Spoiler: This post is a Long Birth Story interspersed and ending with Unbelievably Cute Baby Pictures to help detract from the traumasticity of the contents herein – at least for my sake.
As I’m finally on a low enough dose of pain meds that I can type without the screen doing funky swirly things (and having the urge to write about white fuzzy rabbits), I’m going to make a weak attempt at this post, before I subconsciously block parts of the following memories from my mind.
At the beginning of last week, I was finally able to pinpoint exactly what I had been desiring birth-wise: it wasn’t that I necessarily wanted a VBAC and didn’t want a C-Section, I just wanted the experience of actually going INTO labor. I didn’t get that opportunity with Ali, and I really wanted it with Noah.
And so, on Thursday night when our Small Group prayed for us, they prayed that we would get to experience the excitement of naturally occurring labor. And since our Small Group prayed both of our babies into my body (we got pregnant with Ali 3 months after they started praying for us after we had been trying for 2 years, and then got pregnant with Noah the next month after their prayers after having been trying for a year), we figured that surely they could pray a baby out of my body.
I’d been having fairly painful, regular contractions all week (nothing new there), and they got especially worse on Thursday night. So I went into my OB’s office one last time Friday morning, just to see if anything had changed. And, as had been the case for weeks, nothing had.
Despite the prayers from the night before, after my doctor’s appointment, I put aside all hopes of going into labor and focused on enjoying the last weekend of our pre-baby life. I was ready for a C-Section on Monday, and accepted that in all likelihood, I was not going to be going into labor.
On Saturday night, every step I took was painful, but I wasn’t having contractions. Everything just hurt. I didn’t think too much about it, except to thank God that this baby was coming OUT on Monday.
After Ali went to bed, we started wrapping her Christmas presents. I got about three presents into the process and had to quit – it was too painful. So I laid down while Chris kept wrapping, and I started having contractions – something that again I thought nothing of, since that’s all I’ve been doing for months.
But when we went to bed around midnight, they had gotten fairly painful. THEN they started getting very rhythmic – something I hadn’t ever experienced in that way. Then they started getting even more painful and more rhythmic.
I started giving myself a pep talk. There was NO WAY I was going into the hospital for the second Saturday night in a row on false labor. NO WAY. So you just need to quit having contractions and GO TO SLEEP.
But I couldn’t sleep, and they continued to get worse. Finally, at 2:30 am, I jumped out of bed, woke Chris up, and told him I couldn’t take it any more.
We made that thrilling middle-of-the-night phone call to my parents, and they headed over to stay with Ali. When they arrived, I no longer had any doubts. I told them I would never be fooled by fake labor again.
Chris, of course, despite the fact that I was NOWHERE near pushing, took his one and only opportunity to use his hazard lights and unnecessarily speed (“careen” might be a more appropriate word) to the hospital, running all red lights and stop signs, swerving maniacally, all while I was contracting quite painfully.
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to afford him such a gleeful experience.
We arrived and I was quickly declared in “real” labor, hooked up to the machines and IVs, and began the laboring process. I was absolutely high from glee (and Demerol) that I actually DID manage to achieve labor on my own.
(Anyone need or want anything? Just come to our Small Group on Thursday nights.)
We got there just at the right time (due to Chris’ crazy driving, I’m sure), because I began progressing very quickly, and the contractions got much stronger. I began questioning the sanity of all of my natural childbirth friends and relatives, and was overjoyed when it was time for my epidural.
After the agonizing process of getting an epidural, we settled in for a nice, relaxing, boring labor experience like we’d had with Ali. It’s a wonderful thing to feel nothing.
But then, around the time I reached 5 centimeters, things began to hurt a little.
They said it was normal. Even though I hadn’t experienced any pain with Ali, I said okay and kept laboring, a little less enthusiastically.
Then the pain got worse. And worse. And then unbearable.
They called the Anesthesiologist in, and he quickly determined that my epidural needed replacing. When he took the bandages off, he realized that somehow it had come loose – all the medicine was puddled on my back. This “never” happens, they all assured me quite puzzledly. And I hadn’t moved hardly at all, so it certainly wasn’t caused by me.
But I was just relieved to get a new epidural, so even though getting the second one was ten times as painful during the now much worse contractions, it was a happy moment.
So we settled back in for a nice, boring rest-of-labor.
That lasted for an hour and a half.
I progressed quickly to 7.5 centimeters, and then started hurting a little bit again.
They said “it’s normal – that just means you’re getting close to pushing.”
Then the feeling began coming back into my legs. And the pain – it was indescribable. I know people choose to do this naturally and I’m totally cool with that, but usually, natural choosers are more prepared than I was. Natural childbirth had NEVER been even a potential in the plan for us, so I didn’t know how to breathe, how to cope, and how not to scream, and the pain was an absolute shock to my system.
The doctors rushed back in. They quickly took out the epidural again, but this one hadn’t come loose. They had absolutely no idea why it wasn’t working. They said that very rarely, an epidural won’t work at all for someone, but never did one work for an hour and a half and then just quit.
In the meantime, I began completely panicking. Besides the pain, I was petrified of going through the entire labor process in unplanned, unprepared natural childbirth (especially after a prior C-Section), but even MORE scared of having to have a C-Section and the drugs failing there, too.
They gave me my third epidural. This time the process was nearly unbearable, and I was scared out of my mind that it wouldn’t work again. But they put it in, the numbness began to come back, and I started to (kind of) calm down.
Until an hour later.
I started having one spot that was hurting. I thought it was my catheter, so I had the nurse remove it. That didn’t help. It started hurting more. And I started freaking out.
The doctor came in and said that sometimes you can have a “hot spot” – a spot that the epidural doesn’t reach, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But then, as he was talking, all of the feeling returned to my legs again, and I panicked.
Within seconds, more pain flooded my body than I’d ever experienced.
The nurses and doctors began trying to have a conversation about what could be happening to me without actually using the words – but I asked, and yes, they admitted that they were discussing the possibility of a Uterine Rupture.
Things got really chaotic really quickly. My OB checked me, I was at 8 centimeters. My uterus had not ruptured, thank goodness. The Anesthesiologist rushed in, pumped more meds in, but nothing helped. Although I usually get very quiet in pain, the pain had reached a level where I was no longer quiet. I screamed that they needed to either numb me as if they were giving me a C-Section or they needed to give me a C-Section.
But my doctor had already determined that since they had absolutely no idea what was happening with my body AND that Noah was sideways, had been sideways for a while, and wasn’t looking like he was moving, that a C-Section, immediately, was the best solution.
My first scream question was how were they going to make sure the pain medicine worked while they were cutting me open?
My doctor assured me that they would do a spinal – not an epidural – and I wouldn’t feel a thing. But then the Anesthesiologist said that he couldn’t do that – there had been WAY too much medicine pumped into my body, they didn’t know where it had gone or what was happening, and he couldn’t risk putting more in. The only way to do a C-Section was to put me completely under for the procedure.
At which time my nurse told me, “But you need to be prepared that when you wake up, you WILL be in pain. Because that is just putting you under, not treating the pain.”
Even though it was an emergency C-Section, it still felt like it took an eternity to get set up for. I had at least 8 more contractions during the surgery prep, the trip to the operating room, the transfer from my bed to the OR table, more surgery prep, and finally to the point where they mercifully let me lose consciousness, screaming all the way.
It took me a long time to get myself to actually wake up after the surgery, but my first thought was that I was relieved that, although I was in pain, I now knew that an incision cutting me open from side to side was much less painful than the contractions I’d been having. Who knew?
And from that moment on, it all got better. Noah was a delightful baby from the second I first got to hold him. He came into the world a professional eater (hopefully not Man-V.-Food-Adam-Richman-style), nursed wonderfully, immediately calmed down for me every time I held him, and captured my heart immediately. And he loved me – I could sense it.
I have been able to enjoy so many things about the first few days of newbornness with him that I wasn’t able to with Ali because I was so overwhelmed with the shock of parenthood. I immediately bonded with Noah and am completely in love with him, and have been able to cherish each and every moment. And, thankfully, I have been so laid back about everything. Almost nothing has worried me or made me nervous, and everything about newborn care has come back so naturally.
So, although Sunday could have qualified for one of the worst days of my life for a few hours, it most definitely and much more so qualifies for one of the best. I am completely in baby heaven right now, and the early part of Sunday is a distant memory.
We’re still in the hospital right now – I’ve had a couple other complications (most likely too gory to blog about, but feel free to ask about them if you’re a glutton for the disgusting) that have slowed down our process. They are much better now, so we should be going home tomorrow (Thursday), and jumping right into a magical Christmas with our family of four.
Thank you all SO much for your prayers, visits, emails, tweets, texts, facebooks, and phone calls. They have meant SO much to us, and I have wanted to be able to respond to
each and every one of them, but I just can’t tear myself away from this precious, beautiful baby that’s asleep on my chest to do anything else but cuddle.