I tried to remember the facts, I even planned to write them down, but when you’re in the thick of it, time is out the window, and there’s just too much else going on.
9:30pm – 7/26/10 (Due date!) Monday Night: Contractions started about 9:30pm as I was going to bed. Around 6:30pm I had been exhausted and thought, I should go to bed now (and I wish I had!) I couldn’t stay in bed. The contractions were the most uncomfortable while laying down, and were in my lower back as well as my abdomen. I paced around the house and tried to go back to bed several times. The contractions were very similar to the false labor I had about a week before, so I was not convinced this was it. Ryan was taking turns practicing bass and sitting with me through contractions. They were mild, but uncomfortable and starting to become more painful. We did some walking around the block with Izzie, which actually felt very good.
2am or so – 7/27/10 Monday Night/Early Tuesday Morning: I told Ryan I thought we should head to the hospital. It’s only a few miles from our house, and if they send us home, oh well, but this feels a little different than the false labor from last week. Ryan makes some food for himself and I plan to eat some too. I know it’s serious when I change my mind and decide I am too uncomfortable to eat. We thoroughly confuse the dog by getting the house all ready to leave, closing windows, putting out extra cat food, loading bags in the car. She’s dissapointed she doesn’t get to come along. I spend the time between contractions helping out, and spend the contractions doubled over the kitchen counter – the pain is mostly in my lower back.
3am or so: We arrive at the hospital and must enter through the emergency department because the maternity doors are locked at night. It’s a short walk through the parking lot from the car, but a long walk once you’re in the hospital. They offer to take me there in a wheel chair, but I cannot possibly think of sitting down – riding in the car for 5 minutes was more than enough. When we arrive at the maternity department, I walk up to the counter and tell them they’ll probably be sending me back home, but think it’s better to be safe than sorry. I continue to make jokes, because I don’t want to feel stupid if this is nothing. Because of this, Ryan tells me later, he really didn’t think this was the real thing. They get us into the triage room and tell me they are going to give me a non-stress test to check the baby. This requires laying down for 20 minutes and I am pretty upset about this, as my back is killing me with each contraction and it hurts to sit down, but I make it through. I am dilated 2cm upon arrival. My cervix has been fully effaced for weeks now. They tell me to hang around 45 mins or so and then they will reevaluate me. We walk the halls, and I am becoming increasingly aggitated and uncomfortable, and am being to be in some real pain with each contraction. Ryan helps me breath through each one.
4 am or so: They come back to check me and I have dilated from 2cm to 5cm in less than an hour. We are admitted to the hospital. They ask me if I would like to go in the tub while they prep our room.
5 am or so: I spend an hour or so in the tub. It is AMAZING! I am experiencing back labor because the baby is sunny side up, or facing out (head is down though). The tub allows me to be in a more relaxed state (I’ve now been on my feet since 9:30pm) and it allows me to be on my back, but floating, so there is no pressure. Ryan and I chat and he helps me breath through each contraction, holding my hand.
6:00am or so: I start to get pruny, so we head over to our room. I ask about an epidural. The contactions are very painful, but I think I could manage them if I knew they wouldn’t get any worse. They are just so uncomfortable. I just can’t imagine being anywhere but standing right now. My fear of what is to come and fear of the unknown cause me to ask for the epidural. I advise them I would like to stay away from narcotics. They first must get an IV going, and I must take in a whole bag of water before they can do the epidural.
8:00am or so: The anesthesiologist arrives, I sign paperwork, he preps things, and by 8:30am I have the epidural. I have two contractions while he’s administering the epidural, and it’s so hard to hold still. I focus on the nurses shoes. By the time he’s done, I am chatting with the nurse about her shoes, and telling her Clark’s is the best place to get comfy shoes – what a difference. I lay down and pretty soon cannot feel much from the waste down. I can wiggle my toes. It feels like such relief.
10am: Dr. Omrani breaks my water and we think it won’t be long until our baby girl is here. We spend the next few hours waiting for some progress on the dilation. The epidural probably slowed things way down.
2:15pm: Time to start pushing. My nurse’s shift is over at 3pm, and she anticipates the baby will be born shortly after, so she plans to stick around. For the first few pushes, I cannot feel a thing – no contractions, and can’t tell if I am even pushing. I tell them it’s ok to turn down the epidural. I hear this is a nice medium, you have the epidural to take the edge off, but you can still push and feel the contractions. Over the next 4+ hours they administer pitocin and turn it up a few times. I assume they continue to turn the epidural down, but I am not sure. I continue to push. I try several positions, but cannot seem to get her around the corner of my pubic bone. Finally I can feel my left leg enough to get on all fours and then push back into a child’s pose type position for each push/contraction. This seems to make some progress. At this point, there are two midwives and my nurse in the room with us. I hear discussions of the baby’s heart rate. I think the heart rate always goes down during pushing and a contraction, but my baby’s isn’t going back up as much, or as fast as they would like. They tell us they are going to bring the doctor in and see if he wants to try the vacuum. He comes in, asks about progress, and decides to try the vacuum. I think they are close to considering a c-section and at this point I am just completely exhausted. I’ve been watching in the mirror and can’t see any visible progress from the last hours of pushing. They get everything ready and attached the vacuum to her head. I push on the next contraction (I am no longer alert enough to watch in the mirror). I assume her head comes part way out. It is the worst pain I have ever felt. Everyone in the room is cheering for me, telling me I can do it. I am yelling that I can’t. It hurts too much. They tell me to stop pushing and wait for the next contraction to push her out, but that seems just impossible. It’s the longest minute (or who knows how long!) of my life. Finally it comes, and I can feel her head out and shoulder and I know I’m home free. But man, it’s the worst pain ever. If you have the full epidural, do you still feel that? They call it the “ring of fire” and indeed it was. I suffered a second degree tear, and some other things I’d rather not discuss to my non-baby birthing lower nether regions.
They took her over to the warmer area right away to check her out. I assume this is because of the slower heart rate. At that point I didn’t even really notice that she didn’t go right on my chest. Ryan immediately went over from my left side, to the right side of the room and got his face right in her face and started talking to her. He said she turned and looked right at him, she recognized his voice right away. I just watched them in awe. Ryan brought her over to me, probably about 2 or 3 minutes after she was born. It was amazing and it was exhausting.
It truly is a miracle, from conception (all the stars must align perfectly) to birth (and beyond). I can’t believe people do this every day.
I’ll have another post in the works with things I learned and suggestions I have for people expecting.