Baby L decided to start her grand entrance into the world around 6:15pm on 11/12. It took me a good 30-45 minutes to realize what was going down. The contractions were like 15 minutes apart, and felt like menstrual cramps. I thought maybe I’d had too much ice cream.
Around 7:00, I shot a text to Middle Dolly and asked her how her contractions felt when she had my niece. She described the same feeling I was having. By that time, they had moved to about 10 minutes apart, and stayed that way until early the next morning.
I tried to get some rest that night, but it was hard, after the intensity got worse. They were waking me out of my sleep. I called the physician on call around 2:00am, and he advised that I could continue to labor at home at that point, until they got to 5 minutes apart, 1 minute in duration.
By 5:30, the 30 seconds of contraction pain was getting to critical mass. I told HH (via text) that was going to wake mom up and head to the hospital. 5 minutes apart my behind. I couldn’t talk through those things and I was over it dot org. At one point, I just remember not being able to move from the bathroom floor. I literally just laid out on the cool tiles thinking, I might have this baby right here. Let me get myself up.
We made it to the hospital in one piece, and without getting lost (if you follow me on Twitter, you know why that is significant, lol). I made my way up to maternity while mom parked the car. I had pre-registered, so I only had a few forms to sign. My first nurse of the day was Michelle. She had a nursing student in tow, but at that point, I didn’t mind. Which is interesting, because on the birthing plan I filled out (and forgot to bring), I actually indicated that I did not want any nursing students to observe. She seemed nice – and nervous – and I felt like I didn’t want to rob her of a chance to observe.
Michelle checked me and I was 3-4 cms dilated. I was also hooked up to the monitors to checks contractions, my blood pressure, and baby’s heart rate. At that point, the pain was still at a tolerable (but not pleasant) level. Michelle could see when my contractions were about to hit, and of course, I could feel them. At that point, I thanked Stacy and every other yoga instructor I’ve had for teaching me the proper way to breathe deeply. That’s the only way I got through each contraction. They took blood to check my platelets and they were at 122. Yay!
Once I got moved to a birthing suite, it just became a waiting game. HH made it here from work, and after that, he and mom did their best to help me with comfort mechanisms. The contractions were getting more and more intense. I really had intended to tolerate them as long as I could before introducing an epidural, but they became so intense each time one hit. I was using my yoga breathing and doing pretty well, and then one hit that was so bad…I just started crying. HH just looked like he wished he could switch places with me. Mom was rubbing my arm and shoulder and telling me it was ok and to cry if I needed to.
I decided to “tap out,” and asked my nurse to please get the anesthesiologist for the epidural. All my fear of that needle in my back flew out the window. The process was actually more tolerable than I thought it would be. However, due to it being a “procedure,” only one extra person could be in the room. HH went to the waiting area and mom stayed here. The anesthesiologist was very nice and explained each step in the procedure. Nurse Michelle was awesome and held my hands/shoulders while the epidural was done.
Once that kicked in, I could tolerate the contractions, and the nurse indicated I was at 6 cms. The only down side is that I could not move around. The nurse kept having to come in and turn me from side to side. My left side was ridiculously numb, and I could barely move that leg. It would periodically slide down off the bed, and mom or HH would have to put or back on the bed. LOL
By the time I got to the third nurse of the day, I was wiped. I was hooked up to everything you can think of: Foley catheter since I couldn’t get up to the bathroom, IV for meds, and blood pressure cuff to keep track of my BP. All these numbers were on the same monitor screen, and mom kept looking at them periodically and let me know. The nurses at the nursing station could also see.
At one point they brought me a “clear liquids” dinner: chicken broth, sprite, apple juice, and jello. HH moved the bed up so I could sit up and drink. I got like 1.5 sips of broth and then the nurses came in to say that sitting up was making Baby L’s heart rate decrease. So, I was forced to lay back down and I never got my dinner.
They kept checking me and kept saying, “still at 6cms.” The next step was to insert a monitor to determine if my contractions simply weren’t strong enough. After delaying as long as he could, the doctor came in and advised that the contractions were indeed strong enough, but his concern was that the baby’s head was not moving down. He wouldn’t have cared about the 6 cms if she was progressing. He looked as disappointed as I was, when he said he felt surgical intervention was needed. However, he left the decision totally up to me. By that time, I’d been having contractions for over 24 hours. I told him that I didn’t want to be having this conversation with him 9 hours from now, so let’s just proceed. I must’ve burst into tears for the third time that evening, bringing forth the part of my mom’s personality that I love…she said at the end of the day, the goal was to get Baby L here safely and for me to be healthy. I dried up my tears and gave the go ahead.
I listened to the childbirth ed lecture on C-sections, but never thought I’d be having one. There are so many doctors and nurses in with you. HH sat at my head, and there was a big curtain up, so we couldn’t see the actual surgery. The doctors started cutting and chatting about their travel plans. LOL! I actually started feeling a little sleepy. Next thing I know, they were telling me I was going to feel some pressure. It felt like someone was pushing down on my stomach. Then she was out!
They whisked her over to the warming table for examination and I didn’t see her for like 15 seconds, but I could hear her crying. Then they held her up so I could see, and I just started crying. I remember thinking, I’m that little girl’s mother!” HH took some pics of her on the table and her being weighed. Everyone wanted to know her name, and we told them. One of the nurses took a pic of the three of us together. Next thing I know, the room was clearing out, they had sewed me up, and were moving me from the surgery table back to my bed, so I could be wheeled to recovery. I was completely numb/paralyzed from the waist down. It was such a weird feeling to have them rocking me back and forth and feeling like I was outside my body.
In recovery, I was cold and shivering, and they had to bring me heated blankets. They were ready for me to start skin to skin contact with her, but I wanted to wait until I stopped shivering. Eventually, I did get to hold her and look at her beautiful little face close up.
When I look at her now (1 week out…because I started this a week ago, but as you can imagine, it took a while to finish), it was all worth it. Swollen feet, numb heels, prednisone, headaches, and even those ridiculous contractions. Now, I look forward to learning from her, and doing a better job of living in the present.