Mike and I spent all of Labor Day being lazy . . .lounging around on the couch, snacking instead of eating real meals, reading, watching TV. We never even showered or got dressed, staying in the clothes we had slept in the night before. Around 10:15 that night, I went upstairs to get ready for bed, planning to read for awhile and then get a good night’s sleep. One of the cats had knocked a book off of my nightstand, so I bent down to get it. As I stood up, I felt a trickle of something run down my leg. I walked into the bathroom, and the trickle increased a little the more I moved around. I looked down and there was a very small puddle at my feet. I heard Mike walking down the hall, so I asked him to come into the bathroom. He came in, assuming I wanted to show him something that Forrest had done (or destroyed). I smiled at him and told him that my water had broken. We looked at each other, a little in shock, realizing that we were on our way to the moment we’ve waited so long for.
I called Dr. L’s service and had him paged. He called within a few minutes and I explained that my water had broken but that I wasn’t having any contractions. He told me to come ahead in to the hospital. We both got quick showers, knowing that it would be awhile before we had the opportunity to do so again. We already had our bags in the car, so we just had to do a few last minute things, like leave extra food out for the cats, and we were on our way. Labor day was just beginning for us.
That late at night there was hardly any traffic, so we made it downtown quickly and easily. Within 15 minutes of arriving at the hospital I was admitted, settled in my room, and in the process of having an IV put in. I had to have pitocin since I wasn’t contracting at all on my own. Dr. L was on call at the hospital that night, so he came in right after I was admitted to examine me. I was only at 1 cm.
By 11:45, the contractions had started. I didn’t want an epidural, and was a little nervous about the pitocin, knowing that the contractions would come on faster, stronger, and closer together than they would have if I was able to just let things happen naturally. I had brought a small radio and a few CDs I had made with relaxing music, so Mike started up the music for me and the two fo us sat there and talked about how our lives were going to change. He dozed off and on while I read a book. The contractions were getting stronger and longer–at one point around 3AM, the nurse scaled back the pitocin because they got too strong too quickly. My body had taken over on it’s own.
By 7AM, the contractions were too strong for me to talk through and were about 5 minutes apart and a minute long. Dr. L had left, and Dr. B came in to examine me. I was only at 3 cm, which was disappointing. I had hoped by that point that things would be much further along.
At about 9:45 that morning, I was getting a little worn out and knew that it would still be a while before the little one made her appearance. The nurse (who thought I was crazy for not wanting an epidural) offered me nubain so that I could get a little relief from the pain. I didn’t like the idea of taking anything that would cross the placenta and make the baby loopy, but at the same time I didn’t want to get to the point of having to push and being utterly exhausted. Since nubain wears off quickly, I elected to take it. Looking back, I’m so glad I did. I got about an hour or so of relief–I could still feel the contractions, but they were dulled. I was even able to doze off and on for half an hour. By the time the nubain had worn off, I felt refreshed.
By noon, I was at 5 cm. I was hoping that things would start to progress more quickly from that point, but I think I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be that fortunate. The contractions had really intensified–during each one I gripped a tennis ball in each hand, closed my eyes, took deep slow breaths, relaxed as much as I possibly could, zoned out, and focused on nothing but riding out the wave of pain. I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life that I’ve been so in tune with my body, or able to focus so intently.
The afternoon wore on, and I took the second, less potent, dose of nubain. Compared to the first one, it didn’t do much, but it at least took the edge off for half an hour or so and gave me a chance to regroup. At 4:30, Dr. B came in to check me and I was still at 5 cm. Not good. He said that he would give me a little more time to see if things progressed, but it was fairly likely that I would have to have a C-section. After he left, Mike and I discussed where things stood and decided that we might as well go for the C-section. I had been in labor for 16 1/2 hours by that point and was starting to wear out. We knew that it would still be some time before I would even get into the OR, so we let the nurse know that we had decided on the C-section. Looking back, I’m so glad we did that when we did. The L&D floor was full–they had run out of rooms and were pushing back scheduled inductions in order to accommodate women who were already in labor. There ended up being a lot of C-sections that afternoon/evening, so it was almost 7:00 that night before I got into the OR. I was really worn out by this point, having just gone through 2 1/2 hours of contractions knowing that they were worthless. My mental focus was way gone.
The most difficult part of the day was having a spinal done while still in the midst of frequent, strong contractions. I was sitting on the edge of a table, leaning forward into one of the anesthesiologists, who hugged me as tight as he could while I wimpered with each breath and the other anesthesiologist did his thing with my spine. It seemed to take forever.
Once the spinal was done and I laid down on the table, I could feel myself finally able to relax fully as the contractions faded. A few minutes later, everyone was in place, Mike was brought in and seated near my head, and surgery had started. This was the first time I had ever had surgery while being fully conscious, and what amazed me the most was the number of people in the room–2 pediatricians, 3 doctors, 2 anesthesiologists, 2 people from the NICU, a handful of nurses, and a number of other people whose roles I wasn’t quite sure of.
Twenty minutes after the spinal was administered, we heard one of the doctors exclaim “Look at that head” and another one said “Look at those shoulders! Huge!” It was then that they told us we had a baby girl. Mike and I immediately started crying and blubbering to each other. They held her up to show us, and then quickly cleaned her up and weighed and measured her before swaddling her and handing her to her proud papa.
She was 10 lbs 2 oz and 21 1/2 inches long. As one of the doctors said, I could have been in labor for a month and she would never have come out as originally intended!
So even though just about every aspect of my birth plan was shot from the second we set foot inside the hospital, I was so happy with the care I received and that I was given options and detailed explanations and allowed to make informed decisions. The most important thing was to have a healthy baby . . .
And she is!
Almost 2 weeks after her birth, I sit here now and wonder how we ever lived without her. She has completed our family and has made us both see everything around us in a different light. We’re loving every minute of our time with her!