As tomorrow will be 6 weeks since the blessed event, I guess it's about time I post about Henry's birth.
I knew labor wouldn't be easy, but I had hoped for an experience that would be emotional, happy, and spiritual despite the physical pain and discomfort. I had read and read and read all I could get my hands on as far as birth was concerned. I was prepared. Or so I thought.
According to my reading, my contractions would start gradually a day or two, or maybe even weeks before the big day. I might have a contraction here or there and then they would gradually get closer together and then longer and stronger. I figured at the very least they'd start out a good 10 minutes apart. I planned on calling Justin when they got to be 5 minutes apart.
At 1 a.m. on Monday night I started having what I thought were contractions. I woke up sporadically throughout the night with pain but they weren't super strong. I called Justin at 3 a.m. out of excitement. Surely this was a sign that our baby would be coming soon. I told him not to get to antsy though, these contractions were irregular and probably just a sign that true labor would happen in the next few days.
By 8:00 that same morning my contractions were 2 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds. I was astonished at how quickly things had gone since all my research told me I'd be in labor AT LEAST 14 hours. They weren't unbearable either, but I was so confused. I was supposed to go to the doctor at 5 minutes apart lasting 1 minute. What the heck was this? These contractions were not behaving like they were supposed to. I knew I wouldn't be dilated too much , but I worried about Justin being able to make it in time for the birth so I decided to go into the hospital and get checked out.
TRIAGE: Round I
I even hate the word triage these days. I wanted to labor more at home, but I also wanted to know how close Justin was cutting it. The first time around I spent about 2 hours in triage for them to tell me I was very thin and very effaced but not very dilated. They told me to keep my 2 p.m. doctor's appointment that day. I went home and my contractions got a lot stronger, still 45 seconds, still 2 minutes apart. By the time we got to the doctor's office, it was all I could do to keep from moaning and yelling and looking like and idiot.
When we walked in to the doctor's office, I did moan, and yell, and from the looks on the other patient's faces...looking like an idiot. They got me a room pretty quick, which I paced around in, accidentally knocking things to the ground as my mom watched helplessly. She told the doctor she wasn't sure which was worse, going through labor or watching your baby do it. At the time I was thinking " Oh it's worse doing it Mom." Though now that we're 6 weeks out I'd be willing to give it more thought.The doctor said I was a 3/4 and that I'd probably be ready around 6 or 7 that evening.
On the way home I yelled and even screamed. I continued said screaming as I bounced up and down on that useless birthing ball, clawing at the dresser in my room and giving the stink eye to whichever innocent family member walked in. I hopped in and out of the bath tub which may or may not have given some relief...( I think it did? It's a kind of a blur.)
Around 3:30 p.m. I was yelling, almost to the point of cursing and giving up on the whole ordeal, when the door bell rang. Humiliation immediately set in, followed by anger. Who would dare to ring that bell while I was in labor. What stranger was imposing on this intimate, animal moment of mine? How dare my mom open that door! A quavering "He-ey.," washed all those feelings away and for a moment I forgot my troubles. Justin had made it earlier than I expected him to. The pain didn't get better at that point, but my labor did. I think deep down I was really anxious that something would happen and he would miss it.
At 6 p.m. I couldn't take it any longer, not even to see the hobbits and Strider make it to Rivendell. I took it as a sign, this baby did not want to be named Strider despite my own feelings about it.
We got to the hospital and ---TRIAGE--again. Oh what a dreadful place. I'll spare you a long drawn out description and give you the short version. We were in there for 5 hours. On a gurney. Contractions still a faithful 2 minutes apart. Not working. Your not allowed to get an epidural 'til you get a room. I had decided I wanted an epidural within the first 5 minutes of being there ( you try having contractions 2 minutes apart from the get go...it was out of my hands folks). The chick next to us HAD HER BABY IN TRIAGE because she was waiting on a room. It was at that point that I started panicking, and crying, and grabbing the nurses collar and begging her to get me a room. She did.
At 11 p.m. Tuesday they put me in a room that had heretofore been lacking a bed. The anesthesiologist was waiting for me. I had gone from a 6 to an 8 on the way to the room. I heard later your not really supposed to get epidurals at an 8, but I did...I don't think I would have survived without it...literally.
After the epidural I calmed down and even smiled. Justin curled up on the little bench next to me and we both fell asleep. I kept waking up , too excited to really fall asleep. It felt like Christmas. "The baby should be coming any minute now." I kept thinking, they even started Pitocin. Still no baby. At 3 a.m. they increased the Pitocin a lot. I didn't mind, the epidural was working.
I was confused when I awoke around 6:00 the next morning. My nurse came in and checked me, "accidentally" breaking my water ( I secretly wonder if maybe everyone was so busy that they were content to let me continue on at an 8, but my nurse knew that a labor this long was not good for me, so she threw the rules out the window and broke my water herself ...but I do have a rather wild imagination.) That did the trick. By 8:30 I was a 93/4 and ready to push( thanks to some coaching from the daytime nurse.
I pushed and pushed I was so encouraged with each push. "Good Job!" the nurse would shout " You're almost there!" "Seriously keep it up he is almost out!" " He's got hair like yours." I kept pushing, but the baby couldn't make it past a certain point. I recently found out his face was turned the wrong way. The doctor came in and after more pushing decided to try the vacuum. Let me tell you, that thing is wider then 10 cm and it is not comfortable when it fails and gets ripped out. First attempt, woooooooosh-pull-splat, Fail. Second attempt wooooooooooo-Doctorlooksatmeapologeticallyassheholdsupthescissors-gaahhhhhhhhh-pullsplat-Fail. Thrid attempt bleeeeghhhhhhooooooosh-fail. The doctor wildly begins a fourth try until the nurses- wait when did so many nurses get here- and random doctor remind her that its 3 strikes your out. "I'm sorry honey but you are going to have to have a c-section." I cried.
I cried and then begged them to put me out. "It's not really safe that way," they said. I didn't care at that point, I was terrified. "You can't have your husband with you if we put you out," said the very wise nurse, she got me, the ONE thing that would convince me. They told me to try not to push and that was really hard. The epidural was wearing off and it never had removed the feeling of pressure. I kept sobbing "HuuuurryUP" as they wheeled me into the OR ...and then out again because that one wasn't even set up. Finally they'd transferred me to the operating table, but where was Justin? "We aren't sure if your epidural is working properly since you got it from a different anesthesiologist last night." Commence panic mode. It did work , but I ended up grabbing the anesthesiologist's hand in the process. He looked at me with pity and let me hold his hand, even when Justin came in and I didn't let go. Even when I grabbed Justin's hand on the other side and still didn't let go.
The C-section itself was not too bad. It's a weird feeling, but not painful. I waited nervously to hear a cry. It seemed to take FOREVER. Finally, a short bark like squeal, Justin and I looked at each other with childlike excitement. Our baby had arrived.