If you’re not a birth-story person you can skip to pictures at the end. If you ARE a birth-story person, here it is:
Contractions actually started around 3 pm Saturday afternoon. They were between 2 and 5 minutes apart and intense enough that I spent much of the evening alone in my room relaxing through them. Then around 8 they started getting more sporadic and by 10 they had basically quit. At that point I was glad we hadn’t gone to the hospital yet, because I really didn’t want to go and get sent home. (I got sent home with Kalena and Will, only to have the baby later that day both times.)
Anyway, I went to bed and managed to get some sleep; contractions only woke me once or twice. They started up again around 5:30 Sunday morning. This time they were considerably more intense, and I was sure I’d be having the baby that day. I directed Brian around packing a hospital bag, something I hadn’t gotten done. The contractions didn’t settle into any very regular pattern, but by 8:30 I was ready to leave for the hospital. We left a little later and got settled into a room shortly before 9 (we live like 2 minutes from the hospital.) The nurse checked me and told me I was at a “good 5.” At that point we knew I’d be staying. Brian called Kirsta (who was here for spring break) because she had offered to be a labor coach if I wanted. I was pretty sure I would be getting an epidural, but told her she was welcome to come and be there for delivery if she wanted.
Here I am in labor:
Anyway, my doctor came in around 9:30, broke my water, and okayed the epidural order. However, I didn’t have an IV yet so that was next on the agenda. I told the nurse that it might be hard to get an IV placed (it took an hour when I had Will) so she said she’d call someone if she couldn’t do it. She tried, but couldn’t get one started so she called the emergency response people or some such because they’re really good at IVs. But, believe it or not, they were taking care of emergency things, so they couldn’t come up. At that point the nurse informed me that I’d have to wait at least an hour for the epidural because there was a c-section happening at 10 (this was just before 10) and the anesthesiologist would be there until it was over. My doctor was actually the one doing the c-section because she was the one on call, so it’s a good thing I didn’t deliver while that was going on.
ANYWAY. We continued to wait on someone to come place an IV knowing that if nobody had done it by the time the c-section was over, the anesthesiologist would do it. So I labored from 10:00 to 11:00 while Kirsta and Brian pretty much just stayed out of the way. According to the monitors my pulse was high, (it seemed really high to me) but apparently not high enough to worry anyone. (My pulse was also high when I was in labor with Will.) Kirsta told me I was “very zen” while I labored. I didn’t feel particularly zen, but I find that making noise or moving at all makes contractions worse for me, so I handle them by sitting very still and breathing deeply. I guess that qualifies as zen? I don’t know.
A little after 11:00 am the anesthesiologist came in complete with ultrasound vein finder to place my IV. This was, by far, the worst part of labor. Not because it took half an hour (it did) or because he stuck me 4 times before he got it (he did) or because it bruised the living daylights out of my forearm (it was bad- it’s been a week and I still have very obvious bruises) but because I had to be lying on my back the whole time. Definitely NOT the best position for managing contractions, and it got progressively harder for me to handle them as I laid there. But eventually I got my IV and then I got some fentanyl so I could hold still while he did the epidural. Kirsta was taking some notes here (I’m a little surprised they didn’t kick her out while they were doing the epidural) and she says he stuck me 3 times before he got it (it kept only being on one side.) Fortunately the fentanyl meant it really didn’t hurt. By 12:15 pm I had an epidural. Unfortunately, they gave me a little too much fentanyl so right after I got the epidural my blood pressure dropped way down and they ended up giving me ephedrine and oxygen until I was back to normal. (Brian tells me I passed out for a minute, but obviously I don’t remember that. They already had me laying down, so it’s not like I fell over or anything.)
A little side note here about the epidural. I’m sure I could have done without it. (I so could NOT have done without it when I was having Will.) And after Daniel was born the nurse told me she didn’t want to offend me, but that I had handled labor so well that she was sure I could have managed without an epidural. Kirsta agreed with her. The thing was, I struggled so much with the pregnancy and I was SO incredibly uncomfortable at the end, that all I wanted was for the delivery to be painless. I wanted to spend the last couple hours relaxing, completely comfortable, in bed. And THAT was why I opted for the epidural.
So, relax I did, for a little while at least. They did a cervix check at 1:00 pm and the nurse told me I was an 8 or 9. When I got to a 10 (at like 1:43) I pushed for a whopping 2 contractions and he was here. Born at 1:44 pm. 5 pushes in all. The doctor asked Brian if he wanted to cut the cord, but he declined, so I asked Kirsta if she wanted to cut it and she said yes, so she got to cut the cord. It was ridiculously fast and physically it was incredibly easy. My body does not feel like I just had a baby. The most soreness I had afterward was my back, because it took three tries to get the epidural in.
It really was a wonderful birth.