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Renata and her daughter Victoria
Demerol, Intrathical, Posterior Presentation, Vaginal Delivery

My husband and I (newlyweds) moved to Camp Pendleton, CA a Marine Corps base; we planned on having children within the year. I became pregnant easily. The pregnancy posed no complications, other than my 50-pound weight gain. I walked two miles daily (to and from the beach) with my husband Ricky. I also practiced pregnancy yoga on a daily basis. At that time, I had just graduated college and was working as a case manager with homeless veterans in Southern California. As my pregnancy was almost textbook perfect, the labor was fast, and the delivery was slow. I had a plan that once I started feeling contractions I wanted to go to the hospital and get pain relief immediately. I envisioned that as with all first time mothers, I would be in labor for at least 23 hours and in much pain. I did not want to suffer. I hate pain. Let me explain.

On 9/9/01 (a Saturday), I was 39 weeks pregnant. My husband and I slept in late (for the last time). We awoke about 11:30 am. We spent the early afternoon lounging about the house. Around 2:00 pm I started feeling mild like cramps, but they were inconsistent. However, I started having this crazed feeling. I needed to make my husband a large pot of chicken soup that afternoon because I felt that I might be giving birth soon. We drove to the Commissary (a military supermarket) an hour later. I bought some groceries for the soup. I remember that my contractions were getting stronger and more consistent. Some were painful where I had to stop my shopping for a minute. What a sight, to see a very pregnant woman in labor at the supermarket. The funny thing was that we were both calm and I was not in that much pain. I went home and made the chicken soup. At this time my contractions were closer, however not enough to go to the hospital. My family was on the phone with me, pleading with me to go to the hospital. (My family was back in New Jersey).

By 6:30 pm, I was on my living room floor, eating chicken soup and drinking soda, watching COPS. By 8:00 pm I started to feel a little uncomfortable. My husband was pleading with me to take a shower and shave my legs (as he read in my pregnancy magazine), before we started out to the hospital. However, my contractions were not near what my OB/GYN needed for me to be admitted to the hospital. Near 10:00 pm we packed our car and drove 20 minutes to get to the hospital. Again, my contractions were not that painful and not too close together. I called the hospital and lied to them. I told the nurse that the contractions were closer together and longer in length than what they truly were. On the ride to the hospital, I started having large and painful contractions. It was the longest car ride of my life. Thankfully we took Lamaze classes three weeks before and utilized it throughout my labor at home and in the car ride to the hospital.

Upon arrival at the hospital, I was begging for medication. I was checked and we were all shocked that I was already 8 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. This is the same person that wanted to be drugged and comfortable in a hospital bed by 4 centimeters. Needless to say, I was anxious and scared. It was too late for an epidural and I wanted an intrathical. An Intrathical is a pain reliever that is shot into your spine and lasts for at least 2 - 3 hours. It numbs your lower body. While I was waiting for the intrathical, the nurse gave me a round of Demerol, which relaxed me until the intrathical was ready. I also had a birth plan that called for relaxations music, dimmed lights, specific medication and specific procedures to be used. So far all was going as planned.

The intrathical was administered some time after midnight or so (time gets fuzzy at that point). The pain was almost instantly gone. I started pushing after 1:00 am. I pushed long and hard. She did not want to come out. After an hour and half of pushing it was determined that Victoria was "Sunny Side Up". Babies usually come out head facing down, however Victoria was facing up. This makes delivery long and painful. The doctor tried some maneuvers, but it was to no avail. After two hours of pushing the intrathical was wearing off. The nurses and doctors tried to talk me out of another one, but I started to feel the tremendous pain. I begged and pleaded. They told me I was almost there. Finally in desperation I told them that I would stop pushing if they did not get me the pain relief. My daughter vitals were doing very well, as she was being monitored internally. Up to that point I was a model-birthing mother. I did not complain and pushed on command for those two hours without letting up. They saw my determination and pain, and quickly administered my second and last intrathical.

Since they told me this was my last shot, I took charge of the birth. As soon as I felt the numbness in my legs, I laid back in bed and yelled, "Okay everybody, I am ready to start pushing, let's go". I was scared that the medication would wear off and I wanted her out. Within half an hour Victoria was born, "Sunny Side Up" with her eyes wide open. She was not even out yet and she was looking around the room. She cried quietly and quickly. I had a small tear that was quickly given one small stitch.

Victor was born 9/9/01 at 3:40 am at a healthy 7 lbs and 2 oz. She was 19 inches long. I nursed her almost immediately. It was so amazing to see a child you were carrying for 9 months and meet them for the first time. She was and still is the most precious child I had ever laid eyes on. The funny thing that I felt almost immediately after I gave birth was that I was so hungry. I kept asking when breakfast would start. My adrenaline was so pumped up that I was famished. When breakfast arrived, I had just finished breastfeeding Victoria and gave her to my husband. The hospital food (which is normally bland) tasted like a four star restaurant prepared it. I also could not sleep for almost two days. Although Victoria slept through the night the second night, I was still high on this adrenaline rush. I read the paper and some books, I called friends and family.

I also sadly watched on TV the second day of my hospital stay, the World Trade Center being hit by the airplanes. I also saw my Marine Base of 60,000 Marines going on Red Alert. All access to my base and the hospital were off limits and Marines with rifles patrolled the hospital. My flowers were not delivered for weeks, my mother was set to fly from Newark, NJ to Los Angeles, CA 9/12/01, but all planes were grounded. I also feared my husband who was a Marine would leave me and defend our country. He never was shipped out, but the fear was there.

I learned many lessons that day and will learn from them. One in particular, in my family the females give birth quickly, even the first child. I will get to the hospital quicker. I am now pregnant with my second child. I am back in New Jersey, near my family. I already made my OB/GYN aware of the quick labor and I plan on being admitted quicker. Even though I lost over 40 pounds of the 50 pounds I gained, I learned not to eat as much as I did.

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