|The last pregnant shot at home.|
|At the hospital.|
We get shown to my labor and delivery room. Robert realizes he’s left his cell phone at the house so he runs back to get it as I sit there and wait for a nurse to come in. Two nurses come in, take some medical history, draw blood, and start IV fluids. I also get hooked up to two monitors – one to track contractions and one to monitor Baby’s heartbeat. They check me – baby is at -2 station and I’m barely a fingertip dilated and 50% effaced. The nurses disappear to go get doctor’s orders on what they should do to start the induction. An hour later (did they forget about me?), I page the nurses’ station to find out how to pee with all these things hooked up to me. A nurse comes right in and says we’ll start with Cervidil, a prostaglandin to help get my cervix ready for Pitocin in the morning. It’s a little before 5:00 AM by the time this happens. I’m not allowed to eat, drink, or get up for an hour, so Robert and I shut our eyes and sleep a little.
A little before 6:00, I wake up with these weird periodic urges to pee, and I realize that they’re mild contractions. I hang out with these very mild contractions until my OB comes by a little after 8:00. She checks me – Baby’s still at -2, I’m about 80% effaced, and dilated just a smidgen more but not much. She decides to check in with me at lunchtime. Robert and I play Trivial Pursuit and read a bit while the contractions get stronger. They’re regular – about two to three minutes apart – and slowly getting stronger.
Contractions are to the point where I give a few really dumb answers to Trivial Pursuit questions and decide to just rest in bed. We pop in a DVD. About 12:30 PM, the doctor comes back in. Since I haven’t made much progress, she decides to take out the Cervidil and see what happens, with the plan being to break my water that afternoon. So, the Cervidil comes out (what weird stuff that is!) and I shut my eyes for some rest. The contractions stay pretty much the same, but gradually decrease in intensity over the next few hours.
At 3:30 PM, I request an epidural, not so much because the contractions are too much to handle, but because the OB and the nurse both said I’d definitely want one before my water gets broken, and the OB was planning to come back around 4:00. Right away, the anesthesiologist comes in, wheeling his cart full of magic. I sit on the edge of the bed while he numbs the area, inserts the needle, then inserts the epidural tube thingie itself. Robert watches this whole process with interest (although the nurse did make him sit to watch it – “hospital protocol”). Since I can’t see what’s going on, I’m convinced that there’s a tube the size of a straw sticking out straight out of my back. I’m assured this isn’t the case but I’m still kind of uncomfortable with the idea. I change my mind pretty quickly when I can see the contractions on the monitor but can’t feel them in the least. Magical. My right leg is totally numb and floppy, but I can still feel and move my left a little.
As promised, the OB comes by a little after 4:00 to break my water. She says, oddly, that I’m dilated to about 3 cm on the inside of my cervix but only about a cm or two on the outside. Again, not being able to see this, the picture in my mind is pretty weird. She strips my membranes, the immediately after, sticks what Robert described as a chopstick into my cervix and breaks my water. Very strange sensation, and the nurse chided her for making a mess (I must have missed the class on how one’s water can break and not make a mess). They start Pitocin, my OB tells me who’s on call for the night, and she wishes me luck. For the next several hours, I doze while the Pitocin and contractions do their thing. Robert heads home to let the dog out.
When he comes back between 7:00 and 8:00, the evening nurse shift has started. Every half hour or so, my nurse comes in to help me flip over and up the Pitocin, but in between, Robert and I chat a little and I doze. Around 9:00 or 9:30, the nurse comes in and says that Baby’s heartbeat is dipping with each contraction. She inserts an intrauterine contraction monitor and we start to shift me around to get Baby more comfortable. After a few failed attempts, the nurse has me get on my hands and knees, which was a little comical since I still had absolutely no feeling in or control of my right leg and minimal in my left. I’m in this position for about 20 minutes. I puke. (I was very concerned about this only because I had snuck a granola bar earlier in the day after I was told I couldn’t eat any more.) Finally, I get back on my side and Baby does well through the next few contractions. The nurse checks me a little after 10:00 and I’m 80% effaced and 4 or 5 cm dilated. She tells me to call her if I start to feel the urge to push with any of my contractions.
I start to feel this, which actually felt more like, “Omg Baby’s head is pushing its way out!” through an epidural haze, almost immediately but figure it’s just the power of suggestion. Robert steps out to go get some food before the concession stand closes. But, about ten minutes later, I realize I can accurately tell whether or not I’m contracting based just on this sensation, so I give the nurse a call. She checks me and says, “Wow – you’re ready! Let’s have a baby!” Robert walks back into the room when she’s fussing around getting ready for delivery. I’m kind of in shock and kind of don’t believe what’s going on, since labor had gone so slowly up until this point.
The nurses shift around and I get a new nurse for the pushing part. Mostly I remember her bustling around with monitors, catheters, and other medical things, and telling me to push through my contractions. I’m afraid to push too hard when she’s not right there because I’m oddly afraid that my baby will just pop out with no one there to catch it. I’m also afraid to push too hard because I don’t want to poop or fart in her face. I figure I can reserve the “all-out effort” pushing and only bust that out if I really need it.
The pushing starts a little after 11:00, and after pushing through a handful of contractions, apparently the baby is crowning. Robert gets a glimpse of this and his eyes get huge. I think it finally hit him right then that there was actually a baby in there. The nurse calls the on-call OB, and I push another handful of times. I never wanted to see the actual birth, but I find myself thankful that I can sort of see a reflection of what’s going on in the OB’s glasses (seriously, the OB suited up like I was going to explode all over her – not especially reassuring). I see the baby’s head crowning and I realize how close we really are. It may have been more but it felt like only a half-dozen pushes with the OB there before I could see the top half of Baby’s face. One final extra-long push, and at 11:49 PM, Baby is wrenched from my body. Once her head was out, her shoulders and the rest of her just slipped out. She didn’t breathe right away (no one else seemed concerned) and I had a moment of panic. Then she started to cry.
Lia is placed on my stomach and my world just sort of stops. People are talking – I’m pretty sure they asked me what her name was – and I just couldn’t care enough to listen to them, much less answer. I’m just staring at this tiny person. I pull her up on my chest as much as possible while some other stuff happened in the room. I’m terrified of hurting her or breaking her so I just kind of watch her.
Robert cut the umbilical cord at some point, and then it’s kind of a blur after that. The nurses took the baby to the other side of the room to do some stuff to/with her. Robert went to watch that and I watched him watch them while the OB did some other stuff to me down there (like delivering the placenta and stitching me up (first degree tear – not too shabby!)). Lia got cleaned up and brought back to me. I’m crying a bit – overwhelmed and still a little in shock. The nurse takes some pictures, Robert calls and texts some family, and we hang out a little waiting for the in-laws to get to the hospital and for the epidural to wear off. It’s all pretty anti-climactic from there.
Well between Baby and family, that took me all day to write. I’ve already forgotten a few things about the day so I’m glad to get it down on paper now before it fades even more. Overall, it went really well. At the very beginning of my pregnancy I was all about a totally non-medicated, no-intervention birth, which is obviously not what I ended up with, but it was totally fine. My body did well, I’m healing remarkably well, at least compared to what I thought it was going to be like, and ultimately I don’t regret going down the path that I did.