Her Vagina Has No Problem Cashing Checks

As promised over two weeks ago, I will tell you all about the labor and birthing process. It all started when Lisa boldly stated that she would have our baby during Week 40…She may have said on her due date but memories are fuzzy now…to which I responded, “Don’t Write a Check Your Vagina Can’t Cash” (the original title of this post)…Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, she did it! We have a lovely petite cutie pie born on March 3rd. Born only one day after her due date!

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When I started writing this entry, my idea was to go from start to finish…filling you in on the details of labor but I could not make that flow. I finally figured out why…my words on the labor and the delivery of our child are heartfelt not chronological…It was an awesome experience that I was able to participate in not just watch. Of course, I didn’t feel any of the contractions or the ring of fire but I was right there in the trenches. I wasn’t just handholding and doling out ice chips like you see in the movies. Like most things in life labor is hands on in the moment learning…No video or written word does it justice. That doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to share from my experience…

Here is what I learned about labor –

Labor is loooong…real long. It is not like no one warns you about this…because they do. You hear stories about 48 hour labors…but it’s kind of one of those things you do not fully “get” until you’re in it. Lisa started on a Sunday night didn’t finish until Tuesday afternoon. During the pushing when I could see the top of LA’s little head, I just knew that she was about to push right on out for HOURSsssss…You don’t think you have the strength or endurance but everyone becomes otherworldly with all of the adrenaline kicking…

Labor is exhausting…for everyone. Once contractions start even if they aren’t patterned, you’re a slave to their whims. You can cat nap between if you’re lucky but they come…they’re mighty and strong even to an observer…you both push through and then collapse again for a few stolen minutes. Early labor lasts so long that you’re exhausted from the physicality and sleep deprivation before active labor even starts. Lisa was pushed to the limits of exhaustion and physical strength but still she gave more every single contraction and push. There was a moment of calm when I held my overly exhausted wife’s arms as she squatted resting on her knuckles in the labor pool so she wouldn’t drown herself…She would drift off to sleep her face just about to hit the water before she would jerk herself awake.  She did hit the water once…after that I was arm locked around her. Our midwife made her get out of the water because she kept falling asleep on her hands and knees.

Labor is physical…Again, for everyone. I was sore the next day and in the days after like I have never been before (my back is still not right)…and I did not push a human out of the hole the size of a fruit loop. My arms, my shoulders, my back…oh my…contrary again, to Hollywood’s version of labor…it does not all happen on the back….there is standing, walking, sitting, squatting…from the bed, to the shower, to toilet (yes, toilet), to the birthing pool…We did it all. There were times when I was supporting Lisa’s entire upper body…and in the moment there is no pain just focus…On my part anyway, she WAS CLEARLY in pain. She pushed for four hours…most of which was on the toilet…we all piled in the small bathroom where Lisa pushed and then collapsed back on the metal pipes not even noticing until days later she had hit her head on the pipes…when it was time to deliver LA she pushed on the bed…and I held her right leg in the air and pushed her chin to her chest during that last probably hour or so…The strength that has to be exhibited in those moments is other worldly…

Labor is a group effort…from the moment we walked in the door we had an excellent team working with us. The medical staff and midwifery team worked together seamlessly which I’m sure is a benefit of the GW Midwifery  team being part of the hospital. We had a dedicated nurse, midwifery team, doula and a few other people from time to time.

  • Midwife – What I failed to realize until we were there in the throes of labor was that we would have whichever midwife was on duty. And the midwife on duty for delivery happened to be the head of the program, Whitney. Remember, how I said she was really intense and intimidating…Well I could not imagine having any other person delivering our child now. She was reassuring, amazing, patient, kind…there are not enough adjectives to describe her.  A midwife in training did the physical work of brining our baby into the world. She painstakingly applied a warm wet cloth and poured oil on so Lisa would not tear. She was successful too! Whitney stood by giving patient direction for each push and contraction. They really did create a warm and loving environment.
  • Nurse – Um our nurse was a bad ass…she even looked like it.  She encouraged Lisa and really was just so supportive. I have not often been in hospital settings delivering babies so I do not know if there is always one nurse in the room the entire time or not so I’m impressed whether I should be or not. The bonding that happens quickly in this setting is impressive…It was like we’d known her forever. When she had to leave the room or go on a mandatory break, her absence was felt. That’s how good she is at her job.
  • Doula – This was our kink.  You know things never go quite as planned…Well when I called our doula she was in another delivery…and our back up was unavailable as well…BUT Momease was able to find someone who was equal to the task. She came in knowing very little about us but that did not stop her jumping right in.  It was a plus that she was also a massage therapist because Lisa had a good bit of back pain. She was able to use pressure points to help alleviate some pain…I am glad we went with a group of doulas and not just hiring an independent contractor.
  • Others – We were there for a shift change so we started with a different nurse and different midwife team…they were great as well. They really were but they were not there for the big show…but they did watch over us and monitor Lisa and the baby during the wee hours of the morning. We also had a few visits from other nurses who were trying to assist with inserting a PIC line into Lisa which is mandatory upon admittance but Lisa’s veins weren’t having it.  She blew three…got stuck like 8 times…the midwife finally just said…she’s fine let’s just not do it. We also had a med student observe since GW is a teaching hospital.IMG_0410

Labor can be scary…for reals…Most of labor and delivery is natural and fluid…even though it doesn’t seem it at the time…you contract, you push, you rest…repeat. Lisa’s labor was no different but when our little girl came out…her cord was wrapped around her neck twice. My heart sank immediately…she was blue, she was not crying…it was the single worst feeling I’ve ever felt. As I stood there holding Lisa from that last push…I watch as Johnna carefully unwrapped her with Whitney standing by giving calm direction. I know this lasted only a moment but time went slowly…but when I finally heard that cry…I lost it…In the minutes before that final push I knew something was not right. I saw Whitney whisper to our nurse…but they remained calm and so did we…Lisa also had trouble delivering her placenta…as time passed and the placenta didn’t…that’s the first time I saw our midwife get serious. An anesthesiologist was called to insert a line and there was even talk of having to go in to remove the placenta…There was bleeding so more fear rushed over me as I held our minutes old baby. But our magical mystical midwife reached her WHOLE hand into Lisa and retrieved the placenta.

Artist rendering of Lisa's placenta...a little extra lobey...

Artist rendering of Lisa’s placenta…a little extra lobey…

Labor is beautiful…sure there are bodily fluids…things you can not unsee…but I was never grossed out or felt like it was all too much to see. Even as I sat in front of Lisa while she pushed on the toilet  I was there…I was up close and personal watching this miracle happen…and you don’t realize what a freaking beautiful miracle it is until you see a head coming out of a vagina…The human body is amazing…

Labor is natural…Lisa was determined not to use drugs or interventions during her labor.  A goal and/or desire that some thought she would feel differently about in the moment…because they had but she did it…Natural, No drugs, No interventions…her strength in those hours was amazing…There were times she told me/the doula/the nurse that she could not do it but she was already doing it…We each would reassure her that she had been and still is doing it. I saw my wife give in to the labor in a natural way letting her body guide her. Toward the end she would know when to push even before the monitors registered…She would say, “Ok guys, it’s time.” And she would push harder and longer each time…When she thought her back could not take it anymore…our midwife said the only way to stop the pain is to get the baby out…Lisa understood the goal and let her body finish the work.

I will never forget when I saw the hair on LA’s head peeping out (how’s that for graphic?). Our baby was about to make her way in to the world. I stared at those hairs for hours before she actually made her appearance…so I look at those little hairs that stand straight up on the top of her head with fondness…And during those scary moments as she lie on Lisa’s chest making no sound I forgot to look at her private bits…When she finally cried…I cried as I announced, “It’s a girl!” I was given the honor of cutting her cord which I think looks slightly like calamari…and was proud to do so!  Our midwife said as our little girl wailed her way into our hearts…”I’ve been watching souls come in this world for 40 years…this is a powerful soul…who is going to incarnate powerfully”…I cannot wait to see where this journey takes us…

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9 thoughts on “Her Vagina Has No Problem Cashing Checks

  1. Pingback: NaBloPoMo: July 2015 | Lez B Vegan Moms

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