August 7, 2008

Here goes.

My water broke at 11:40 pm on July 28. It really broke this time - no foolin'. And damn was it gross. Why is it that no one tells you the little details like this? Pregnant women, take note: When your water breaks it doesn't just gush once and stop. NO. It continues on, it goes while you walk, it collects when you lie down, then it gushes more. When you get to the hospital, make friends with the mesh panties (surprisingly comfortable!) and sneak a huge pile of the mondo pads that the hospital provides. You. Will. Need. Them.

I digress.

I called the hospital and told them that my water broke. The nurse told me to get my stuff together, take a shower if I wanted to (Oh, I wanted to.), and to come in within the hour. Because I had Group B Strep they had to get me on antibiotics pretty much ASAP. And so it began.

We got to the hospital and checked in to PETU. Again. A couple of nurses at the desk recognized us from our visit a mere 72 (!!!) hours earlier. I wasn't really contracting much (Though the last three days had been spent contracting like a mofo in spurts) - maybe every 20-30 minutes or so, but since my water really had broken this time, I wasn't going anywhere. At this point it was baby or bust.

I got an IV. My first ever. Very exciting, and also very cumbersome. We hung out in a teeny room and a cheery nurse checked on us periodically. I was dilated to almost 2cm - not great. I knew I was in for a long night. Android and I watched TV, looped around and around the halls of the maternity ward, and willed my cervix into dilating enough to get us into a Labor & Delivery room so we could really get this party started.

Several hours went by, it was 5am and my cervix had dilated to a whopping 2cm. Better than almost 2cm, but not as good as, say, MORE than 2cm. We continued to hang out and try to sleep. At 6ish we were moved to a L&D room down the hall. I have to say, these rooms are just lovely - spacious, nice view, comfy bed - but none of these things convinced my body that a child should come out of me anytime soon.

At 7 our magical nurse Teresa came in to introduce herself. She was sweet and cheery and had had two kids so she seemed to know what she was doing. She complemented my breathing techniques and sincerely hoped our kid would be born during her 12 hour shift. Ha.

At 10am (Five HOURS since my last check) I was still dilated to 2. TWO. Two centimeters does not make a baby opening. They started the pitocin. Teresa started me on a teeny tiny drip, and the contractions began to get more regular, but I was breathing through them like a champ. I was switching positions, I was getting in the bathtub, I was walking while I could... it was going well. We trucked along until about 1pm when they got baaaad.

Like, BAD. I was on the birthing ball (just a fancy name for the exercise balls that you can do ab work and Pilates and stuff on) and Android was behind me rubbing my back and just generally being awesome, but it didn't help. It hurt like a bitch. It kept hurting like a bitch until Teresa took pity on me and checked me again - 4cm. BINGO. I only had to make it to 4cm before they'd break out the epidural.

The anesthesiologist was a magical man who came, saw, and poked me in the back with what I can only assume was a very large needle. And for that I thanked him. Profusely. Sure, my legs were numb as hell, but the pain was GONE. I got to sleep for the first time in 12 hours. It was lovely, until I woke up to a nagging pain in my left hip.

Pain? That shouldn't happen, right? No, no... it shouldn't have, but it did. Big time. This is where things get fuzzy.

I remember them calling the anesthesiologist again. He adjusted the epidural catheter and gave me a bump of something to bring the pain down faster. It was a little after 7pm, and Teresa's shift was over. She introduced Jen as her replacement. Jen was a cute little blonde with glasses and a baby bump (due October 22). Teresa had lovely things to say about Jen, and promised to come by the next day to meet the baby. Suitably comforted, I slept.

Until I woke up to searing pain in my lower back. Again, that should not have happened. But it did, and in swept another anesthesiologist with yet another cocktail of druggy deliciousness. Which worked beautifully until the absolutely body-rending pain in my right side.

Y'all, this nearly finished me off. I vividly remember this stage because I was clutching the side of the bed with both hands, gasping for breath through the sobs, hoping that someone would just put me out of my misery in any way they saw fit.

You think I'm kidding.

Also, the pitocin drip was inches away from my face and I could hear its mechanical click every few seconds as it pumped twelve times the pitocin I started out with into my body. It was taunting me. I remember yelling "Will someone just turn off the fucking Pitocin?" No one was in the room other than Android and I, but it felt good to get that out into the universe. When Jen came back I asked her nicely if she could turn it down and she said "Sure, honey. But I don't think it will do any good." At least she didn't sugarcoat it.

I wanted a c-section more than anything at that point. Seriously. I don't think I ever said it out loud, but I think Jen could read my mind. She came in and said "The anesthesiologist will be here soon. He's in surgery. Until then, I'm going to give you some fentanyl and it will calm you down between contractions. I have spoken to the doctor - you are almost fully dilated. You will be giving birth vaginally."

I didn't argue with her. Jen was kind of a badass.

The anesthesiologist did come. The pain went away again for a while, and pretty soon I was feeling like I should push. And push I did. It was me, Android and Jen and we pushed our way though those contractions like you wouldn't believe. I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. It was freaking HARD, but it was also the best part of the whole experience because I was doing something.

Now, I was told from the beginning that first time babies can take up to 3 hours to push out, and having an epidural (no matter how shitty it turned out to be) doesn't help matters. So I pushed. And Andrew counted. And Jen continued to be amazing and calm and sweet but vaguely scary.

I pushed. And pushed. I was visited by various doctors (including the teenager from our false alarm! Turns out she's really sweet and good at her job! Hooray!) who told me I was doing well, but I'm sure they say that to all the girls.

It hurt. I'm not gonna lie to ya. The drugs were pretty much a thing of the past. And remember the pain in my left hip the first time the epidural pooped out on me? Yeah, turns out the kid's head was wedged in there and whacked against my hip with every contraction. His head continued to be cocked funny for a while, which made pushing even more difficult and just a titch more painful.

And I pushed. I passed the 2 hour mark and was just about to the end of my tether. I asked Jen how much longer she thought I had and she took a deep breath (because you know they've got to hate questions like that) and said: "Maybe 45 minutes? But don't hold me to that."

Forty-five minutes. That wasn't what I wanted to hear. Naturally, I started crying. Again. She said "Honey, 45 minutes isn't very long! Tell you what: prove me wrong."

25 minutes later he was out. I take challenges seriously.

So, I pushed. I knew something was happening, but this stage is a whole lot of "two steps forward, one step back". I knew I was getting somewhere when it felt like my hips were being split open by his skull. Unfortunately, this is also when I decided I couldn't possibly go on. The various doctors and nurses had assembled pretty quickly as I was pushing like a madwoman.

I expected the quintessential movie line "I can see the baby's head! One more big push!". I've seen too many movies. No one warned me that he would come out as fast as he did. One second he was in there, and the next he just... wasn't. Then the next second he was on my belly.

And he was amazing. And not nearly as gross as I thought he'd be. He just just kind of shiny - not all cottage cheesy like we saw in the childbirth videos. My jaw dropped. I could not believe that something so beautiful and so FREAKING HUGE came out of my nethers.

The Android cut the cord, and the baby was whisked across the room to the warming lamp for cleaning and suctioning (he passed some meconium- probably when he was being smooshed into my hip). I still had some work to do - the pesky placenta had to be delivered. I had been told it could take up to a half hour for that to happen, but I think I had it out in three pushes. A squishy mass of tissue is a piece of cake (have I ruined cake for you?) next to a giant-headed baby.

The Android was beside himself as he bopped between me and the boy, reporting things like "Ten fingers! Ten toes!" and "He's TALL! 22 inches!"

I was blissed out on not being in pain anymore. I think they gave me a local anesthetic in my lady bits as they stitched up the tear my kid made as he came out. The teenage resident did the stitching and an attending watched. I think it went badly, because the attending eventually took over for the resident and redid her work, muttering "...something...something...hamburger."

I swear.

But whatever.

It's nine days later. I'm feeling pretty awesome. The kid is amazing and thriving and all around perfect.

But I guarantee you he won't have a sibling for another four or five years.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for your honest, yet amazing story. I'm glad that in the end, all went well. Congrats!

Ren said...


Kelly said...

Congratulations, Abbey! He is absolutely beautiful!