Really Little Man’s Birth: the rest of the story (as requested)

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.

me and the machines

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.


27 thoughts on “Really Little Man’s Birth: the rest of the story (as requested)

  1. Hey, Rivki, thanks for posting this! I admit I wanted the full details after your last post. And Mazel Tov!

    Hey, here is a nosy question, but was your husband not in the room when you gave birth? Is that part of Orthodox tradition?

    Congrats again on your lovely little man!

    1. Yay! I was thinking, “eh, who wants to read all the details?” I’m glad that one of my friends requested the rest.

      Ah, my perceptive friend, my husband was indeed not in the room for the actual birth. As usual in Orthodox-land, there are varying opinions on where the husband can or should be during birth. Some opinions hold that he shouldn’t be in the room at all, and others say that it’s fine, but that he shouldn’t look at the gory details (I mean, it’s not pretty), so he should stand behind the action. My husband has seen plenty of births in his years of training, so his preference was to be out of the room. And you know, with all the screaming and grunting and whatnot, I was more comfortable without him there.

  2. Wow so beautiful. brought back all the memories of our birth experience! its an incredibly miraculous time. MAZELTOV again!

  3. I was about to ask about your husband not being in the room. My wife tole me in no uncertain terms that I will be in there the whole time. Who am I to disagree with a pregnant woman?

    Mazel tov on your very little man. I can’t wait to share the birth of our little something or other within the next two months or so.

  4. Wow, I feel totally honored to be dedicated your blog post!
    So it sounds like it all went so smoothly B”H. I love how cool your nurse was, I wish I had had someone to hold my hand! I felt like I had to chase down my midwife because she was hardly in the room until after birth…(well, I had to scream since I couldn’t move anymore). It brings me comfort to read how smoothly things can go if the interventions are ever needed. I too am a bit ‘crunchy’ when it comes to birthing, and that is why I went all natural 100%. I was so worried about things spiraling out of control and leading to surgery.
    So now that you have both experiences and you are my all-knowing birthing guru, what do you think about epi vs natural when (g-d willing) the next opportunity arises?

    1. Thank you for requesting the rest of the story! I’m sorry your midwife wasn’t do present; it sounds frustrating. Yeah, B”H, the intervention went amazingly well. Judging from my two experiences, it seems like my body is very comfortable with labor. As the all-knowing birth guru, I say epidural all the way!

  5. Woah, I just got to read this now!! What a story!

    I def agree that epidural is the way to go-why put yourself through extra pain if there’s a way out of it?! Hashem put it in this world for a reason and it does wonders…takes away a TON of the pain and helps deal with labor in a much better way. It’s the best thing for labor!

  6. I still think I will go natural again next time. I have heard stories from friends where it did not go so well. It can lead to more assisted birthing/interventions sometimes. I’m just happy to read about a success story and that it was such a great experience for Rivki.

  7. Rivki, I think the epidural made my labor faster, not slower, kind of like your story. I’m glad your not going to do that to yourself again. I believe in doing things naturally but when people get so psyched up about it that they loose the orriginal goal (healthy baby, healthy mom) they forget that c-sections are a woderful invention that saved so many lives and that anesthesia can be amazing!

    1. Glad you also had a good experience with the amazing epidural! I think everyone’s body and labor are so individual that there are probably a zillion different outcomes, you know? You bring a good point about the original goal of healthy baby, healthy mom. I have more than a couple of friends who wanted a natural birth and ended up with an emergency C-section. While my friends were understandably disappointed that the birth didn’t go how they wanted, their joy over having a healthy baby, and being healthy themselves far outweighed the disappointment. Also, since VBACs are becoming more popular and accepted in the medical world, it provides woman who have had to have a C-section with more choices for future births.

    2. True. I know I was a bit overwhelmed with pain, but I also did not have a doula or any coaching and no one was there to give a back massage …my poor husband stood there trying to distract me with conversation. When the baby arrived, it was like “surprise” and “oh, yeah that’s what I am here for!” B”H she was healthy, calm but alert and my pain seemed to vanish instantaneously. I want to make sure I have a reliable doula there next time (mine went out of the country for Pesach and forgot to tell me, woops!)

  8. Awww, you didn’t tell me your nurse’s name was Bridget! How nice that she was a nice, positive and affirming person for you since your husband was not in the room.

    Having had 2 c-sections, I can say that it was disappointing to not have a non-surgical birth with the first one (although I would have used an epidural no matter what,) but with the second, we were able to practically pick his birthday. On one hand, that takes a lot of the “natural-ness” out of giving birth, but on the other hand, it was especially nice since he was a December baby and I didn’t have to worry about being in the hospital on or around Christmas.

    If anyone ever does have a c-section, it’s best to keep in mind the original goal is, as Miriam said, healthy baby, healthy mommy. That really is the most important thing.

  9. I didn’t read this until just now! Where was I?
    Wow. Pitocin before epidural is like…wow. Ouch.
    Question- why did the pushing hurt? Did they lower the epidural? Usually you’re meant to feel nothing, or slight pressure.
    The ending was really adorable, where you put ‘placenta, stitching, whatever’. It just reminds me how incredibly extreme birth really is, yet it’s a ‘normal part of life’.

    1. So, apparently I have a relatively high pain threshold, b/c I didn’t have a problem with the pitocin at all. Like, I was practically transitioning when I got the epidural. Go figure. Same thing with Moshe as far as pain management went.

      I’ve heard from other epidural-getters that they have also experienced the “ring of fire” when pushing. The level of the epidural didn’t change, and I certainly wasn’t feeling contractions or anything remotely close to the transition pain I felt with Moshe, but the pushing definitely still hurt. Now I want to ask an anesthesiologist. Or my OB-GYN. Ooo!

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