The morning after Herman's arrival I woke up with cramps again. The entire morning I kept saying "Maybe the baby will come today" or "I think he definitely wants to come out". I was determined to keep going and be as active as possible until I absolutely had to get to the hospital. Herman wanted to do some shopping, so we took off for the shopping center to find him some clothes. We came back around noon to baby-sit my cousin's daughter. By that time I knew that the cramps were not going away. It was about that time that they started to become regular with spaces in between. I started timing them and they were 5 minutes apart. I still was in denial that I was actually in labor though. So I sat in the living room, watched TV and watched the watch. The reason I was in denial that I was really in labor was that last time we thought I was in labor and went prematurely to the midwife's clinic and then we were stuck there in pre-labor with me not progressing at all. So, this time I wanted to be sure that I was really in labor before we got in the car.
At some point I got on the computer and my contractions stopped completely. It was very confusing, but I went with it. I was without contractions for about an hour and then they kicked in again - 2 minutes apart. My grandmother had been bugging me all morning about going to the hospital, so when the contractions came back at 2 minutes apart and they were much more intense, I gave in. We got everything ready for the hospital, we packed a bag, got water bottles and towels for the way in case my water would break and then we took off for the hospital. We had a 30 minute drive ahead of us. Luckily, it was Saturday, so there was no traffic to hold us up. It was hard to be in the car with the contractions for so long, but they still weren't excruciating, so we made it to the hospital without me yelling and screaming. I was so nervous about the labor this time I told Herman that if I am only 4 centimeters I am going to consider having an epidural. He was supportive of that.
When we got to the hospital we checked in, they had us fill out paperwork and then they checked me. I was at 4 centimeters. So they admitted me and sent me up to labor with the midwives (for those who have uncomplicated pregnancies and are not having their first baby). When I got up to the birthing room I met my nurses and my midwife. She asked me right away if I wanted any kind of pain medication. I asked her what she was offering and what her medical opinion was. I explained to her that I had Yaheli without pain medication and that I would like to go that route again, but because of my last experience I would consider having an epidural. She told me that she does both medicated and unmedicated births (homebirths) and at that specific hospital there are no good options for laboring naturally. Once your water breaks they confine you to the bed, there are no birthing balls and they freak out if you use the shower. I told her why I didn't want an epidural (because it can end up complicating things more). She told me that she doesn't like for her patients to have epidurals if it is their first birth because of the same reasons, but she is much more comfortable with patients who are on their second or third birth having an epidural. The longer I talked with the midwife about having an epidural, the more comfortable I felt having one. I feel that it was 60% her outlook and professionalism and 40% the pain that settled it for me. I wouldn't have been comfortable with just any doctor or midwife.
At that point my dad came in to the room. I was trying to cope with the pain then and having him there made me really uncomfortable. I didn't feel like I could move around freely. Not only that, I was hooked up to I.V.s and monitors. I was beginning to see why the midwife said it was difficult to have a drug free birth there. She said at one point that her daughter had her baby at home and the only reason she made it through was because she could dance around the house the entire time. She also said that she believes part of the key to having a drug free birth is distraction. Well, try being distracted in a sterile birthing room with wires coming from every part of your body. So, we ordered the anesthesiologist and I was really happy when he arrived. He was my new best friend. I am sure that he makes a lot of friends on the maternity ward!!! He had a whole speech about what can and does go wrong sometimes. I am sure that no one really cares at that point. If you really want to know . . . educate yourself beforehand and make the decision beforehand. It's not the kind of decision that should be made when you are in so much pain.
So I sat there, holding on to Herman while he stuck me. I have heard stories about the huge needle. I have never seen it and I wasn't about to look then. I don't really want to know what he stuck in my back because I am sure that I would regret it. When the epidural kicked in I had what they called a "hot spot" - I had feeling in one little spot toward the bottom of my belly on one side. It was still very painful just in that one spot. So we waited for a while to see if it improved . . . it didn't. So he gave me more drugs, twice. I was feeling it toward the top at that point. I am sure I was slurring my speech and I was ready to fall asleep at any point. Honestly, I was afraid if I fell asleep I wouldn't wake up.
The midwife then broke my water. I was about 5 cm. She said that she felt me dilate quite a bit just after she broke my water, so I am sure I went to 10 cm within a couple of contractions. She left me though because she wanted to wait until my body started to push the baby out on its own because I was so medicated. She suggested that I take a nap, but I was still too afraid to fall asleep. So we waited for a while until I started to feel really intense contractions. I felt them right where I had the hot spot.
Then they brought in the nurse, the baby nurse and we started it push. It was really hard for me to push because I felt close to nothing. I am sure that it went much slower that it would have without drugs. After pushing for about ten minutes the baby's heart rate began to drop. They turned me from side to side to get his heart rate back up and then the nurse told me to push really hard with the next contraction to get the baby out. The midwife said, "no, we are going to have her push really slow and see how the baby does for a bit." So I pushed and followed her direction when I felt a contraction come on. The baby's heart rate dropped a bit, but not as much as the first time. After another 15 minutes of pushing this way the midwife said, "okay, I'm tired of this (the baby's heart rate going up and down), next contraction you're going to push hard and we will get the baby out". So I pushed and the baby crowned. She stretched the perineum and I pushed the shoulders out. Then the midwife said to Herman, "did you see that?" he nodded and I asked what they were talking about. The umbilical cord was up over the baby's shoulder and stretched really tight. So the heart rate was explained. The midwife slipped the umbilical cord over his shoulder and pulled him out. She then cut the cord and handed him to me.
He was a dark baby with dark hair . . . just what I had hoped for. We still didn't have a name, so he was still just "baby" at that point. They weighed him (he was 7 pounds, 3.6 oz. and 19 1/2 inches) and checked him out right there and then left him with us for over an hour. We just stared at him and held him. He nursed pretty well after a while which was something that Yaheli didn't do for several hours. We let my dad back in the room (he had been kicked out when they were going to uncover me for the delivery). We took pictures and made phone calls. The birth had been so easy; it was as if I hadn't given birth at all. I was in labor from around 1PM - the baby was born at 11:35 PM with just 35 minutes of pushing. I had no stitches because the midwife managed the delivery so well. I was so happy and so thankful to have such a wonderful birth. It was truly the exact opposite of my experience with Yaheli.
We didn't come up with a name until 30 minutes before the birth certificate office closed the day before I left the hospital. We chose the name Yoash Haran. We are calling him Yosh (the O is a long O). We both have like the name Yoash (Joash from the Bible) and thought that Yosh is a cute nickname. We chose Haran because it is one letter different from Herman in Hebrew. Herman is a family name and is also Herman's dad's name. Traditionally Yosh would also be named Herman, but this posed a problem for us. Neither Herman nor I like the name Herman. So we tried to come up with something Hebrew that was close to Herman, either in sound or in meaning. We both liked Haran but thought it was too heavy for a baby, so we made it his middle name.
Yosh is a great baby. We can't figure out if it is him or just the fact that we are more confident as parents this time around. We have had to be out almost every day since his birth running errands to try and complete all the medical and political bureaucracy we need to finish before we leave the country. He has been so good for us. He sleeps most of the time and only cries when he is hungry or has gas. He only wakes twice a night and every night it has been at the same time, so he is predictable. I am falling more and more in love with him every day!!!
Recovery has been rough because we have been out of the house every day. I haven't really had time to rest since I got home from the hospital. It's good that the birth was easy, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to do what I have been doing.
I hope that you have enjoyed this journal. I have enjoyed writing it. Thanks for coming on this journey with me!!!
7 lbs, 3.6 oz.; 19 1/2 inches
June 16, 2007