracted by transition, but I do remember feeling pressure. With Rascal, the epidural was excruciating. Brief - maybe all of twenty seconds - but brutally painful. Off the pain scale.)

And then we hung out. We watched TV - mostly renovation shows on HGTV, which work perfectly well with the sound off. The pitocin was gradually increased to full blast, which is level 20 (so many numbers for which I don't know the units!), but aside from one leg being totally dead, everything was pleasant. I think I get a buzz of well-being from the epidural.

I slowly dilated. By 7 pm, I was maybe 6-7 cm. We wondered periodically if he'd even be born that day. We wondered, "If labor is this slow to be jumpstarted, how much longer would he have stayed in there on his own, exactly?"  We chatted at leisure.

Dr. K broke my waters - another first. All the rest just made a big mess when they burst on their own, but when your waters are broken, there's a little collection bag that keeps things less out of hand. It turns out.

Finally, Dr. K came back and said, "Oh, his head is right there. Ready to push?"

Sure. It's odd to push when you don't feel a thing, but the pushing muscles are lodged in my deep memory. And so a minute or two later, Rascal was born. His hand was up by his head. He was blue for a second or two, but nobody fretted. His Apgar score was a 9. His weight was 8 lbs, 7 oz. His time was 8:41 pm.

And that was that.

The whole labor and delivery was so...casual. Chatty and relaxed. Even pleasant. Unlike the previous, which were shot through with adrenaline and pain. There was no urgency or, well, pain.

A day or two later, I developed embarrassing problems, which were excructiating for about a week. And then resolved. And all was fine in time for Thanksgiving, a week later.

Here are our babies:

May 3, 2013 (3)
Hawaiian Punch

May 3, 2013 (4)
Hokey Pokey

May 3, 2013 (5)

December 6, 2014 (1)

Now we can start the business of raising them.


Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2014-12-06 16:41 (UTC) (Link)

I feel CONNED.

They told me when I had my kid that they HAD to take me off the epidural for the actual labor, or I wouldn't know when to push. BAH.

Or is that true on the first baby?

Anyway! You make such beautiful babies, Heebie!
heebie_geebie at 2014-12-15 17:16 (UTC) (Link)

Re: I feel CONNED.

I don't know! I've never heard of that. I think I know people that have stayed on the epidural the whole time, with their first baby? I think you did get conned! Was it an especially long labor or something?

I actually think the whole pushing thing is a total racket. I think your body will naturally push, and you can assist it and endure it, but the idea that if you "GET READY AND PUUUUUUSH!!! As hard as you can!!!" (which is how my nurses and doula and docs have always treated it) - the idea that I personally can accelerate the delivery by bearing down as hard as possible, to exhaustion, I think is overstated.
(Anonymous) at 2014-12-06 18:28 (UTC) (Link)


I'm always amazed by how much Hawaiian Punch still retains those facial features. It seems like a lot of babies need a few months before they get the face they keep until adulthood.

Your last two babies look so mournful. Ava looks angry in all her newborn pictures. I called her the angry pirate for awhile because she would glare at me with one eye open. I was worried that she was going to be a disapproving baby, but so far she's remarkably happy unless you do something she doesn't approve of, like fail to feed her fast enough, then all is woe.

heebie_geebie at 2014-12-15 17:13 (UTC) (Link)

Re: babies

They do look mournful! That would not have occurred to me. And I know exactly what you mean: there is something essentially Hawaii in her newborn features. It's much harder for me to see Pokey or Ace in their photos, although a little of it is there.

The resemblance between you and Ava is striking. And she's adorable.
puzzlement at 2014-12-06 19:25 (UTC) (Link)

I had two inductions, and both of them were like "oh, OK, if you're going to use chemicals let's get moving!!" Lousy babies that were just being lazy.
heebie_geebie at 2014-12-15 17:11 (UTC) (Link)
I was told that inductions made labor much more intense, but now I think that risk was overstated, or I took it too seriously and never revisited the thought. Or rather, there are a wide, wide range of experiences with everything. Your lazy babies are incredibly cute, though.
puzzlement at 2014-12-15 19:28 (UTC) (Link)
Obviously I have no good comparison point on intensity. And I'm not likely to try again. Even though data is great.

My first was a gel+pitocin induction involving dilating 5cm in an hour. So, intense. But my second was gels only, so nothing used to stimulate contractions and in theory more like spontaneous labour, and in that one I dilated 7cm in an hour. So, maybe that's just ME? In terms of what I have difficulty coping with, I'm different from you: pushing is fine (kind of fun), the half an hour before pushing is awful.

They are cute babies. Lazy giant induction babies that are born with their arms next to their heads have evolved to be cute and also good sleepers for survival reasons! (I wish they'd evolve to have less amazing voice projection.)
puzzlement at 2014-12-15 19:33 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, also, different hospitals are different I guess? For my pitocin induction they offered to start me an epidural before they kicked anything off. (I didn't take them up on it, and he was so nearly a failure to push that like you I'm not sure if it wouldn't have ended up in surgery.)
(Anonymous) at 2014-12-07 17:39 (UTC) (Link)

Argh! The stupid 5 point baby test!

Because I was elderly and (at that point) diabetic, O and I had to do that test 2x a week for . . . 6 weeks I think. And it was always the gd practice breathing that he was delinquent about. I would plead with the nurses to give me 10 extra minutes and he'd end up passing. I am anxious even thinking about it. -- oudie
heebie_geebie at 2014-12-15 17:09 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Argh! The stupid 5 point baby test!

Omg, you had to sit there twice a week for six weeks?! Good lord. Poor you. What were they going to do, induce you at 34 weeks if he didn't pass?!
parodie at 2014-12-07 21:11 (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting to see the progression. Is there anything you would go back and tell yourself during your 1st pregnancy? Or would you do it over the same way?

(So many cute babies!)
heebie_geebie at 2014-12-15 17:08 (UTC) (Link)
That's an interesting question. I basically feel like each labor and delivery is such a wild card, that if I were to go back and tell myself anything, it could spawn wildly unintended consequences.

I suppose the one thing I might say to myself is: your first labor is likely to be the hardest, so maybe get some medication. If you want to experience natural childbirth, a second or third might be a better one to test it out on. (But epidurals can lead to labor stalling out, so what if I gave myself that advice and it led to a c-section? And so I go in circles.)
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