Saturday, January 18, 2014

Rose Mary

Hello, little rosebud,
tiny soft sleeping flower,
whose coming wasn't soft or sweet or quiet
as you are now.

Those little wrinkled hands
lay still.
Those peeling white feet
must rest,
from all the banging,
all the combing,
all the prodding, searching, and fighting
you did while getting out.
And I too must rest,
must leave the world to whir without me
for I have been your cocoon.
And you have shed me to bloom.

Little Rose Mary Stevens made her way into the world January 15th at 10:50pm, weighing 7lbs 9 oz and stretching 20 inches long.

Powerful contractions began at 9:30 pm that night when, thank God, Phil was nearby to call Mama Mina and prepare for our hasty departure to the hospital. We threw last minute items into our bags, tracked several contractions, and then left around 10 pm knowing my mom would arrive at the house to be with Lee shortly.

We parked at the hospital, power-walked to the entrance, and rode the elevator to the second floor. "If I'm not dilated to 6 or 7 cm," I told Phil, "I'm getting an epidural." We checked in at the front desk at 10:15, signed papers, and walked to our triage room where I was asked to put on a hospital gown and wait. The lull was torture. I asked Phil for a barf bucket just in case, but this brought the concerned nurses back to check me. Only then did I remember to tell them I'd been 4 cm dilated and 75% effaced for the last 3 weeks. They then took my shaking contractions more seriously.

One quick check brought good news: 9 cm dilated. Call the doctor immediately; this baby was coming soon. An answer to prayer! I'd asked God to take the choice of epidural out of my hands. I didn't want to have to make that decision while in pain. Now I didn't have to. There was no time for choices.

They wheeled me to the delivery room where I transferred myself onto the delivery bed, promptly broke my water, and began pushing involuntarily. I can only liken this to that lurching urge felt right before you throw up. A tightness grips the stomach and the body does what it needs to of its own accord. I was no longer in control. I looked to the nurses for help, for coaching—I'd taken no child birthing classes—but they merely put an oxygen mask over my face, instructed me to breath, and let my body take over. I later learned that they weren't allowed to tell me to push because the doctor hadn't arrived on scene yet.

When baby Rose was crowning, Dr. Sara Soto arrived and put on her gloves in time to deliver the baby. "Well, Daddy what's the baby's gender?" Dr Soto asked Phil. Phil had the honor of announcing the gender and cutting the embilical cord from our shiny, rubbery-looking little girl.

Only after she was born did the nurses finish checking me into the hospital and fit an IV into my arm. Little Rose had all the guck sucked out of her, a procedure that is usually aided by a longer wait in the birth canal. I was sewn up and then our new little family, minus Lee, spent a few moments together, marveling at the baby's tinniness and the horrors of child birthing.

I'm thankful that everything went as it did. I'm thankful for the fast birth and the experience of labor. I'm thankful for family to watch Lee and pop into the hospital to see this new little wonder. I'm thankful for the lactation consultant, Rose Marie, who helped Rose Mary latch on. And I'm thankful that Philip let me squeeze his sweaty hand and kept composed while I was not.

Next time, however, sign me up for the epidural.