Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Child Is Born

He has arrived!


Meet Maxwell Logan Waterstraat born July 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 9 ounces (so much for ultrasound estimates) and was 20 inches long. He is perfect in every way possible. The way he got here – not so perfect. But it’s true what they say – the minute you see your child, you forget it, all of it, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

The day before I was going to give birth I knew it – I felt totally off, crampy, achy, irritable. Your body knows. The next day, sure enough, I started leaking amniotic fluid at 6 am. Only 8 percent of women have their water break. Water breaking is not such a good thing unless you are already in labor. When it breaks, you have 24 hours to give birth because of risk of infection because the membrane protecting the baby gets ruptured. Great, if you’re having consistent contractions, not so great if you’re not. If you’re not, they need to speed it up so you can get that baby out. The only way to do that is through Pitocin. I was very upset about this. I know what Pitocin does and what it can do. I know it likely leads to c-section if things progress too quick or the fetus gets stressed out. I did not want a c-section. I did not want to be induced. I wanted to give birth, not have surgery.

But everything needed to move more quickly now. There was no time to wait. I was moved to a laboring room, I was given an IV and Pitocin. I labored with Pitocin contractions for about 5 hours. I felt things and made noises that I did not think were possible. I could focus on nothing but the pain. No amount of breathing, relaxing or pounding my fist made it any better. Except shouting obscenities. When I finally shouted MOTHERF*CKER I think Chris laughed, did you just drop a mofo bomb? A few hours later, a few more cuss words later, I got the epidural. When the nurse told me I could expect another 6 hours of laboring as they increased the Pitocin so I could dilate enough to give birth - I ordered in the anesthesiologist. Let me say this – Pitocin contractions are nothing like exercise pain. I felt like I needed to shit an elephant out of my ass and that elephant was also marching on my spine. It was more intense than anything I have ever felt. Once the epidural was in, I felt nothing and could finally relax.

When I entered the hospital, I was still only dilated to 3 centimeters. A few hours later I was at 4 centimeters. After the epidural, I got up to 8 centimeters. The doctor told me I should be fully dilated in another 45 minutes so they wheeled the delivery table in – that’s when Chris and I looked at each other and said this is really happening!

But then something happened. First, I stopped dilating even after another 45 minutes. Then, I had a contraction that lasted 5 minutes which stressed Max out so much that his heart rate dipped below 60. You get 6 minutes below 60 before your life is threatened when you’re a baby.

I was given oxygen and by the time my mind caught up with what was going on, I was being rushed at high speed on a gurney into the OR for an emergency c-section. All I remember is watching the lights whiz by above me and stopping in a sterile, bright room looking wide-eyed and feeling more scared than I’ve ever been in my life. Chris wasn’t there. I couldn’t talk. I was surrounded by white lights and doctors in blue scrubs.

In the OR, the doctor then monitored Max for a few minutes and his heart rate returned to normal so I returned to the room to continue laboring. I was told that I could deliver normally. Chris was still standing there, looking a little shell-shocked. He never got into the OR. He stood in the room telling the doctor she doesn’t want a c-section. The doctor told him it wasn’t a choice now, the baby needed to come out alive.

5 minutes later I was back in the OR because Max’s heart rate dipped again. I was scared and had so much adrenaline that my entire upper body was shaking uncontrollably (because the lower half was blocked by the epidural). My view of birth was a blue sheet in front of my face. I kept wondering where Chris was and then turned to the door to see him standing there in scrubs and a mask. He looked confused, concerned. I tried to tell him with my eyes that I was so scared. He came over to me and rubbed my head. I wanted to cry. This was not how it was supposed to happen. This is not how I wanted my son to enter the world.

I could hear the doctors. It all happened very quickly, I was cut open within a few minutes and moments later, Chris, looking over the blue sheet that hung in front of my face, shouted oh god, he’s out!

The next thing I heard was crying – from Max and from me.

Chris went to cut the cord and sounded so happy. I remember him coming back over to my head and saying I love you so much, Elizabeth. I can’t imagine how it must have felt for him to see them cutting open my stomach and pulling out a baby. He told me I was brave. I felt like a failure…

The worst part was not being cut open or feeling tugging, pressure and pulling as they did it. It was having no control, no choice and not being able to “give” birth. The next day I remember saying to Chris that I felt like I DNFed childbirth. I didn’t even get the chance to push. You have to get to 10 centimeters before you can start pushing. I’m not saying that I regret still having my vagina in tact (I win!) but I regret not knowing birth the way it was intended. Then again, I’m not sure any of us know what is intended for us.

Because I was shaking so bad, I couldn’t hold Max for two hours. The longest two hours of my life. All I wanted to do was hold him and feed him. Something very instinctual kicked in. It took them 30 minutes to get my arms to settle down so they could get a blood pressure on me. When they finally did, I was able to hold Max. In that moment, it’s true what they say – you forget everything.

Everything.

I have never felt so much love for something. I looked at him wondering how it was possible that together Chris and I created something so perfect. He was the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. He looked just like a mini version of Chris with beautiful Asian eyes, round cheeks and a full head of dark hair. I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my life with them both.

After recovery, I was taken to the mother baby unit and already had visitors! Everyone said how beautiful Max was. I was sure I looked like hell. I felt like hell. I just had major abdominal surgery. I was given an IV, I had a catheter in from the epidural, I was on all sorts of pain medication. Before this I had never even been in a hospital for more than an asthma attack!

That night, I was woken up every hour for something; pain meds, anti-itch, vitals, breastfeeding. The IV bag would beep when it was out, the clock was ticking, and I had the most awful itchiness (drug side effect). I fed Max every time he woke up – but like most babies on their first night, he slept a lot. I slept maybe one hour.

At 4 am I remember two women came in to change me. I realized how major the surgery was when I needed help walking to the bathroom and once I got there, they had to do everything for me. I hated the feeling of being helpless. I was fearful of how I would set out to care for myself, a dog, a business, a house and a baby once I left the hospital. I wanted to cry.

The next day, things settled down a bit. I was coming off the pain meds and allowed to “eat” fluids. I had eaten nothing but ice chips for 36 hours! (once you are in labor, no food in case you need to get anesthetized). We settled into being parents; assuming my role as milk machine, Chris assuming his role as supporter. Taking every quiet moment we could to talk, to rest, to breathe. We roomed in with Max because I wanted to get to know him. I know a lot of moms have the baby taken to the nursery and then have the baby brought in for feeding only. To me, something about that didn’t feel right. I waited so long to meet him – I couldn’t wait to start being his mommy! Not only that, but it forced Chris and I to learn to work together for how to care for Max. This has been critical so far. And, also agreeing that I don’t expect Chris to be superstar dad just like he doesn’t expect me to be perfect mom. We are going to make many mistakes – together. And that is ok.

I could write more about how much I hated being in the hospital for its restriction of movement, the uncomfortable beds, being poked and touched for days. Or how every night I woke up in the dark replaying in my head what felt like the horror movie of the operating room. Or how I passed on the extra day so I could be released on Monday – finally! Or how I walked around a hospital room in nothing but a sports bra and mesh panties with a pad so big it felt like a diaper (this was not sexy). I could tell you how I have the thighs of a 300 pound woman right now after being given about 10 IV bags. Or how the first time I went to the bathroom on my own and saw a stomach that still looked 6 months pregnant I almost cried. Or the 20 staples along my bikini line that made me look like a spiral notebook. Or my horror when I realized my vagina had returned within sight but looked like someone pounded it puffy with a meat hammer. Or how after not crapping for 5 days I finally got the urge at 5:43 am while nursing (and yes, I brought that baby into the crapper and continued nursing). Or that when I cough I feel like my insides are going to fall out. Or how when my milk finally came in on Monday I walked out of the bathroom, flashed Chris and he said “you got the boobs you always wanted.” Or how I am prone to exploding into tears at any moment because of dropping hormones. I’m a mess – in every sense you can imagine, physically, emotionally, mentally. But if I wasn’t, I’d probably wonder if I was human at all.

The past 5 days have been a whirlwind of dark moments, joy and pain. But all of it has brought to me the most amazing person I have ever met (next to my husband) – my son! And that is why women do this over and over again. Anything worthwhile in life comes with a cost – a huge cost of pain, emotion and brings you to the edge of something so raw that it changes the way you see life. Yes, life has changed. Like everyone said all along, it has changed.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So here we go – one journey ends and another one begins. Motherhood. And like life before it, I am certain it will be filled with many highs and lows but a hell of a lot of laughs. Ready or not, here we go...


(I didn't have to pay money for those!)

47 comments:

Emily W said...

Oh wow. Congratulations, Liz. I am glad everyone is happy and healthy now. Max is a doll! I hope you can enjoy some rest and recovery. Take care!

Karen said...

Oh my goodness, he is beautiful! You had me crying tears of joy for you. Congratulations!

~ Jill said...

Congratulations! Max is gorgeous. Enjoy this time finding your new "normal"!

keo said...

I am so happy for you! I cried reading your story. Wonderful. It brought back so many memories, many I had forgotten - good and bad (like the shaking and the itching).

You will be up and running in no time. It is hard to imagine but I can barely see my scar (from 2 c-sections) anymore and everything is back to normal (except I have an extra inch on my waist that will never go away). But yes, for a couple months coughing is a bit of a problem!

Jennifer Harrison said...

Oh I had to walk away a few times from your blog post b/c I was getting all teary eyed! I had heard the stories as you and I chatted via email these few days, but it is soo amazing, isn't it? DO NOT feel like a failure b/c of the c-section, just like in life, there are things we can control and things we can NOT control...all that matter is max and you are healthy!


What a great next chapter in your lives! Precious are the times ahead for sure - and you will realize, not much more matters than your family. And, sometimes we all need to be reminded of that.

See you tomorrow - looking forward to it. I will bring the PADS.

:)

TriBret said...

Congratulations! He is so cute! Hope you and Maxwell are sleeping well.

The Mommy said...

Congratulations! Welcome Baby Max! Thank you for sharing your birth story, for allowing a peek into your first days as a young family.

Hoping that everyone is enjoying the "getting to know you" phase.

PS-hold a pillow against your stomach when you cough or laugh, the discomfort goes away after a few days.

Lindsay said...

Congrats!! I've been following all your posts and was hoping you wouldn't have to go the 42 weeks in this heat. When Lorraine posted that Max had arrived on Facebook Friday night, I was so excited for you guys - and he is adorable! Congrats on becoming a mom!

Spokane Al said...

Wow - as always your attention to detail in your writing is amazing, and I must admit, much of it made me pucker up.

Congratulations on the birth of your healthy son.

I believe you will be a spectacular mother.

Wes said...

When Dee Dee went into the hospital to have our first son, we were hoping to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section). I was traumatized, literally when took her into the OR for a c-section. It was so overwhelming. Very much like what you and Chris went through. Our second son was just planned c-section. It went much much smoother for me :-)

Congratulations again to the whole family. You and Chris will be wonderful parents, and Max is one lucky kid.

Angela and David said...

Your whole story made me cry. Except for the fact that my water didn't break and I was 10 days over due - our stories are very, very much the same. I fought the epidural with the petosin contractions for 12 hours before I gave in - those induced contractionst are brutal and there's no break - and was 9 centimeters dilated when Zach's blood pressure dropped and they were giving me oxygen and gave me a shot of something in the ass. I also had the shaking and remember being strapped to the table and thinking I was a failure. David says it was the most horrible day of his life but somehow I remember it as the best day of my life.

I know I've told you this before but if you have any questions in your recovery, ask away. Even after all of that I'm still planning to do it all again for number 2. I'll complain a lot but I know it will be worth it.

Barb said...

He is beautiful!!! Congratulations. It sounds like you are having all the normal feelings of a new mom.

My 'little' boy is now 19 years old, 6'1" and a triathlete on the Ohio State triathlon team and it feels like I just gave birth to him last week.

It all goes by so fast...so enjoy every moment.

Molly said...

It's a good thing that the labor is not the reward for the pregnancy. I'm so sorry it did not go well, but the good news is you still get to enjoy Max forever after. And he IS gorgeous!

Katie said...

Oh my gosh! I'm soo happy for you. I'm sorry it had to happen the way it did. You look great.

He's beautiful. I can only hope to have such a gorgeous little guy in three months.

Shevaun said...

Congratulations on your beautiful, healthy baby boy. You are a winner in every sense of the word and will have a quick recovery, I am sure. Have fun with being a mom.

Cy said...

LIZ- You are simply amazing. I'm so happy for you and Chris. What a great team.

...and you're right- Little Max is simple perfect.

CHEERS!

Drew said...

Congrats to you guys, he's adorable!

-Drew

cherelli said...

OMG your labor story nearly made me cry, thankyou for sharing, I am so pleased for you and Max is perfect exactly as you say! Sure, c-section may not be what you wanted...but most certainly NOT a DNF...enjoy your new life as a Mum!!

lisaappelson said...

Mazal Tov!! I was pointed to your blog due to the best tri blog awards and was captured by your motivation posts. It was right after you became pregnant so I've followed your entire journey. Beautiful baby!

Kim said...

I'm tearing up at this story.. so real, so amazing.. so happy for you both that you were there for each other even though it wasn't quite the way you wanted. You have a beautiful new baby boy and I know you'll be a wonderful family for him for the rest of his life! Man.. that was just plain cool to hear all about!

TriGirl Kate O said...

Nursing boobs are the best! It's the aftermath of nursing boobs that incur expense to fix....

What a gorgeous portrait of Mom and baby. Congratulations again!

lisa said...

Congrats congrats congrats!!!

Your blog again had me laughing thru my tears!

You didn't DNF, you succeeded in growing and birthing a perfect baby! (besides, in a few weeks, you'll think, "that wasn't so bad; i think i could do it again..."!!)

Enjoy every second, they do grow up too quickly!

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

Motherhood is so hard, so many new things, so many expectations.

Just focus on one thing: you are awesome, don't forget it. You are marching into this thing eyes wide open, and you are so wise. Enjoy the journey!

Suzanne said...

Motherhood comes to each of us in different ways. I never expected to be an adoptive mom, but I am, and my love for my child is just as fierce. Now, I wouldn't have it any other way. Vaginal birth, C-section, natural, with drugs, adoption. The end result is the same. You did not DNF, your son is here! Look at it this way, you'll be able to tolerate being on your bike sooner than if you had delivered vaginally....
Of course, though, I gotta ask, are those boobs aero?

Wytosk said...

oh my congratulations!!! From just another local-ish athlete who loves your blog, THAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BABY! you ain't kidding! Thank you so much for the awesome record of the journey - enjoy!!! :)

Erin

jennabul said...

Congrats, to you and Chris. Thank you for sharing your birth experience. It was wonderfully written, as usual. MaxMax is beautiful =)

Karen said...

Beautiful

Like others I laughed and cried in your blog... So many CONGRATULATIONS to the three of you....

I'd I'll hear none of this DNF business... I mean seriously woman.... WTF! YOU DID AMAZING!!!

X-Country2 said...

CONGRATS!!! He's beautiful! (And my hospital has the exact same foot blanket. :o)

You totally captured the feeling of a c-section. I bawled all the way to the OR saying "it wasn't supposed to be like this". You're also totally right that it passes once you see that perfect little face.

Marit C-L said...

Congratulations Elizabeth!!! I am SO happy for the three of you guys. The Elephant on the Rectum had to be one of the funniest things ever. ;) Thanks for being so honest in your post, it makes those of us that don't have kids appreciate what you went through all the more. Sending lots of hugs and love to you guys!

Audrey said...

Welcome, welcome baby Maxmax, we've all been waiting for you. And congrats to mom and dad. He is gorgeous!!!!!

I too, had a c-section after a traumatic 48 hours in labor....you know!

I looked at it this way. If I would have had my first in the early part of the 19th century, I likely would have died in childbirth. I am grateful for modern medicine, though I am not fond of the "smirk" left on my lower abdomen. Did VBac the 2nd time.

Delighted that everyone is safe and healthy..

Beth said...

What an amazing experience (in a good and bad way...)!! The smile on your face says it all though. So, so happy for you guys. Congrats - you are an amazing woman and will be an amazing mom!!

Andrea said...

I started to get teary-eyed reading this - and I'm at work!!

Wow.

Elizabeth - that's just ... wow.

In a good way - wow.

GoBigGreen said...

Crack. Me. Up.
Not Max, he is as cute and lovely as can be.
But enjoy those puppies:)

lastchancetraining said...

Congratulations Liz - from another Liz! I read your blog but don't often comment but today is a special one.
Well done!

Benson said...

Yeeeeeeaaaaaay!
Congratulations.
Wow, what an epic ordeal.
I'm so happy for you that all's better now and your world seems so right.
Max is beautiful and your girls suit you.

Mary IronMatron said...

He's a gorgeous baby, Elizabeth!!
You know, I'm sure many moms would feel this way, but as I read your post I relived having my first baby (my baby who is now eight and hounding me to get her a blueberry muffin as we speak...)
My birth went pretty much exactly as yours did... right down to the looking in the mirror after struggling to get out of bed with that m-f-ing incision and seeing I still looked six months preggers. (That swelling goes away in a few weeks of heavy night sweating--no worries.)Congrats to you. That OR is so scary--so so so scary. The shaking I had too--and I think it has to do with the spinal tap or something--many women I know had it--the shaking so violent you literally can't hold the baby.
I'm so glad Max is okay and so are you. xo CONGRATS! Welcome to the other side!

Mira (Ivanovich) Lelovic said...

He is beautiful! I LOVE the picture of Jen with Max and Boss on FB. You can tell she could care less to have Boss on her lap, but the baby is natural for her.
I have a friend who CHOSE to have a c-section. That thought never even occured to me, but there really are advantages (like you don't have to spend 48 hours in labor waiting for it to happen!). She didn't want the other area getting all stretched out, torn, and sewn back together. You're incision will really be almost invisible. Those women who say they wore home their size 2 jeans are liars! There is no way, vaginal or c-section.
Enjoy your little angel. And by the way, nice boobs!

Jes said...

Congratulations! He is absolutely adorable! I'm sorry that everything did not go as planned; I cannot imagine going through that. The important thing is all of you are doing well, and I am so happy to hear that! Congrats again!

amy said...

congratulations!!!

Melissa said...

Your birth post made me really tear up Liz. Beautiful.

Stacey said...

Congratulations Liz!! I've been reading your blog for about two years now and hardly ever post ;) I just wanted to tell you that your description of childbirth and how much you love your baby is so REAL - and while I have been going back and forth about whether or not I want kids (leaning towards no) - you are the first person to ever write anything that makes me WANT to do it - and that says alot considering everything you went through ;) thanks for being so honest and real and for being so HUMAN for us all ;) you are the best!!! Congrats to you and Chris and Max!!!

Amy said...

Congratulations. I'm friend's with Melissa Schwartz and hear some of your updates via her. I'm 33 weeks pregnant and this entry helped with what can be expected in delivery - even if that means it's unexpected. I even teared up a bit.

Max looks like a real peanut. Congrats again.

sllygrl said...

You do not know me, I found your blog because someone posted it and read your birth story. You and I had almost the exact same birth story and you said all the things I was thinking at the moment they were happening to me. I never wrote a birth story for mine because it was too traumatizing, reading yours, and completely knowing where you are coming from was surreal. DNFing childbirth - that's exactly what it was... I'm glad he's healthy - I'm glad mine's healthy regardless of the way things panned out- good luck to you!

Alicia Parr said...

Oh my Elizabeth. Thanks for sharing your story. I read along and was pissed on your behalf, then livid, then cried, then so grateful that perfect, little Max is in your life now.

Side note on the big difference between the birthing center/ midwives I used and the hospital. I literally leaked aminiotic fluid for days before I went into labor. I told the midwife about it at my final appointment and all she did was use a little piece of paper to test if it actually was amniotic fluid(it was) and then say that I'd probably go into labor within a few days. No panic, no pitocin, no other stuff. Of course, then I got 30+ hours of unmedicated labor, so I guess you get what you get. So long as you ALSO GET a healthy baby out of the process, it works out and is so worth it.

Congrats again. Although I'm still mad at the medical field for putting women through the kind of experience you had. It happens all too frequently. Remember that YOU didn't fail, YOU didn't DNF-- it's the system that failed you.

MtngirlinCali said...

Congratulations, Liz! Max is beautiful...you did it. I think almost everyone regrets their birth experience for one reason or another, but the bottom line is that Max has arrived safely. If you second guess yourself or the care you received on his birth day, you need to also consider that he may not have made it. So, certainly not a DNF in my book. Sounds like you hit the podium. :)

Try to enjoy the next few weeks. You will never imagine how tired you could be or how in pain things are....but even the vajayjay will return to its original form and things will start to work themselves out. I look forward to reading more about Max!

Kate Parker said...

Congrats, Mommy. He's gorgeous.

And you're right on those pitocin ctx. They are awful, just awful.

PCR said...

Congrats to you - kid of steel here we come. Good luck with you new race