Maggie was feeling awful. She was throwing up. Something had been going around and I think the stress of hearing me moan and groan every few minutes really affected her. At one point I was in her bedroom growling through a contraction and she was moaning into her trashcan. Rey's mom was on the phone to see how things were going and we asked her come over to help Maggie with her poor sore belly during the rest of the birth. We kept in contact with the midwives- and when I was at 5 minutes apart, my doula, Nandi drove down. It about 9pm. She checks me; I'm at about 6 centimeters. We fill the amazing birthing tub and I climb in. It is much like a hot tub, we kept it at 101 degrees. It felt great, I was breathing though the contractions… amazing. A few hours later my midwife is convinced I am really in labor and Dusty arrives at about 11pm. She checks and I'm at 7 centimeters. The contractions are more intense, and I can feel the baby dropping down… Rey got in the tub with me and I wallered around in the hot water for a few more hours. Breathing through the contractions, my midwives were impressed; the baby was just around the corner.
THEN SOMETHING WENT WRONG….I got out of the water for Dusty to check me again… and I felt really sick. I thought maybe I had what Maggie was dealing with… I threw up. Then I felt terrible pressure… pressure like I wanted to push, but I knew it wasn't time yet. I told them I felt sick, and the next contraction I had was totally different. It was like needles in my spine, like spikes in my vajayjay. I got back in the water like I was on fire and I was a different person. I was no longer relaxed or focused, I was a mess… screaming through the contractions and basically freaking out. I told them something had changed, although all of the doubt and guilt overrode those feelings and I just thought I was starting to give up… that I couldn't "handle" the pain. I mentioned drugs and maybe going to the hospital. My midwives made frowny faces. My perfect homebirth was slipping away. But I knew something was wrong, even if I was translating it into giving up. I made my way into the bathroom and declared in NO uncertain terms that I WAS going to the hospital, that I WAS going to get some drugs, that I COULD NOT have this baby at home. I didn't care about the disappointment, I was in severe TRAUMA. I threw on a dress and waddled out to the car screaming and crying… Tawny drove and Rey sat in the passenger seat… I was in the back laying down with a pillow. With the doula in front and the midwife in back we caravanned to UNM. I had 4 contractions in the car. Each time I pushed. I knew the pushing would not produce a baby, again, I knew something was wrong. I grabbed the handle on the car each time and screamed as loud as I could. In between contractions, I focused on the total silence in the car… Rey and Tawny were freaked out.
Hospital… ok. WHEELCHAIR! Good. Rey grabs the back of the wheelchair and starts RUNNING me through the halls at UNM, I am screaming for someone to help me. I was dying somebody help me NOW. We get up to labor and delivery and I grabbed the hand of every nurse around me and screamed… DRUGS. NOW. Somebody fucking help me. I had a contraction the minute they put me on a bed and POP, my water breaks. It's green. Green water. They jumped into action at that point. I didn't know this at the time, but the baby was in distress, and pooped inside the sack.. Meconium aspiration syndrome. Ok, SEE? There is a problem, give me the drugs. Emily, no drugs for you, you are at 10 centimeters, you need to push. Are you friggin kidding me? Ok. I will push. But I am fairly sure this baby is STUCK and I need drugs, but ok, I'll push. And I did. For THREE MORE HOURS I pushed. I pushed with the bar, I pushed with the towel. I pushed, and breathed and screamed and cried. Rey was my rock and continued to ask for drugs and glare at the nurses and staff who were not helping me. I stood up and leaned against Rey and tried to use gravity, I sat on the toilet… somebody's totally lame suggestion. Then I got on the floor in the bathroom and pressed my face against the cold tile. I had already threatened the lives of everyone in the room… and the nurse sees me on the floor and says… "She is on the floor in the bathroom, let's see about some drugs." WHAT? Now with the drugs? They gave me a little fentanyl in my IV and I felt my insanely tensed muscles relax a little. I could actually close my eyes for a minute between contractions. I pushed with every fiber my being for the last HOUR. Tawny had fallen asleep when we got to the hospital and the midwives woke her up and she came in the room. I needed her fresh perspective at that point. Rey had almost passed out a few times and it was crunch time.
It was snowing beyond the giant window in my delivery room. I had to pluck my brain out of my head… and do this thing already. I could almost see myself laying there… pushing… crying… Rey holding my leg back… Nandi giving me juice to keep me going. The next contraction came around, and after 26 hours of labor, I pushed for a solid minute. It felt like days. His head was here, the room was in a frenzy, he was crooked. I felt his head… and I pushed one last time… and he was born. December 26th 2008 11:45 am. There was a team there waiting to clear his lungs. Rey cut the cord and they rushed his little gray body off across the room.I'm a photographer, and all I wanted were amazing pictures of my birth. We had 2 still cameras and a video camera at home, set-up for the waterbirth. When it all went wonky, I didn't even think about bringing a camera to the hospital (heel, I didn't bring shoes!). I never thought in a million years we would be transferred. So, this is Jack's first picture. Taken on his dad's cell phone with shaking hands.I had pushed so hard my eyes were crossed, so I couldn't even see over there, but I heard him cry. I was instantly a different person again. I started to apologize to people, to Dusty and Nandi… to the nurses I had called morons. Rey was with Jack and after a few minutes they brought him over. They had to get all that poo out of his lungs, poor guy. He went into the birth canal slightly cocked, a little left of center, if you will. His head was turned to the left in the birth canal. I was told that 9 times out of 10 these deliveries ended in C-section. I was also told that if I had been at home when the water broke, they would have rushed me, via ambulance, to the hospital anyway. I didn't give up. I never gave up. Then there is Jack. All 8 pounds and 14 ounces of him. They kept us a day to make sure the meconium didn't cause pneumonia. I have no pictures of delivery; we left in such a rush we didn't take anything. I pushed so hard I burst capillaries in my face and EVERYTHING was red and swollen. Jack was perfect though. The midwives have been out to the house a few times for postnatal care and everything is great. I was put on bedrest, but didn't listen and have been running around the house being a proud new mama. Jack doesn't let us sleep at night, he likes to sleep all day and breastfeed all night…who can blame him? There it is. A little lengthy, but it needed to be recorded in detail for guilt purposes down the road.
A million THANKS to Rey for NEVER losing his cool, to Dusty and Nandi… to Tawny who did a million things for weeks before, during and after the birth.. to Rey's mom for caring for Maggie… and to Jenn who bit her nails from home during the whole ordeal.