This is probably the post you’re most excited about. Bazinga.
Warning still applies; if you’re not into TMI and graphic lady business details, this is probably not the reading material for you.
So, after spending 3 hours in the L&D triage, we were sent home. I finally fell asleep at 3:30 only to wake up at 5:30 with another giant gush and the worst contraction I had felt since giving birth to E three years ago. I wait for a couple more to come around before getting up and going to the bathroom where I found a fair amount of bloody show. I decided to tempt fate and took a hot shower. The contractions picked up in speed while I was upright, but they weren’t as strong and didn’t last as long. I decided to go ahead and do my usual morning ablutions (I love that word), and when I noticed there was a small stream of warm liquid going down my leg even after I dried off, I pulled the bathmat over to the vanity (who puts carpet anywhere near a bathroom?) to stand on, and by the time I was done, the mat was soaked.
I got dressed while S took a shower (I told him we were going back to L&D), putting a giant pad in my panties to soak up the drippings, brought my dad the monitor for E (again), and off we went.
This time, however–less than four hours later–the L&D triage was buzzing. One of the nurses checked me in and they even brought in a woman who had called an ambulance because she was in labor (it was interesting–the staff seemed less than pleased with that and were given the girl some major side-eye. S brought it up at one point, but I reminded him she might not have anyone around who could have driven her–it is an Army hospital). They got me set up in the same room I had inhabited 3 hours before, and went about the same procedures–NST, blood pressure, lots of questions. This time, however, the fluid was coming much faster, and I was gushing pretty frequently all over my chux pad. One of the nurses came in and just used that puddle for a cervical fluid sample. A little later, the resident–a new guy who looked about 12 but I liked him, anyway–came in later and said they couldn’t conclude it was my water from that test, so he was going to do another biopsy when he checked my progress. I was 4 cm and some random percent effaced when he checked which was a good sign in and of itself, and about half an hour later they came to confirm it was in fact my ute-juice that had ruptured. He had some information and consent forms he had to go through for admittance, and then a nurse came in to set up the cord blood donation kit and my IV. It was about 9:45 by the time that happened, and I just had to wait for a labor room to become available.
Because, of course, when I was there earlier that morning it was dead, so naturally they would become slammed when I actually got admitted. I waited a good hour before they were able to put me in a room. The nurse assigned to me was very nice and very upbeat–she showed S where he could get me some ice, juice, popcicles, etc before he headed down to the car to grab things like the cameras, my bag, the boppy, and some caffeine for himself (he can’t be normal and drink coffee like the rest of us).
While he was gone, she sent in the anesthesiologist to talk to me about my pain control options. I wanted to try to do it without any drugs since I didn’t have a particularly pleasant experience with E and the epidural, but wanted to keep the option open, anyway. By the time S got back, the contractions were really rumbling and I was already starting to think there was no way I could handle that kind of pain for 90 seconds at a time, one wave after another.
When he got back, it was about 11:30 (give or take) and I asked if I could go to the bathroom. The nurse said sure, but wanted to check me first to prevent a toilet baby (ha). She said I was 4 cm, “very soft,” and the baby had moved down to 0 station. She also said I had a little pocket of fluid that was still hanging out, mentioning that they would probably break it when it was time for me to push. She then asked where I was on the pain intervention because it was “the perfect time,” and she wanted me to understand how busy they were, so if I wanted it, she would get me in the queue so I didn’t end up waiting hours. I caved to the pain and told her I did want the epidural–there was no way I was going to make it 5-6 hours. She unhooked me from the monitors and I got up to do my business. And as soon as I was done, it was like everything went into over-drive. I had a hard time standing up because everything started coming harder and faster. S managed to get me back to the bed, and the nurse told me the anesthesiologist was on his way. I was practically begging for him to hurry up as they got me positioned on the bed. I had fallen into the I-must-vocalize-through-the-pain realm and the breathing techniques I had so painstakingly studied we no longer doing it for me, anymore.
The doctor (major) came in and got started as I wailed like an idiot on the bed. He had no sooner gotten the port in when I felt a huge pop and gush of fluid. I remember saying “Oh my god, did you feel that?” followed by “I have to push!” The urge had come immediately and hurt like a %&#$! My nurse told me to wait, reached up and said “Yup, there is baby’s head. Try not to push!” then hit some button and demanded a midwife immediately. The pain was pretty blinding, and I vaguely remember the anesthesiologist saying he was going to do the test dose about the time the midwife came in. She told me I could go ahead and push when I needed to. I had no problem doing that, at all, screaming the whole time.
Yes. Apparently, I am one of those women who screams through labor like a crazy person. I am the one who makes everyone out in the hall wonder wtf is going on and the other women cower in fear as they demand a epidural right now. Even as I was screaming my head off, I was (an still am) embarrassed to be that person. It’s just so out of character (I swear).
In stark contrast to E’s birth, I was able to feel every. little. thing. I was surprised by the burning (apparently they call it the “ring of fire”), and wasn’t sure which was worse–that or the contraction pain. I thought she was never going to come out, it just didn’t feel possible–there was no way my skin was going to stretch far enough for that to happen. And then all of the pain was gone and she was flopping out all limbs and purpley skin. They put her on my chest, something else I wasn’t able to experience with E, as they suctioned out her mouth and rubbed some of the goo off of her.
And that’s about the time the epidural kicked in.
So, I’m pretty sure I just got to experience “natural” childbirth without ever being able to brag about it. Story of my life. At least I had it for pushing out the placenta? I guess? The anesthesiologist was very apologetic, but, really, who could have foreseen that?
I ended up going from 4 cm to having a baby in 13 minutes. If you had told me that was going to happen, I would have laughed. I was pushing for 40 minutes with E and it took me 8 hours to make the same amount of progress. So far, I would categorize E’s labor as being much easier. That epidural really made it calm and quiet (literally). But the recovery was much, much worse. I only have one stitch from this labor (the midwife said I could have probably done without it, but she wanted things to be pretty for me (ha)) and I had 8 with E. I was still pretty sore and gushy down below with E, and this time, it’s already like the end of a light period. I’m not sure which version I prefer, but it’s kind of a moot point because: I AM DONE!
October 28, 2013
7 lb, 5.5 oz
F was 2.5 oz heavier than E, but 0.5 inch shorter. They look a lot alike with a couple of small differences. Because F spent so little time in the birth canal, she had no cone head, and she doesn’t have any of the angel kisses E had.
A super flattering picture of me and F. I figure no one would want to steal this particular photo because, really, who wants to admit to that arm-boob fat?
Now that that is over with, I will be back to the regularly-scheduled Army-related life posts in the near future. Expect to hear about the highs and lows of delivering at a military hospital, the subsequent recovery, and navigating the system with a newborn.