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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wesley's Birth Story Part 3: Happy Labor Day

(Continued from Part 1, and Part 2. Disclaimer: this is the labor and delivery part of the story, and while I have attempted to edit out the most gruesome details-- it's still a birth story. And childbirth is not pretty. So while I don't feel like this includes explicit details inappropriate for the public or even those with weak stomachs.. read at your own risk. Thanks!)

So here I was sitting in the hospital bed. They had hooked me up to the monitors. Baby was great, heart rate great, nice strong contractions coming about 3 minutes apart. They were not at all pleasant, but I was dealing. Concentration. Deep breaths. Focus on the end, Valerie. This is what you wanted.
This IS what I wanted. My husband looked at me like I was growing a third hand out of my forehead when I tried to explain it to him-- but even though I wasn't looking forward to the pain, and no one enjoys the pain, I wanted to experience the pain of labor. I wanted to experience my body doing labor on it's own-- because I didn't get to last time. And it was! It was doing labor splendidly on it's own!
As soon as the nurse saw contractions were that close together, she went ahead and checked my cervix. She told me an 8 or a 9 and 100% effaced. We were close.
An 8? or a 9? Last night I was crying because I was a three and not budging. Everything was going so quickly! She told me I was doing splendidly. She even complimented my calm as I slowly talked through contractions giving her all the info she needed to officially check me into the hospital. She went to put my IV in, and I asked her to wait until the contraction had passed, and she just kind of chuckled because she wouldn't have known I was having a contraction if I hadn't stopped her.
Don't get me wrong-- I wasn't breezing through those suckers. They hurt. They hurt like crap. They hurt like bad words I was screaming in my head that wouldn't be prudent to share on this family friendly blog. But I was in the zone. I was focused and feeling every second of this labor and feeling very in control of the situation-- which is funny because labor is pretty explicitly involuntary-- nonetheless. I was doing it. I was there.
Shortly after we got settled in Z asked do you want them to get your epidural? And I said-- no. I want to do this for a while. And the nurse kind of made a face-- "I don't think you have a while to do this. You are pretty much at your decision time, hun. Epidural now or not at all."
"I-- I want to do this for a while. I don't want the epidural right now, I'll tell you later when I am ready for it." And then I was in the zone for another contraction, and Zachary reluctantly repeated to the nurse who was shaking her head, "I guess she'll let you know when she is ready for it."
Now here's where things started getting fun.
If you read Sam's Birth Story you remember that I got all pukey when the pain got too intense at the end. I thought that was just a fluke and a reaction to the pitocin, but nope. Apparently, I'm a puker. You know what I hate? Puking. You know whats even worse? Puking with an audience.
All of a sudden the pain got intense and I yelled at Z, "I'm gonna puke! I need a thing!"
And he looked around for a 'thing' but came up with nothing, and grabbed a trashcan off the floor at the last possible moment before I started puking up that oatmeal. Mmmmm... oatmeal.
And then there were contractions, and puking, and more contractions and more puking and I was no longer in control of anything and I was crying and apologizing for crying and puking on everyone and the nurse came back in the room... oh boy.
She got me a clean gown and some clean sheets. Checked me again, 9 and 100% but my water had not broken, so I could still have an epidural, but once that water broke it was go-time.
"I'll let you know."
I got up to go to the bathroom, and a contraction hit and I couldn't stand or sit and I remember wanting to cry and wanting to scream and knowing that I was in so much pain neither was possible. I walked out of the bathroom and leaned on the bed, and said, "Okay, get me the epidural. I have felt all that I need to." And she said, okay, and hooked up my IV.
It was about 11:30. They finally got the epidural and I was trying to find a comfortable position when the back labor hit and I started puking again and contractions right on top of one another and why wasn't the epidural working for goodness sake??? Then a little alarm went off on the IV drip... and I was all, "Oh my gosh I'm dying! That's the heart rate saying I'm flatlining, my heart has stopped I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead." I was perhaps a little foggy and dramatic from the pain at this point, and the nurse came in and assured me I was in fact not dead at all, and my heart was fine, and that the epidural line was pinched in the case. She freed it and...
AHHHHHHHH! It was like choirs of baby angels singing to me as the instant, warm, tingling relief rushed down my legs. Then she got me some anti-puking meds, and more angels. Then I sat back in my bed and smiled. "Look how great this is going!" I giggled to my husband, who just rocked in his chair and shook his head at me.
About noon the Doctor came in and checked me. She said I was like a 9.5... there was just a little ledge up under the bulging bag that wasn't quite ready. She decided to break my water, then would come back in about a half hour and we would start pushing. Yay! Then she left.
"Wait-- wasn't she going to break my water?" I asked
"SHE DID" Z said. And the nurse laughed at me because I was completely unaware I was sitting on a soaked bed. Oh, HAY Epidural! Thanks for your services. My water breaking was the single most disturbing part of Sam's delivery. Didn't even know it had happened this go around.
Big brother Sam and Grandpa killing time in the waiting room.
We waited the half hour and the doctor did not come back. After 45 mins the nurse checked me. Still not there. I needed to labor down for a while. Okay. I listened to some christmas music. I chatted with my husband. (I think he answered about 15 texts from my mom-- is he here yet? is he here yet? is he here yet?) I looked around facebook for a while. I was getting bored and anxious. I knew we were close, I was ready for my baby!

A little after 2:00 the nurse came in and checked me one last time. It's a 10!!! Time to push!
We did a few 'practice pushes', and she was all, oh yeah, this kid is going to get here soon. Rest a few contractions. Don't mind if I do, thanks.
And then the room started filling up, the L&D nurse, the doctor's assistant, the intern that popped in for the show, the nursery nurses.
"Hey it's a party!" I said. And they all looked at me like I was a loon. "A birthday party? Because my son is about to be born?" (crickets...) Tough crowd. Anyway...
The nurses from the nursery did take that moment to come over and view how ginormous my belly was, and make bets about the size of the kid inside. Oh, I see, you are comfortable gambling in my delivery room, but not laughing at the laboring woman's jokes.
And then we were pushing and pushing and everything is going great, and there's the head, it's halfway here, "Oh, crap, stop pushing, the Doctor is not here yet."
Cruelest thing ever. Do they do that to every woman or just me? Because it's happened twice now. And we were waiting waiting waiting for the doctor. She's on her way...
I think it was about 3 minutes but it felt like at least an hour laying there wanting to push waiting for the doctor. I'm not really a screamer in delivery, not even a crier. But sitting there waiting for the doctor at the very most intense part of the delivery process was everything I could do to keep it together. I looked at my husband and said-- "This is not fun anymore." But my voice broke--betraying my attempt at light heartedness, and he just squeezed my hand, tried to be encouraging. I don't remember if he said anything in response, but I remember being overwhelmingly grateful he was there. My amazing husband. My strong, calm, patient, ROCK.
When the doctor slipped into the room, she barely got her gloves on and I was back in business one good push and BAM. There was his head. And push for the body and...
Baby cries!
Beautiful beautiful baby sounds. And my sweet, rolly, baby boy was laying on my chest and everyone gathered around us oohing and ahhing. Someone grabbed my camera and snapped this picture of Z cutting the cord.
Z cuts the cord
(See he's still in his work uniform? Classy!)
Then they wiped him off, and he snuggled down into my chest. His little cries ceased, and he snuggled into his mama whimpering like a little puppy dog. It was a beautiful and joyous moment. Pure perfection. A rush of adrenaline, joy, satisfaction, completeness.

It was 2:35. Just 7 hours after I woke with the first contraction that morning.

(Stay tuned for more details and pictures from Wesley's Birthday in part 4!)

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