That is when my life changed forever. I had just squeezed the equivalent of a milk jug out of my lady parts and was laying in a hospital bed spread eagle, as a team of 9 pediatricians “worked on” my non-breathing baby girl.
…but lets back up a few days, to the moment I knew I would be holding my baby in my arms by the end of the weekend.
As I sit pant less in my OBGYN’s office I cannot help but notice the pamphlets on the wall: Induced Labor, C-Section, etc. Little did I know that in about 5 min. I would be in need of one of those pamphlets in preparation of my daughters sooner-than-expected arrival. My blood pressure had been spiking for the last 2 weeks, tests had been done, blood had been drawn, fetal monitoring and non-stress tests had been ordered, as well as a 24 hour urine collection, believe me when I say, this was fun. Picture this, a giant jug you fill with pee over a 24 hour period. Want to go to dinner? Pee jug goes with. A walk around town, pee jug in tow! Did I mention that pregnancy is glamourous? The Dr. came in the room, checked for dilation (my lazy baby who was clearly in no hurry to emerge from her cozy waterbed was not giving me any help and I was only at a 1), checked my blood pressure (which was still spiking) and announced that it was time we talk induction. She walked out to check her schedule, came back and asked how Friday worked for me. Friday, as in 2 days from now?! Game on!
D Day. What do you do when you know you are going in for induced labor in a few short hours? Well, you go to the bank, get extra treats for the dog-sitter, go for a bang trim, do laundry, clean the house, pack your hospital bag and enjoy your last meal as a “table for 2” (which was 5 guys incase anyone is wondering). Knowing that you are going in for a scheduled labor is a very strange and un-natural feeling. I always thought things would kick off with that “oh shit” moment. You know, where your water breaks in the middle of the grocery store or you wake your sleeping husband in the middle of the night to announce your every growing in intensity, contractions. But that was simply not going to be the case for us, we would be going into the hospital at exactly 9:30PM on Friday September 7th. Calm, cool, and collected (right).
9:30PM - Arrive at the hospital (for the 1st time)
Since I was only 1 centimeter dilated they could not just introduce pitocin to my system to get the party started, they had to “ripen” my cervix (really, they had to call it ripen? There was nothing less offensive to call it other than ripen)? The way that this is done is by giving you a pill orally, followed by a few hours of monitoring the baby. At 1:30AM we got sent home. The instructions were simple, if you go into labor or your water breaks, come back. Otherwise we will see you again at 7:30AM.
7:30AM - Back to the hospital
1st they check for “ripening” and dilation….I am at a 2. Which means its time for another round of the magical ripening pill, monitoring and yet again, we are sent on our way. We are told to take 3 hours and come back. We decide to grab a couple of sandwiches to go from our favorite spot, and head home to let Clancy (our dog) out.
2:00PM - Hospital round 3
No change. However, they have decided we are not going to go home tonight, we will be progressing this labor one way or another and they make the decision to (finally) admit us. Thus brings us to round 3 of the orally ingested pill. And we wait….
8:00PM Phase 2
Now that we are sufficiently “ripened” (again, still gross), they decide to move forward. After getting checked for dilation (which is at a 4), they insert a tapeworm looking thing, soaked in medicine into my “fun-spot”. Once in place we decide to try and get some sleep.
11:00PM - Contractions
OH. DEAR. GOD. I wake up with the most intense back pain I have ever felt in my life! As I lay there strapped to machines (IV’s, heart monitor, blood pressure cuff, etc), I yell to wake my sleeping husband and explain what I am experiencing. He checks the monitors only to confirm that I am having back to back contractions. HERE WE GO. This is the start of a long and painful labor which will be taking place entirely in my back.
The Dr. comes in, checks me and suggests I get an epidural at this time. He explains that since I am inactive labor and am being induced, there will be no interference from the epidural (if you are having natural labor an epidural can slow your contractions making your labor prolonged, not the case with inductions). He then explains that since I am being induced my contractions are (and will continue to be) erratic and will probably not progress to follow any specific pattern, thus making them harder to deal with as they more than likely will continue to piggy-back one another with the intensity of a runaway freight train, with little to no break. I happily accept the idea of an epidural at this point.
*Side note: Before getting induced I had hoped to labor on my own as long as I could and was open to the idea of an epidural but was not set on it. My reason for this, the thought of not being able to move my legs/get out of bed gave me so much anxiety that I thought dealing with the pain of labor would be a better option for me. However, once the induction was scheduled my Dr. strongly recommended that I get the epidural as soon as “active” labor started b/c induced labor is an entirely different animal. She informed me that all the medicines caused the labor to come on fast and furious, boy was she right.
1AM - Time for sleep
After receiving the epidural the pain was finally tollerable. I was given some sleeping pills to help me sleep as I was going to have a long day ahead of me (understatement of the year).
7AM - Pitocin
At 7AM they started me on a pitocin drip. This was the big daddy that was going to really get things moving along. About an hour in I was having contractions like nothing I had every experianced. My world was officially being rocked (and not in a good way). That’s when I realized…I can feel everything. But I got an epidural? I am suppose to be cool as an ice box form the waist down, so why am I feeling this? I let the Dr. know what was going on and he called in the anesthesiologist. They check for numbness vrs sensation and sure enough, I was experiencing everything in full force. They decide to up the dosage of my epidural….no change. They do this 3 times, as well as instruct my husband to hit the magic button hooked to my IV that releases a little bit of extra medicine every 15 min. After about an hour of this with no change, they decide to introduce narcotics into my epidural drip…still nothing. I could feel EVERYTHING, except on the outside of my legs and butt (great). Which means I am experiencing full sensations in my vagina, hips, back and stomach. My epidural has unexplainably failed. The anesthesiologists are stumped and I am screwed. For the next several hours I endure back labor (said to be much harder to tolerate than regular labor) with erratic contractions that are coming back to back, to back from anywhere between 25-45 min. in a row with a 5-10 min. break in-between. I would have given anything at this point for normal labor contractions, you know on a one to one ratio (have a contraction, have a break….).
12:00 Noon(ish) - Time to push
There are a few things they tell you in birthing class about pushing:
1) You will have an uncontrollable urge to push like you’ve never felt before.
2) You will feel like you have to go to the bathroom.
3) People do not scream during labor.
I can testify that two of these statements are the truest statements I have every heard in my life. However, the last is entirely false. Trust me when I say, you can scream. Not only can you scream, you can yell out a few choice curse words (the fuck word may have been in my vocabulary more than once during the pushing experience).
At 1st I was not sure if I really needed to push or go to the bathroom? There truly is no distinction between the two (and for anyone who knows me, you know how horrifying this must have been as I do not talk about bodily functions, ever). Once the urge to push kicked in, I knew this baby was coming.
When we called the nurse in to tell her I felt the urge to push, I was told to wait, do NOT push. Do not push? But I have to?! She ran out of the room (I am assuming to get the Dr.) I looked at my husband and said “I have to push, I cannot wait”. I think I held out for maybe 2 contractions before I was pushing, to me it did not matter if there was a nurse or Dr. in the room, I was pushing. THIS WAS HAPPENING. Luckily my husband did not have to deliver our baby.
Just as I started to push the baby kicked its leg up into my rib cage, making it virtually impossible to lean forward in order to push. You could literally see a goose-egg pulsating in my belly up by the top of my rib cage. I swear to god I thought that my ribs were being broken. It hurt so much that my husband barely laid his hand on the bulge and I screamed out in pain. This made it impossible for me to hold my leg when it came time to push. Thank god for my amazing husband who held my leg firmly as I held my hand over the goose-egg on my belly.
First there was the challenge of getting the head out. Believe me when I say this is no easy task (insert previously mentioned curse words here). I could actually feel the baby’s head stop midway as I waited for another contraction to push again. However, this was not the worst part, the worst part was actually the placement of the Dr’s hands. I had no idea that they basically pulled you apart to accommodate the baby’s head as it comes through the birth canal. The Dr. had one hand on each end and this not only hurt like hell form the pressure, it stung!! Oh god did it sting! The sting was actually the worst part of the delivery.
Once the head started to come out the Dr. asked if I wanted to reach down and touch her head. Honestly, there was no way this was happening. I was in so much pain I was doing all I could to stay alert for the pushing. As I continued to push, I felt the head come out, a slight twist followed by the shoulders and a gush of fluid. Now I know this must all sound gross to those of you who have never experienced child birth, but I must say that gush of fluid at the end was the best feeling I have ever felt in my life. Finally after pushing this 8.75 lb baby out of my vagina I had momentary relief.
Thats when I realized that I did not hear my baby cry, nor did I have my baby placed on my chest or in my arms. There was a team of about 9 from the pediatric team that was working on my baby on the warming table next to the bed. Honestly, I could not see or comprehend what was happening. I was literally in and out of consciousness. All I know is that I would come to and look up at my husband who had one hand on me and was standing next to the pediatricians working on our baby and I would ask “is she OK”? He would say yes and I would pass out again. After a few min. I was able to hold/see my baby for about one min. before they rushed her up to the NICU
My baby is born into this world a muted shade of purple and not breathing. The cause, possibly the fact that I delivered her so rapidly. I had her out in 30 min. Believe me, when you are feeling everything going on down there, you aren’t messing around. I was getting this baby out as soon as humanly possible. Dominos and I have that in common, 30 min. or less bitches. One theory is that she came out so fast, possibly she smashed her cord on the way down which caused her stress. Either way, after pumping breath into her tiny lungs she finally let out her 1st cry (the best sound I have every heard) and I am allowed to hold her for approximately 1 min. For the next 4 hours my husband would sit by her side in the NICU as she holds his finger with her tiny hands while getting poked and prodded before finally establishing that she is healthy as an ox (and is almost the size of one as far as babies are concerned).
Meanwhile, I was still downstairs in labor and delivery. Once my husband and my baby rushed off to the NICU I delivered the placenta and actually got a good look at it. Disclaimer - if you are the proud owner of a weak stomach do not, I repeat do not look down at the placenta. It is every bit as disgusting as you would imagine (luckily for me I am into blood and gore). Then it was time for stitches. Yes, I did tear. Now before giving birth tearing was something that I was a bit concerned about however, let me just say that when you are going through the miracle of birth, you do not notice if you tear. I had no idea I even tore before the Dr. told me. As the Dr. started to stitch me up, he checked on my pain level (remember I was not numb at all and was feeling everything). Honestly, I just pushed an almost 9lb baby out of my vagina, pretty sure this is small potatoes, stitch away. I didn’t even flinch. Honestly, this is probably the closest to a super power I will ever come. I mean when else would you be OK with getting stitches in what is arguably your most sensitive area without any sort of anesthesia/numbing?
Finally, I have delivered the placenta and am all stitched up, I am ready to see my baby. But instead I wait….and wait. The nurses distract me for a min. by offering me some food, a sack lunch that involved a tuna fish sandwich, something I had not been able to eat for the last almost 10 months and a big jug of water and milk (I was so thirsty! Like I have been stuck on an island for the last 30 days without fresh water to drink thirsty). Once I finished eat and successfully drank everything in sight, I asked again about seeing my baby. The nurse told me she was waiting on the postpartum floor. I guess they needed a room for me to be checked into before they could wheel me off of the labor and delivery floor (not really sure to this day what the postpartum floor and me going to the NICU to see my baby have in common)? Also, they will not let you walk, hospital policy that if you have done any drugs for pain management that you have to be wheeled (even if they failed). After about 3 and a 1/2 hours I had begun to lose my patiants. I explained to the nurse that I no longer gave a shit about hospital policy and I was going to see my daughter one way or another. I gave her 5 min. to come back with a wheel chair or I was walking to the NICU. …..she came with the wheel chair.
I got to the NICU just in time for sweet baby Grae to be released. FINALLY all 3 of us were together and in our room.
People always talk about this “pregnancy amnesia”. They say without it, you would never have more than one baby. They claim that you forget all the negative that came along with your pregnancy, labor and delivery. Well, to all those people, I say you are a damn liar. There is no way in hell I will every forget what I went through to get this beautiful baby. Pregnancy, labor and delivery has got to be the craziest thing you can ever put your body through. I will say this, if I wanted more than one baby (which I do not and I had decided this long before getting pregnant), the experience would not make me shy away from doing it again, I would do it again in a heartbeat if I wanted more children. You may not ever forget what you went through, but you sure do move past it quickly. Once you are looking down upon that beautiful little face, you move past all the pain and hard work.
Having this baby has already proven to be the best thing I have ever done. Besides, its hard not to reap the rewards when this is the face that you get the pleasure of looking at all day every day!
Grae Magnolia 9/9/2012 12:38PM