When last we left, it was 8 am and I had consented to being given Pitocin as my membranes had been ruptured for 12 hours. I was finally allowed to labor out of bed (hallelujah for being allowed to pee a la toilette), in efforts to alleviate the pain of contractions as well as get the baby to drop (and thus eliminate the risk of cord prolapse).
My friend, S, arrived a little while later. She is a doula and offered her service to us free of charge. I’m very glad we accepted her offer as she helped us get through the next 5 hours. The pitocin kicked in and the contractions along with it. We used all of the props that we brought as we got through them one at a time. Birthing ball, stool, heat (we weren’t allowed to heat the rice sock in the microwave as someone at one time in history had burned himself by doing that), breathing, humming, swaying, counting, drinking tea, etc. We did it all. And by 1 pm, we were ready to find out how far along I was.
A doctor came in and checked me and found out I was now a whopping 4 cm dilated. I mean, I came in at 3, so this was no great shakes. I started to panic and meltdown, thinking there’s no way I could get through this if it took me 5 hours to open up 1 lousy centimeter.
We got through the next hour, as was our goal, and got checked again. Still 4. GAH! Give me some drugs, STAT.
As the nurse prepared the fentanyl pain pump for me, the doctors (not mine, if you recall, as he was dealing with a “family emergency” and was not present or even reachable for this whole situation) came in to tell me we needed to get a lead on the baby’s head as his heart rate kept dropping and they wanted to get a better picture of his health. They would need to rupture my membranes all the way (there was only a leak up until now) and I freaked as I knew that would mean more pain and stronger contractions and I was not ready.
This of course, was the exact moment my friend S had chosen to go make a phone call. She missed the drama that followed. Baby Fish was still pretty high up and so the doctor had to go in up to her elbow to get the lead on his head. And when she ruptured the bag, of course meconium came flooding out. Shit. Literally.
At that point, doctor staged an intervention and told me it was time for an epidural. I was so reluctant because I had endured 2 failed epis with my first birth experience and it made the experience traumatizing, what with the dead legs and plenty of pain and no mobility and all. But she talked me into it and sent anesthesiology into my room. I’ve got wires coming out of every hole (and some going into skin where holes don’t exist), and the anesthesiologist scolds me for not looking at him while he’s giving me directions. Excuse me if I am physically unable to turn my head you moron, but if you care to move the oxygen tubes, I’d be happy to look you right in the eye as you tell me how I have to remain still as a statue while you poke me in the spinal column.
Yes, in went epidural #1. It gave me some relief, but I still had to breathe consciously through contractions, so my kick ass nurse (who just came on the shift) came in to tell me she was going to get me a new epidural.
Enter Anesthesiologist #2, Dr. R. He does a better job than #1 and gives me complete coverage. Unfortunately, I now feel like I have no legs. Creepiest feeling ever. I just prayed I would be able to walk again some day.
I am able to relax a bit without the pain of contractions, but before they pump up the pitocin dose, I am told we still need to address the baby’s heart rate, which is still dropping during contractions. The doctors feel either he needs more fluid to be more comfortable, or more fluid to float the cord, which may be compressed. So they give me an intrauterine catheter to put sterile fluid into the uterus (and of course it just drips right out). Since the epi is good, this is not an issue and I feel nothing.
Now I really have cords coming out of everywhere. But I get some rest.
Until my mom comes back into the room to tell me she knows where the doctor really is. Oh yes, he’s in jail.
WHAT? What’s that you say? In jail? Like on the monopoly board? Hmm. Interesting. We’ll come back to that later.
A few hours later (1 hour later? Who the hell knows? I lost track of time), I begin to feel the contractions again. I mean, it started small, but the pain increased rather quickly. I told the nurse I could feel the contractions again and she advised me to press a little pain pump button once every 5 minutes to give the epidural a little boost. I could press it more often, but it would only give the actual dose every 5 minutes. Yeah, that did nothing. But 15 minutes later, I was pissed and still in pain. When my mom piped up from the corner of the room asking me if I’d pressed the button, I answered with my only yell of the day, “SHUT UP!” And she did.
Eventually, I drew enough attention with my complaints that a doc came in to check me and it turned out I was finally at 9 cm! But I started to feel like I needed to push (I never had this feeling with Jasper). I told everyone this and they told me I could not push as I wasn’t fully dilated yet. I insisted I had to push and I would be pooping on the table if they didn’t watch out. The nurse said that was fine, there was paper on the bed. Clearly my threats meant nothing.
I was now at the yelling part, as no breathing was helping me get through this pain and pressure. The doctor came back to check me and discovered (I swear it was no more than 4 contractions after she checked me at 9) I was at 10 cm. HALLELUJAH! I could push, right?
No. Since there had been meconium, I had to wait for NICU to arrive before he could come. It felt like forever that I was literally holding him in, when finally I got the green light to push.
1/2 a push later and he shot out like a torpedo! Much different than J, who took 3 hours of pushing to emerge.
He came out screaming and waving his little creature arms and legs and he was just perfection. 7 lbs. 2 oz., which explains why he didn’t get stuck. I tore where I had an episiotomy 8 years ago, but I did not care. They took forever getting him suctioned (even though he didn’t need it, thank goodness) and bringing him to me, with amniotic fluid bubbling up on his little lips.
And at last, I was happy.
ps. I keep trying to upload an actual photo and wordpress is not allowing it. I’ll try again later.