Lilly's birth story, Part II
I believe it was somewhere around 6:00pm at this point, but to be honest the clock in the room was behind my bed, so I never really had much of concept of where we were in the evening.
The pitocin was started although I was having contractions on my own-- about a level 3 on the pain scale. A couple hours passed (seriously, I have no idea!) and the pain remained at a level 3-4. I was beginning to think this was going to be a breeze! I was somewhere around 4 cm, I believe. The nurse also determined that Lilly's head was now up very high-- after weeks of hearing how low she was and that her head was "RIGHT THERE!" that little stinker had scurried back up, perhaps one last attempt at changing her mind about the whole "light at the end of the tunnel" experience she'd been pushing for for the last 6 weeks.
My doctor decided it would be a good time to break my water, but after attempting to do so, decided I must have sprung a leak somewhere along the line because I had no water to break. Nurse Mindy and Murse Michelle noticed I didn't have much of anything when they first checked me earlier that afternoon and actually did two FFN tests that came back positive for amniotic fluid. I was stumped as I'm pretty sure I would have noticed, even if it was just a trickle. But because of this and not knowing when it actually happened (more or less than 24 hours before this point), I was started on an antibiotic. I had no fever though and because I had been having contractions on my own, we figured it probably happened sometime the night before.
At my next check I had progressed to 6cm and my doctor thought it would be better to have the baby's heart rate monitored through the scalp instead of the belly monitors. I'm not really sure why. At some point I quit asking questions and just got into position. Modesty only gets you so far at a time like this. Matt left the room to give his parents an update, and inside I felt like he needed to stay by my side. Perhaps it was because in the process of attaching the scalp monitor, my water broke! There it was! It wasn't much, so it probably had been leaking and I was too focused on waiting for contractions that I didn't notice.
It's true what they say about the pain worsening once the water breaks. WOWEE! At this point I opted for a dose of Nubane in my IV. It's the same narcotic I was given for my migraine a couple weeks earlier and it worked wonderfully! I was told it would work as well as I allowed for it to, so I relaxed myself and went to sleep. Unfortunately Nubane wears off after an hour to an hour and a half and the first dose is the best. I was slowly coming out of the sleepy stage and having to breathe through the contractions. I remember thinking I was the only person in the room-- it was so quiet. But I didn't want to open my eyes for fear of leaving "my place". I knew I needed to make a decision soon as to whether I would want an epidural-- and if I decided I wanted one, the anasthesiologist would need 10-15 minutes to get to the hospital.
Not wanting to bother the nurses (Why? I have no idea.) I waited for the next one to come and check on me. I decided to get one more dose of Nubane and asked her to order the epi. It's true that the first dose is the best-- the second just makes you really tired! And that anasthesiologist took NO 10-15 minutes to get there! Or maybe it did, but once he arrived he took his good sweet time getting his gear together and getting started. I could hear him in the hallway and the nurses kept telling me "He's here, he's coming" and I just kept telling myself "One more contraction and then he'll be here". One more turned into about 30 more, but finally he came in with his cart of goodness.
He was half very friendly and half a complete jerk. I suppose he had to be precise and stern with his directions though. This is not the time for dramatics. He had me sit up with my feet dangling over the side of the bed and my arms over Nurse Jolene's shoulders. THIS RIGHT HERE may have been the most painful part of the entire delivery. Not the needle, not the meds burning into my spine, not any of that. Simply having to A) sit up, B) hunch over so my back was surrounding my baby, and C) do so through contractions at a pain level of about 8. Three times during the labor and delivery do I remember letting out a panicked whimper-- once while waiting for the epi, once during and once while Lilly was half delivered!
Matt later told me that the epidural consisted of about 6 shots and then the line that stayed in my back. A couple days later I felt tape residue behind my neck and had to ask him where the world it came from-- the epi. My goodness, he went to town back there.
I have no idea what happened between then and push time, but before I knew it the nurses were saying something about being "full" and I had to ask "How many centimeters am I?" to find out that I was a full 10 cm, 100% effaced and ready to bring my little girl into the world.
I suppose I figured all would be fine after having JUST recieved the epidural. Please. That thing did nothing. And the Nubane had me still half asleep! The lights were turned off, the bed was raised up halfway to the ceiling and a big old spot light was rolled in to shed a little light on "my situation". But I could barely stay awake!
The thing about "my situation" was that I really had no choice but to do what the nurses told me and do it with everything I could muster. Matt was on my right side, Nurse Jolene was on my left and as I felt a contraction starting, I would grab onto two handles beneath my legs, Matt and Jolene would pull my knees back and I'd push the living daylights out of me. Usually it was 3 pushes for 10 seconds for each contraction. But sometimes I would have 2 contractions in a row. Or sometimes I'd have 3! So you can imagine, seeing as how I was halfway up to the ceiling, Matt and Jolene got quite a workout themselves! Both were stripping off clothes, sweating, stretching between contractions and deep breathing every chance they got!
I pushed for almost an hour and found that my doctor, although not the most helpful during my pregnancy, was a huge help in encouraging me. Everyone else around me was saying "Good job!", "You're doing it!". But Dr. S. was very quiet. Only occasionally would she say something like "THAT'S IT" and I would know I was doing it right. At the end of the hour, probably around 2:10am, out came Lilly's head and Dr. S. told me to stop. It was like having half of my arm chopped off, swinging around by a thread and being told "Hang on, I'll be there in a sec." I believe this is when the third whimper came about. The cord was wrapped around Miss Lilly's neck and just needed a little assistance. After what seemed like an eternity, I asked "What am I supposed to do?" and Nurse Jess said "Push your baby out, Momma!" So out she came, slipping and sliding into Dr. S's arms-- and nearly FALLING ON THE FLOOR! She was a wild child from birth:)
When the doctor put her on my chest, I remember feeling scared and a little detached from the experience. I was very emotional, but it wasn't what I expected. I think the drugs had gotten to me and the atmosphere of the dark room, being pumped up in the air (have I mentioned I was half way up to the ceiling?!), and the culmination of a very chaotic and unexpected day left me feeling... strange. All of that disappeared once I woke up hours later and saw her in her isolette-- it was like meeting her for the first time. She looked so different... so peaceful. I kept looking at her thinking "She's ours. We get to take her home ad keep her!"
It was a long, painful process and I'm definitely not to the point yet where I can say "once she was in my arms, I forgot about all the pain." I haven't and I'm sure I won't for a while. I love my little girl with my whole being and would do it again in a heartbeat, but I'm no fool. The pain of pregnancy, labor and delivery is still very fresh!
I know I promised gore, but it turns out my dad is now reading this and I don't think he wants to read about placentas, lost scissors and gauze or what the last week has brought (dear God). So I'll leave that to your imagination!