She’s here!!! (part 3)

It’s time to have a baby! Here’s the story of Rachel’s birth!

Same warnings as before: Don’t read any further if you don’t want to know gross body stuff!

Doc didn’t want me to go too far past my due date, since I’m old and my BP made this whole thing high risk. So at my 40 week appt (July 15), Doc said, “How’s Friday?” And I said, “Sounds good!” He performed a membrane sweep as well, to see if we could get things going a little earlier than that. I had a spring in my step when we left the office that day, one of the nurses commented that she couldn’t believe I moved like that at 40 weeks.

Needless to say, nothing happened. I even had an Arni’s stromboli for dinner, hoping that would kick start her. I finished it for breakfast!

So, we went into the hospital on July 18 at 0630 in the morning for an induction. We checked in and were told we were a little early as we were scheduled at 0700 but our dr liked to be there early. Minutes before we left, I thought my water broke as we were getting ready to go, packing up a couple last things. Alas, I was wrong.

So, we get checked in and I get my lovely hospital gown on and try to be comfortable in the terrible bed I would stay in all day. I get my iv in, in a painful spot on the side of my left hand/wrist. I get my first liter of lactated ringers solution and the much beloved pitocin drip.

At this point I was 1.5 centimeters dilated and 80 effaced which is where I had been for the last 2 weeks. Pitocin did start the contractions that started like mild period cramps. They were tolerable for a while and we watched Modern Marvels on the History Channel for a while and slept. After several hours I needed to have something to eat and I was on a clear liquid diet so I ate some jello, it was red. Unfortunately, the contractions at this point were getting uncomfortable so I didn’t eat the rest of what I’d ordered (Sprite and chicken broth) – oh well. Instead, I got some painkillers! The first shot of Nubain was amazing! It didn’t take all the pain away, just most of it, but everything was awesome. And I remember how awesome and funny it was. I remember trying to tell my husband what it felt like, which was funny itself. Then I got about 2 hours of sleep.

After I woke up, the Nubain wore off and I got a second shot. Which did nothing. Nothing. This was expected and the nurses told me that before I got the first shot, so it wasn’t that much of a disappointment. Somewhere around here, Doc tried to break my water as I was about 4 cm dilated. He used a couple of those damned amnihooks to try and it just wouldn’t go! That was actually more painful than the membrane sweep earlier in the week and most of my contractions up to that point. After digging around in there for a while, he stopped and said we’d try again later. He didn’t have to; when he came to check me again, apparently it had broken without help, and I hadn’t noticed.

Because I was in quite a bit of pain – the nurse asked me what my pain level was and I said somewhere around an 8 (out of 10) and she replied that based on my breathing she was going to put a 10 out of 10 because she’d seen women still playing on their phones and saying 10 (as usual, there’s an XKCD for that). I was already doing a breathing thing I’d learned in my birthing class just to get through each contraction at this point. She then went to talk to Doc and he said I could have my epidural if I wanted it. I didn’t want to stall labor and was trying to hold out for 5 cm for some reason, but I said OK a little after 1800 (I remember this because that’s when the shift change was, so I missed the anesthesiologist I wanted and got the other guy).

His name was Chris and I did not like him. It’s a good thing he did all his work behind my back (literally) because my husband told me later he was twisting his face up in disapproving looks as he looked at my back. Given the fact that I had to sit still through several contractions for this, I probably would have hauled off and slugged him, had I seen it. Every person I had spoken to, since I got pregnant pretty much, has heard about my back surgery. Except for Chris, I guess. He was all “did you tell anyone this?” My answer was “yes, everyone” but apparently that wasn’t good enough. Then he says the one thing no one has ever said to me in 38 years: “Did you know you have scoliosis?” The hell? I said no. He said it was slight, but was causing a problem and that between that and my surgery site, I may have a “hot spot” where the epidural wouldn’t work. Whatever, just do it. So, after several agonizing minutes that wasn’t really as long as I think it was, the stupid tube was in and then I got my epidural meds.

It worked 100%. For about 2 hours. I got a little more sleep). Then I got some breakthrough pain as it failed on the right side of my hip and uterus. If I had thought the contractions were painful before, I was so very wrong. I was thankful, however, that at least the left side was painfree – any little bit helped.

After what I can only assume were several long minutes (I had no sense of the passage of time) with contractions coming more and more quickly (the pitocin drip was at 14 now), I only had time between deep breaths and counting exhalations to ask my husband to put one little piece of ice in my mouth between each contraction. My mouth was incredibly dry and I was so thirsty, but I couldn’t do more than let it melt on my tongue and swallow before I had to start counting again. I remember admitting that I was scared and Doc said “why” and I said “I don’t know that I can do this.” I don’t recall him saying anything, but I felt good that he was there because I knew he wouldn’t let anything bad happen. (We had talked previously about my fear of dying doing this.)

I was in an awkward position on my back with my left leg straight out and my right leg bent at the knee. They tried to roll me to my left side so I could labor on that side, but that hurt way too much and I whimpered until they let me go back on my back. My husband stood on my left side, with my left hand gripped in his. As I breathed through my contractions, he had to remind me to breathe when they were over too. He tells me that both our hands were turning purple, I was squeezing so hard. I believe him since I remember my forearm and hand throbbing.

It wasn’t long before I said that I really wanted to push and that I thought that would make me feel better. At first they were all “you can feel that” (like I was kidding about the epidural failing). Then they said to push with the contractions. Not a lot happened at this point when I did, but it did feel better to do it. I was at 7 cm before I wanted to start pushing, and maybe zero station. I had a couple what I would call practice pushes to get through a couple contractions. The nurse checked me after a few and I was at 10 cm and about to crown, time to do this thing. I had another shot of pain medicine through my epidural, which helped my thigh/hip pain a little, but did nothing for my contractions. I asked if I could push after he gave me the shot and Chris said not for 5-10 minutes (I wanted to punch him again here). But somehow, I made it 15 minutes before I asked if I could push now.

The nurse said let’s do a couple pushes and get her head past my pubic bone. I said OK and two pushes later, that was done. I rested for a minute as this seemed to take some of the immediate pressure off. For some reason, after the other nurses had prepped the baby station across the room, everyone but my nurse left (I had a dedicated nurse because of the pitocin and epidural – I had to have someone available to monitor me at all times). I then had to tell her that she needed to get everyone now because baby was coming out now and I really really needed to push. She ran out to get everyone and suddenly there were like 8 people there, rushing around, taking the bed apart and getting the foot supports up.

Doc was there and said to push with the next contraction. So I did. And the next two after that. And she was out! I felt a huge relief when the last of her slid out. I looked at my husband and said “I did it!” and “I wish Mom could have been here” (I cried a little too, both in relief that she was finally out and in sadness that my Mom wasn’t there).

At 12:07 AM on Saturday, July 19, our little Rachel was born.

I asked if they were sure she was a girl because that was my last great fear. They laughed and said yes, she’s still a girl. Then they wiped her off quickly and did their weighings and measurings quickly then gave her to me. She had come down and out so quickly, her head wasn’t molded at all, but she had some massive facial bruising. She had her eyes open just a little, shifting back and forth rapidly, like she was looking around for the bad guy in the room. We held her as Doc got the placenta out. That was also a great relief, physically, feeling that slide out. I was immediately squishy again and very happy about it.

The uterine massages hurt a lot, almost as much as the contractions did. All the nurses were very apologetic for it, too. Because of the epidural, I had been cath’d once. Since the delivery was so quick, I didn’t have to have it done again. They had me try to get up and go to the bathroom.

Here’s the fun part. I couldn’t get up. My right knee was numb from the epidural* and it just wasn’t happening. But they needed me to go to the bathroom and get my lovely mesh undies on so I could be transferred to the Mom and Baby unit and leave L&D. So, they brought in this lovely device called the Sara Stedy to move me to the bathroom and then onward. You put your feet on it, and lean forward onto your knees and then they close the seat around your butt and you can sit back on it. So they rolled me to the bathroom and then over the toilet and helped me stand up and get cleaned up. Then I got back onto the thing and they took me, husband, and child to our new room.

*Chris told me that my numb knee wasn’t from the epidural. Doc said it was and that it would wear off after about 12 hours. Guess who was right! Doc, as usual. I don’t like Chris. I fell in the bathroom because of it and had to be escorted by a nurse any time I got out of bed for just over 48 hours because they didn’t have guidelines for when a younger person fell.

There’s a cool thing that I have to mention about our hospital, and it was doubly cool because it happened to us. ❤ Whenever a baby is born and the family is discharged from L&D, they play Happy Birthday very softly (sounds like an ice cream truck down the road) in all the halls of the hospital to announce the birth – a reminder that not everything that happens in the hospital is bad. We got to hear it three more times while we were there and it made me smile every time.

This was a lot longer than I intended, and I did not journal about my hospital time before, so there may be a short follow up post with things that I remember later. But for now… this is Rachel’s story!

Welcome to the world, Rachel!

Welcome to the world, Rachel!

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