Friday, February 13, 2015

Back When I Was A Birth Coach.......

Back in November, my niece turned six and I said that in honor of that I was going to write down the story of the day she was born from my perspective. Since she was born, that story has provided my family with lots of laughs and to this day it’s still just as traumatizing for me. I didn't want to ever forget that story either. 

Kalynn is a special little girl. She’s the first baby in our family since me, so needless to say, she is both spoiled rotten and stole my thunder right out from under me. I won’t lie, every once and awhile I still get a tinge of jealousy when I realize that I am no longer the baby, and I’m also no longer the only girl. I grew up in a family full of men and I was the definition of daddy’s/grandpa’s/brother’s girl. I got all of their attention, protection and love. And I didn't hate it. I say I get a little jealous, and of course I mean that in jest. I know their love for me hasn't changed (how could it, really?) and in all honesty, I wouldn't want to share the spot light with anyone other than Kalynn Ann. She was perfect from her head to her toes from the minute she fell out of her mother’s vagina. She’s perfect in my eyes, no longer a baby, but instead a heartbreakingly “big girl”. 

Her first dance recital

She’s getting so big and so grown up. She has the sweetest little heart, she has a passion for animals, school, and her daddy. She has turned into a great big sister and she is the spitting image of her mother. I could not be more proud of her if she were my own. I've always had a special little bond with her, but I don’t know if that’s because we are all just so close anyway, or if it’s because I was her mother’s birth coach and am probably the sole reason she made it into this world alive. And by that I mean, I sat in the corner on my phone freaking the eff out that I was in the hospital alone with my 78 week pregnant sister-in-law who they were withholding drugs from. So, really I did nothing but coach myself into not having a panic attack.

But we got a story for the ages. And it is a doosy. I don’t know if it’s really that newsworthy or if it’s just that great to me. But none the less, I never got around to writing it down around her birthday. Now, her mother just schucked out another little girl, so I found it to be the appropriate time to commemorate the glorious day we experienced this all together as a family (I’m sure Kaci would agree, we were all in it together…..baha).

When our family found out that Chris and Kaci were expecting another baby, I really wanted them to have another boy. Not really for any other reason than because I wanted Kalynn to be the only girl like me and get all the glory like I did. Alas, they are having a girl. And I couldn’t be more excited. Double the fun. Plus, that means they’ll probably have another one in hopes of two of each. And I don’t have to push the kid out so the more the merrier. And more importantly, Corbin is more of a little diva than Kalynn is, I don’t know that he would be able to share any of the 328475 tractors he calls his own.

It all started over Thanksgiving break in 2008. I was just a lowly little sophomore at the University of Illinois and was home on my holiday break. Kaci wasn't due until the first week of December or so, but I figured that I may just luck out and be home when she arrived instead of having to make a special trip back once I was back in school. Kaci called me that Tuesday morning and wanted to know if I wanted to go to the doctor with her that day. Her doctor was leaving to head out of town for the holiday and he wanted to check her one more time before he left. Actually, let’s be real. She called me the night before. She knows I wouldn't have woken up in time to call that morning. I said sure, no big deal. I had some stuff I could pick up in Jacksonville anyway and that way she wouldn't have to go by herself. She picked me up about 10 that morning acting just dandy. She never mentioned that she had felt weird all day and that she was pretty sure she was going to have her that day. She “claims” it was her first pregnancy so even though she felt weird, she didn't know if it was anything to really take too seriously. Whatever.  That is a lie. Homegurl knew she was going give birth that day and she didn't even warn me.

Now, as I said I was just shy of 20 at the time. I didn't then, and I don’t now, handle “situations” very well. And by situations I mean anything sexual, anything awkward, anything semi crisis. I sort of clam up and don’t know what to do and get extremely awkward. So, let’s just say I’ll never be the one to perform an emergency landing on a plane or anything.

We get to Jacksonville and we go to Farm and Home and Bath and Body Works without much ado. In and out and then head to the hospital. We had to make a quick pit stop at McDonalds. Kaci ordered a quarter pounder with cheese and fries, extra large style. I’m not one to judge, she was 54 months pregnant after all so, to each their own. I thought it was a little odd she was so weird about getting it before we went to the doctor though. We weren't in a rush to get back but we were kind of crunched on getting to the hospital in time (I should have known).

We get there, she checks herself in and goes back for her exam. I take a seat in the lounge and get out my book. You be cray if you thought I was going to bounce on back there and chill while he was examining her kitty in the stir ups. No mam. I have enough issues getting through my own exams back there. Let alone another vagina’s.

About 20 minutes later she comes bee bopping on out the door, with a grin a mile wide and happily reports we are leaving. I come to a good stopping point in my Kate Gosselin book (ironically, I was reading her book about Unexpected Blessings or Counting them or something). I think to myself that was the quickest appointment with the gyno I have ever witnessed. We get to the elevator and she starts laughing to herself like the little jerk she is and is all like “we aren't going home, we are headed to check in at the hospital. My water broke. We are having a baby.” I don’t remember if that’s exactly how she worded everything. I honestly zoned out and felt like I was the one about to give birth. But it was something to that effect and I quickly realized things were about to get real.

I promptly sent out a mass text (read: SOS) to all my closest friends and family that I was in a situation. We got there, got her checked in and up in her room and got settled in. At this point it was only 2:30 or so in the afternoon. We had talked to the family but it was nothing urgent. Her water had broke on the table while he was examining her, but she wasn't really in full blown labor (if there is even a difference? I’ve never had a kid….how would I know), but at any rate we figured everyone had enough time to finish work for the day and get there when they could.

As the afternoon progressed so did the situation. I had settled in and regained my composure. Kaci wasn't freaking out so I wasn't either. The nurses kept checking her and there was not a whole lot of movement so things were relatively quiet for quite awhile. She works at the hospital as well, so she knew all of her nurses and they were chit chatting with her as they came in and out. She mentioned to me at one point that she didn't tell me, but her mucus plug had fallen out that morning. First off, stop. Just stop right there.  There are so many things wrong with that statement. A. What in the sam hell is a mucus plug? When I think of plugs I think of ear plugs or plug-ins. And obviously you know what I think of when I think of mucus. So, does this bad boy just stop up your vagina like an ear plug does your ears so you can’t hear loud noise and damage your ear drums? I don’t get it. And B. how does the thing just “fall out”.  Does it just drop it like it’s hot while you are doing your business or something? I felt like it was completely inappropriate that she didn't tell me this information before we left for Jacksonville and I also felt like it was completely inappropriate that it is even a part of child birth. But as I was soon to find out, there are a lot of things about child birth that are completely inappropriate.

At about 4:30 they asked her if she wanted drugs.  She was being a trooper. She decided her pain wasn't that bad so she would wait a bit. That was so dumb. Bless her heart. About half an hour later things apparently started picking up, pain wise, rapidly. She decided she now wanted the drugs. Well. Not so fast.  Apparently the guy that is in charge of that was taking his lunch or something so he was all “sorry, no can do, right now”.  There may have been an actual reason as to why they couldn't do it at that point, but I didn't understand it, and all I knew was things were about to get ugly.  Her contractions were picking up with both intensity and frequency. She wanted drugs real bad and they would not give them to her.

At this point, I’m pretty uncomfortable (never mind the one giving birth in the bed….all about me). I can tell she’s starting to get really uncomfortable and really irritated and I have no idea what to do. There really wasn't much I could do. So, I just kept asking if she needed anything. How about some of these delicious ice chips? Some thirst quenching luke warm water? No….well that’s all you can have. Luckily, she wasn't completely out of tune with herself. As I already told you, she suspected this would happen, and that’s why we made a hail mary trip through McDonalds. At least she was thinking that far ahead.  She knew if that happened they wouldn't let her eat until after she had the baby so she didn't get sick. And nothing is worse than giving birth, unless you’re giving birth hungry. Or so I’d think.

After about 30 minutes of asking what I could do for her, I decided my best course of action was to maybe try and tidy things up. So, I started organizing here and there, decided I’d try and fold her clothes so they were neat for her.  She doesn't like clutter, she’ll like folded clothes.  She tried to warn me….but she couldn't get the words out fast enough with her contractions going on and all. I started to fold her pants and gave myself a baptism in amniotic fluid. I almost puked, but I held it back. It wasn't anything personal against her baby juice or anything, if I had to touch amniotic fluid I’d prefer it was hers over anyone else’s, it was just the birth water in general. Just no.  So after that I decided to sit down and be quiet.  She knew I was there if she needed me, but continuing to ask her what I could do would only annoy her. I know her well by now, and after a certain point just sit down and shut up, otherwise she’ll blow up on you like a volcano and that’s never good for anything…..especially mid labor.  It was at this point that I took the opportunity to start rapidly texting my mother and Sarah to figure out why, 3 hours later, I was still by myself at the hospital with my fertile myrtle sister in law and why not one soul had showed up to for emotional support. Mostly for me, but also a little support for Kaci.

Apparently at some point during this the nurse came in and was laughing with Kaci about me not saying anything in the corner. Kaci told her I wasn't best suited for a situation like this and I was just trying to blend in. No truer words. The nurse left, more came in, still no drugs, Kaci is still hating everything that moves, and about every five minutes or less she would have a contraction and I’d be convinced that she was going to snap that bed straight in half every time she clutched the bed rails, but did my best not to move a muscle until it was over. If I didn't move or breathe then the flying objects wouldn't come at me mid-contraction because I wouldn't have gotten her attention. I was very meticulous in my planning of how I was going to keep us above water throughout this process.

About this time, Chris called to see how things were going. Oh, just ducky. It’s the end of November and we were still in the middle of harvest. He was just calling to see how everyone was doing and double check to see if per chance he had some extra time to take another load of grain to the elevator. Idiot. No sir, you do not. You are the one that plowed her field and made her ready to harvest right in the middle of November. Not my problem.  

There was a distinct moment of silence that came after that. It lasted a bit but I should have known something was off. I was dazed off trying to figure out where the hell my family was again, and all of the sudden I was snapped out of my trance with the most god awful sound I have ever heard come out of another human being. I kid you not, I have never heard this noise come out of man or beast. It was like a dying cat mixed with a wailing hyena. Seriously, I've never heard it before or since but it will never leave my brain. I looked up to see what was attempting to murder her and saw none other than her doctor, mid contraction, elbow deep in her North Virginia. ELBOW DEEP. I never even heard the man open the door and come in and all of the sudden he is getting real familiar with her liver. I could see zero forearm. I had no idea this was even possible. Where does all that arm even go? Because you can’t bend before the elbow, so that meant it was straight up in there. I would not have been surprised a bit if when he disengaged his arm, he pulled out her full large intestine with him.  Luckily, I've since had my own experience with Dr. Trace getting down in my badlands but that’s a story for another day, but I am proud to say, he’s never had to do something quite like that to me. And it’s a good thing, cause I’d break his teeth holder.

After he left, she told me he was “checking” her. What in the eff? That’s how you “check” to see where the baby is? I figured by that point the baby was probably pretty close to the edges of the boarder. Why in the world did he need to reach her rib cage to see where she was? The birthing process is the biggest mystery I've ever encountered.  None of it makes sense, yet all of it is necessary.  Whatever.

By this point people started showing up. Kaci’s mom got there and was with her when she got the epidural. I thanked my lucky stars for that. She was mid contraction when he came in and she asked if they could wait until it was over to do the shot. He didn't even let her finish her sentence and he had pulled her up and told her to hug a pillow and lean against her mom. Seriously, asshole? A pillow? That’s what you give her mid-contraction with a needle a mile long going into her back for some comfort? You are a real daisy. I have no idea how that man is still living. The look she had on her face when he pulled her up and over into her mom was one of sheer hatred. I hope he counted his blessings that night.

My mom and Sarah got there. Chris finally bothered to show up…….I quickly moved from my seat next to her in bed. Bless his heart. He says, you’re fine you don’t have to move. Shut up, Chris. I am moving.  I have been flying solo since 2 this afternoon. It’s your turn to take over the pilot seat in this cock pit. Once again, I wasn't the one doing the fertilizing. My mom shows up and immediately starts crying because she’s so emotional over her first grandchild. They are good tears and everyone expected her to cry. Because the only one who cries more than me when they get emo, is her. Kaci is so drugged up at this point that she thinks everything is fabulous. She’s drunk in love and can’t feel her legs.

Bobby and Brittany arrive and luckily on their way they found the biggest dang stuffed bear you could ever imagine. All I remember is looking down the hall and not being able to see Bobby and Brittany shaking her head. He was holding the bear out in front and it completely hid him. He gets in the hospital room, and the first thing he asks her nurse, who is now a middle aged white woman, is if he can keep the placenta after she gives birth so we can eat part of it to keep diseases away and plant the rest in our back yard to help the trees grow.  That nurse was LESS than impressed. Matthew and Camilla McConaughey had just had their first baby and they talked about doing that because they are all about playing the bongos naked and high. Bobby thought it’d be funny to ask. I seriously thought the nurse was going to kick him out. But I have to say, it’s better than when Kenlea was born and I caught grandpa at the nurse’s station telling all the nurses that when he walked in the room he had “afterbirth everywhere” that he had to get through and that “times sure have changed since then, that was 63 years ago”. I deduced he was talking of my grandmother giving birth to their first born, my uncle. And if my grandma could have heard him discussing her “afterbirth” she would lay down and die. It’s no wonder where Bobby gets it.

So, the gang’s all here now. Nothing better than having 84 people in the waiting room for you until you give birth to your first child. I’m sure the hospital sees it all the time. They know who the first timers are. Both times since, it’s only been Chris and Kaci and we never went up until after the baby was born. But that first time was a zoo.  Kalynn Ann made her appearance a little before 11 pm on November 25, 2008. She is just as perfect now as she was then and she has turned into the best big sister her brother and little sister could ever ask for.

Corbin Lewis made his big arrival July 22, 2011. I was still in Champaign this day and made the trip back once I knew he was here. 

He was the first boy so everyone was just as excited for his arrival. On the same day as he was born, my grandma was put on hospice care and my mom retired to take care of her. It was a big day for the Weller's. Particularly Kalynn, who announced after being with her brother five minutes "I'm done with this Ma Ma, let's go!". 

 I'm done with this Mama!

And that leaves us with Kenlea Rose. 

When I first started writing this, she wasn’t here yet. By the time I got back to finish it, she’ll be one week old tomorrow. She made her mother carry her longer than either of her siblings and I’m fairly sure her mama was quite miserable at the end, but she’s here and totally worth it. 

She is named after Grandma Ford and Zsa Zsa. I tell everyone she’s named after me, but the truth is, she’s named after two of the greatest women I've ever known. Grandma got to meet Kalynn and Corbin, and I know if she were able to meet Kenlea she would be just as proud. Instead she’s looking down on all of us, and I know she helped to make sure she got here safe and healthy. 

And there is no one more excited about her namesake than Grandpa.  When we went to the hospital to meet her, he told every single person we met in the halls that he was there to meet his new great-granddaughter.  “She’s only four hours old and she’s named after my wife!” And then he told everyone about afterbirth………….

Kalynn and Papa

I can tell you with certainty, Kalynn’s grand entrance was the best form of birth control I could ever possibly imagine. But, watching those three little humans grow is one of my very favorite things. And if I’m lucky enough to get the opportunity one day to make some that will be half as great as them, I’d go through all the same things.

 I know if you asked their mama she’d do it all over again, too. Well…..actually she’s only one week post baby schucking, so give her awhile, but eventually she would agree it’s all worth it.

But in the meantime, if Dr. Trace even once thinks it’ll be a good idea to go elbow deep in my Netherlands he better think twice.  Now that I know what’s coming…..I will be prepared with a golf club when it’s my turn. And to return the favor, I’ll make sure Kaci is my birth coach!