This post is for Meira. This is the rest of the story of Really Little Man’s birth. It’s not really gross or anything, but maybe a little heavy on the details. You have been warned.
We left off with my doctor ordering a pitocin drip for me. I was nervous because I had heard that pitocin creates brutal, painful contractions, and that I would want need an epidural before I was adequately progressed, and that my labor would slow, and the spiral of intervention would occur.
At least that’s what all my crunchy birth books said about induction and medical intervention. Slippery slope and all that.
So I sat there and waited, reading my book, shmoozing with my husband and trying to stave off my nervousness. Thankfully, my contractions started off at two-minute intervals straight away. They didn’t hurt, just felt a little tight. This went on for a couple of hours. The nurse would come in every hour or so and up the amount of pitocin I was being fed and the contractions would get a little stronger.
My nurse, Bridget, was awesome. We got to shmooze a little bit, and she told me about her two kids. She was really nice, chilled out, and I felt very comfortable around her. She talked enough, but not too much, you know?
After maybe three hours or so of the drip, I started feeling the contractions. Like, feeling them. Ouch. It’s interesting that there wasn’t really a build-up to the painful contractions from the just-tight-feeling contractions. It was not subtle. I was a bit blindsided by them, frankly, but I didn’t want to get that epidural too soon. So I hung in there a little bit.
My husband was in the room, so he distracted me and kept me posted about how frequently I was contracting (still every two minutes. Crazy!). But it was starting to hurt, so when the nurse came back into the room, I asked her when the next time the doctor would check my dilation. She fetched the chief resident (a very jovial Dr. Ellen Solomon), who told me that I could get checked “whenever I want.” While she was getting ready, I psyched myself down so that I wouldn’t be disappointed if I had only progressed a half-centimeter or something equally discouraging.
I was at 4 centimeters!
Sweet. I told them that I wanted to wait until I was at 5 or 6 centimeters before I got the epidural, but Dr. Solomon told me to just get it already. “Don’t wait! There’s no need to be in pain. Take the drugs!”
So I did. Well, I asked to be put on the list for anesthesiology to come. They were administering an epidural to someone else, apparently. This meant that I had to wait through some increasingly painful contractions. Good thing I had had that natural birth experience last time, and was thankfully coping okay, though I was definitely looking forward to some numbness.
Finally an anesthesiology resident came in the room and asked me a bunch of questions (in between contractions), then he left for a little bit (ugh! Such a long process just to get medicated!). He returned with some contraptions and the attending physician, and we got started.
I had to sit up (painful) and hug a pillow (okay, kind of comforting), and Nurse Bridget was right next to me, holding my hand and encouraging me through each contraction. She was really great. I need to bake her some cookies or something.
The resident had a bit of a hard time getting the needle in the right spot (the GIANT needle), and even though this was my worst-case epidural scenario, I surprisingly didn’t care at all. Nope. Not one bit. Take your time, just get me the drugs. In the end, the attending did the procedure (it took about eleven minutes total for them to do it), and then I got to lay back down and let the drugs work. They had told me that it would take about 10 to 15 minutes for the medicine to kick in, but really by the third or fourth contraction I was much, much more comfortable.
And then the shaking started.
“Hey, I’m shaking. Is that normal?” I asked nurse Bridget.
“Oh, you’re probably in transition. You have that transition look.”
What?! Already? Whoa.
And then the pressure started.
The anesthesiology resident asked me how the pain was. I told him the pain was GREAT (as in, it was gone), and that all I was feeling was pressure. A lot of pressure. But I didn’t care, because it didn’t hurt. But it was there. Nurse Bridget decided to go see where my doctor was. Apparently it was almost time for me to have the baby.
The anesthesiology resident had gone to fetch some more medicine to give me a little boost, to see if he could take the edge off the pressure. By the time he came back, my doctor was rushing up from where he had been (he had finished an GYN procedure and I suspect he was grabbing lunch) and there was a host of residents, attendings and nurse Bridget in the room. She told me I was getting that “pushy” look.
The anesthesiology resident told my husband that he didn’t think his little extra bump of medicine was going to be helpful at this point.
Dr. Solomon checked me and lo and behold, I was at ten centimeters. It was only about 45 minutes or an hour after they started administering the epidural. Thank G-d I didn’t wait any longer to get it. My doctor rushed in and got all sterile with the gown and the gloves and all, and before I knew it I was pushing!
That still hurt a lot. A whole lot. Ouch.
After those first few pushes I really lost control for a bit, pain and fear and all that. Nurse Bridget came to the rescue again, reminding me that I could be in control. As soon as that contraction passed I was able to reconnect with myself and started whispering “okay okay okay okay” and reminded myself that the better I pushed, the sooner it would be over, and sure enough, I pushed really hard and was rewarded with a healthy squall.
“It’s a boy!” they announced. Even though we hadn’t found out the gender, I was somehow not surprised. Just relieved and happy. Nurse Bridget gave me the baby right away and we were able to snuggle a bit. I don’t even remember if I nursed him right away. I think I did. Nurse Bridget asked me if I would like her to tell my husband that it was a boy, and I said, “sure, go ahead.” I was all blissed out and relaxed and just letting the rest of the pregnancy stuff happen (you know, placenta, stitching, whatever)
And that was basically that. We got to stay in the delivery room for a little while until a room in recovery opened up, and we bonded with Really Little Man, made a few phone calls, and in general enjoyed the miracle of birth, and the joy of our expanding family.