Harrison Fox Huthmacher was born on 12/24/15 at 9:48am, though his delivery started twelve hours earlier.
We chose induction a few days before his due date for several reasons that aren’t really important right now, and arrived at the hospital the night before my induction was scheduled. At 12:00am my nurse, an absolute GEM named Alicia, gave me a dose of Cydotec to ripen my cervix and jumpstart labor since I had been at a 1.5cm and wasn’t budging. Alex and I snoozed while we could, and I couldn’t believe how rested I felt from the few hours of half-sleep you typically get when in the hospital. Sometime around 5:00am I was given my first dose of Pitocin and began to feel the contractions intensify slightly, but nothing to really fuss over.
Now forgive me, because this is where things get a little fuzzy. I can’t remember exactly what time it was when my OB arrived, confirmed the baby was head down/in position (as it had been for WEEKS), and broke my water – perhaps around 7:30am. I remember having my water broken when delivering Johncarl, so I roughly knew what to expect, but this was next level. The amount of amniotic fluid was unreal, and I couldn’t believe how long it took to stop – it was like a fucking tidal wave. The very first contraction following the water breakage was VERY uncomfortable, and I was not having it. I lasted about half an hour before I declared “HOOK IT UP” and asked for an epidural (if you have had natural/drug-free births, God bless you. I’m simply not that girl.). I received my epidural approximately 45 minutes later, it was heavenly. Sometimes I think about how good epidurals feel and wish I could have another… This, i realize, is nonsensical, but if you’ve had an epidural you can’t help but understand associating it’s relief with the greatest feeling in the world. God, I love epidurals.
Not long after my epidural I told my nurse I felt a weird pressure in my vagina, and remember thinking that maybe something was coming out, but quickly dismissed this idea as silly and ridiculous, because it was. The nurse (a new gem named Brittany) began a pelvic to check my dilation and suddenly, wide-eyed, said, “Oh my, that’s a hand. I need to get the doctor to put the baby’s arm back up.” My OB soon came in to fix little man’s arm situation and after feeling around informed Alex and I, already nervous as hell, that it wasn’t a hand but a FOOT. Somehow, in the hour/hour and a half between breaking my water and this moment, my baby had freakishly gone breech. My poor doctor, you guys, you should’ve seen the shock/horror on his face. I could tell he was alarmed as he explained that performing a breech vaginal delivery was possible but not the safest route, and expressed so deeply how sorry he was that we had to do an emergency c-section. Ugh, his face, you guys… he couldn’t believe it. I actually started feeling bad for HIM, he was so caught off guard and had clearly never had a patient’s baby go breech quite like this before. He quietly, though still audible to me, told the nurse to act quickly and prep me for surgery. He dipped out for a few minutes, and Alex and I kept our cool as much as possible. On the outside, we both kept our shit together. Internally, mindfucked. The sweetest moment after the initial shock was when Alex told me “how cute our baby’s foot and toes are.” Because at this point, he could see them.
The doctor returned scrubbed up, and I asked him two things: 1. Am I going to die? (obviously, because I’m neurotic) 2. Are you freaking out? He answered no to the first, and very macho/confidently answered “I don’t get freaked out” to the second. I know it may sound stupid, cesareans are done ALL THE TIME, but I was legitimately fearful for our lives. I probably asked Alex ten times if I was going to die. Funny now, terrifying then. I was wheeled across the hall to the operating room, and somehow was separated from Alex – this was the saddest moment for me. I asked several times for him and was told he would join me after I was fully prepped in the OR. We entered the OR at 9:33am. I was transferred to the OR table and found myself shaking uncontrollably. The one thing I dislike most about Pitocin – those damn shakes… the adrenaline and hormones raging inside of me, I’m sure, intensified the shaking party going on in my body. Now, mind you, from the moment my OB told us that it was a foot that had escaped my womb, I could feel the tiny little appendage in my vagina wriggling around constantly. I could feel movement every time Fox would flex his foot or bed his knee, it was incredible, and easily the strangest, most bizarre experience of my life. I never could’ve prepared myself for this – feeling a tiny foot and leg moving around in my vagina. WTF.
Alex finally came in and sat at my head – this man is my rock. He was so calm, so collected, so “baby-you-got-this,” so “this-is-better-it’s-all-good,” so “you’re-amazing-and-I-love-you.” He didn’t show his own anxiety and fear ONCE. He was everything I needed from my husband in that moment. I love this man more than I could ever possibly explain to you.
My OB, ready to begin, told me he was pinching me incredibly hard, could I feel it? “It’s very important that you can’t feel it,” I recall him saying. I said no, I couldn’t feel it, and immediately started agonizing mentally over whether or not I really couldn’t? The incisions were made, nonetheless, the medical jargon between doctor and nurses began, and after pulling, tugging, and seriously strange sensations, I felt the little leg go back up into my body and out another way – and at 9:48am I heard the precious cry of a very hairy, very chunky, very cool boy named Harrison Fox. He was beautiful. I was able to give him a few kisses before he and Alex left for the nursery. He smelled so good, his cheek was so soft on my lips, and I finally was able to shed a tear. I’d kept from crying before this moment, I knew if I allowed myself a tearful moment earlier that I would burst at the seams. I was put back together (yikes… if you have a cesarean let me encourage you NOT to look around the OR when you’re being moved. It is a bloody, bloody disco party that you don’t need to see), and taken to recovery.
Holy shit. That was… an experience.
I had been given so many different drugs that although my boy was born in the morning, and typically after c-sections you’re up within hours, I was not able to walk until the next afternoon. An epidural/morphine/narco do NOT make for an easy ride back to normalcy. God provided, my friends. I was a fuzzy mess for a few days, but God was in that OR with me and my boys and my doctor. It was traumatic but it was amazing.
I’m surprised I’ve not been more emotional as I write this. I still feel like I’m processing the intensity of the experience, both mentally and physically. Physically I am reminded almost constantly of how my little one entered the world by my tender incision; mentally I am reminded during both hard and happy moments with my babies during the day when I think of how lucky and blessed I am that everything went well and we all get to be here together. I can’t say whether or not everything happened the way it did because of medical intervention, and frankly, to me it is irrelevant at this point. Harrison came into this world as he was meant to. He made an entrance – an entrance so wildly unique, and I believe this entrance to be foreshadowing of his own exquisite rareness of character.
I truly did not want to write this post. I cringed at having to relive most of the experience, sans the healthy birth of our Fox, because honestly, reliving the emotions present at the time is exhausting and traumatic. I do think, however, that it’s been therapeutic and I’m genuinely happy that I sat down to write and share the experience with you, whoever you might be. I may write further on what recovery has been like, but that is for another day. I would also be happy to answer any questions about our experience, maybe throw some answers into my recovery post, we’ll see. Thank you for taking the time to read this and experience a sliver of what we went through to meet this badass boy; I’m so lucky I get to be a part of this family. I realize this post was a bit dry, but it was all I could really muster to get through it. Thanks for bearing with me, you rock.
Welcome to the world, butterball!