So you all know that for TWO WEEKS my Doctor had me on pins and needles after she told me at my 38 week appointment that I could go into labor at any moment. Up to that moment, I believed it was possible. There had been numerous events of painless-yet-time-able contractions, and I had felt the baby drop lower and lower with each passing week. At the moment that she said “…maybe this week,” everything stopped. The baby decided to go ahead and burrow himself in there a little further, just to prove that damn Doctor wrong. Or just to spite me. Possibly both.
Even though I did everything I could not to, I made it to my 39 week appointment, and then my 40 week appointment. My Doctor had asked me if there was a particular cut-off date I had in mind, and I was thinking, “yeah, my due date.” I was very reluctant to agree to an induction, because I knew the chances of ending up with a c-section increase if an induction fails, and aside from someone dying during labor, a c-section was the last thing I wanted. However, after enduring those two horribly uncomfortable weeks with no sign of labor, I was easily talked into it. My Doctor didn’t even have to talk me into it, because I had already talked myself AND my husband into it, so as far as I was concerned, the decision had been made. I had given birth before, so my body knew what it was in for, and I had reached my due date. It was still somewhat risky, but I knew the odds were in my favor.
So, at the end of my 40 week appointment, my Doctor called the hospital and made the appointment for me. She handed me a prescription paper that said: Thursday, 7 am. Totally going into the baby book.
I don’t know how I managed to sleep the night before, but I did with little issue. My in-laws came into town to watch Deven and to stay and help out after the baby was born, since Vance wasn’t going to be able to. I was told I could eat something light for breakfast, so I made an egg and some toast, and drank some soda before I left. I should have drank that stuff out of a champagne glass, because they totally weren’t going to let me have any more of it once they started the pitocin. I grabbed my bags and my pillow, and I hugged and kissed Deven good-bye. This was the last time he was going to have me to himself, and have my full attention for a long time. If only he knew…
I checked into the hospital alone so that Vance could take Deven to school and show him mom how all of that is handled. I was shown to my room where I had to get into my gown and leave a urine sample, and then the nurses put me through a 30-minute question and answer session. Vance finally arrived at 8. My IV was placed, and the Doctor ordered a low dose of the pitocin at about 8:30.
Did I mention that at this point I was pretty much freaking out? All of that anxiety that had been building for the last two days came to a head in that room right about when they started that pitocin drip. I immediately became a super-neurotic, ultra-anxious pain in the ass patient to the nurses.
I really didn’t know what to expect from the entire process; I had never heard a single good thing about induced labor. I had always heard that inductions cause super-intense contractions, and you get very little relief from them, and you never know how long you’re going to have to wait for the anesthesiologist to get your epidural, and the pain from the labor can cause you to vomit, and then there’s that whole C-SECTION THING. I have a hard enough time getting out of my own head under normal circumstances, and then here I was, strapped to this bed by monitors and IVs. I couldn’t lay or even recline on my back, I had to pick a side to lean against. I was seriously beginning to doubt my decision, and it was beyond being too late. I had no where to go.
So about those contractions: at the low dose, I couldn’t feel them. They had to tell me that I was having them regularly. As they bumped up the dosage, I kind-of felt some of them. It was a long time before I started to feel uncomfortable. As for the nausea, being anxious and hungry contributed more to me being nauseous than anything else. I asked for Zofran as soon as I found out I was allowed to have it. The nurses kept having to tell me that the baby looked great and was tolerating the labor beautifully, and that I was doing great, and that I needed to just relax and let things happen.
My Doctor wanted to hold off on breaking my water until she got back from surgery, and it was recommended to me that I get the epidural before she came out to break my water, because things could really start moving and hurting once that was done. So, at 12:30, even though I was only dilated to 4, my epidural was ordered. The anesthesiologist came in, and I swear, he looked like he had been on a 3 day hookers-and-coke bender. Or, at the very least he hadn’t slept in that long. Alarm bells immediately went off in my head. This guy was about to place a 4 inch long needle in my back, no, my spine, and then thread a catheter through it. I tried to tell myself that everything was going to be fine, that I need to just relax and that it would be over soon enough. My instincts sometimes are pretty keen, because this guy hit all kinds of nerves in my back and hips when he placed the catheter. He had to place the sucker twice, both times causing me to cry out in horrible pain, something I had yet to do the entire time I was in labor. I had received an epidural during labor the first time and I didn’t remember it a) hurting at all, or b) taking as long as it did to be put in. Well, this epidural was different from the last one, because this time I was given a button that was connected to a pump that delivers more medicine if I needed it. That’s reassuring. Didn’t actually think I would need it.
This was where things started getting…weird. First off, this different epidural felt weird as shit when it started working. The sensation of my legs slowly going numb rather unevenly didn’t just feel odd, it was extremely uncomfortable. And then I started feeling really nauseous and having these horrible sharp pains in my stomach. I started begging for more nausea medicine, and then the Doctor came in and saw how badly I was freaking out, she ordered Phenergan instead of Zofran, which is known to make you quite loopy. After the epidural started doing its job, and the Phenergan hit my veins, I became calm and serene. I drifted in and out of sleep for the next several hours, which was not something that I ever imagined I would be able to do during labor. I would wake up to get checked on by the nurses, or every time the blood pressure cuff went off, or when I would feel contractions.They weren’t bad, and I was still pretty numb, so I didn’t think to start hitting that medicine button.
At about this point, I had been on pitocin for over 8 hours. The nurse came in to check my cervix hoping for “big numbers” as she put it, and looked rather disappointed to find that I was only a 6. She left to go call the Doctor and update her on what was going on. I tried sleeping more, as I was still euphorically groggy from the phenergan, but I was having more discomfort from the contractions. Over the next half an hour, they started getting worse and worse. I felt them mostly in my back, and then they would radiate into my lower abdomen. At one point, Vance left to take a snack break, and the pain was getting unbearable, like someone was beating my spine with one of those heavy metal meat tenderizers. My Doctor came in and checked me, and low and behold: I was 9 CENTIMETERS. COMPLETELY EFFACED. FEELING THE WORST PAIN I HAD EVER FELT IN MY LIFE. I progressed 3 centimeters in an extremely short amount of time. I called Vance to come back immediately, not because the baby was about to come, but because I needed him there to help me through the pain. I started crying actual real tears during the contractions.
Yeah, you remember that button that was connected to the epidural? Totally didn’t pay a lick of attention to Dr. Hangover when he explained to me how to use it. Vance came in the room, and after I nearly bit a chunk of flesh off of his thumb, (no joke) the nurse reminded me that I could give myself more meds if I needed it. So, Vance found the button, and I was able to find relief about 20 minutes later. This is good, because not long after that, I was checked by a nurse to find that I was fully dilated and ready to finally have this baby.
The nurses and Doctors came in with their tables covered in cold, shiny sterile tools. The nurses took the end off of the bed, and put my legs in stirrups. At this point, I was more than ready for this to be over and to finally have the baby that I thought would never willingly be born. I remembered what having my first child was like, how hard the pushing stage was, how I felt like there was 20 miles between me and what was going on. I wanted to feel present and in control of the moment, so I wasn’t going to let anything hold me back this time. I pushed through maybe 3 contractions before the nurses told me to stop until the Doctor arrived. 3 or 4 more contractions later, I watched as my little boy emerged from my body. They put him on my stomach, and he cried vigorously as I wiped him off. I wasn’t afraid of what had just happened like I was the first time, I felt connected, and alert, and in utter amazement at what was going on. It was the ultimate climax to an event full of so much fear and anxiety.
Despite a seemingly smooth birth (at least from my end,) Archer’s breathing was labored and he was running a temperature of 101. They took him to the nursery to watch his breathing, and after about an hour he was released back to us. He latched onto my breast immediately, like he already knew what he was supposed to do. After a while, we were moved to our post-partum room, where we were left alone to fall in love with our new son. Just looking at him, you could tell that wasn’t hard to do.
And in case you were wondering, the answer is: yes, I pooped during pushing. It’s really not as bad as they make it seem.