Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Allow Me to Introduce Roxanna

It was two years ago this morning that my youngest, Roxanna, was born. In her honor (but mostly in the honor of Katie) I wanted to post what I wrote that day about the experience. I sent this out to a few of you, so some of you may have read this previously.


Katie woke me up this morning at 4:45 a.m. My first thought was that Katie was waking me up for "That's Cat," but then I realized it was 2003. That stupid VH1's "I Love the 70s" episode from last night was messing with my mind. Katie told me she had been awake for about an hour with some contractions that weren't horrible, but were strong enough they had woken her up. We called Margie the Midwife. Margie asked if we wanted her to come over to our house immediately. I looked up and saw Katie walking around the room. She was casual and witty and not burdened by the contractions. We decided Margie didn't need to come yet, but we wanted to let her know that something was starting.

We crawled back into bed, and actually fell back asleep. And when I say "we," I totally mean "me." Katie feel asleep, then woke up to contractions, then went back to sleep, then woke up for contractions, then went back to sleep. You see the pattern. At about 7:00 a.m. we got out of bed. My mom was making breakfast for the kids, and we were hanging out in the bedroom, working through contractions with Katie breathing, and me holding her, or rubbing her back, or letting her hang on me. I was also breathing, by the way, but it was more just out of habit. It wasn't necessarily benefiting Katie.

We worked through the contractions for a while - I would help Katie work through one, then run to get something done, then come running back for the next one, then run to get something done. You see the pattern. I started to notice my time for getting things done grew shorter and shorter, until Katie was leaving me practically no time to do anything, which is extremely rude and I mean to bring this up to her later, once our routine is back to normal.

I decided I'd time Katie's contractions to see if they were as close as I was thinking. And they were. A minute and a half long, only two minutes apart. They were right on top of each other. This usually means the Transition Stage has arrived, and then you start pushing. (And by "you," I totally mean "the mother.") So I told Katie how long her contractions were. Her comment was, "That's impossible. Look at me - I'm too chipper. I'm happy, I'm fine, I'm even a little bit sassy." She had a point, to be sure. But I called Margie anyway. "Margie," says I, "Why don't you come on over for the party. Katie's contractions, though not really hard yet, are pretty close, and I'm sure we're on our way." "Okay," she said, "I'm going to throw some clothes on and I'll jump in the car." I appreciated knowing she would be dressed when she arrived.

Katie had decided to go to the bathroom, and then she would venture out for some breakfast. I hung up the phone to go check on Katie, and as I did, I heard, "Keeeeeennnnn!" This was a familiar sounding yell. I had heard it at least three times before, with the birth of each of our children. I went running in. Katie looked up at me and in full confidence said, "I have to push."

Ah, nuts. I called Margie back and said, "Katie needs to push." I suppose I was hoping that Margie had a "Back to the Future" type car and would be able to arrive immediately, if not five minutes ago. Margie shot back, "Oh, tell her not to push." Thanks, Margie. Katie's on the brink of delivering, and I'm going back in with "Margie says not to push."

"Margie says not to push," I told Katie. Katie looked up at me like she was wondering when I had started drinking in the mornings. Then there was a large gush of water. Her water had broken. The expression on Katie's face was telling me this was IT. I had seen it before and I knew this was it. I knelt down and had Katie scoot to the edge of the toilet and lean back. There was the baby's head. Not just a sliver of it, but the entire top of the head. At this point, it seemed it didn't matter if Katie pushed or not, the baby was coming out.

Katie seemed calm, and I think more than anything, that is what helped me be calm. I told Katie I was ready and that she could push when she was ready. She pushed once and the head came right out, no problem. I put my hand on it to guide it out, and waited for Katie to push again. Katie kind of panted and re-evaluated the situation. I told Katie that it seemed the baby's shoulders might be a bit stuck. Katie stood up and hunched over my shoulder, and pushed again. The baby came right out into my arms.

Katie's mom stepped in with a towel and we wrapped up the baby and handed it to Katie, still sitting on the potty. I peeked under the towel and announced, "It's a girl!" Katie echoed, "It's a girl!" smiling and sighing. Katie looked beautiful and powerful and kind. She looked incredible. I had the camera right there, so I took a photo of her. It may be my most favorite photo of Katie ever.
I handed the baby to Katie's mom and helped Katie over to the bed. I set out some pads on the bed and she sat down. Katie's mom cleaned off the baby, and brought her over to the bed. She nursed right away, perfectly.

Margie called from the road, stuck behind a car accident, and asked if everything was okay and when I said we were great, she told me to go ahead and cut the cord. I clamped it, an inch from the belly button, then cut it. We cleaned everything up, got Katie something to drink, and sat in complete amazement at what we had just done on our own.

Margie arrived. She weighed the baby and checked Katie to make sure she was okay. Everything was fine. To me, everything was more than fine.