Joaquín Santiago Barroso
Ever heard of a membrane sweep? It’s a super quick procedure your OBGYN can do when you are full term to help jump-start labor, IF your body is ready.
The doctor or NP basically sticks his or her finger INTO your cervix (assuming you are dilated at least 1-2 cm) and sweeps it around in a circle, separating the amniotic sack from the walls of the cervix. If you’re cringing at the thought of it right now, you should be. It feels WEIRD. I wouldn’t say it hurts per se, but it’s definitely not a fun experience by any means.
Oh and also, IT WORKS.
I had a membrane sweep at my 39 week appointment on Wednesday, September 9th, probably around 4pm. By dinner time I was feeling menstral-like cramps, and by the time Camila went to bed the cramps were defined enough that I could time them. Donovan and I went to bed assuming we’d only be getting a few hours sleep.
WARNING: TMI ahead. J
Around 2 am I woke up, after a few hours of sleep where my mild contractions made their way into my dreams, to what felt like my water breaking. I jumped up (as fast as a 9 months pregnant woman can jump up – imagine a turtle stuck on its back) and when I got to the bathroom I realized it was actually a pretty decent sized gush of blood, which freaked me the eff out. I woke up Donovan to update him and went downstairs to call the hospital. The doctor didn’t seem too concerned, seemed to think it could be a side effect of the sweep combined with going into labor, and said to start timing my contractions and come in when they are 511 – 5 minutes apart, lasting at least 1 minute each for at least 1 full hour. Well, I had been hearing enough stories about 2 nd babies coming fast, some even in the car, that I chose to fudge my contraction timing chart and go ahead and go in. I texted my mom all the updates (by now it was about 2:45). She also insisted that she come right over (to stay with Camila) and that we leave for the hospital ASAP. We left for the hospital at about 3:20am and I was having steady contractions the whole ride there.
We arrived at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis probably around 3:45am and while we were checking in, my contractions all of a sudden got pretty close together and much stronger. The nurse behind the desk noticed and got someone to take me back right away while my husband finished checking us in. They got me on an IV and checked my dilation – I was about 4-5 cm and my contractions went from bad to worse. I believe this is when the screaming kicked in. My poor husband was trying to rub my head and speak sweet nothings in my ear, and my response was to slap him as hard as I could and told him to get away from me. I heard him go “Ow…” and I instantly felt guilty. I think I will always feel a little guilty about that, even though he seems to have forgiven me.
By the time they transferred me to the birthing room I was 8 cm dilated and 5 minutes later I was 9. My contractions had also escalated to excorcist-like proportions. I was screaming louder and harder than I every have, writhing in my bed, biting and scratching anything near by. In between contractions I asked Donovan to please not speak to me or touch me during a contraction, so he felt pretty helpless watching me go through this. We were both amazed at how fast this was all happening – by this time it was probably only 4:20 or so – only an hour after we left for the hospital. Thank freaking god we left when we did.
So you are probably wondering by now, as was I, where the F my epidural was. I was begging these people, “ I need an epidural NOW. Like RIGHT NOW. GIVE IT TO ME! WHY WON’T YOU GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL?!” and they would say, “Its coming sweetie we just have to wait on your blood work. Just a few more minutes. Don’t worry, it wont be too late, its coming.” I feel bad because for the first time I think ever, I was blatantly and purposefully rude to people. I staring moving my hand like I was mimicking talking, and was like, “Yea yea yea you guys say all these nice words but you’re not actually doing anything!” Then a contraction came that made me feel like I was going to literally be ripped apart and die. I think I even screamed out, “HE’S GOING TO KILL ME!!!!” My body took over and I couldn’t NOT push, even though they weren’t set up to deliver yet and the doctor wasn’t there. I just bared down. A nurse asked, “Are you pushing right now?” I yelled, “YES I have to!” and she grabbed my leg and lifted it up – I was laying on my side gripping the railing – and was like, “Oh, there’s baby…Ok if you feel like you have to then just push!” All of a sudden my water broke, just likein the movies, a huge GUSH that went everywhere. This is the part that Donovan says freaked him out the most. It was like it just POPPED. I barely noticed, I just screamed once again, “I NEEEEED AN EPIDURAL NOOOOOOW!” and what she said back was my worst fear – “Sorry hun, there’s no time for an epidural, he’s coming NOW. You need to push.” They paged the doctor and pulled over the equipment and I just started pushing through the contractions, which honestly made them a lot more bearable.
After popping a few capillaries in my eyeballs and face (which I didn’t notice until much later), thenurses and doctors got all encouraging, saying his head was right there and to push down harder. The feeling of a baby’s head actually coming out was later described to me as the “ring of fire” – and it could not be more accurate. That shit BURNED. What made it crazier was I guess Joaquin’s shoulder got stuck. So there were a few pushes where only half his face was out and he wasn’t moving – or breathing. Donovan told me his face and head were completely purple. The mood in the room changed and all of a sudden one of the nurses jumped ON TOP of me, straddling me backwards, and her and the doctors told me to just push as hard as I could and not let up – meanwhile, this nurse started pushing on my belly HARD, literally pushing the baby out, while the doctor had her hands in me and was pulling – holy crap that was intense, but it worked and he came out at 4:56 am. He wasn’t breathing so they didn’t give him to me right away, but after a few minutes he let out a cry and proved he was fine.
Another sucky thing about no epidural is that all the pain that comes AFTER childbirth – delivery of the placenta, sewing you up, massaging your insides, inserting a catheter – yea you gotta feel all that too. Even though they gave me a numbing medication (i.e. a NEEDLE in your VAGINA) it didn’t mask everything.
While the nurses were doing what they do and Donovan was taking pictures, I heard them comment on how heavy he was. I also heard comments like, “How did you fit inside your mama little man? She’s tiny!” When they finally got him to the scale I was mindblown when they said he was 9 lbs 3 oz (and 20 inches long)! That’s almost 2 whole pounds more than Camila weighed (she was 7 lbs 8 oz, 18.5 inches long). Based on how big my belly was, people would comment on how he would probably be a big baby, but I shrugged it off thinking, “Yea I was big with my daughter too and she was tiny so it’s fine.” Its not even like he is really all that BIG – he doesn’t have rolls on top of rolls or anything like that – he’s just DENSE.
And did I mention the bruising? Not on me – on HIM. Poor baby’s face was completely bruised due to him coming out so fast and being relatively big. He also developed a terrible newborn rash on day 2 that Camila never had. Poor little dude!
|Poor baby's bruised face|
When they handed me my baby it felt so surreal. Kind of like it was Camila all over again, but obviously different. I tore my gown off so he could lay against me, and I just closed my eyes and breathed him in, enjoying the feeling of his raw skin against mine. I can’t really say it was thisoverwhelming feeling of love – that came a little later when I really got to relax, look at him, and take it all in – this feeling was more one of satisfaction, relief and tranquility. I felt so relieved that it was over, that he was OUT and the pain had stopped, that I could finally see his little face and his head full of hair (yay!). And I felt especially grateful and relieved to have my amazing husband by my side – he handled the whole ordeal amazingly.
|Camila meeting her baby brother|
After about an hour or so, after everything was cleaned up and I was put back together a bit, the nurses thought I should try to get up and pee. Donovan and a nurse very gently helped me up, but as soon as there was weight on my right leg, there was a shooting, sharp pain in my groin that made it so I couldn’t even take a step. It was literally impossible. I was almost in tears all over again. It was even a struggle to get me back into bed and when I finally was, I just lay back in defeat. The nurse seemed very concerned and asked if I had heard a pop during delivery – that’s a worrisome question. I hadn’t, but she seemed to think I had maybe broken a pubic bone. After trying to use a bedpan to pee (I say ‘trying’ because I had lost the sensation of a full bladder) they had to intervene manually (this is where the above-mentioned catheter comes in). They also ‘investigated’ a bit and changed the ‘broken pubic bone’ theory to ‘hemoglobin’, which is some sort of large bruise-blood clot thing they thought maybe I had that was providing the pain and inability to walk. Fast-forward a bit through this boring part of the story, after a normal looking Xray and a full day of using the bedpan to pee (even though I lost the sensation of having to pee, I could meditate enough to will the pee to slowly trickle out – lovely I know), Donovan and I realized that the pain was the Symphasis Pubis Dysfuntion pain that I had during my pregnancy, except 10x worse due to just birthing a 9lb baby. Duh. I don’t know why it didn’t click earlier. Some people with this dysfunction have to use a walker to get around, so the nurses brought me one and told me I was probably looking at taking the walker home, as well as physical therapy and bed rest. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think using a walker and bed rest go well with raising a TODDLER. I really lucked out though because after a decent night’s sleep that night, I was able to get t o the bathroom using the walker. And the next time, I could do it by walking solo. All of a sudden the pain was MUCH more manageable, and now, 4 days later, I’m up and moving around completely fine (as long as I’m hyped up on Percocet ;) ). I can’t explain HOW RELIEVED I am to have dodged that bullet.
|"On the lights" - phototherapy|
is a treatment for jaundice
Anyway, a few hours after the birth we were transferred to the mother/baby room where we would stay for the next 4 days (thanks to jaundice – we had the exact same experience with Camila). The timing worked perfectly because as soon as Camila woke up my mom was able to bring her down to meet her baby brother – she was enamored. We have the whole thing on video. After family visiting Donovan was able to get a decent nap in, and I did the best I could. I drifted in and out of sleep, in between text messages with friends and family and updating on social media – something I was way too excited to do.
So that’s it. We had dinner, put our daughter to bed, had a baby, and were done by the time breakfast was being delivered (although we were spoiled by my sister and Kurt coming to visit before leaving for work and bringing Chick Fil A ;) ). I definitely can’t complain about the quickness of the birth. But man was it painful. And recovery is still a very real part of childbirth that gets underestimated. Oxycodon is my friend. When it wears off it feels like trucks are driving over my insides, I start to limp from pelvis pain and my stiches feel like they’re gonna burst. But we are already almost a week out and it gets better every day J
We ended up staying in the hospital for 3.5 days because Joaquin’s bilirubin levels were too high to send him home. Basically, he was jaundiced. We had the exact same situation happen with Camila so we were kind of expecting it. Camila stayed with Nana for two nights, and she did so amazingly well, but we both missed her terribly even though she visited twice a day so Donovan went home to be with her for the rest of the time. I did a really great job of not letting it agitate me too much and just used the time to rest, drift in and out of sleep, and relish in the quietness that wouldn’t be there once I got home. Donovan and Camila also got some much-deserved bonding time.
|Ready to go home!|