July 18, 2012
I woke up the morning of my induction with a crushing pain in my chest. It didn't feel quite like the terrifying panic attack that preceded Eleanor's birth, but the hold was so firm that I spent a long time paralyzed in bed- I couldn't even move to try and sit up to "relieve" the pressure of my lungs. When I was able to move I made my way downstairs to fill the newly empty feeling space with cherries and cheerios. Little did I know it would be the last thing I'd eat for hours!
Ben and I wake up to get ready to go to the hospital. This goes pretty smoothly, thanks to a well-prepared and placed hospital bag and clothing. It helps to wake up knowing you're going to the hospital to have a baby :)
We get checked in at the hospital. The maternity admissions receptionist said she'd never seen someone so excited to receive her ID bracelet.
We get settled into our L&D room. I wasn't told until afterward that it happened to be the same room where I delivered Eleanor (This was a 1 in 17 chance. Ben realized it right away. I guess I'd been sort of out-of-it last year!) I tell my assigned nurse my medical history and answer all of the personal questions she needs to enter. I also tell her about the crushing chest pain of earlier and the panic attack from my last delivery, which I am severely reprimanded for. Apparently chest pain is one of the things you're supposed to call in immediately! This means I have to wait to be induced to have an EKG performed. Again.
EKG results are fine, so my Pitocin drip gets started. I came into the hospital at 2-3 cm dilated and 60% effaced. Over the next few hours my monitor reports contractions around 3 minutes apart, but I don't feel any of them. My nurse holds off on checking me again and continues to up my Pit Drip, saying that getting to 4 or 5 cm (when active labor begins) is a combination of contractions 2-3 mins apart and strong enough to be painful. I find this frustrating, and by the afternoon I'm still waiting to feel the contractions and begin to wonder if I'll even deliver on July 18! I'd had the impression days ago that the delivery would be quick, but "Feeling" contractions and delivering by midnight becomes my new goal.
The midwife on duty, Suzanne, decides to give me a check even though I'm still feeling great. Surprisingly, I've made it to 5 cm dilated! She tells me that she can break my water and that, afterward, contractions will start to feel a lot stronger. I have felt so great progressing that she anticipates I'll delivery without any need for an epidural. She breaks my water, which is the grossest thing. I'm convinced I've ruined the hospital bed and can't imagine having that happen at home!
It meant a lot that Suzanne had faith in me to deliver without an epidural, but, after dancing, singing, walking, and leaning my way through an hour and a half of hard contractions I feel like I've hit my limit and ask for an epidural. I am only 6 cm dilated, and I have no desire to go another few hours (at least) in that sort of pain! I am told that the anesthesiologist has one other patient before me, the shot will then take 15 mins. to administer and 4-5 contractions to kick in. Someone has turned the switch on to PAIN all of a sudden, and I start counting down the minutes until sweet medicine will take the pain away...
The anesthesiologist enters. I am yelling and dry crying from pain, and he instructs my nurse to check how far dilated I am because "those sound like baby cries." and delivering while having an epidural administered would be bad. My nurse, Erin, reports that I'm barely over 7 cm, despite my cries of agony. The anesthesiologist begins to set up his instruments, I'm told to sit on the edge of the hospital bed in preparation, and he begins.
Before he finishes my cries (which I'd tried to hold in while he was injecting me) reach a level I had no idea I was capable of. Looking back, the noise is actually amusing it was so loud and high-pitched. I begin to feel the baby descending while still sitting on the edge of the bed, and the anesthesiologist rapidly tries to release the needle and clean up his instruments away from the bed so I can lay down to deliver. The nurse calls for Suzanne to come immediately. I hear her yell into the phone, "The baby is coming NOW!" Three more nurses flood the room to help me just in case Suzanne doesn't walk down the hall in time.
Whit is born after 2 hours and a half hours of active labor and 5-10 mins of pushing. His delivery was so abrupt that the anesthesiologist is still in the room cleaning up, my epidural never kicked in, and I tear only because my skin doesn't have enough time to stretch properly. He is immediately put to my chest for a few hours of "skin to skin" to promote bonding, regulate his temperature and blood sugar levels. Ben cuts his umbilical while Whit is on my chest and we both are shedding crocodile tears. I didn't realize how much fear still existed in me until he was born. I kept saying, "Is he really coming? Is this real? Is he really here?" We are both completely relieved and shocked that this moment has actually come- we are parents with a baby.
He was definitely worth it.