I started to try to comment on this post, but my words turned into the best version so far of a story I’ve been trying to get down perfectly for two and a half years. This is how my Doodle came to be.
I’m one of those crazy homebirthers, and luckily hubby and I agreed on just about everything from day one. We found our midwife, got all of the plans and preparation in place, and focused on growing that babe in my tummy. We were even kind of silly about ultrasounds, we wouldn’t have had a single one had my midwife not at one point thought my Doodle may have been too big to just be one Doodle, so other than just a brief check to rule out twins, we didn’t know boy or girl, estimated size, any of that. Pure surprise in every way.
So we go to bed about one in the morning June 4th when I’m about 35 weeks. We always went to bed late, I was on my indefinite maternity leave and Jake worked evenings, so there was never an issue with such late nights. I wake up after about an hour and a half, and something’s obviously happening, but I must just be crazy, we’re no where near ready, so I **try** to go back to sleep for at least another few hours until Jake will get up. Well, I had to keep getting up and down, in and out of the bathroom, my water didn’t exactly break, just kind of, um, yeah… So after another four hours of my husband *kind of* sleeping, me sincerely jealous of all of his heavy breathing and occasional grunts, he finally gives in to my incessant ups and downs, and asks what’s up.
We call our midwife, don’t have anything ready, no pool set up or anything, I’m only 35 weeks! She comes over, checks me out, I’m in labor. My options: we go to the hospital as he’s “preemie” on paper, and for his and my safety, as well as her licensure, it would be better in the hospital, or since we were unsure of how pregnant I really was (huge disagreement my WHOLE pregnancy about my last “normal” cycle), we could go with my feeling of the length (funny enough, I thought I was five weeks further along… do the math real quick and think who just might have been right!) and she would rewrite my ENTIRE chart just in case we had an emergency and needed a hospital. So she got to work on fixing the chart, got her husband to bring the pool, and hoped I had a long enough labor to actually fill the pool.
Hahaha, long labor…. so we get a whole party there later that evening, her two assistants we’re fantastic! Things progress, pool’s ready, Jake and I are exhausted, but we can do this! Awful back labor, intense contractions, midwife trying every homeopathic trick to speed up this labor. FINALLY around one the next morning we’re ready to push. I’m BEAT! We push for about an hour, and I see no end in sight. I’ve got nothing left. And then his heartbeat starts to get faint. I’m barely holding on, and we could be losing him.
We book it to the hospital, oh my lord that car ride was SO.DAMN.UNCOMFORTABLE! Get to the hospital about 2:30 am, they don’t even check me. 45 minutes and still no one has asked us anything or done anything after they shoved us in the maternity triage. Then a tired doc comes in and says we’re going to start c-section prep. Um, no we’re effing not. So we take about another hour arguing over how this baby is going to happen. Luckily, they’ve FINALLY put a monitor on him and he’s perfect, not even stressed that the doc’s not listening to mama. I, on the other hand, have been in labor now for nearly 26 hours, I started trying to push about three hours ago, and I want nothing more than a healthy baby and some rest. But he’s not in distress even a little bit, my vitals are fine, there’s no emergency for an emergency c-section other than her desire to go back to sleep in her on-call bed. We finally convince the doc to give me an epidural, let me rest an hour, start pushing again, and try. At that point, if nothing has happened or if at any point mama or baby are showing any signs of distress, cut me open and save the babe!
No one there that night save me, hubby, and my midwives had any idea the power a woman has at times like this. Just like I said, after the epidural, an hour of resting, and a restart of contractions with pitocin, I pushed another hour and a half, and gave birth to my perfectly healthy (perfectly 40-week) baby boy! Judas Nikolai, 6:18 AM, June 5th, 6 lbs 13 oz, 19 1/2 inches. He came out sunny-side-up, technical term posterior, with a giant head, which helps explain why it was so darn difficult to push him out. He was perfect, amazing, everything I thought he’d be and nothing I could have possibly imagined. Jake and I were amazed at the realization of what had just happened, proud of the life we had just made, and completely humbled by the overwhelming beauty that had just joined us.
You’d think my story would stop here, and I thought so too… until the epidural started to wear off and I tried getting up to go potty. I stood up and fell straight down. Nurse comes in, she tells me that the epidural meds might still be lingering, so it might affect how I can feel my legs, but by now I should be able to walk just fine. We try again, I fall straight down again. She helps me hobble to the bathroom, I do my business, and she helps me hobble back. They’ll help me try to get up again in just a few.
So a new nurse comes in, the last very sweet and helpful lady has gone home. This new bitch-nurse tells me to get up, stands near me as though she’s there to help support me, and just stands there while she watches me fall straight down again. She says to me, and I’m not even a little bit exaggerating (I will never forget this horrible awful lady), in the most condescending tone I’ve perhaps ever heard, “You just stand up and walk, just like you always have.” I stand up and try again, fall. “Seriously, there’s no reason you can’t walk. Just stand up and move your legs.”
I tell nurse to leave me be, I’ll walk when I can, for now I have a new family that needs attending to. Maybe send a doctor in who can help us figure this out. I lay down, my right leg is working just fine, moving every which way I tell it to. But my left leg, it’s like my brain isn’t saying anything to it all. This giant lump of leg with no apparent purpose or ability. Doc comes in, I’m sitting up with my legs straight out on the bed. She tells me to lift my leg, nothing happens, she tells me again (as if I didn’t hear her or something) to lift my leg, nothing happens. She calls in a neurologist.
Femoral neuropathy. My femoral nerve was apparently squished by my hip in that abhorrent position that docs put you in while you’re delivering in a hospital. Thanks for that. The nerve would eventually repair itself, but it could take upwards of six months to a year. Joy. I learned how to walk on crutches, learned how to use a knee stabilizer, and scared the crap out of myself going up and down stairs. They wouldn’t release me from the hospital until I passed all of their little tests, but after three days I was an absolute pro with those crutches. Good thing, too. I wasn’t able to walk without them for another two weeks, and my leg was still giving out fairly regularly for a good three or four months. Still to this day my leg buckles once every few weeks or month or so, and I’m terrified of falling on the stairs so I have a death grip on the rail. But for all intents and purposes, I’ve been just about a hundred percent since.
I remember trying to get Doodle in the middle of the night that first night home, my leg was making just a little bit of progress, and I could walk so long as I had something to hold onto the whole way, so I thought I’d be fine without a crutch. But when I picked him up and tried to hold onto the chair in the middle of his room (there was seriously an obstacle course around the entire house so I always had something to grab hold of), the chair tilted, and down came mommy, baby and all. We were just fine, but it scared the hell out of sleeping Jake in the next room over.
He came rushing in to check on us, and told me I was not to carry Doodle by myself unless I was sitting so long as I was still having this much trouble with my leg. I’m so stubborn, but this one I totally understood and followed. My amazing sister stayed with Doodle and me while Jake went back to work the first few weeks, so we didn’t have any more scares.
To this day, my Doodle has been (and will seemingly continue to be) a constant reminder to me that I can plan and want and look forward to anything in the world, but, more often than not, a plan has nothing to do with the way things will actually happen. And that’s ok sometimes.