As I sit here next to my husband who is holding our son I realize that certain aspects of Gideon's birth are already fading from memory. So now I am taking time out from a busy new mommy schedule of feeding and snuggling to get all of the story out of my head. Some of it I hope will serve as a warning for if I ever do this again, and some of it I never want to forget.
Saturday the 29th wasn't an especially eventful day. I take that back, at 5:30 in the morning there was blood in the toilet when I made my 100th trip of the night. The night before I had been miserably ill with an upset stomach and cramps so it was hard to work up any enthusiasm, but I was cautiously optimistic about it because I had heard about "bloody show" and how it was different from simply losing your mucous plug but I was also a little fearful that it was something bad. I told Mac about it and we looked it up online and decided to wait and see what would happen next. My next few bathroom trips proved to continue the trend but even if it was bloody show that still meant I had a few days before labor would begin, afterall, I am a first timer. Around noon my sister, Mac and I all went out to lunch and I decided to get the all you can eat lunch at my favorite Mexican Restaurant (Gideon has always been partial to Herrera's). After lunch Bethany came over to help me with baby stuff, then later my mom came over. I was having some cramping very low in my uterus but the baby still had not dropped so I thought nothing of it. In fact I told my mom that I thought maybe these cramps meant the baby would drop soon.
Around 7pm I got a cramp that made me say "ow" out loud (I had to ask Mac about this, because I couldn't remember how it had all started). We didn't think much of it, Mac clipped the dog's nails, I sat on my exercise ball and watched TV. By 10:30pm I was screaming and crying and asked Mac to call the doctor. We had looked it up online (we are such nerds) and knew that this wasn't real labor due to how low the cramps were. Mac had been timing them and they were somewhat erratic coming between 3 and 5 mins apart and lasting anywhere from over a minute to just 30 seconds. I assumed that I was dehydrated and hoped the doctor would have a solution. He heard me telling Mac that I wanted to be knocked out and he told us to go to Labor and Delivery to get checked out. The hospital is only 15-20 minutes from out house but the trip was intense with the cramps now coming every 3 or so minutes. When we got to L&D the nurse gave me a gown and hooked me up to the machines. I asked her if they were real contractions and she said they were but in the wrong place. I told her I was afraid of real labor because I was in so much pain and asked if the intensity of the contractions was normal. She said every woman is different. They checked me and I was still the same 1 cm dilated that I had been on Monday at my weekly appointment and I hoped that at this point they would give me IV fluids and something for the pain. They did not. Instead they left me alone hooked up to machines. Since it was night time I immediately had to pee. WE called the nurse back and they unhooked me (thank god) and let me go to the bathroom. For some reason there was a urine catching thing in the toilet so I asked if they needed to take it out and they said it didn't matter. Unfortunately this meant that everytime I went to the bathroom that night I would have to look at it. Great. 30 minutes or so later a nurse came back and we asked what the plan was since I was still having painful contractions fairly regularly (according to their machines). The nurse informed us that they were waiting an hour to see if my cervix would change and suggested I walk around the room. It was at this point that I told her that I have high fluid which was keeping my baby from dropping and engaging my cervix. I also told her that my family has a history of water that doesn't break on its own. She said I should walk around. So we walked around the room. Mac followed me faithfully, allowing me to lean on him for support during each contraction as I squeezed his neck and grasped at this shirt. The pain was immense and found myself saying over and over that I didn't know if I could handle real labor if this was false or early labor. Finally after the hour was up they checked me again and said I was still only 1 cm. I started to panic thinking they would send me home in agony and would spend the next few hours, days, weeks, slowly losing my mind. Another nurse came in, I think she was some sort of upper level nurse because she bossed the other nurse around and was generally unpleasant. She told me I needed to calm down, apparently they could hear me outside the room. I told her my contractions were stacking on top of each other and I would get three or four in a row with no relief. I was starting to panic thinking that A. real labor was going to be much worse, B. these women obviously did not want to deal with me, and C. all of this pain was for nothing. I had always said that at least I could focus during labor on the fact that every contraction would bring me closer to my baby; this was just bringing me closer and closer to my breaking point. At this point both nurses left saying they were going to call my doctor. I was left there in agony for another hour with no communication from the nurses, still scared I was going to have to brave a car ride home. Finally the first nurse returned and said that my doctor had authorized them to give me Stadol so that I could sleep and relax and the contractions would stop (thus I could go home). I thanked her profusely and she left to get the drug. An hour later she came back. An hour later. Yes, an hour. The whole time she was gone I cried and asked Mac why they would promise relief and never come back, was this some cruel joke? The nurse finally came back, checked me (still 1cm)and gave me the drug in an IV. Once the Stadol was administered I did in fact fall asleep and it was wonderful, until I started dreaming of contractions and awoke already moaning in pain. I had been asleep for 20 minutes and the contractions had become loooong and even closer together. I was done, a goner, everything was pain. Mac called the nurses back, and one came in to ask what was wrong. Mac went out to the nurses station and told them I was in pain and needed more medication and was told that they had given me a lot of Stadol and couldn't give me anything else. After hearing this I lost it. I was hooked up to an IV and machines, trapped in the bed, making no progress, and being ripped apart. I screamed, I moaned, I writhed, it was awful and honestly I can't hold the memory in my head without getting upset. Both nurses came back and the unpleasant nurse lowered the bed to flat and checked me again (1 and 1/2 cm) and started to tell me that I was hurting my baby and had to be quiet. I told her it hurt and I couldn't help it, I apologized as another contraction hit and I started crying, apologizing and begging god to help me. Unpleasant nurse did not like this, she wanted me to be quiet. She kept telling me I was hurting my baby because I was so tense (BTW, the monitor said they baby was fine, Mac checked) and then the nurses left the room. I told Mac to call my mom and ask her to come. I knew this wasn't the real thing but I needed someone who had experienced false labor before to validate my pain (of course Mac always believed me but he had no way of really knowing what it was like). I continued to scream and cry and they eventually came back and said my doctor had told them to give me an epidural. This frightened me because I knew I would have to be still through my contractions that were coming 1-2 minutes apart and lasting for over 2 minutes. The anesthesiologist came in and Mac hugged me and helped me to breathe through the pain. After the epidural was in I laid back and continued to feel pain the the medication took some time to set up in my system. At this time unpleasant nurse decided to check me (she couldn't have waited til the epi kicked in?) and said to the other nurse "you won't believe this." I was tired and didn't understand what they were saying. Once the drug kicked in the nurses both left the room. I fell asleep and Mac went downstairs to meet my mom who was a little lost. An hour or so later I woke up and remembered that unpleasant nurse had seemed surprised when they checked earlier while the epidural was setting up. I told mom and Mac that I thought maybe I was 100% effaced or something. When first nurse came back I asked what my status was and she said I was 100% effaced and 9 cm dilated. That's right, I went from 1 and 1/2 to 9 cm in less than an hour, flat on my back, hooked up to machines, being berated by a very unpleasant woman who told me I was not in labor and was hurting my baby (lie). Looking back I could easily have been in transition as I told Mac that I was going to lose my mind and the room started to spin. At this point I started to think that maybe this was all going to work out okay. My doctor was coming, I was checked again and was found to be 9 and 1/2. The nurses no longer made comments about how "some women just can't tolerate pain." Luckily there was soon a shift change. I was at 10 cm when they finally decided to break my water. It was crazy how much there was. It soaked the bed and gushed onto the floor. For over 2 minutes it just kept coming in waves. There had been so much fluid that Gideon was pushed way up in my abdomen, stretching the muscles and skin thin and not allowing my full uterus to contract. My cervix had ripped itself open without that assistance of the baby's head.
Soon it was time to push and I was excited. I felt the pressure even with the epidural and I was ready to meet my little man. The new nurse said she was going to give me a "whiff" of pitocin. My contraction had started to lessen in intensity with the breaking of my water (that would have been nice a lot earlier) and they wanted some good strong ones for pushing. They were very strong, btw, and the urge to push was intense. I kept asking people when we could push because I needed to. NEEDED. Finally the doctor came in and it was time! With each contraction I pushed with all my might, they even pulled out rails on the side of the bed which I grabbed as leverage and caused me to slide down to the end of the bed. With each contraction I got closer to the edge and finally the doctor caught me and had to push me back on! Unfortunately the baby wasn't moving and unbeknowst to me his heart rate was not only slowing with contractions but it wasn't going back up in between. My doctor was prying me open trying to widen the gap to no avail. He finally got out the vacuum and tried to pull him out that way but no good, Gideon wasn't even close. When the baby's heart rate got down in the 80s my doctor said it was time for a c-section. Everything happened so fast. I was terrified and wanted to run. I cleared my mind and just went blank, otherwise I knew I would panic and that was the last thing my baby needed. They took Mac away as we were rolled down the hall. The OR was cold and sterile, everyone worked so fast and I was dizzy and cold. I wanted Mac back but he still wasn't there. I kept asking when I was supposed to be numb because I still felt everything. I told them I wanted Mac, they said he wasn't allowed to be there until they were all set up but he would be there for the birth. I asked if he could have a chair because he doesn't do well with blood. Finally Mac was there and I was worried for him and me and the baby. I was jostled and felt intense pressure and mild pain, they kept digging around and it felt like I would be thrown off the table. Suddenly they told Mac to look over the curtain, I tried to tell him not to lol. I heard the baby cry and I saw them hand him to a nurse. I told Mac to go with him, that I wold be fine and I watched as they cleaned him up and got his measurements. Mac came over and he was crying and told me to meet our son. Now I am crying. It was beautiful, he was perfect. Suddenly we were a family. They took the baby and Mac went with him and it was okay because I felt awesome!
Okay time to go, the baby needs changing and feeding. More about my fantastic son later!