Birth announcement

Here’s the announcement a hypothetical mama might send:

The Naptime Writing Family blissfully welcome Hazelnut Nutella Naptime to the world! He made his entrance March 23 weighing 7 pounds 3 ounces and measuring 19 1/4 inches. Mom, Dad, Peanut, and Hazelnut are all doing well and can’t wait to get to know each other.

But here’s the announcement a hypothetical mama really wants to send:

The Naptime Writing Family joyously announce the arrival of Hazelnut Nutella Naptime! He reluctantly joined our family March 23 after 41-plus weeks of gestation and 47 hours of labor. His mama made it through 41 hours of unmedicated labor and arrived at 10 cm dilation just in time to pull a muscle in her back. She lost all ability to cope and sobbed for two hours about acquiescing to an epidural. Hazelnut’s ginormous melon was facing posterior and get stuck under mama’s skeletal structure, so five hours of pushing wasn’t enough to get him to join the air-breathing lot of us. Mama Nappy’s doc offered several unacceptable options and Hazelnut got forced into reality with heroic pushing and expert, though traumatic, vacuuming.

Unfortunately, that mode of birthing left mama in shambles, and she bursts into tears every time someone says, “well, at least he’s healthy” or “you’ll heal” because she knows that and really wishes you’d say something supportive instead of dismissive (unless you, too, are currently sporting more than two dozen stitches in your lower body, twenty pounds of active volcanic rock on your upper body, and have made it seven days on approximately 20 hours of sleep).

Mama and Hazelnut are resting at home, where Peanut is as sweet as can be to his baby brother, and as terrible as he can be to his parents. Hazelnut is perfectly delicious, opinionated, and ravenous. His doting family are surviving just on nips of his sweet breath and heavenly sounds and hoping things get a bit easier.

But we’re not holding our breath.

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The big lie of prodromal labor

[Update almost 18 months later: a lot of you are coming here after searching for ways to progress prodromal labor. The secret is to WALK. A lot. Even if the neighbors have to hear you bellowing in your loud, low, open voice. And sleep when you can. I couldn’t. Read on…]

Oh, man.

Here’s the thing about having contractions every three minutes for 24 hours…if they go from lasting 30 seconds to lasting 45 seconds and then don’t progress any further, some person of questionable character will call it false labor. Not stalled or taking its time labor. False. (Technically, nobody I have talked to called it this, but the books and these here insipid interwebs aren’t afraid to…)

Let me tell you, oh reader, there is nothing fake about it. I still can’t talk or walk through these so-called false contractions. And I’ve still been awake for 24 hours dealing with what we in the natural labor game like to call strong rushes every 3 minutes. But the extra special good part? No progress. Doesn’t count. Still have all of active labor and transition and second-stage and third-stage yet to go. Maybe in a few days, they say. A few more days of strong contractions every 3 minutes.

Remember how we all joked that this baby couldn’t POSSIBLY as much work as Peanut?

Hmmm. The Office of Mandatory Looking on the Bright Side would like to remind me that this extended, healthy labor might, in some lights, be better than lolling around feeling way too pregnant because it is at least something different than being convinced the baby will never come out. Fortunately that Office is closed today.

[update, months later…intense contractions 3 minutes apart for 24 hours were a gift. They only lasted 30-45 seconds so they taught me to cope with the longer contractions. I labored 24 hours at home before I hit minute-long contractions. Those took 4 hours to come every five minutes (the typical “go to the hospital” frequency), which is when we found I was 7 cm. Tub, walking, tub, walking…7 hours to 8cm. 5 hours in transition to 10 cm. Posterior at the last minute, pulled a muscle in my back. 5 hours second stage. 1 hour stitching. Just shy of 48 hours total. That is totally not false labor. And, after the 41 hours of first stage, I can tell you the prodromal felt the same as the transition contractions…just shorter.]

At least someone values my labor, even if the exchange rate sucks.

Peanut was playing with his Chrismakkah tea set today. (First night present. There are ten days of Chrismakkah because that’s the maximum number of token presents we feel like wrapping.)

I noticed he had spilled water on the floor. “Oh,” I said. “You haven’t cleaned that up. Would you like a towel?”

He walked across the room to the coin purse his uncle gave him. He took out a penny.

“Here, Mommy. I pay you do it.” He offered me the Lincoln.

Well, that is how it works. Sigh. I took the penny. “Okay.” And I cleaned the water.

He looked at me, evaluating. “You keep that money, Mama. I give it you, you earn it.”

True dat, little boy. Now hand over the $1.224 million you owe me for every other minute of cleaning up after you.