As a reminder, I’m going to break from my general pattern of trying not to gross you out too much with body fluids, body matter, and the gory side of pregnancy simply because it’s impossible not to when you’re describing a person coming out of another person. I mean, she CAME OUT of me….
So we booked it to the hospital. The ride was only about 15 or 20 minutes and I cried about half of it because I was so shaken at the tone the doctor had taken with me. B was a real trooper though and did his absolute best to console me and to get me in a place where I was relaxed and ready to push Miss C out.
We arrived and checked in. I really like the LD ward because it was newly remodeled, quiet, and stocked full of great nurses! I had my doubts prior to the baby’s birth whether the nurses would really have my best interests in mind. The reason for this is because when we went to the express childbirth class a month or so ago, the nurses who conducted it (affiliated with the hospital) kept on saying that they will be our advocates throughout our deliveries but then they repeatedly joked that if we became mommyzillas they would make fun of us behind our backs. Yeah, that may be funny to some people, but not so much to me. Near the end of my pregnancy I tended to take any jab at pregnant women really seriously and had a hard time finding humor in even the most innocent jokes like this. But we were more than pleasantly surprised with how wonderful the nurses staffing L&D ended up being.
We arrived around 5:20 and checked in. I was quickly ushered into the triage area, asked to give a urine sample which I had no trouble with*, and change into a gown. The whole time I was still thinking that there was still a chance they would send me home because my contractions were still very erratic and no more than 10 minutes apart. However, at the end of the initial exam when I ask the sweet nurse who was taking care of me in triage what the chances were of me being officially admitted, she said, “When your water broke you bought yourself a first-class ticket to one of our suites! You’re not going anywhere!” Needless to say, I was SO HAPPY. Miss C was coming that day!
*Pretty much no one was following my blog when I wrote a post early in the pregnancy detailing my inability to go in a cup, but if you want a laugh you should check it out.
Of course, I still was only about 3 cm dilated which meant a nice portion of pitocin was served up to get things going.
They wheeled me into the huge delivery suite and multiple nurses told us about a thousand times the guidelines about having guests in the room during the delivery. Seriously, about 20 people could fit in that room.
Luckily it was just going to be B and me since we have no family in town and no friends in Fayetteville who we would want to include during the delivery, so all the space just ended up being luxurious for us.
Then the whole question of pain medication arose. I knew the question of what I was going to do as far as pain management was coming. I had put it off until the eleventh hour. I have never been able to gauge my pain threshold. I’ve been through some super painful ordeals in my life, but childbirth is kind of in a realm all to itself and you can’t compare a severe backache to the sensation of a human coming out of you. So the plan all throughout the pregnancy was to just wait and see and go as long as I could without meds or an epidural. The nurses attending me asked me what my preferences were and were extremely respectful of my decisions, offering kind guidance and reminders of how to breathe and focus through the contractions. There was one older nurse whose name I can’t remember now who spoke to me in the most soothing tones, almost like I was a child. In any other situation I would have resented her tone but in this situation I needed to be babied. Having a baby is scary; you’re as vulnerable as the little person you’re attempting to push out.
But yeah, lemme just tell you that once that pitocin got in my bloodstream and started doing its thang on my cervix, I was feeling it. I concentrated on my breathing and focused on certain points in the room, trying my hardest not to cry during the contractions that had started coming pretty hard and heavy within an hour of the administering of the pitocin. But within an hour or so I was DONE. B and I had been working on a crossword puzzle during the early stages and at some point he was reading one of the clues to me and it just occurred to me that I didn’t need to prove myself to anyone by putting myself through the intense pain I was feeling during the contractions at that point (oh and BTW I was 7 cm by then.)
So at that point I just looked straight at him and said, “We’re doing the epidural ASAP. Tell them.”
And he did.
I had tested positive for strep C about two weeks prior which meant that antibiotics were being administered to me at the delivery so the baby wouldn’t contract anything during the birth. When B told the nurses that I wanted an epidural, they said that all we’d have to do was wait until the bag of antibiotics was emptied and then I could get my meds. This took about 45 minutes. Now in the past, when you’re in pain, time drags pretty mercilessly or just straight-up stands still. But I was trying so hard to just focus on the task at hand and the impending epidural that those 45 minutes went by pretty quickly. I don’t know if that is an indication that I could have delivered Miss C sans drugs at all, but in retrospect I’m glad I opted for the drugs.
Finally it was time for the epidural. B was ushered away (I asked why he wasn’t allowed to be in there for it but now I can’t remember the reasoning behind it; I wasn’t annoyed or anything, though.) and the anesthesiologist was ushered in.
And oh my goodness what an awesome anesthesiologist. First off, he totally reminded me of Bill Murray. He was late middle-aged, gregarious, and very soothing and supportive. I felt very at ease with him. Once he had given me my epidural I was very willing to notify him of my thought that he looked like Bill Murray. Yeah, so he had never been told that before. The nurses didn’t see it either. Oh well.
The drugs kicked in pretty quickly. Not being able to feel your legs and your nether regions is indeed a bizarre thing. I didn’t have any feeling whatsoever. I was also getting pretty coo coo pigeon sister in my brain at that point too, just wanting to talk to everyone within a 20 foot radius about any and everything. The nurse in charge of everything came back in and was checking something and I ended up confiding in her how wonderful the entire nursing staff had been thus far and how displeased I was about my OB and what he had said to me hours earlier on the phone. She was awesome and totally understanding; she urged me to notify the practice and other powers-that-be that he had spoken extremely inappropriately. She was very well-aware of some doctors’ inclinations to get uppity and pompous.
And guess who walked in just then? Dr. Davis. Wa-hoo. So glad he could make it.
To his credit, he DID apologize for speaking abruptly on the phone with me, even though his apology was pretty weak. He said he was in the middle of a testy conversation with his seventeen-year-old. Couldn’t say that I cared at all. It was almost insulting that he tried to explain his behavior away to any extent at all, but I chose not to really dignify it with a response. I had more important matters at hand, ie, having Miss C.
Things kind of get blurry after that. The contractions got more intense, even though I couldn’t feel them and I became really nauseated. I never threw up, but I thought I would several times.
Around 10:50 PM, I was again chatting with any and everyone in the room about any and everything when the head nurse abruptly told me it was time to start PUSHING.
WHAH! The excitement begins!
So here’s the thing: I couldn’t feel squat. Absolutely nada. Like I said, I had one amazing anesthesiologist. Therefore, it was difficult for me to gauge whether or not the pushing I was doing was effective at all. In the end the only indication I had to go by that I was pushing hard enough was that I was also crapping all over the table.
Yeah, hi, I pooped. Like, a lot. And I could smell it. That’s how I knew. Fun.
So we pushed and we pushed and we pushed.
And finally the doctor came in. It is apparently kind of normal for the OB to only really attend the birth when the baby is crowning and about ready to actually come. Considering how famously my doctor and I got along, this was absolutely fine by me.
I wish this whole part of the story was more exciting and drawn out, but it was just so fast and easy. I kind of feel like a cheated death when I got that epidural.
After only 45 minutes of pushing, we had A GIRL! MISS C!
I saw my girl and she was a-screaming, the most beautiful sound in the world! I looked at the girl and was simply amazed that SHE was the one I had been thinking about all this time. Finally, a face to go with a name. It’s a very, very strange and beautiful moment when you realize that that’s not just a baby; it’s your baby. And you’ll know her forever. She’s yours.
The instant the baby popped out, my stomach just deflated. It was kind of awesome. Like, one minute you’re pregnant and can’t breathe and the next you’re just not pregnant anymore. It’s strange and comparable to getting your braces off after you’ve worn them for a long time.
They took Miss C to get wiped off but then I got her back within a minute and she immediately latched on and got her nursing on. B and I were both so proud of her! Nursing like a pro within five minutes of life! She also had quite a set of lungs on her as she continued crying for what seemed like an hour.
After a nice long cuddle and nursing time, the nurses whisked her off to the side again to clean her up further and for me to get stitched up.
I asked Dr. Davis if I had torn and in his slippery fashion he replied “Well we had to make a bit of a cut but I’m sewing it up now.”
WHA?! An episiotomy?! Are you freaking kidding me? OK, so I admit that it was kind of my fault for not letting this guy know ahead of time that I would have preferred to tear naturally. The onus is on me. But I kind of assumed that since Dr. Davis wasn’t 75 years old and appeared to be up on some of the more modern (ie, not using forceps) birthing techniques, an episiotomy was never a possibility. I guess I was wrong. Well then, I’ll know for next time. Whatever. Good thing I then had a baby and was less inclined to get worked up over something I couldn’t change.
Stitching complete and baby all cleaned up, I was wheeled into our recovery room with Miss C. I still couldn’t believe I had done it. I couldn’t believe how beautiful and perfect my sweet baby girl was. I couldn’t believe that B and I were parents.
I still can’t.
The last week and a half has been full of wonderful, difficult, blissful, scary, and priceless moments. Sometimes all at the same time.
We’re all growing together. It’s pretty great.