Friday, May 2, 2014

The Birth, Part One

How is it three months already (almost four!) since I gave birth??

There goes my brilliant plan to blog about Baby Cupcake each month of her life. I'm already playing catch up. Oh well, I'm still getting the hang of this whole working motherhood thing.

Here's where I put my warning...this is a birth story. So bodily fluids and things people may not want to know about my privates will be shared in full. You have been warned from reading forward if you don't want a detailed account of such things.

My birth experience was not like I expected. I was prepared for panic, pain and a desire to never ever go through that again. What I got instead was a surprisingly pleasant experience (well as pleasant as pushing an almost seven pound human out your hoo-ha can be) that made me say when it was all over, "Well, I wouldn't mind doing that again," making the whole hospital staff in the room laugh.

Movies give us a glamorized, dramatized view of what labor and the birth of a baby is like. Since I had no frame of reference myself, I relied on the Hollywood version, sprinkled with the accounts of close people I know, to give myself an idea of what I may be in for. I knew I wanted drugs, no question there, but I was curious to experience some of what real labor felt like. I intended to wait for the drugs as long as I could hold out, something my doctor thought was "cute" and "totally unnecessary." He was sure I was going to cave pretty early on, but I was determined to wait.

On January 22, we had gone to my weekly checkups at both doctors (High Risk monitored the baby, my OB checked me over. Every week. For the last month. That wasn't taxing at. all.) and I mentioned to my OB I was ready to have this kid. I mentioned this while his hands were up there checking my two centimeter dilated cervix. He answered "Oh, really?" and I felt a pinch, after which he winked at my MIL when she asked if he stripped my membranes. But still, I hadn't felt any different. Still no conclusive contractions, no back pain more than usual, no sign the end my be imminent. We went home and proceeded on with our day.

Later that evening, at 7PM, we picked up a pizza and headed over to my MIL's house for dinner. I walked in the door, handed the pizza to her and felt a WOOSH down there. I looked at Charming and my MIL.

"I think my water just broke."

We were hesitant to believe that may be true since two weeks before I had thought the same thing when I had gotten scared by a giant flaming praying mantis (don't ask, it's Vegas) and felt a gush in my pants. Turns out I had just peed myself. So this so called "water breaking" needed to be investigated. In we all marched to the bathroom where I sat and looked at my pretty wet pants. My MIL said that my water would not smell like urine but would have a different distinct smell. So what else could we do but have me wipe and then sniff the paper. Three grown adults, myself sitting on the toilet, my husband and my MIL standing over me, each sniffing a damp piece of toilet paper that had previously been between my legs.

And people say families don't bond.

We determined it was definitely NOT pee and yes, my water most likely had broken, with nary a contraction in sight. This is when I announced I was not leaving until I had eaten because I knew once we got to the hospital it would be nothing but ice chips for me.

So we sat. And I ate. I ate like a woman who was never going to eat again. Four pieces of pizza, a soda (gasp!) and various other things I could get into my maw before I was told no more food. Then we went back into the bathroom, checked the paper again (still not pee!) and loaded into the car.

Here is where Charming and I's story may differ. He remembers me refusing to go to the hospital or get into the car until he promised we could stop at our house so he could feed the cats, get my bag and some snacks for him and his mother to prepare for the long haul of labor. I remember stating my case logically that we had plenty of time, I wasn't even contracting yet, and the hospital wasn't going anywhere. He countered with the idea of getting me to the hospital, finding out if I would be admitted or if they would send me home and THEN he would go home and get the bag etc. I re countered with the fact that once I got admitted I probably would not want him to leave so we better get the bag now and this baby isn't going to come any time soon. He started another point but then I bit his head off and said I WANT MY BAG NOW and we went home at that time.

Later, when all was said and done, I hardly had touched my precious bag of stuff I HAD to have, but I would never admit that to Charming. I was right and he was wrong. I was the one in labor after all.

We stopped at home and after Charming and my MIL had rushed inside to gather everything together and tend to the cats I quietly sat in the car, on my trash bag, wondering when I was going to feel something. I still just felt uncomfortable so I was sure the bad part hadn't started yet. So I did what any normal woman would do. I Googled what percentage of women have their water break before any contractions. Fewer than 15 percent! I felt kinda cool at that point.

We arrived at the hospital and I shuffled on in, losing the battle to bring everything with us because Charming was still thinking they were going to send me back home. We got to the check in desk right before the close at 8PM for the night and ran into a couple who were checking in ahead of us. While her husband talked to the receptionist, the wife told me she had started having contractions that morning and had been sent home once already. They were hoping to be admitted this time. Charming started to gloat he may be right, I was going to be sent home, when they came to fetch me to bring me back and see if my water had broken. It had and I was almost three centimeters dilated, so we were admitted and Charming went out to get the bag (Ha!)

The next hour was a blur of activity. Getting set up in our room, meeting the nursing staff, getting ahold of my doctor. It all went by in a blink and suddenly it was after 9PM. I know what time it was because I got my first contraction then. WOWZA! Okay, so everyone telling me I would know when I was in labor was right. No missing that. We discussed with the nurses about my options for the epidural and I said I wanted to wait a bit. So we settled in for the long haul.

Everyone was thrilled we didn't know what we were having. Most people don't keep it a surprise so we were a novelty they usually don't experience. People coming in and out were excited to find out what was inside me and it made the experience a bit more fun for all of us. I got blood drawn, got my IV set up, went over my medical information and all the while had steadily increasing contractions that made me roll around on the bed like a pig with a broken leg if the sounds coming out of me were any indication. Around midnight they started the Picodin because I wasn't progressing enough. Then the contractions and the pain ratcheted up exponentially. I made sounds I never knew possible and could not get comfortable. So finally around 4AM I asked for the drugs. I had experienced all I wanted to, seven hours was apparently my limit and I needed to be numb NOW!

Here's where I interject the ironic part of my labor experience. It was a full moon. And funnily enough, this full moon seemed to catapult every pregnant woman in the are into labor at the same time. Eight women were admitted when I got the last room on the floor that night. Seven more came in the next morning while I was in the middle of working on bringing a baby into this world. So in the span of 24 hours fifteen babies were born at our hospital and the staff was a bit overwhelmed. But through my whole labor I never felt neglected. Until I needed my epidural. My breaking point coincided with another woman needing an emergency C-section and everyone was helping with that, including the anesthesiologist. So I had to wait. And wait. And wait. For my drugs. And that is a long wait when you are done with pain and want some relief and sleep. A whole hour. My poor nurse felt so bad for me because every time she came in the room I looked at her so hopefully that she was going to finally say "We're taking your pain away now!" I am happy those rooms were very soundproofed because other than when the doors opened at the same time I only heard another woman once screaming and I hope no one else could hear me once I got going because I have some lungs on me and I used them.

But back to the epidural. Finally the doctor came in and explained the whole procedure and all I was thinking while he was talking was shut up and make it so I can't feel my legs please. But I tried to comply and asked that they walk me through each step. Because here's the thing about epidurals that I did not know. You have to participate. You have things I must, or rather must not do, namely you are not allowed to move. I had no idea who hard it would be to stay still as contractions wracked my body and Charming and a nurse each held me down. The doctor was great, told me everything he was doing and what the result would be for me. A small prick of the local. Warmth spreading over my back. Then cold down my legs. Then he lied.

"You'll feel a small eclectic shock down your left leg when I make contact with the nerve, but don't move!"

Small eclectic shock my ass. It felt like I stuck my toe in a light socket and I jackknifed off that table so hard I about kicked Charming and my nurse in the head. Everyone, my husband included, screamed at me to NOT MOVE and I collapsed crying because I had failed in the ONE thing I needed to do. As the drugs slowly took the pain away and made my legs feel like lead, I continued to cry and apologize to everyone that came into the room about how sorry I was that I had moved when I was told explicitly not to and that I was a horrible horrible patient. Soon the drugs made everything okay and I didn't care I almost punted two people across the room while simultaneously causing a doctor to paralyze me for life. I was getting ready for stage two of this labor process.

To be continued...

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