So Monday morning, we were admitted to the hospital around 7:30 a.m. We spent awhile waiting for things to get rolling… ie. Me get an i.v. of fluids, wait for the doctor to check me, etc. I was administered pitocin around 9 a.m. with my cervix still fairly posterior at 3-4 cm. dilated. Contractions started just about right away, and they became painful, but nothing I could not breathe through. I was told I could get an epidural at anytime, and then the doctors would break my water. I wanted to try to labor without an epidural for awhile, in the hopes I would progress to 6 or 7 cm before getting one. I suppose I wanted the experience, but I also wanted to feel somewhat assured that I might avoid a c-section before taking the “leap.” By 3 p.m., my cervix had moved to be quite anterior, and it was dilated to a ‘solid 4,’ meaning I was NOT yet in active labor.
I decided it was time to get the epidural and move things along by breaking my water. I have to say I have been irrationally afraid of getting an epidural for quite some time, and the experience I had getting mine did NOT allay my fears. I am not exaggerating when I say that, to nerd myself out here, in the Harry Potter series, the Cruciatus curse probably would impose the type of pain I experienced with my epidural procedure. “How is that possible? That girl is a wimp!” you might say. I am telling you, this is not so. I preferred the pain of labor to the epidural and here is why:
Dr. XXXXX comes in with another anesthesiologist to talk to me about the procedures and have me sign waivers, etc. I tell them I am afraid of the procedure, and they tell me it will be nothing worse that a simple needle or shot of pain, comparable to getting blood drawn. I try to relax, and my husband and I prepare for the ball to roll. My Mom had to leave because I could only have 1 support person in the room to have it done. Dr. XXXXX begins and tries to find the spot and numbs my back with a shot. He begins the procedure and it is very uncomfortable, but once he gets to the last step of placing the catheter in my back, I am in excrutiating pain. I felt like someone was sticking a metal straw into my back bone and pushing it downward. I told him it hurt really badly and I didn’t know if it was supposed to hurt like this. He then asked me over and over how it hurt, where it hurt, and to describe the pain. I explained… he acted like it was strange, and when I yelped as he tried pushing it in, he decided this try was in the wrong spot and this was why I was in pain.
He then repeated this 4 more times over the course of an hour, sticking and poking and prodding me as I yelped and eventually cried in agony asking him to stop. He then decided he would “just have to get another doctor.” The new doc comes and I start questioning him—Why is this happening? Is there something wrong with my back? Etc. etc. The doctor told me has no idea, and he has never heard of this sort of situation before in his 23 years of working in labor and delivery. I then break down thinking I cannot bear this pain, and I will have to labor naturally. I have no idea what to do so I asked my husband to get my Mom so I could talk through what to do with her (seeing as she has delivered 4 babies herself, and has had as many birth experiences as she could possibly have). My Mom demanded answers from the doctor, and he still has none, and I am totally freaked out, but I decided to try one last time, “go for broke,” and figured that if this last try did not work, I would just have to do it au naturale.
Well, this time it worked FINE. It did NOT hurt. Sure, it was not fun, but it was NOT the experience with Dr. XXXXX.
SO! Then, my water is broken at about 5:00 and labor really kicked in. I was at 10 centimeters by 9:20 p.m. without much discomfort other than a very tight stomach and some major body trembling/shivering during transition. I pushed for 1 ½ hours, which was painful with lots of pressure, but it definitely needed to be painful. I tried to experience pushing as if it were an athletic event of contest I needed to win. It motivated me to hear my Mom and husband screaming they could see more and more of his head. I also was in amazingly good spirits as everything happened... I was making jokes and talking, trying to keep myself pumped between strong, concerted efforts to get the baby OUT!
It was an astounding feeling to actually birth the baby, feeling his head exit (and then panting as the doctor suctioned the tiny bit of meconium that was in the water out of his little mouth and nose), his shoulders come out, and the rest of his body just pop into life on earth. My husband cut the umbilical cord (and also nipped the doctor—he was mortified, and thank God it was not a serious wound). I had a 2nd degree tear down my perineum, close to my rectum, but not quite there (thank goodness), and an abrasion to the side of my vagina that were both stitched while our son, Gabriel David was tended to on the other side of the room.
I have to say, I have never felt more elation, happiness, and complete joy as when the doctor placed Gabriel on my chest. I felt and still feel like a fairytale has just begun, and I feel so blessed for it to be happening to me and my husband.
Welcome, Gabriel David… We love you so.