As my due date, September 12th, came and went, I began to wonder if I was EVER going to give birth at all. I was due on a Tuesday. By Saturday, I was starting to panic. DH and I decided to get things moving. Having been on bedrest for the last month, I thought the quickest way to get labor going was to actually get off the couch and walk further than the bathroom.
After a full day of lugging my 200-pound bulk around an art fair and cider mill, then grocery shopping in 85 degree weather, still nothing had happened!
Sunday dawned with hot humid weather again (in a house with no air conditioning), inspiring us with the bright idea that we should rip up all our living room carpeting to expose our hardwood floors, and hopefully our baby, to daylight. No dice. After a couple of hours of pulling and tugging at staples, nothing had happened – not even a Braxton-Hicks. On Monday morning I visited my doctor. With legs akimbo I waited, afraid to breathe, for the verdict: “Sorry, you’re 0% effaced, 0% dilated, let’s schedule you for an induction on Thursday.”
Thursday? Was she crazy? My whole body was definitely going to explode before then!
After I got home, I got this sudden surge of energy. Very uncharacteristic for me as I’d had the energy of a large Manatee floating in the ocean these last two months. Then the contractions started. Just really little ones. No problem – this was going to be a breeze.
By 9 p.m. the contractions were five minutes apart. By 10 p.m. they were between five and three minutes apart. So I did what every anxious, expectant mother should NOT do when that far along in labor: I went to bed! DUH!
At 2:30 a.m., Tuesday morning, I got up to go to the bathroom. I noticed that what was coming out had the consistency of egg-whites and was the color of goose droppings. I suddenly realized that my water had broken, and that I was seeing meconium. I called the answering service to reach the doctor on call. Ten minutes later the doctor called and told us to come to the hospital immediately. Of course I hadn’t packed my bag yet. I stood in the kitchen for ten minutes unable to decide whether to wake my husband, or pack my bag. I woke my husband.
We finally arrived at the hospital at 3:30 a.m. I was admitted to L&D immediately as my water had broken. I must note that during this time, I had not experienced one contraction since the previous evening, yet when the doctor checked me I was 1cm.! The nurses told me to walk halls to get labor started in earnest. If it did not start by 6 a.m., they would induce me.
If any of you reading this have experienced the miracle drug Pitocin, you will remember what a joy it is. Instead of having your own contractions peak and ebb with a break in-between, Pitocin-induced contractions don’t have any discernible break. I felt like I was having one continuous contraction from about 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. My DH, labor coach extraordinaire, was pretty much just standing next to me staring at me through most of this (except for his attempts to get me to play hangman). While this was going on, I had mentally been chanting to myself “four, four, four” – since that’s how dilated I had to be to get my epdiural. When I finally reached the magic number, the nurse informed me that the anesthesiologist had two emergency C-sections. I think that was the longest wait of my life. By this time, the only noise I could make was a blowing noise – not unlike that of a whale (rather appropriate). Finally my angel of mercy appeared with my “epi” about 4:30 p.m. Once I was comfortably numb, I fell asleep. In my semi-conscious state, I noticed someone checking me a couple of times – but I drifted off again.
It was about 6 p.m. when the nurse shocked me out of my blissful state, saying, “Get the cart – she’s ten – she’s ready to push!” News to me.
I was so numb from the waist down that I hadn’t realized that my right leg had completely fallen off the bed. Nor did I realize at first that the nurse had grabbed it and put my foot on her chest. I had to wake up fast. Luckily the television was on, so I could watch it rather than my heaving abdomen. My DH put my left leg on his chest, and grabbed my hand to hold on for the ride. Another problem with being so numb was that I couldn’t feel any contractions. So DH watched the monitor to tell me when I was having one. The nurse got wise to this and turned off the epidural. Nooooo – now I could feel EVERYTHING – except the urge to push!
After a few pushes, the doctor realized that:
- I had ripped in two places from front to back, incurring fourth degree lacerations
- I was going to need a big episiotomy
- The baby’s head was way too big.
He leaned over me and said. “You have two choices. Either we shove her back in and do a C, or we vacuum her out.” My vote was for the Dirt Devil. So at 6:48 p.m., Erin was sucked into this world! THEN I had the urge to push (the afterbirth)! By the way, while I was pushing, I looked at my DH’s face – he was pushing harder than me!
Now all of this is a memory, and I’m ready to do it again in February – with twins!
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