It’s been a good while since I wrote about the time I had a baby. I thought now would be a perfectly good random time to follow-up with the time I had another baby. This post is really for me, so don’t feel bad if you skim.
It was a hot August back in aught 6, and I was more than ready to have our second baby. I was somewhere between huge and humongous. I had been having prodromal or latent labor for a couple weeks, waking up every night, writing down how often contractions were occurring. After several hours of semi-regularity, they would subside, and I could finally sleep. The baby had also dropped and engaged really early, and it was painful to move much those last few weeks.
The afternoon of August 10, Kevin and I went in for my 40 week check-up, the due date of Baby B (who never let us see the gender at the ultrasound) being August 12. Kim, one of my midwives, asked me if I wanted her to strip my membranes–which means she separated the bag of waters from the cervix to try and jump start labor. I agreed because I was so tired and tired of being in pain. Well. Let me just tell you. I didn’t know what pain was. The process of stripping my membranes about made me crawl off the table! I was dilated to 3 1/2 (centimeters; 10 being ‘complete’ and hopefully ready to push the baby out.)
She also prescribed some sleeping pills because she was concerned about my going into labor so energy depleted, since I had been up most of every night for 10+ days.
We were at Target getting our prescription for the Ambien filled when labor really did start! I started getting contractions that scared the other customers. I had to stop and hold onto the cart and concentrate on breathing low to get through them. They were still about 10 minutes apart, and we had read to just go about your business in early labor, so we finished our little jaunt, and called my mom, Cindy our labor assistant ( a Bradley instructor), and picked up Aviana from Kevin’s mom’s. We made sure the bag was packed and all preparations were in place in case this was finally and really it.
My mom arrived at our house, and made us dinner. I tried to eat, but was contracting so much I had to get on all fours (at which point Aviana thought playing Horsie would be a swell idea). After they got her to bed, my contractions were closer and still lasting 90 seconds or longer, which is longer than average (30-60 seconds in early and active labor) and were quite, shall we say, intense… (referencing the above link: I never got to eat a single Oreo or watch the movie…I made them stop watching too, because that just wasn’t fair.)
Around midnight, the contractions were three to four minutes apart. Since we live a half hour from the hospital, and I thought I must be close to delivery, we decided to head in. Every time I had a contraction in the car Kevin had to pull over and let me out. It took forever to get there.
When we got there I had to go to the ER, because Admissions were closed. Even though we had pre-registered, I had to wait in the ER with strangers staring at me, and weird smells and noises and people, for close to an hour. When we finally were allowed to go up to the Labor and Delivery floor, some idiot stranger was trying to make small talk with me in the over heated too bright elevator.
We met Cindy in the parking garage, and Beth, the midwife on-call (who was my least favorite of the three midwives in the practice), met us at the floor. Then I had to go to Triage, where I had to listen to a nurse with a voice like Marge Simpson’s sisters, and worse breath than that, who demanded I do this or that, including climb up on a narrow bed that was nearly at boob level all while I’m hugely pregnant and contracting to boot! Smokey ‘checked’ me, which huuuuuurt! I was at a 4 1/2. Not even halfway there. We had to wait in Triage for almost an hour, because all the L & D rooms were full.
We finally get admitted to a room, I have to get hooked up to more machinery (Seriously? I had no idea those monitors were so tight. The belts actually hurt. And it was aggravated every time I had a contraction. Which were still long, frequent and INTENSE despite all the hospital interference. And every time I tried to loosen them, I’d get in trouble with the nurses.) Plus I had to get an IV port put in, just in case, because I was a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Plus they had to draw blood. Plus I still had to sign more papers! Abso-freaking ridiculous.
I’m trying to get a baby out here people!! (Can you sense a tad bit of animosity?)
I labored all night. Fortunately, we were “allowed” to try different positions with a portable monitor and fortunately Smokey wasn’t my nurse. I labored all over that room. I threw up so many times. I threw up so hard it broke my water. The night is all a blur. I remember Kevin reading to me from the verses on strength and courage I had written out. I remember having to go pee for the umpteenth time, and they told me to just go where I was. I couldn’t.
By daybreak, I was not handling things well at all. I asked for an epidural, which I was totally against. Cindy thought I was in transition, and would soon be done, so I got ‘checked’ again, and I was at a 6. A six. The entire night and I had ‘progressed’ 1 1/2 centimeters. Then in my head, I really started freaking out that I would end up with another Cesarean, for failure to progress.
On one level, I knew I was doing the hard work of getting the baby to where it needed to be, and was progressing, but on the other hand, I also knew the hospital protocol would kick in eventually, if I didn’t meet their standard of progress.
Kevin, Beth, and Cindy tried to talk me out of the epidural, knowing how I felt about it. Beth suggested I tried Nubane, but having had that before, I knew it just made me feel drunk. So the anesthesiologist, who was supposed to be in the hospital because I was VBAC made his surly appearance 45 minutes later.
Try holding still with not much covering you, cold stuff on your back, rubber bands around your middle feeling as if they are cutting off your air supply, and a baby who is trying to drill its way out your midsection with a hayfork.
Finally, though I could rest. I think I even dozed off a little. He gave me what is called a walking epidural, so I was supposed to be able to feel the contractions a little. I could tell when I had one, but that was about it. My care givers wanted me to try and labor down, which means allow the baby to work its way out on its own, without pushing. Beth said I would know when it was low enough, because I would feel a lot of pressure, then we could start pushing.
After an hour or so, I thought I was ready, and sure enough, the magic “10”. They told me to go ahead and push whenever I got a contraction. This time seemed to fly by because I was working so hard, but it turns out I pushed for two hours.
We think that Brielle was face-up, and that is why labor was SO intense, and I never really got a break from the contraction, the pain never went away, just varied in intensity. We think that the epidural allowed my body to relax enough for her to turn over while she was in the birth canal, which is probably what caused such major tearing.
Brielle finally was born at 9:07 in the morning. It was precious to meet her, and I was enthralled with her.
And it was a good thing I had her to occupy my time, because I got stitches upon stitches. Nearly 1 1/2 hour’s worth of stitches. In addition to the internal tearing, I tore outside and had been given an episiotomy (which I didn’t even know until I started asking questions during pre-natal visits this pregnancy).
Recovery from her delivery was a lot harder for me and took a lot longer than my recovery from the Cesarean.