And Then There Were Three Humans

I’ve been absent for the blog for a few weeks. Some of you know it’s been for the most valid or reasons (at least in my opinion). This will likely be a long update, but I am going to try to outline everything as much as possible before my days blur any further together. You might remember, my mom was arriving on Halloween, October 31st and we had roughly a week to knock out some final projects before Baby Poodle’s arrival. I was set to be induced November 6th–I was just barely 1cm dilated at my last check in and Dr. T warned that the induction might be long and grueling.

Halloween was low key, PC cooked dinner and my mom passed out candy to our trick or treaters while I calmed the dog down every time the doorbell rang. The next day, Sunday, my mom and PC moved some furniture to storage from the house of PC’s grandma. I maybe should have noticed the “nesting urges”. I installed our car seat, assembled stroller, bouncy seat, did baby laundry and sorted through tons of stuff in the nursery. Monday, my mom and I ran errands like mad-women, and even had time for a pedicure. The nursery finally started to look almost complete. I was still waiting on our chair (set to deliver the next day) but only the art remained unhung. Tuesday November 3rd, I woke up as usual about 4:45am (one of 5+ bathroom wake ups through the night which had become the norm of my 3rd trimester). After standing up from the toilet, I felt like I peed a little more, except I felt almost certain it wasn’t pee. It couldn’t be amniotic fluid though right? Water breaking on TV, and in the movies is so dramatic and massive amounts of liquid. I climbed back into bed with a towel just in case. I assumed at this point BP might be pushing on my bladder and forcing some out. I tossed and turned until PC had to get up for work. I told him I’d check with the doctor, and to keep his phone in his pocket (he was teaching a new class at work this week). At 8am, I called our OBGYN and got a call back from my nurse around 9:30. She explained while “it wasn’t an emergency”, I did need to go to triage at our hospital and get checked out–if it was in fact my water breaking, I would be admitted and delivery timeline would begin. I insisted on going to Starbucks for a sugar free hot chocolate before we went and off my mom and I went to triage.

Triage is gross. It’s a women/babies only hospital, so almost everyone is there because of pregnancy, BUT triage is consistently a gross place in hospitals. Because I looked like I wasn’t dying, I sat and sat. I was wearing a pad in case I “leaked” anymore which was just a little bit every time I moved, but overall felt good. I was having painless contractions (the same I have been having for weeks) and still assumed they were all Braxton Hicks/false contractions. My mom and I wiped everything around us down with Lysol wipes and tried not to breathe in the sickness in the waiting room. Why they don’t have a “well waiting room” and a “sick waiting room” is beyond me. I’ve managed to make it through pregnancy with little sickness, I didn’t really want to break that streak the week I was set to deliver. One lady continued to vomit and cough into a bag and I tried to move further and further away from her and all humans. Eventually I put on a mask since the sick ones (who are supposed to wear masks) didn’t seem to consistently wear them. I hadn’t eaten a full morning snack, or lunch now and the blood sugar was starting to make me sweat. My mom *might* have exaggerated this a little bit “my daughter has gestational diabetes (true) and her blood sugar is starting to crash (sort of true), how much longer until she’s seen?”. Exaggeration or not, it worked and we finally got put into a tiny exam room. Up until now, I’ve kept PC posted, but told him not to join us until we know more. After all, it’s not like I am in labor right? I am told by the nurse in triage that she will need to do a pelvic exam to confirm if it’s amniotic fluid unless I feel more. I immediately do, and she’s able to confirm, it’s water breaking. We are officially having this baby. Luckily, hospital bag was packed and in the car, along with my records from my OBGYN office. I still wasn’t dilated more, so the plan was to admit me upstairs to the antepartum floor, where I would be given Cervidil as a cervical ripener overnight. Unluckily, they can’t give you the medicine down in triage, and there were no beds available upstairs. PC joined us in triage, where we set from there until 8pm that night. The room was tiny, one stretcher type bed, me hooked to monitors, and PC and my mom alternating between an uncomfortable chair and a crap stool. I meet one of the midwives for our OBGYN, who was just like Barbie on caffeine, and I felt a little overwhelmed by her. She wasn’t the earthy midwife I had imagined in my head. I was checked by the head nurse right before heading upstairs to see if we had progressed at all in dilation. Nada. I get moved upstairs finally and told that we can order food. They will let you eat on Cervidil and up until now I’ve been eating graham crackers and apple juice to maintain sugar, so this is welcome news. Upstairs feels like the Taj Mahal of rooms compared to our cramped quarters downstairs. There is a recline AND a fold out bed, there is a fridge in our room and space to move. I’m hooked back up to the monitors and the nurse questions if I am comfortable “even with the contractions”. I say yes, that they aren’t painful and she looks slightly perplexed and says they’ve very regular, 5-6 minutes already. I meet the on-call Dr. from our practice, and he seems nice. Checks me one more time before giving me the Cervidil, only to find out that in an hour, we’ve gone from not even 1 cm to 3 plus and fully effaced. We won’t be spending the night after all on antepartum, we are going to be moved to labor and delivery where they will skip to the Pitocin to increase frequency and intensity of contractions. Food arrives, I am told to only eat light or liquids. I take a few bites of a sandwich anyhow and drink as many drinks as possible, knowing I might be cut off at any time. I am told that after 18 hours of water breaking, the infection rate increases, but that I won’t be started on antibiotics unless I show signs of a fever or baby shows signs of distress. At this point I am right about 17-18 hours in. Moved to labor and delivery and get settled there. Room is big, but strange. Curtains on the wall, but no actual windows. Time is now just before 11pm, but I wouldn’t know without the clock if it was night or day. The night nurse is tiny and starts the Pitocin. No problem initially, I’ve got this. Every half hour she cranks it up and a few cranks in, I start to resent her. Contractions increase, hitting every 3-4 minutes, sometimes faster. At this point, still manageable. They send the anesthesiologist in to go over options for pain management. Admittedly, I should have done more research. I didn’t take any birth classes or anything…I was going to, then I was told it would likely be a C-section and then by the time I found out I could attempt vaginal delivery, all of a sudden it was too late. We were told about IV pain medications or an Epidural. The IV medicine isn’t safe for baby after 7cm which concerned me…how exactly do they know when you get to that point EXACTLY? I wasn’t ready for the epidural. I wasn’t ready to give up my mobility to move around, as it was explained I had many hours left ahead of me. I was fine until about 5:30 I’d guess that morning. I’d been breathing through the contractions as PC and my mom attempted to rest but now they were getting more painful. I hadn’t slept and questioned if I could rest at all. The anesthesiologist came back and I asked more about my options. Not all hospitals offer them, but we were also given the option of “a walking epidural” which while inserted into the spine the same way, blocks some of the intensity of the abdominal muscles, but allows you to keep all feeling in your lower half and usually maintain mobility. I went for that. It also came with a button you could hit 4 times per hour that would put out more pain medication as needed. Inserting that is gross. They allow only one person to stay in the room, so since PC isn’t great with needles, we sent him on a coffee run for him and my mom. It’s painful, feels like a bee sting, and nerve wracking, as you are afraid if you move, you will be paralyzed. I realize that is me exaggerating somewhat, but while you are exhausted, that’s EXACTLY what your brain is thinking. I had a contraction while she was inserting it, and I didn’t flinch out of fear. My mom held my hands in front of me and tried to calm me down. Once the meds started flowing, the contractions were minimized in my belly. I got really nauseous though every time I pushed the button. Lesser of two evils. I threw up everything I had left in me and even the juice and ice chips I was allowed to eat weren’t meant to be. The midwife came back and by now I hated her. She was cheery and hyper and I was none of those things. She (and turns out many in the hospital) were also medicine pushers when it came to the epidural. The assumption was that “when” I switched to the full epidural…rather than “IF” I switched. I wasn’t sure I needed it or was comfortable with it. I have no moral issues with pain management, but I wanted it to be a decision I made WHEN it was necessary FOR ME.  My mom knows me well enough to read me and could tell it wasn’t going to go well for the midwife if she kept up her current pace. She used an analogy of “rabbit vs. turtles” in the morning and finally the girl seemed to slow her roll. They increase the Pitocin again as the contractions of spread out again. I realize at this point why I can’t do recreational drugs. The walking epidural button is making me a)ill but funnier, b) making me say things I wouldn’t normally. I questioned a few times if my eyes were open or closed, and was tryin to talk myself into opening them (out loud) even when I KNEW they were closed.

Fast forward a few more hours. Shift change at 8, sends the midwife home (not sad) and brings another new doctor from our practice I haven’t met. Dr. F as it turns out is the most like my own doctor and I felt good about that. It also brought on a new delivery nurse (who it turned out was phenomenal). Dr. F does a check to see my progress, I can’t remember how many cm at that point (I think 7) but she discovers my water isn’t full broken and she remedies that with the tool that looks like a crochet hook. The next three hours are a bit of a blur, but by 11am, something has changed. The contractions are rapid, and I am bleeding significantly more. PC tells the nurse (she told us to let her know when anything changed like that) and  she comes in to tell me that we have to roll onto each side for 20 minutes to try to get baby position better. It’s the most excruciating 20 minutes (or so I think). I have a tennis ball in one hand I am ready to explode with my hands and PC’s hand in the other which I am sure I was squeezing equally hard. They’ve told us at some point earlier that “new moms” are allowed to push for up to there hours and I wonder if I will make it. After 20 minutes on my right hand side, she says it’s time to roll over and I tell them I want the full epidural, that I can’t in fact make it on the left without it. To give you an idea of pain level, she also asks if I mind if a nursing student is present when I push and loud as I can I yell “I don’t give a shit”. I guess all class is out the window at this point. I’ve said fuck more times through labor at this point than I am proud of–my mom even said at one point “it’s ok you can say fuck as much as you want today”. Back to flipping to left side. I say I think I want epidural, but turns out it’s go time. We don’t have to flip to the left, it’s time to push. In the words of the nurse “we are complete” and ready to go. The doctor at this point is still pulling into the parking garage and the delivery nurse gets us through contraction #1 and how the pushing is going to go. Three pushes for 10 seconds each for each contraction. PC has one knee, mom has the other and I can hear them thankfully the whole time (over my own screams) encouraging me through. Contraction two. Check. Contraction three comes too fast and I ask if we can skip it. We do. Contraction four, check. Mid way through contraction 5,  I hear my mom say “I saw his face, he’s beautiful, PUSH” and he was here. Safe and sound. After years of trying, I could finally breathe for a second.  Fifteen minutes of pushing and we had our miracle. In hindsight, I am glad I didn’t have time for the epidural. I didn’t know until afterwards, that deliveries are often longer, or can require the vacuum or use of forceps with first time moms and epidurals because you can’t actually feel what you are pushing. Fortunately/unfortunately, I could feel EVERYTHING.

My mom cut the cord while holding PC’s hand, but I wasn’t paying any attention. I had the guy of my dreams laying on my chest. I also had a dr. sewing up my mangled lady parts. Turns out, there was enough blood, she didn’t have time to let all the numbing shots set in, so I was feeling too many of the stitches. LOTS of stitches. I ended up with a few second degree tears (skin and muscle) but those will all heal. I heeded everyone’s warning and still two weeks later haven’t looked in any mirrors there. Apparently that’s a thing…people get curious. But I am not curious. I don’t know if I can unsee if it those parts look like Frankenstein, so I will leave that image alone. The delivery hospital lets you keep this amazing baby on your chest rather than whisking him away to be weighed. Eventually they weighed him in at 7 lbs. 4.4 oz and 20.5 inches long (although his pediatrician a few days later says 21 inches). I will update on the first two weeks of actually being home soon, but mommy duty is currently calling/ baby stirring about to cry.

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