Monday, April 13, 2009

Birth Story, pt. 1

I woke up Thursday morning to the creepy sound of someone walking slowly up the stairs. I realized that it was either a burglar or my mother. And if it was my mother, that meant we had overslept. I rolled over and asked Alex what time it was. 3:30. The alarm hadn’t gone off. We were supposed to be at the hospital at 4. I freaked out and got up and we both rushed through our showers and grabbed the last minute bags and headed off. I was NOT HAPPY and may or may not have yelled at Alex for not checking the alarm before one of the most important days of our life.

We got to the hospital around 4:15 and they were expecting us. A nurse named J took us to our room and showed me the gown I was to put on. She came back later and helped me sign the paperwork and got all the information the hospital needed while another nurse put the IV in for the Pitocin. She did a terrible job with the IV. It hurt A LOT and she squirted blood on the bed and left part of the needle apparatus on the floor, which Alex later found. Awesome.

J hooked me up to the heartbeat monitor and contraction monitor and showed us how to unhook everything when I needed to go to the bathroom. The first time I had to go was quite an ordeal, but after a few times, Alex and I were pros at this. I had to go to the bathroom A LOT.

I started recording information in the baby book, and Alex and I both wrote notes to our still unknown baby. J checked on us at one point and was all, “Oh! You’re having contractions!” And I was all, “I am?” I couldn’t feel them AT ALL. Not that I was complaining, but I thought it was weird. J clocked off at 7 am and happily told us, “I hope I don’t see you when I come back at 7 tonight!” Alex and I laughed and I am pretty sure one of us said, “We’re sure you won’t!” FAMOUS LAST WORDS.

I kept having contractions that I couldn’t feel and life was lovely. Alex and I slept for a little while. My parents came by. His family came by. Everything seemed to be going well. Until around 11 am, when my doctor decided to break my water. For those of you who are blessed to not know, the tool that they use to break a woman’s water with looks like a giant crochet needle. I was…not excited about the prospect of that thing going up there. As I suspected, it HURT. And my doctor happily reminded me that I could ask for an epidural at any time. And I was all, “Why would I need an epidural when I’m not in pain? OW!!!” Then, the two nurses with her informed me that they were putting in internal monitors to watch the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. And thus ended the comfortable portion of my labor.

The internal monitors HURT and made it nearly impossible for me to go to the bathroom. My contractions also started coming more quickly and furiously, so I was in extra pain. THANKS GUYS!

Alex helped me breathe through some contractions for a while. I have no idea how long, but eventually we decided that I might as well ask for some pain relief. I was trying to last as long as possible because I knew the epidural would probably slow my contractions down and it was noon and I was only 3 cm. Alex and I were slowly catching on that this? Was not going to go quickly. However, the fact that the internal monitors were causing severe pain, combined with the worsening contractions led us to call for the nurse. We had been told by both the hospital and from friends who have been there and done that to ask for the epidural kind of early since it would take at least an hour for the anesthesiologist to come.

When the nurse informed us that the nurse anesthetist was in a C section and could be a while, we decided to go with a different pain killer to take the edge off until she could get there. After all, we might be waiting for hours for this person to come. This was a huge mistake. The drugs made me feel drunk and I felt like I had no control over what was going on. And seriously, 20 minutes after they called for the nurse, she showed up. So I got my epidural while kind of drunk on some other drugs. Exactly how I had envisioned it! Poor Alex held my hand during the whole ordeal and tried to talk me through it because WOW, did that needle in my spine HURT. I was shocked because it hurt WAAAAAY more than I thought it would. And I think it’s because I was already experiencing relief from my contractions from the drunk drugs. So I was only feeling the pain of the gigantic needle in my spine. It was over eventually and I felt the weird, tingly numb feelings in my leg kick in almost immediately. They had me lay down on my right side to begin with and then flipped me to my left to help the drugs spread to that side of my body. And then the fun began!

I felt weird. And wrong. And finally the nurse asked, ‘So how are you feeling?’ And I was like…bad. Also? Having trouble breathing. Turns out my blood pressure had dipped seriously, seriously low. They had to pump some blood pressure meds into my IV and give me oxygen. It was at this point that I started thinking that I could actually die from this. (Which, I know drama, much? But! My cousin died giving birth to her 3rd child, so it’s not like it’s out of the realm of possibility for my family.) Alex and I were pretty freaked out because it was obvious both of the nurses were concerned, plus, you know, I couldn’t BREATHE.

Fortunately, the BP meds worked and I started feeling better. The oxygen really helped me breathe and calmed me down. Alex was instructed to help flip me over every half hour or so, to keep the epidural meds even on both sides. And this went on FOR HOURS. Hours and hours and hours. At some point, my doctor came in to check on me and suggested that we lift my leg while laying in order to speed the contractions up. I was just not progressing very quickly at all. Alex and the nurse put my leg up on a table, which stripped yet another layer of dignity away from me. I was useless when they did this since I couldn’t feel my legs at all. So I was flopping around like a fish, while they lifted and hoisted my naked body around.

Fortunately, I was able to get some sleep in between the side flips, because hey, what else could I do? My parents came in and out, as did the in-laws. Everyone immediately would walk to the monitor to check on my contractions and give me a prognosis on how I was doing. It was pretty funny how everyone was so interested in the length and strength of the contractions.

During all the flipping and switching and breathing and sleeping, J came back at 7 pm. I was not happy to see her.

More flipping! More breathing! More contractions! Hours of it! It kept getting later and later and I asked Alex if everyone was mad at me for not having the baby yet. He laughed at me.

Finally. FINALLY. Around 1 am-ish, I was at 10 cm. And the pushing could begin. Now, you have to understand that I have been dreading pushing. I was extremely nervous that I would not push well and just basically make a mess of the whole thing. I’m not sure why, because I’ve never heard anyone say, “Pushing was the worst part and so hard!” But I was still terrified. And at this point, I had been in labor for 20 hours or so. I was exhausted, but the end seemed to be in sight, so I decided I was going to be the best pusher in the entire history of the world.

And pushed I did. And then I pushed some more. And then, when I thought I couldn’t push anymore, I pushed again. And yet, the baby was not moving. He seemed to be stuck. And J was not helping at all. She kept saying that it would be okay and he was moving and blah de dah. Keep that in mind for later.

About two hours into the pushing, I started to lose my steam mentally and physically. I looked at Alex and sort of wimpered that I wanted my mom. Bless his heart, he went and got her and she came in to help keep me going. I wound up with Alex on one side watching the contractions and counting for me, with my mom on the other side encouraging me along. Again, I pushed and pushed and pushed. And guess what? THE BABY WAS NOT MOVING. J made it seem like he was maybe going forward a ½ centimeter or so. Apparently he’d move forward when I pushed and then would shrink back in a little bit when I stopped. I remember I started saying, “I really, really need him to move forward.” I’m not sure why I thought that was important to voice, but I did. I said it. A lot.

My doctor checked in on us and told us to keep going. She touched my stomach and declared, “Your baby is not going to be that big!” She checked on my progress, but had to leave pretty quickly. Why? She had another mom who was also induced at 4:30 the previous morning and was pushing. Basically we were in a race to give birth. Alex kept encouraging me to hurry up and beat them. I kept encouraging him to SHUT UP.

Remember how J said the baby was moving? SHE WAS LYING. And then she decided that I should stop pushing. Why? Because my doctor was stuck in a C section with the other poor girl who was also induced at 4:30 that morning. She had been pushing for a while, her baby was stuck, they tried to vacuum him out, and it didn’t work. So they had to do an emergency C section and were then having problems with the mom. I distinctly remember thinking, “Wow. I really hope that doesn’t happen to me.” FAMOUS LAST WORDS.

The doctor showed up sometime around 5 or so and I could tell from her face that she was not pleased. She was mad that I had stopped pushing. She was mad at the nurse for doing something else…I don’t remember what it was, but I distinctly remember her telling the nurse to stop doing something. It was obvious things weren’t going well. She watched me push for another 30 minutes and gave me the news: C Section.

She explained that she didn’t think the vacuum would help. There was a possibility that it wouldn’t get his head all the way through the birth canal. And even if it did, his shoulder might be stuck, since he was so big. The safest way to get this baby out was by C Section. I tried so hard to hold it together, but I just melted after a whole 5 seconds of keeping it cool. All of that hard work. Four hours of pushing. 25 hours of labor. And we’re doing a C section? Alex asked her and J if we could have a minute, so I could break down in semi-privacy. After a few minutes, I felt better and I knew we had to do it because it was best for the baby. But I was seriously scared and so tired at that point. I was worried about my baby’s health, my health, and my entire family was FREAKING OUT.


gina said...

that was one hell of a part 1

B & B said...

i second that. gee.

The Crows said...

Oh. My. Gosh.

Christy said...

Good grief! You are amazing!

Mel said...

Ok so maybe I shouln't be reading this 8 days before my due date...
Cora, you're amazing!!