Teddy is home.
|November 6, 2013||Posted by Lisa under Uncategorized|
On 10/7 I was 41w1d and absolutely miserable. I went in for an OB visit and I was 4cm, almost 4.5cm dilated, 90% effaced and baby was still at a -1. Seeker did two very rough checks, swept the membranes and trying to get something started in there. There was a lot of blood immediately and I thought maybe my water broke, but a quick test revealed it had not. Seeker offered to break my water or to let me walk around for a couple of hours to see if anything started on it’s own. If not, he said we could come back that afternoon and he’d break my water if that’s what we wanted. He assumed just breaking the water would be enough to push me into active labor.
We went home and got our toothbrushes, decided to have lunch and then go back to the hospital so he could break the water bag. Cue freakout from me. I went for a short walk and bawled with every step, afraid that maybe it wouldn’t work and I’d end up on Pitocin again, afraid that I was ruining the perfect little family I had by adding a stranger, afraid that Alice wouldn’t understand. When we took her to school that morning I stayed in the car so I hadn’t even given her a last hug and kiss. I was suddenly desperate to hold her and smell her head.
I’ve never gone up to visit her during the day for fear of confusing her, but I called her school to see if they could prepare her for me coming by and then leaving, because I felt really strongly that I couldn’t go through with the water rupture until I could hold my first baby again. They said they would, and if she was sad when I left they’d help her through that.
We stopped by to visit and she was finishing lunch. We told her Grandma would pick her up that afternoon and the next time she saw us we’d have Baby Brother with us. She showed us the remnants of her peanut butter sandwich, gave us good hugs and kisses, and we left. I consider it one of the great achievements of my life that I didn’t cry while at the school. I almost made it back to the car before breaking down again. Winning.
So we went to lunch and George had a sandwich with two bratwursts in it that was excessive and too big to be eaten by one person in one sitting. (He finished all of it, obv)
I called the OB’s office to let them know we were coming back to get my water broken and, after several calls back and forth, G yelling in the background and both of us getting really upset, they told us the earliest they could do it was the next morning, basically because I wouldn’t be attended to by my OB if I did it that late in the day. Deflated and irritated, we went back home to get some sleep and mentally process that Monday was not the day we’d meet our son, but maybe the next day.
We napped and cuddled and spent a couple of quiet hours at home before going to get Alice (she must have been so confused!) and then we invited ourselves over to Brandi and Evan’s house for dinner. I just needed to laugh and be around friends.We got there around 5:45 and Evan and George left to go get pizza. I hung out with Brandi and noticed that the cramping I’d been feeling all afternoon started getting a little more intense.
By the time the guys got back with the pizza around 6:30, I could tell these contractions were a little different than the ones I’d had every night for the past three weeks. I couldn’t sit down because there was pressure on my bottom, but I was ravenously hungry, so I stood and danced around the room, eating my pizza and drinking a glass of prosecco. I mentioned to George that I thought I’d better call and get my mom on the way, as she was coming to stay with Alice. We finished up eating, hugged our sweet friends goodbye, and drove the few blocks home.
My mom showed up a few minutes after we got home and I noticed that my contractions had spaced out a little to about 8 minutes apart. I texted my doula and asked if I should pump a little to get them going again. She said to try for 15 minutes, so I did, and sure enough, that got them started and somewhat regular. It was around 7:30 at this point and I had to stop to breathe through them. They were anywhere between 4 and 5 minutes apart. I texted my doula and asked if she could stop by after her class, which was down the street, and she said she would. I wanted her to look at me and assess whether I was in real labor or not. After three weeks of teases I didn’t trust myself not to get super excited and go in to the hospital only to be sent home.
I got out the labor ball and sat on it a while. I asked George to put on a Louis CK stand up comedy show so I could laugh while I labored. The three of us, Mom, George and me, watched and waited and laughed, me motioning to George when I needed to hold onto him during a contraction and then going about our business in between.
By the time Shelley, my doula, got to the house around 9:30, George had just thrown down the mandate that if I had two more contractions as hard as the ones he just watch me go through, we were going to the hospital no matter what Shelley thought. She walked in and helped me through a couple, then said yes, it looked like I was working through them, and to her it looked like active labor. She said if I was ready we could head to the hospital at any time.
I was torn. On one hand, I didn’t want to have my baby at home or in the car, and on the other hand, I didn’t want to go to the hospital and be out of my home setting before it was necessary. After a couple more contractions, I decided to go ahead and go, much to George’s relief.
We said our goodbyes to my mom and hopped in the car. I only had two contractions on the way to the hospital, which means they’d slowed to about 8 minutes apart again, so I was disappointed. The last thing I wanted was for it all to stop.
George wheeled me in, they showed us to our room, and the nurses asked if I wanted a gown or to wear my own clothes. I told them my own clothes. They asked me a ton of registration questions, I got annoyed, asked the nurse why she needed to know if I conceived this baby via fertility assistance… and then apologized for being bitchy. I explained that labor makes me grumpy. She said she couldn’t imagine why.
When she was done she checked my progress. I was at 4.5cm at around 10pm, still 90% effaced, baby at -1. By now I’d say I’d been in early active labor for a couple of hours, having to stop talking during contractions but pretty happy in between them. They were about 4-5 minutes apart.
As soon as I got in the bed, my doula started rubbing oils on my feet and legs, massaging them as the nurses bustled around me. She plugged in a tiny crockpot of essential oils to make it smell less like a hospital. When the nurses left us alone she dimmed the lights and basically just did all she could to make me comfortable. I instantly knew we made the right decision in hiring her and I was so glad she was there.
For a long time I danced. We didn’t have music on for a lot of it, and after we did it was Lionel Richie Pandora. It was supposed to be Spa Pandora but when I turned it on and heard Endless Love (it was tuned to Lionel from my walk the day before), there was no way I was going to change it. So, we danced, swaying my hips slowly from side to side and singing in the dim room until the next contraction came. George would stand up from where he was sitting on the bed in front of me and I’d bury my head in his chest, holding on tight to his sides, slowly breathing and smelling him and trying hard to keep my jaw unclenched.
Eventually I got in the shower after Shelley (doula) assured me that nothing I was going to do at this point was going to stop labor. It felt amazing. I felt like I was in the shower for over an hour at least, maybe two, until my feet hurt from standing up. Shelley put my labor ball in there for me to sit on but I had to stand for contractions anyway. When my feet felt like they might fall off, I reluctantly got out.
I should note that at this point I got dressed in a bra and skirt. Last time with Alice I was in too much pain to even think about getting dressed again after the shower, so I spent the last 6 or so hours laboring naked.
At this point contractions were strong and hard and I was not very happy at all even in the breaks between. I knew I couldn’t make it much longer. The nurse came in around that point to check me again, saying it’d been three hours since the first check and she needed to update the doctor on my progress. I felt like I’d been working pretty hard for about three hours at home and three hours at the hospital. I’d done so much work prior to that night that I was certain labor would be short… after all, I was almost half way dilated when I walked in.
She checked me and shook her head a little, took a breath, and announced that I was still at 4.5 cm dilated.
And that’s when I lost my shit.
I started crying and screaming. I felt so defeated. I was working, really working through all of these contractions and if after all of that work I hadn’t made any progress… I just knew I’d be in labor for days. And not dance and sing labor. Hard, can’t talk even between contractions and OHMYGOD I am going to die labor. I told everyone that I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t go on. They reassured me over and over that I could, that I WAS, but I knew better. I was done, I didn’t want to do it anymore, please make it stop.
It was around that point that Shelley suggested maybe an IV narcotic would help me relax at least between contractions. I’d had Stadol during Alice’s labor and it didn’t really work at all other than to make exactly one contraction less intense. But at this point I was desperate and needed some help, in any form, so I eagerly agreed. The nurse quickly came back and administered it and I lay down on the bed to get a little rest in between the contractions. They still hurt as much as ever, but at this point it was about 1 in the morning and I was so tired it was nice to get rest.
But the contractions were getting more and more painful and I grew more and more convinced that they were going to kill me. I asked George and Shelley what they thought about just trying an epidural, although we all knew the chances of it working were slim at best. They agreed if I wanted to try I should, so the anesthesiologist came in and tried to place it. And tried and tried and tried. And then she went to place someone else’s epi, came back and tried some more. Finally, after over an hour of trying and not being able to place it, she gave up. But I guess deep down I knew it wasn’t going to work, so I wasn’t surprised or disappointed.
During this hour I’d been having the strongest and longest contractions I’d ever felt. I’d say they were just as strong as the Pitocin contractions I’d felt with Alice, but the difference was that I did get a break in between them. Some of them double peaked and were almost 2 minutes long, which seems like a lifetime when you are trying to stay calm and still so that an epi can be placed.
In retrospect, I think having to remain as still as possible for the epi was the best thing for me to concentrate on at that point. I couldn’t moan or move. I had to sit on the bed as motionless as possible so that the anesthesiologist had the best chance of placing it. So there I sat, in the worst pain I could imagine, silent and still. George was in the room but the nurse told him he couldn’t be the support for me, so he sat nearby watching and whispering that I was doing a great job, that it was working, that he loved me, that there were only so many contractions I had to go through and to just concentrate on the very next one. He later told me he thought the contractions had stopped because I was so still and silent and the monitor that tracked contractions had fallen off. He said I looked so peaceful he wondered if labor had stopped.
And I was peaceful. In pain? Absolutely. But I knew I couldn’t sit there, motionless, by my own volition. I needed help. So I prayed. I prayed and pleaded for Jesus to help me, to come and sit beside me and help me hold still.
“Jesus please come, please come to this room and sit right here beside me and please help me. Please please because I can’t do it myself and no one no one can help me but you. Please please please. Help me be still, help me ”
And He did. He came and he sat by my side and he held my hand and I concentrated on a button on a machine next to me and together we got through the pain of the contractions and the constant pokes of the long needle being inserted into my spine over and over and over. He was there, in the dim light of my room, making me feel so peaceful that my husband who was watching my every move wondered if the contractions had stopped. They hadn’t. They were coming, on top of each other, as strong as ever, as long as ever. And I was still. We were still.
So, the epi didn’t work. I was offered another dose of Stadol as it had been a couple of hours since I’d had the other and I gladly accepted it. I didn’t realize the nurse had already administered it, although I later heard her tell the doctor she’d already given it to me. She told me she needed to check me again.
By now I guess it was about 5:30 in the morning. Maybe later. Time really didn’t have any meaning at that point because I just knew I was doing to die soon and I wasn’t able to keep track of how long it was going to take. I lay down again to be checked.
I remembered to relax my pelvis as much as I could so the nurse could get the best reading possible. She took a while to perform the check, her face blank as she did so. She was still checking when she quietly said, “Well… I have some good news. You are almost completely dilated.”
COMPLETELY DILATED. I asked her how much more and she said, “Actually, no more. You are at a 10.”
A 10. I was at a 10. Which means the hour or so when I sat and held hands with Jesus and was still when it was impossible to be still, when the pain was so horrible I thought I would die right then and there, that’s when my body was opening up. I went from 4.5cm to 10 in about an hour. And it was time to push this baby out.
Dr. Wang, the on-call doctor, came in, they set up the bed for pushing, a ton of people rushed into the room, and they told me on the next contractions I could push if I wanted to. Every time I pushed the baby’s heart rate would drop severely. It turned out that his cord was wrapped around his neck in a place that kept him up high and stopped him from descending, which could explain why I was walking around at 4.5cm without going into active labor. Every time I pushed him down the cord would wrap tighter, his heart rate would drop, and they had me stop for a few minutes.
George described the scene later to me: there is a nurse at the monitor for the baby announcing how low the heart rate has dropped, I am screaming and in pain, people are telling me to push but then stop very quickly… no one can stop to explain what exactly is happening to him or what the possible outcomes could be. He said he didn’t fully understand what was going on but that, good or bad, he knew it would be resolved quickly. All he could do was stand next to me and wait. It must have been horrible for him.
I pushed for about 15 minutes, I think. Three times through a contraction, stopped until the next one, pushed again, stopped and did it again. Shelley told me to open my eyes and look in the mirror… I could see my baby’s head crowning. I didn’t see anything after that as I was concentrating on pushing… through the pain. I wasn’t numbed this time like I was with Alice so I felt it all. The baby, the stretching, the tearing… the ring of fire, which is so aptly named because, damn, that burned.
And then he was here. His head, then his body, all covered in slime and glistening. George cut the cord. The NICU doctor looked him over to make sure the Stadol hadn’t affected him. George stood with him and took pictures and talked to him. I overheard a nurse call him Edward, so I asked George if that’s what we named him. We hadn’t made a final decision as far as I knew.
“We named him Edward?”
“Yeah,” he nodded and smiled back at me, then looked at the baby. “It just felt right. Edward George.” I laughed. Alrighty.
The NICU doctor brought him over a couple of minutes later and out him on my chest, telling me that he was absolutely perfect and she couldn’t see a reason why he should be away from his mama.
I snuggled him close, put his mouth to my breast and he latched immediately. He stayed for 40 minutes. He was home.