I wasn't overdue by any means, but I was miserably pregnant. I had tried everything during the previous week to go into labor. My ob/gyn tried to stretch my cervix so I would start dilating, I ate hot buffalo wings and spicy Mexican food, walked my dog three times a day up and down hills, even took castor oil (which expelled everything from my body except the baby!)
It was my due date, May 5, 2001. I called my dad at 11:00 A.M. to complain that nothing was happening. Was I ever going to have this baby? Well, four hours later my water broke. I called upstairs to my husband, "Honey? My water just broke!" and I started crying, so completely excited for the adventure I was about to embark on! I couldn't believe that definitely within the next 24 hours, I would meet my baby girl!
I called my ob/gyn to let her know my water had broken. Unfortunately, she wasn't on duty that weekend, and my baby was to be delivered by the other doctor, whom I had only met once at around 26 weeks. She said to take my time, but I did need to come to the hospital. "Take a shower, eat a meal, pack your bag. There's no hurry, but you do need to get here."
We got to the hospital at around 4:00 P.M. and I was admitted into Triage. The bed in there was very uncomfortable! When you are nine months pregnant, you're back aches like nothing else. So sitting in an uncomfortable bed in an uncomfortable position for hours is just about enough to put you over the edge! I was hooked up to the machines to monitor my baby's heart rate and my contractions. Well, guess what? No contractions. The resident doctor measured me at less than two centimeters, and said I would have to be induced with pitocin. I had no apprehensions about that. I had heard one could have a much more intense labor with pitocin, but I was up for the challenge!
At 8:30 P.M. I was still in Triage, and they started the pitocin. It was a full moon, so every pregnant woman in the city was in labor, and there weren't any labor/delivery rooms available for me. I was very unhappy about this because I knew things were about to get, um, "interesting" to say the least, and here I was still stuck in this very uncomfortable bed! Finally, at 9:30 P.M. I was taken to a labor/delivery room. I hadn't taken any Lamaze classes, so my mom was trying to teach me how to breathe through the pain. It wasn't working. My parents and my in-laws and my husband kept me company in there until about 10:30 P.M. when things started getting quite painful. I couldn't respond to their questions when they tried to talk to me, and I wasn't laughing at their jokes. At this time I was still measuring at less than two cm. I soon requested the epidural, and the nurse called my doctor, who okayed it. The nurse commented that this particular group of ob/gyn's I use is very "generous" with the epidural. Thank goodness!
In case you don't know this, when you request an epidural, you don't get it right away. You get added to the bottom of the long list of pregnant mommies-in-labor on the night of a full moon who want to get the epidural. At 11:00 P.M. the anesthesiologist and his nurse finally arrived with my salvation. Little did I know this nurse and I would "bond" throughout the rest of my labor. She was the only one who could get my attention and make me shut-up! While the anesthesiologist prepared me for the epidural, the nurse was telling me what to do. I didn't hear her, so my husband repeated the directions. "What!?" I spat at him. "Look, Honey, you're gonna have to pay attention to me," the nurse spat back at me. The epidural took effect immediately, and I was greatly relieved! This wonderful warmth sort of washes over your belly and down the front of your legs. It truly is amazing how fast it works and how much pain relief it offers! The doctor came in right after and measured me. Still two centimeters. She "stretched" me to three cm to hope to get things moving.
I slept in a sort of twilight state until 1:00 A.M. A lot of people say the epidural will slow things down, you won't dilate as fast. It turns out the epidural was the best thing for me. At 1:00 A.M. the epidural had worn off, and I was shaking in bed and crying. The nurse requested the anesthesiologist return and give me a "free refill." Ha ha. Of course it took him awhile. I waited over an hour for the second epidural, while the pitocin continued to do its job, making me have double and triple contractions. That means I wouldn't even get a 10 second break between contractions. That was exhausting. After the refill, the doctor checked me at seven centimeters. This is what I mean by the epidural was the best thing for me, I had dilated from two centimeters to seven centimeters in less than three hours. Thank goodness I had made some progress!
The anesthesiologist's nurse stayed with me after the refill to make sure I was feeling better. I wasn't. I was crying and moaning and shouting and the whole nine yards. "Honey," she said, "you're only seven centimeters. You still have about three hours to go. There is nothing I can do about that pain you are experiencing, you're going to have to bear down and deal with it." I couldn't even respond to her, but I was pretty mad at her. This was some serious pain! After about 10 minutes she said, "Honey, do you feel like you need to push?" "YESSSSS!!!!" I screamed. Another nurse checked me and I was 10 centimeters! Whoo hoo! She called the doctor to let her know. The doctor was very surprised because she had just seen me 20 minutes earlier and then I was only seven centimeters!
The neatest thing happened to the labor/delivery room when I was ready to push. Nurses started flying everywhere. The bottom half of my bed disappeared. An incubator folded out of the wall. The ceiling opened up and this huge contraption lowered down over me. Handles appeared at the sides of the bed, and this big bar was placed over my waist. I had to place my feet on the bar, and hold onto the handles and push. It felt great and it was so exciting! My very thoughtful husband was pouring ice water onto a washcloth and dabbing my forehead with it.
There was a tubular monitor attached to my baby's head. Every time I pushed, my husband watched the monitor slipping further and further out of my body. He said it was amazing. The nurses were so busy trying to set up the room for the delivery; in between pushes they would fly away from the bed and start setting up some other sort of contraption. After about 15 minutes of pushing they called the doctor back and said she had better get down here. "You're kidding!" said the doctor.
She soon arrived and I continued pushing. Everything was happening so quickly, the anesthesiologist's nurse never had a chance to leave the room. I was shouting and grunting and moaning and screaming. I was not quiet about this whole ordeal. The anesthesiologist's nurse said, "Honey! You have to be quiet! The doctor is trying to tell you something!" I'm not sure what it was the doctor was trying to say, I just remember letting out a very piercing scream, then a second one, and then a third one. And then it was all over.
Anina Isabelle was born at 3:42 am, after about 40 minutes of pushing. She was 20" long and weighed 8 lbs. 10 oz. Her complexion was beautiful, and she was absolutely perfect. I was so happy and so relieved, and felt so many more emotions I can't even begin to describe. I would do anything to relive the entire experience all over again. I said to my husband, "I could do this again."
As I mentioned earlier, I was quite disappointed to find out my ob/gyn was not on duty the weekend I went into labor; but it actually turned out just fine-if not better. The doctor who delivered my daughter was great. She was very professional and obviously did an exceptional job. Oh yeah, and the screams went like this: the doctor was trying to tell me she was doing the episiotomy (scream #1), then I tore as the baby's head came out (scream #2) and then the body came out (scream #3).
I don't regret getting the epidural, and I don't regret not taking Lamaze. There is plenty of staff at the hospital to tell you what to do, and
it really is instinctive anyway. My only regret about the whole experience is I didn't look up into the mirror to watch her being born; I'm sure that would have been the most amazing thing to see! I'll be sure to watch next time!