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At the Hospital

The big moment arrives...

A baby; Actual size=180 pixels wide

Nick's Birth Story....
On Thursday February 8th, one week before the due date of February 14th, our Valentine's baby decided to arrive. I got out of bed without any of the "you are going to go into labor" signs. Baby had not dropped! My body looked or felt no different. No loss of the famous MUCUOS plug (aka bloody show). I didn't frantically decide to clean up with a toothbrush the back of all faucets (no NESTING instincts). Psychologically, I felt no different either; no more energy than usual or feelings of couch potato. So, I went to my gym as I do every week. The gym offers from 11am to noon a class called "Moms in Motion: Fit for Two". We alternated on Tuesdays step aerobics and spinning on Thursdays. So there I was spinning away through my latent phase of labor. I was probably 4 cm dilated and felt some contractions but blew them off because I thought they were just the "FAKE" Braxston-Hicks contractions. I asked the experts in the class (i.e. the moms and not the pre-natal clueless ones like me) and all of them told me that I was probably not in labor or I would DEFINITELY feel the pain. I got off the bike several times to get drinks of water because I felt crampy but not really pain. We then lifted some weights and did a lot of squats. At this point, I was feeling a lot of pressure in "that" area but didn't think much of it.
I got home at about 12:30 and decided to relax a bit with my HYPNOBIRTHING tape. Thanks to Molly Gowen Groome and Harry, Mike and I decided to get trained in this child birthing technique. Basically the idea is to allow your body to relax so much and fill your mind with specific visuals that you don't feel the pain of the contractions. As they say, MIND OVER MATTER. Using this script which is kind of cheesy and very Yanni goes to Woodstock, Mikes voice is able to put me in a trance by helping me visualize an orange mist of anesthesia.
So there I was from 12:30 to 1:30 pm breathing in this orange mist of anesthesia as my body floated over the Pacific Ocean on a cool foggy San Francisco day. I meditated with the hypno tape on my bed and felt the contractions, but felt no pain. I then got out of bed to get into the bathtub and realized that I may be in labor because the contractions were pretty strong. I called Mike and told him that I may be in labor so not to putz around and come straight home after work. In the tub, I was again able to put myself in a trance and did not feel that the contractions were very strong. However, when Mike got home at around 2:45pm, I had gotten out of the tub and could not even hold up my blow dryer. The contractions were pretty strong and coming very fast. At this point, I think I was about 7cm dilated and realized that I needed to relax and go under or I was going to feel the pain. I kept asking Mike to help me relax and stay with me, but at the same time, I was telling him to hurry and pack our hospital bag because I was going to have the baby right then.
At around 3:30pm, my body started to shake uncontrollably and I started to get the hot and cold shills and I knew that I was in the transition stage, that my cervix was 8 to 10cm dilated. Mike got the car and as I was walking through the front door to get into the car, I got a pretty bad contraction, bolted for the couch and resigned myself. Mike came to help me and I told him that I didnt want to do this anymore, that it was too much (as if I had a choice at that point!) Somehow, I got in the car and it was the ride from HELL. I kept asking Mike to put the hypno music louder and to pull over when I got a contraction because I was feeling every bump on the road. And when the contraction was over, I would tell Mike to push the petal to the metal and drive fast. He kept telling me to relax and breathe in my orange mist of anesthesia, but all that I could breathe in was pain, anxiety, and the diesel fumes from the Muni bus that was in front of us. So at around 4 pm we finally pull into the ER parking lot, go up the 15th floor and got into the receiving room.
The nurse gives me a gown so that the doctor can check how far along I am. At this point, I was kinda of losing it from all the commotion AND I was going through my hot chills so I only wanted to be naked. So there I am, with a bunch of people: doctors, interns, residents even a woman that is waiting to be checked too (except she is only 2 cm dilated and peacefully reading a magazine). Then, the doctor says the most incredible thing I had ever heard: She says I AM 10cm DILATED!!! I was elated and couldnt believe it!! Actually, nobody could believe it: a first time mom, not being at the hospital way ahead of time, not knowing she was in labor.
Of course, this sets of alarms everywhere. Madness ensues as everyone frantically tries to get me to the delivery room. I dont even remember if I had a gown on enroute to the delivery room or if I had stayed naked. I only remember getting into the room to an incredible view of the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown San Francisco. Everything seemed very surreal. Then, the anesthesiologist came into the room as I was pushing on my side. With a heavy Eastern European accent, Mr. PUSHER MAN whispered in my ear if I wanted any drugs because I was going to be pushing for a while. I thought I was dreaming because I could feel his heavy breathing and soft touches through my hair. But then Mike stepped in and told him that we wanted NO DRUGS. I agreed but told him not to go too far just in case.
Anyway, my bag of waters was still intact after 40 minutes of pushing and the baby was still far from coming out. It was either stay lying down for a few more hours with little pain OR really go for it and allow gravity to help out the baby. You guessed what I chose! In a few seconds, my bed with stirrups turned into a squatting high platform (to be seen in the next James Bond movie). My water breaks all over this poor resident getting a closer peek. A few more pushes and then at 5:27pm baby Nicolas came out totally alert, totally calm, and totally drug-free!!!!
He went straight for the boob and since then, I have been amazed at this whole process of motherhood. Nicolas was born with a full head of hair (SIDEBURNS and all), a dimple of his right cheek, and large toes identical to his dad. The nurse said that he had a penis larger than usual, which made Mike very happy. I am so happy to be a mom and so LUCKY that I had such an incredible birthing experience.

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