So, when we left off it was 9:30 a.m. and my water had just broken. I was so excited! And, if you’re wondering what it feels like to have your water break, basically it’s like you peed yourself, only you can’t stop the flow at all. At this point, my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart and were really regular. Things seemed like they were right on track. And, I felt like I would probably have a baby before dinner time.
My contractions were still really manageable. I could feel them coming, but I was not at the point where I had to stop myself from talking during one even though I could see that they were pretty strong. Although I knew I wanted an epidural, I wanted to hold off and get one a little later because I didn’t want anything to slow down my labor. Over the next few hours, my contractions started to space out a bit. I’d have some every 2-3 minutes and then some every 5 minutes. So, we continued to up my Pitocin to try to get them more regular.
At 11 a.m., I got the nurse, Amber, that would see me through my delivery and I LOVED her. She was super calm, knowledgable and explained everything to me. She was in our room just the right amount of time. Meaning that she wasn’t invasive, but I also felt like we were important to her. My contractions were starting to pick up now and I had to stop talking whenever I was having one. I used the breathing exercises I learned at our lamaze class to get me through them, and it was manageable. At that point, my doctor came by to check on me and see how dilated I was. She was super excited that my water had broken on its own too, and even more excited that the baby handled it well. I felt like I had to at least be a 4 by now because it seemed like things were going well. Well, I was only 3 cm, 50% effaced with the baby at -2 station. I was kind of bummed, but this was still an improvement since I’d gained a cm, even though the effacement sure wasn’t happening very quickly.
I talked to my doctor about an epidural, and she said that any point I wanted one, I could have one. So, I told myself that I would go until at least 3 pm. I don’t know why I picked that time, but I figured that would give my body enough time to make some additional progress. Around 2 pm they were super intense, and I was wondering if I could make it until 3. Both Sean and my sister were telling me to quit being stubborn and just get the damn epidural already, but I just wanted to know that I could do it for a little longer. So, finally when the clock got to 3, my nurse came in and I told her to go ahead and get the anesthesiologist because I was ready for my epidural. She wheeled in the chest with all their equipment, and told me they were next door but that I was next.
Both an anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist came in to administer the epidural. I’d been scared of this all day long, but I knew that in the end I would feel so much better afterwards. I don’t know if all anesthesiologists are zany or not, but I feel like you usually hear stories about witty banter they have with their patients. Mine was no different. The nurse anesthetist was calm, but the anesthesiologist was a fast-talking, tiny dude. They asked me to scoot all the way to the edge of the bed and arch my back like a cat. Then, they applied the numbing shot which felt like a bee sting in my back, but it was way less intense than I thought it was going to be. We had to take a small break during a contraction, but then they put the big needle in, asked if I felt nauseous or if I had a metal taste in my mouth (no). So, they knew that they’d put it in the right spot. After that, the pain relief wasn’t instant, but it came pretty soon after. I could feel my legs starting to numb, but I was still able to move them a little bit. My left leg was more numb than my right, but they assured me that was normal.
So, it had been nearly 4 hours since my last check; I was sure that I’d made some progress now. I mean, my contractions were painful enough to require an epidural, right? So, Amber checked me and I waited eagerly to find out the results. Oh, and I was also excited to get checked after my epidural because it meant I wouldn’t feel it anymore. The checks are super uncomfortable. So, Amber looked up at me with her sweet eyes and said, “Well, you’re at 3, 50% effaced.” This meant that in the last 4 hours I’d made zero progress. None. Amber increased my pitocin again, and just kept watching my contractions hoping that they would become more regular like they’d been earlier that day. I knew that my doctor was going to come by in a couple of hours, so I was anxious to hear what she thought.
At 6:30 p.m. my doctor came by to see what was going on. She checked me, and told me the bad news. Again, no progress. I was mad at myself for getting the epidural, thinking that maybe if I’d held off I would have been able to make more progress. My doctor told me that if by 8:30 p.m. I’d made no progress, she wanted to throw in the towel and do a c-section. I nodded because I knew that if I talked I would cry. This was now so off-course from what I had envisioned. But, at the same time, I thought if I’ve made even a tiny bit of progress at 8:30, that means my labor will go on and on. I wasn’t sure which was worse. I hoped I would either make a lot of progress, or no progress at all. I was tired; my induction had started 24 hours earlier and I was just ready to meet our baby girl. I was also ready to eat something.
So we waited the 2 hours. I spent some time with my family and tried to prepare myself for whatever the news might be. Right at 8:30 on the dot, my doctor came back. I held my breath as she checked me, this time super anxious about what she would say. Well, again I’d made no progress. She said it was time to get ready for the c-section. Again, I nodded, but this time I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. Amber (my nurse) came over to me, and reassured me. She’d had 2 c-sections previously and both turned out great. My sister called, and I talked to her, again crying. She also reassured me that it would be fine, and just talked to me the way only a sister can. Amber started getting all my meds ready (one that tasted like sweet tarts gone wrong), gave Sean his outfit, and then 2 anesthesiologists came in. One was the zany one from before, and the other was a new one. They changed the medication in my epidural to numb me from my chest down.
After that it seemed like it took forever for everyone to get together and take me to the operating room. In reality it was probably about 15 minutes, but it felt much longer. Finally, we were on our way to the operating room. Sean had to wait in the hall as they moved me to the operating table, got me all ready and made sure that my medicine had kicked in by pinching my stomach. Or at least that’s what they told me, I felt nothing. At this point I could not stop shaking and chattering. The girl anesthesiologist told me that it was totally normal. It was an effect of both the medication and the fact that the operating room was really cold. She set me up with a “bear hug”. It’s an airbag that goes across your chest and arms. They pipe in warm air through it. I felt much better once she put that on, but I still couldn’t stop shaking. She told me that once I hear my baby cry, she was pretty sure I would stop shaking because everything else would melt away.
Here’s where things got kind of funny, so I have to share. I noticed that the girl anesthesiologist had a bad bruise on her nail, so I asked what happened. She asked me if I’d ever heard of Pinterest. Ha! Yes, of course. So, she told me about a project she’d seen on there that she wanted to do herself, and she ended up accidentally hitting her nail with a hammer. She even showed me her inspiration and her completed project on her iPhone. It was such a nice way to calm me down. So, Pinterest, you have infiltrated the operating room.
Then, it seemed like they were going to get started, but Sean wasn’t in the room. I got freaked out and asked where he was. One of the nurses had already gone to get him, but I didn’t know that. I saw him walking in and felt relieved. After that things moved very quickly. I couldn’t feel anything when they cut me, but I could definitely feel when they pressed down on my chest to move her down and get her out. It wasn’t painful at all, it was just a lot of pressure. And then I heard it…her cry. And I immediately cried with her. The c-section, the labor, everything didn’t matter anymore. Our baby girl was here and I was in love with someone I hadn’t even seen yet. Sean walked over to the table where they examined her, and then he brought her over to me where I got to see her for the first time.
Then she, her dad and the pediatric nurse went to the nursery to check her out. While I stayed behind to get stitched up and then on to recovery. I was so upset that I wasn’t going to get to bond with her right away, and I thought I wasn’t going to be able to see her for the 2 hours I was in recovery. Thankfully, about 5 minutes into my recovery stay they called from the nursery to ask if I was ready to try to nurse her. I excitedly told them yes!!
When she came back, I kissed her over and over, and started our bonding time as a family. Sean and I could not take our eyes off of her. Amber sat in the wings though her shift had ended hours ago. I was so grateful for her. And, I was so grateful that our little girl had arrived safe and sound even if it didn’t go the way I envisioned. She was here, and she was perfect and that’s all that mattered.
Now she’s already almost one month old and we love her more each day.