Friday, May 16, 2008

My Baby Story

So I promise not to make this blog all about my baby. But...

(and you don't have to read it if you don't want to)

People say I had a pretty crappy pregnancy. I'm not so sure but it never hurts to accept a bit of sympathy now and then. I feel lucky really. I was nauseous for a few weeks and exhausted but I never threw up (I hate throwing up more than anything).

I got my energy back just in time for all the holiday stuff (Bust Craftacular, Handmade Arcade, selling a whole bunch of screenprinted yeti tees between Thanksgiving and Christmas, buying and wrapping presents, and decorating the house, that sort of thing).

Then all of a sudden I started to get itchy. The itchy turned to hives -- big, fat, welty hives all over my torso. Since I was pregnant, there was little I could take. They said Benadryl would dry up the amniotic sea. The Zyrtec knocked me out. This lasted for weeks. My midwife said it was PUPPPS. My dermatologist called it something else. Aaron and I somehow figured out it was a soy allergy. So what does a vegetarian eat when she's allergic to soy? Time for the first learning curve.

After getting the rash to go away, I failed the Glucose Tolerance Test and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Since I weighed about 108 lbs. before getting pregnant and was pretty active, this came as a big shock. It's all in the genes, they say. So what does a vegetarian with gestational diabetes and a soy allergy eat? Time for the second learning curve.

So anyway. I got all that under control. I kept my glucose levels low and started walking tons. Everything seemed manageable. Despite the fact that I was retaining water like the Hoover Dam and stuffed like a sausage, pregnancy wasn't all that bad.

We had an ultrasound at 36 weeks and learned the baby was measuring small and the fluid level in the amniotic sea was normal (the two big problems associated with the diabetes are big babies and high fluid levels). But we were still told that if this kid didn't come on her own by our appointment at 39 weeks, they would induce.

That meant some nasty drugs I wasn't comfortable putting in my body. First some pitocin cocktail surely followed by an epidural and then who knows what complications would arise because of all of this. Yuck. I know people do this all the time. I'm not judging those who do. But we're pretty chemical free around here: few medicines, few processed foods, mostly organic and non-GMO when we can afford it.

Luckily, Zadie shares our beliefs and popped herself out at exactly 39 weeks. (I'd also like to thank Claire of Atlas Chiropractic for her adjustments and acupuncture.)

My water broke around 12:45 a.m. and the contractions started some time later. When they were about 5 minutes apart, we headed for the hospital, car seat and suitcase in hand. We got to the hospital and were in our room by around 4:30 a.m. My midwife, Betsy, wasn't due in for another 3 hours so aside from the steady stream of nurses testing me for this and that and asking a million questions (mostly the same ones), Aaron and I were alone in the room. Most of the time I worked through the contractions by holding on to him and sort of hanging there and swaying from side to side. We also spent a lot of time in the shower.

Finally the midwife showed up at 7:30 and checked us out. At 8:30 she said I was at 6 cm. That meant about an hour of work to do until we got to 7 cm then after that it would be really fast. She went and told my mom we had about 4 hours left to go.

Again, Zadie had other plans. We were in the shower around 9 and I felt the need to push. For some reason mom was in the room so she went to get Betsy for us. I started pushing in the shower and decided I did not want to have the baby in the bathroom so we dried off and got checked again. No one seemed to believe us that the baby was ready! Betsy was shocked. She told me to reach down and feel my baby.

The nurses were taking their time getting all the equipment like the cool transparent bassinet and the warmer ready. Betsy told them, "We are having this baby now!" and everything stepped into high gear. No one expected it to happen so fast. At 9:37 it was all over (or, better said, it all began).

Our baby weighed 6 lbs. 13 oz. and is 21 inches long. She is beautiful and I love her and I love my husband who is the best dad ever.

We got the birth we wanted -- quick, with no pain meds and no pitocin. I got to hold her bloody gooey body immediately and Aaron cut the cord after a few minutes. I didn't think it was possible for this to happen. I read too many books and had too many people tell me to expect things might not go smoothly. So I did what I could to counteract that -- with only a few stitches to show for it.

And now that it's all said and done I have to say that if it had happened any other way I'd be just as fine with it. All you really need is a healthy baby.