Tina Rowley

writer + (performer) + [space left open for surprises]

'ow was it, ringo?


*My favorite bit from the movie "Yellow Submarine". Ringo went exploring, you see.

First things first. Finn is here and he is adverb-not-invented-yetly beautiful. He is an almondine elf-egg, a weird little old man wizard, the barest rosebud sketch of a human being. Line for an eye, line for an eye, little fluff mouth falling open, done. When he's lying asleep in my arms, I can't believe we made him. I stare at him and feel reverent and ferocious and unfairly blessed.

My friend Elizabeth, with Finn. She's one of the
key players in this story, along with many others
who will be named and thanked in subsequent posts.

I can't tell the whole story of his birth here, now. Too much. Too tired. I'll just do a sort of line drawing of the event. We'll see how much detail makes it in.

Wednesday, April 19th.

Labor begins early in the morning with persistent lower back pain. I spend the morning sitting on the bed and the couch and the birth ball, frowning and feeling inward. At 2pm I have a spurt where I don't want to look at anyone or speak to anyone. I stare down at my chest and feel weird and quiet, like I'm waiting for a drug to take effect. At 3pm the labor starts taking on a pattern and I feel more outward and talkative. We start timing contractions.

From 5-6-:30pm, things start blurring up and getting more serious. I'm working now. I'm on the birth ball in the living room or standing in the bathroom hanging on to the sink or a towel bar and someone's hand (whose hand varies). I must be getting close.

6:30-7:30. It gets as difficult as I thought it ever might get. I think things are moving quickly. Where is the midwife?? With every contraction, I have to choose anew to dig unprecedentedly deep and find something strong and positive and graceful with which to handle it. Graceful, why, you might ask? Maybe you can not be graceful while giving birth! Well, no. As it happens, for me, the search for grace turned out to be one of most important blades on the Swiss army knife of childbirth. I would have perished out there without it.

7:30-oh let's say 9:30. Assistants arrive, our midwife Felice arrives. Measuring, working. Tub lady arrives to set up tub. Tub is set up. It's dark out. I get to get in the tub. I have a reaction. Tub lady and Felice have never seen this level of enthusiasm for tub. Back labor. Everyone is taking turns squeezing my lower back during a contraction. I urgently grunt out directions, and as the contraction winds down, I attempt to thank the person who was squeezing me while I have a thankful word still floating in me somewhere to be ejected.

9:30-11:00. Don't want to talk about this part much. Everything is slow, then everything gets bad. Last part of this time, a decision has been made that I need to go to the hospital. It is a long, long road to the car. At top speed, I am traveling 20 fph*. Concern, a feeling of grimness is underneath everything, but on top we are all spreading the frosting of equanimity.

*feet per hour.

11pm. Arrive at Swedish. I make my friend Martha stand next to me in triage because she smells like Ammachi, the Indian hugging saint that I love. Sandalwood trumps meconium. The nurses keep bumping my knee pillow, which is inconceivable to me. You can't bump a woman's knee pillow at this point. You'd think a nurse would know better. I am as ugly and messy as I have ever been. It can't get worse. This has to be the worst. I'm to be given Pitocin and

an epidural!****

****these letters can't be sparkly enough

1am. I've been transferred to my labor and delivery room. It's nice. Nice lighting. Lots of wood. I have a standard sound I make when the contractions hit, I know just how to make it. It's low and has a lot of "O" in it. My i.v. is in and the fluid is getting in. Enough gets in. They give me the epidural. I wait. It hits.

The possibility of Dave and I having more than one child is re-opened.

1am-8am. I have an infection and a fever, and Finn's heartbeat is all over the joint. I'm shaking uncontrollably, but I can't feel the contractions, except for in my neck and shoulders. People sleep, leave, come back. Doctors come in and out. The sun rises. I'm not interested in seeing it. I like my sleep mask. There's a tissue with lavender oil on it on my chest. I like it.

8am. Enough has happened and everything is okay enough that we can try to have the baby vaginally. At 7:30, a doctor saw Finn's ear up there. He was trying.

Ah, hell. I can't tell any more, now. It kills me, that he was trying so hard. Maybe I'll tell you later about how we tried it with me pushing, in front of a crowded room full of people, and then they came with a vacuum, and then they said it wouldn't work and rushed me off for a c-section. We were in the hospital until Sunday morning. Finn was in Special Care until Saturday morning.

I for sure can't talk about it, now. I'm still reeling, and my little baby is out in the living room with his dad and grandma and I miss him. I'm going out there. We're out of one set of woods, but we're in another, now. Recovering from a cesarean is hard.

It felt good to take a break and tell this part. Thanks for checking in, everyone. I'll post again as soon as I can.