December 10, 2010 (the a.m. hours)

Hi, friends. I promise I’ve been wanting to set my typing hand (there’s a fun fact: I type with one hand) upon this keyboard and update you on Lu’s arrival. As you may know, unexpected events have limited my availability & energy.

On the eve of Lucy’s due date, steady, measurable contractions set in. Coach Ry used the timer feature on the iphone to time them & the time in between each one. Man, he was good. As they became 3-5 minutes apart, I contacted my midwife & was advised to tough it out until I didn’t think I could withstand the pain. So, for about 3.5 hours, I attempted to eat dinner & relax in the tub. Coach did my toes up real nice–he knew I was embarrassed to expose my footsies to anything that could see.

Finally, around midnight, the pain was grossly outrageous. I wanted to avoid being sent home if I had not surpassed the two centimeter mark with dilation. Coach overruled this decision & we loaded up the car to journey out to the hospital.

When I arrived, I was certain I had died. You know, what most people claim is true: childbirth is not a party. Not that I thought it would be, but WHOA DANG. The pain conflicted with my initial desire to go 100% au natural. After being examined & learning that I was 6 cm dilated, I began to think that 4 cm and pushing was unendurable. Not an overstatement: It kinda was. I started inquiring more about pain relief only to learn that my options were practically non-existent. No epidural because the anesthesiologist¬†¬†was busy in a c-section. The other drugs might be available if I had yet to reach 10 cm, so the next step was a quick exam. My mind was in a tizzy–obviously because of the pain–but also for the fact that what I had adamantly proclaimed as my birth plan (a natural birth) was now casually tossed aside.

The exam settled any decision that was lingering; being 10 cm dilated, it was time to push with only the help of Coach and my mindset. Being stubborn & watching The Business of Being Born the day before I delivered influenced my decision to go natural. I admit that to being fortunate to have the ability to decide how I would deliver Lucy; some women do not face this option for reasons beyond their influence and some women are unaware that they have a voice when it comes to how their labor & delivery is managed. I knew a natural birth was a feat I could handle & I believed the experience would enhance my connection with my body & Lucy. Umm, “true” to the first idea; I’m unsure about a heightened body-mind connection.

At 2:30 a.m., the call to PUSH was heard. Pushing is a coordinated effort among all parts of the body. Want proof? Heinous, broken blood vessels below my eyes. When a contraction subsided, I would almost fall asleep. When a contraction came, I tried to talk myself into letting it pass because pushing hurt too badly. Ha. Ha. Ha. That is a ridiculous idea; when the time to push arrives, you have no choice–just hold on tightly, hold you breath, & grit your teeth.

Those are really the only “shareable” moments; if you’re interested in learning more gritty details, just ask. I’ll share what I loudly announced to everyone in the hospital & how I nearly caused Coach to need a neck brace.

3:55 a.m. brought us Lucy Joy Teeter. And some complications. Some heavy duty complications. Lucy came out purple. Immediately, my midwife yelled “Meconium, meconium.” Nothing during the delivery was indicative of meconium aspiration (when a babu inhales their stool during birth). The nurses rushed Lucy to the warmer. Her cry was muffled and brief. Within two minutes, Lucy was carted out of my room to the special care unit. What I had longed for the most–to have Lu on my chest as soon as she was born–did not happen. The ache in my heart was what I could not handle. Not knowing what Lucy looked like or felt like in my arms…this was now etched into my birthing experience. Worst part? Not knowing her fate while knowing there was nothing I could fix.

The severity of Lucy’s condition called for a transport to another area hospital with a Level 4 NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Visits from hospital specialists made me cry unstoppably as I was told about her status & why she needed to leave the first hospital. Nothing relieved me of my pain. Everything came with a tone of caution and concern. No words of optimism were overtly expressed. It was the worst pain I have felt. Ever. It made me delusional and made everything around me incomprehensible.

My world was disconnected.

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On Monday I had an awkward moment. After teaching 5th graders, there was one lil’ boy I wanted to address personally, so I pulled him aside for a 1:1. While informing him that I was disappointed in his behavior, but knew he was capable of making better choices which I would look to see him do by the day’s end, I felt like I had peed my britches. I frantically ran for the bathroom & scared a beloved student of mine.

Was incontinence the new addition to my life? I fretted. Majorly. Then, I started wondering if this “sensation” was amniotic fluid. I dismissed that thought because I am easily excitable and was not interested in thinking it was “go” time for Lucy Joy when it was only a falsie.

This discomfort continued through Tuesday. I shared it with my mother. She freaked out. She was certain my water broke & was able to convince me that I needed to go to the hospital (after calling four times).

Let’s talk about about fret being multiplied by 8907796547. First, we had no labor bag prepared. If you are privy to the status of my home as my husband finalizes the remodeling project on our bathroom (which looks fantastic), then you might be more understanding as to why I haven’t packed. That fact, coupled with a slight bit of denial, kept the labor bag low on the priority list. Second, I didn’t feel ready. No, 40 weeks of a baby brewing in my uterus had not prepared me to accept that it was time to release it.

After shoving our lives in to bags (4 total), we traveled to the hospital. After 2.5 hours of testing & monitoring, all was well. There was a faint leakage of my amniotic fluid, but my fluid levels were quite healthy. The best part of the visit was the ultra-sound to detect my fluid levels. Why? Because we got to see Lucy! The last time we saw her in action was @ 19 weeks. Twenty weeks later, she’s still stubborn. She refrained from sharing a frontal view of her face, but she compensated by shoving her foot in her mouth, yawning, and sticking out her tongue. I loved it & so did the technician–she couldn’t stop narrating her every move.

Tomorrow marks 40 weeks & day #2 of maternity leave. The birth plan is complete, our bags are (finally) packed, and my mom comes in to town.