Tuesday, November 29, 2005

So THAT’S why they call it LABOR…

What an insane experience. Contrary to what everyone (even my friends) was told, I was not induced. I was threatened with induction. Here’s what happened: Monday morning I went to the doctor. I knew that I was in for good news, because I was seeing the doctor that I really like. Sure enough, she came into the room promising to fix things for me. She asked if Tuesday worked for me for induction, and I said, "how about today?" She called the hospital to see if I could come up. The hospital was extremely busy on Monday, 7 babies were delivered that day alone. So they told her I could come in to start cervadil (stuff that helps your cervix dilate) on Tuesday night, and then picotin on Wednesday morning. The good/bad news was that my blood pressure was high enough for her to be concerned (probably something to do with being 11 days overdue) and there was protein in my pee, so she wanted me to go to the hospital to be monitored right then.

So we made the trip next door to the hospital. I was kind of disappointed to think that I would have to wait until the next day to actually start the induction process. They got me into a birthing suite and monitored my blood pressure and drew blood. This all started around noon on Monday. By 1:30 the midwife that I usually see came in and checked my cervix. I was still stuck at 2 centimeters and about 70 % effaced, so she stripped my membranes. The nurses assured me that I would probably start having contractions later in the evening. But they started right then and there, little teeny cramps that came and went every 3 to 5 minutes. The nurse that was with me continued to monitor me, the baby, and my contractions, and it all stayed pretty consistent, so she went to call my doctor. When she came back she said, "Good news. We’re going to keep you." I was thrilled.

Ryan called my parents and they came up to the hospital around 4:30. The nurse still wanted me on cervadil since my cervix refused to budge even with my little contractions. They put that in around 5:00. Until about 8 or 9 o’clock, my contractions were pretty manageable. Then gradually they started getting more and more uncomfortable. At 11:00 I was begging for something for pain. The night nurse gave me a shot of stadol, which gave me a nice buzzed feeling. Considering I hadn’t felt buzzed in a while. At any rate, that let me rest a little, but unfortunately it wore off pretty quick. Sometime throughout the night I got another shot of it. At around 1:00 my cervix had finally made the move to 3, so they took the cervadil out.

I was so glad my parents were there with me. My mom helped me to the bathroom numerous times. She would push my IV and my dad would get the bathroom door while Ryan tried to sleep a little. My dad sat up in a chair all night and watched TV while I writhed around in pain. Around 6:30 in the morning, Ryan was trying to help me breathe through contractions, which felt like they were right on top of each other, non-stop. I moved my leg just a little and felt a weird popping sensation. My water had broken. What a horrible feeling that was. I knew at that point my contractions were only going to get much worse, and I was right. Around 8 the nurse from the day before came in to check on me and I had finally made it to 4 centimeters, so she asked if I wanted an epidural. I practically begged for it. After what seemed like FOREVER the anesthesiologist came in and started with the epidural. I was nervous about it but I only felt the sting of the novacaine and then a weird sensation in my back as he put the catheter in. Finally we were all set. I waited. Nothing seemed to be easing the pain. I waited some more. Nothing. The nurse continued to monitor my pain level. It was getting worse. She called the anesthesiologist back and he put more stuff in my IV. It didn’t help. She called him back yet again. Finally, after 3 hours of this back and forth bullshit they re-did the epidural. As soon as he started taping my back I felt relief. I was able to smile. I was able to relax. I felt better than I had in hours. It was then that they put some picotin in my IV to help keep my contractions going.

By that time, I was already dilated to 7 or 8, so I didn’t have much time left to wait. My midwife came in what seemed like minutes later and said that I was complete. My nurse told me to start pushing with each contraction and I could labor down for a little while before we got the show on the road. This would help the baby get lower and lower. The more I pushed the more pressure I felt. Thinking about it now, I doubt that I should have felt as much pressure as I did with the epidural. I think that I just got a shitty epidural.

After that the real pushing began with my nurse. I have to say, my nurse was awesome. She stuck with me the whole time and kept encouraging me. I was beyond exhausted at this point. I started pushing at 2:30, so I’d been in the hospital for over 24 hours with very little rest. The nurse told me that I’d been pushing for an hour and I couldn’t believe it. It seemed like 5 minutes yet an eternity. I knew that it would all be over soon, and that’s what kept me going. The nurse said I’d deliver by 4:15 and went to call the midwife.

I don’t know what was more excruciating, the contractions or the pushing. I’m not going to lie, both parts were pure torture. I’m a wimp. I’ve heard women say that giving birth was the most glorious thing they’ve ever done, and how much they loved it and how it didn’t hurt and how it was such a miracle. Well, the miracle part I’ll agree with. The rest is bullshit. Giving birth was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, hands down. Even writing my thesis was easier. I’m proud of myself for accomplishing it, and doing it with class. There were so many times that I could have totally lost it from the pain, but I kept my head the entire time. I used what I learned in Lamaze and breathed through the pain. And Ryan was outstanding. I never, ever could have done it without him. I know that he was worried sick about me. I know that if I were to witness him going through that much pain and not be able to help him with it I would have gone crazy. But he remained composed and kept telling me how good I was doing, feeding me ice chips with every push, rubbing my back and holding my leg. He was a trooper.

So at any rate, my midwife got there at roughly 4. The nurse told me they were going to use the vacuum to get the baby out, because she was almost there, she just kept sliding back a little whenever I’d get done pushing. The vacuum was intense, and really scary. As soon as the midwife got it in there, I felt insane pressure and pulling. My midwife was awesome, She is such a little tiny lady with a soft voice, but when she was delivering my baby she was all business. She yelled, "PUSH! PUSH! YOU CAN DO IT!" which surprised the hell out of me since I didn’t know she had an outside voice. I couldn’t help but push with all my might then. I felt the head come out. It was crazy. It took 2 more good pushes and her shoulders came out. I felt like I was going to pass out when she was finally pulled out of my body. They put her on my stomach and I saw her girl parts and smiled. I knew she was a girl. I just knew it. However, since I have the tendency to doubt myself, I didn’t want to admit it much. I told Ryan that I thought she was a girl, so at least he knew.

I just stared at her. I was so exhausted and I felt dazed. Birth had not gone they way I imagined it would. It was everything but. Every single thing I worried about had happened. I was late, I had to have help dilating, my epidural didn’t work, I pooped while pushing (seriously… I was in labor for 24 hours and they fed me hospital food the night before… Ryan loved that) AND I felt everything. Even the stitches. It felt like I got about a million of them. The vacuum must have ripped me up pretty bad. Lyric didn’t cry right away. They had to pinch her to get her to cry. But she was so bright eyed when she came out. Her scores were perfect. And she was (and IS) absolutely beautiful.

I know it sounds scary, but I wouldn’t trade it for a minute. What I feel for her is amazing. I knew that love like this existed, I’ve just never felt it before. She’s perfect, even though she keeps me up at night and poops right after I change her diaper and falls asleep every time she’s eating. I love watching Ryan with her. Watching him be a daddy to our daughter makes me love him so much more.

I’m always on now. My senses are heightened. I listen to every peep she makes. When she cries it breaks my heart. I wake up at night in a frenzy to make sure she’s okay.

I’m a mom.

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