One year ago today at 12:30 am I was propped up on the couch, cursing Dave’s cough, and my incessant heart burn, and watching Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. I fell asleep at some point and then I woke up at 5:00 am and went back to bed.
At 6:30 I woke up again and I thought maybe I’d be having a baby that day. It was in fact, pretty obvious that I would be having a baby that day but for a while it didn’t sink in. I thought, “Hmm. Maybe?” I decided it was the perfect situation because I could leisurely get ready for work/the hospital rather than rushing around in the middle of the night. I took a shower and finished packing my bags and looked forward to getting Luke off at school and finalizing the plans for where he’d be staying that night. Then Dave woke up and I told him my water had broken. His eyes sort of bugged out and he got up and read the child birth preparation pages that I had book marked for him.
I called the Dr. around 7:30 and she said I should meet her in the office at 9am. I said, "OK, sounds good, but I have a feeling that I might have a fast labor. Nothing is happening now, but if it changes, you need to be really close to the hospital." I don't think she really took me seriously.
So I did a little work, sent some e-mails, (including one that said if I didn’t dial into the 10:3o meeting it was because I was at the hospital) while Dave took Luke to school and then we left to get coffee on the way to the hospital. Unfortunately, while Dave was taking a picture outside the coffee shop the line had grown out the door. Dave wanted me to play the labor card but I didn't feel like announcing to everyone at the coffee shop that my water had broken so we just left.
The doctor gave me the option of going home for a while or just checking into the hospital because I was only 3 cm and not really contracting. We hate to waste gas, so we stayed.
The Dr. also said, "Since your water broke, we want to have this baby within 24 hours, so after 12 hours we'll want to start pitocin, so we'll do that this afternoon." I thought to myself, "Yeah right. I am not doing that, but no sense fighting with her now because the baby will probably be here by this afternoon."
So Dave went with me to labor and delivery and got me into a room and then he left to get coffee. I called Andrea while I waited for a nurse to come in and I said, "Hi – I am 3 centimeters can you pick up Luke from day care?" The answer was no because one of her kids had pneumonia and she was at the hospital too. Fortunately, Dave had already talked to our plan B at daycare that morning and they were prepared. I got off the phone with Andrea at 10:45 and then I started having contractions.
My nurse was a thousand years old and t a l k e d and m o v e d really s l o w l y which was really annoying. She made me get an IV right away, which if I should have declined if I was 100% serious about natural child birth. That took forever and a day and hurt! and I just wanted to be in the tub. (With Luke the Jacuzzi was the key to managing my labor.) Finally the nurse finished the IV and monitored me forever while she filled the tub with what I would consider to be cold water. I finally got to get in the tub and Dave sat there with his coffee and went to turn the heat up every five seconds when I asked him to. I kept letting water out and filling it up more with hot water, but it wasn't really working for me like it did last time. Finally, I said, "Listen, finish that coffee and get some gum because the coffee smell is killing me." That made us think things were getting serious so I got out and had the nurse check me. She said I was 4 cm. I was like, "That's it? What the?" That was at about 11:30. This may have been around the time that I said to myself, “What am I trying to prove? I’ve already had one natural childbirth, I know I am awesome.”
Then I sat in a rocking chair and breathed through my contractions for about 15 minutes before I said, "I want an epidural." Dave did absolutely everything right from the standpoint of the coach of someone who wants natural childbirth. He convinced me to get through 3 more contractions; he relaxed me by touching areas that were tense and saying, "relax your arms right here" etc. Halfway through a contraction he'd say. "30 more seconds." But after each contraction I would say, "I really want an epidural."
So he said, "If you want an epidural, you push the button for the nurse." So I did.
The nurse said she had to check me first, which she did and I was at 6cm. She paged the anesthesiologist, and then I guess she went to lunch because I didn't see her for about an hour.
Finally the anesthesiologist got there and I said, "How long is this going to take?" He said, "About 10 minutes for the procedure and 10 minutes for this to take affect." And I said, "That is 10 contractions, please hurry." Then he was telling me all the risks, asking me all the questions and I was like, "Yes no, yes yes, that's fine, where do I sign?" He said, "how far along are you? " And I said. "6" and he said, "That far? I'll give you a little bit of a spinal and you'll feel some relief right away." I was feeling a ton of pressure and really intense contractions but I decided to keep that to myself lest someone decide it was too late for an epi. I also noticed my toes were curling with each contraction, and I remember being 10 cm with Luke and waiting for the midwife to show up so I could push and hearing a nurse say, "I can tell when the contraction is at its peak because her toes curl."
Then just as the needle went in I thought, "I hope I didn't just make a big mistake." Then my legs started to feel tingly and I laid down and opened my eyes for the first time in half an hour and I took a deep breath and said, “Ah, I feel so much better.”
I got to relax for 30 seconds before the nurse said, "I can't get a pulse on the baby, roll on your side." And of course the exact thing happened with Luke but I was already 10 cm so they vacuumed him out. At this point I didn’t know how far along I was and I was thinking, "I am going to need an emergency c section." The nurse was now t a l k i n g in slow motion, "Hmm. No still no pulse. Try rolling to the other side. Hmmm. No." And I was thinking, "I made a huge mistake" And I felt like I was going to cry. And she said, "Try pushing, maybe he is so low I just can't get a reading." And then, "Quit pushing, he is crowning, and I don’t want to deliver the baby myself." So I laid there while she called the Dr. and when she arrived, the nurse said, "He's crowning." And the Dr. said, "Hold on I just need to put on gloves." And the nurse said, "He's coming out." And then I saw the Dr. throw a gown on and run across the room and the next thing I knew she was holding up a baby and he cried right away.
Then I started crying for real.
They put him right on my chest immediately and I didn't even notice anything else because I was holding my baby and I was totally in love.
Then the anesthesiologist came in and said, "Well, you should be feeling that epidural now. How are you feeling. I just stared at him, as did Dave and the Dr. and the three nurses. Then he said, "Wait, is that the? Did you have the baby already?" So that was funny.
And then Jack and I just snuggled for an hour and it was a very blissful beginning.