My son’s recent birth was in a Costa Rican public hospital, a far cry from my daughter’s natural home birth. I still can’t believe I gave birth in a third world country, especially under free public care, but thankfully Elijah Josias’ birth went smoothly, despite my frustration with a handful of routine hospital procedures. I wrote this post as I remembered it, in notes form. It just made more sense to me. I certainly wasn’t thinking in flowing, gorgeous prose as I labored. Here goes…
Contractions begin Sunday night 2 nights before Elijah’s arrival; cramping pain that occasionally wakes me up.
Contractions Sun. night from 4am kept me awake. Get on all 4s in bed and sway side to side to get through. Stay in bed and try to rest.
Walk around town after breakfast with Husband while his mom watches Summer Elizabeth. Go to park. Sway hips side to side holding onto fences when contractions start. Passerbys must think I’m out of my mind. Pick up coconut water on the way home. Contractions somewhat regular between 5-8 minutes apart.
At home contractions continue, not too intense to handle. Holding Husband’s neck like a slow dance and leaning over kitchen counter to sway helps them to be bearable.
Nap while lunch is prepped. Lunch. Husband urges me to go to hospital, as contractions are 3 minutes apart. They don’t feel bad yet, so I shower in deliciously scalding water. Being on all fours feels awesome with water beating down. Wash hair because likely won’t for awhile. Agree to head to hospital. Pack remaining frozen items in cooler and put Summerbeth to nap with Abuelita babysitting. Leave house.
Bumpy, but fast drive. Only 3 contractions en route. Arrive and dropped off outside ER. Wait for Husband to park car and sway like a pitiful slow dance gripping the filthy rain downspout while onlookers ask if I’m okay or need a chair. Pace the area and suffer alone through more contractions than during the entire 20 minute drive.
Check out that line! No wonder Husband hardly made it to my bedside before baby came.
Husband arrives, ushers me inside ER, asks guard where to go, what to do. Suitcase (hospital bag) rejected for being too big. Can’t take it inside. I am whisked immediately to exam area while Husband waits outside in long line with my paperwork. I put robe on backwards per nurses advice, contract again & dilated to 9 cm! Nurse takes all my belongings and eyeglasses and stuffs them in a plastic grocery sack. I’m blindly led to new “maternity” bed with pink sheets & told to lie down as Husband arrives. I’m rolled through hallways like a spectacle, hissing “Sssss” through halls and up elevator holding husband’s hand.
New nurse examines me, not letting Husband come in. She breaks my waters. Too much pain to say no. It hurts. Forced to lie on back for I.V. with saline solution. I don’t want it but they insist per hospital protocol. Bummer.
Told to warn nurse when need to push. She leaves. Warn almost immediately using half words half crazed pain-faced gesturing. Whisked away to room with 3 huge spotlights and bed that sits up almost like a chair, the best option to hands and knees birthing position, which I’d written in birth plan (ignored). Made ME move from pink sheeted bed to birthing bed by myself. Ouch! Nurse promises to give me baby immediately. Told to push while holding breath. Not wanting to, but obliged to make the whole thing happen faster. Ouch again. Baby’s head out in about 3 pushes, body next. Relief!
Can’t see, ask for glasses from Husband, but supernaturally saw the baby slide into Dr.’s hands & be carried to washing area ( I asked Husband to confirm when he handed me the glasses. It was indeed a miracle!) Baby with nurses an unusually long amount of time, though Apgar scored 9 both at one and five minutes. 6 pounds 10 oz.
Beg for baby. Beg more. Baby comes, crying and cute. Take smartphone pics of Husband with baby and he of us. Nurse stitches me up with local anesthetic, much less painful than birth. Ouch. Nurse jokes about next baby. I ask her about her own next baby. She laughs. Give me Pitocin in 2 doses. Bleeding stops as I’m stitched.
They make me switch beds again and wheel me back into the I’m-about-to-give-birth area and feed me a substantial beef and veggie picadillo. My bed doesn’t sit up, so I’m forced to sit up of my own accord with no propping. Not super comfy, but I’m grateful to God for a healthy son, healthy body, and doting husband that make everything alright.
Of course, there’s more to the story of my 24 required hours in the hospital, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.