Once at the hospital and my doctor had confirmed that, yes, my water bag did break, my cervix was checked, and I was still only 1 cm dilated. Doctor McIntyre told me she would start me on Pitocin and then it would be up to me to determine when I would be ready for my epidural. They started my IV and about 30 minutes later started the Pitocin. At that point, it was time to sit back and relax for a while. The nurses would monitor my contractions from the nurses station, as well as my BP, and they came in intermittently to take my temp and check on me. We decided to throw in a movie – I thought “Knocked Up” was appropriate for our situation – however, I didn’t remember how bad the language was, and it was a bit embarrassing when the nurses would come in at the worst moments. The nurse assured us she had heard much worse.
By the time the movie was over, I had already started feeling some contractions. Trav gave me his iPod, and while he napped, I listened to some chill music and calmly breathed through any contractions. Around 4 in the morning, I was done holding out and ready for an epidural, and about the time I requested it, the contractions became more intense. but it would be another hour before my epidural was in and working. By this time, the pain was intense enough for me to squeeze Trav’s hand, whimper, and eventually, cry. Getting the epidural was no fun because one, getting a needle in your spine doesn’t feel good, but two, it feels even worse when it’s happening during intense contractions. By this time, I was exhausted and in pain, and so I cried through the whole experience. Slowly, though, the pain became less intense, and finally, I wasn’t feeling my contractions at all.
We were able to get a bit more sleep, and at 7 the next morning, Dr. Boyd took over for Dr. McIntyre. He checked my cervix, and by then I was 4 cm dilated. He estimated that we’d be having a baby by 2, so we settled in. I was confined to the bed and not allowed to eat, but I had begun working on ice chips. The epidural was also making me a bit nauseous, so the nurses added an anti-nausea med to my IV. Mom came in around 9:30.
9:30 to noon was really a lot of resting and waiting around. At one point, the anesthesiologist had to come in and give me a larger dose of my epi because I started feeling contraction pains in my back and right side. After that, there was zero feeling in my lower half, not even a tingling sensation. Mom and Trav would take turns moving my legs around and massaging my feet because I was worried they weren’t getting any circulation. As the timeline below indicates, it was about noon when the nurses checked on me again, and I was 8 cm dilated. The nurse or doctor must have made a comment to the effect of “It won’t be long now!” and I lost it. My hormones were in overdrive, and I couldn’t stop crying. I assured everyone that I wasn’t in pain and not sure quite why I was crying except that I was overwhelmed that pretty soon I’d be bringing a baby into the world.
Around 1 the nurses came in, checked me again, and said it was time for me to start pushing. Now, instead of crying, I instead started having a panic attack. My heart was racing, and I couldn’t catch my breath. I started taking deep breaths to try and calm myself and again, had to assure the nurse that I wasn’t breathing through contractions and that it was just major anxiety. There were two nurses that set me up to push and got me started, explaining that when a contraction started I was to push and hold my breath for 10 counts, take a breath, push again for 10, take a breath, push and then relax until the next contraction. At this point, they could already see Ellis’s head. The nurse asked if I wanted a mirror to see, and instinctively I said no, but thought the better of it and asked them to wheel it on in. I’m so glad I did. I needed real proof of what it was I was doing, and I had waited so long to see her, I didn’t plan on waiting any longer.
Once I got to a certain point, they called Dr. Boyd in to help me push the rest of the way. It was such a strange, peaceful, calm experience. I highly recommend drugs because I felt no pain other than the strain I put on my neck as I pushed. Dr. Boyd had us smiling and laughing, and I thought, “How weird that I have a baby coming out of my hoo-haa, and I’m laughing!” There was no screaming or crying or sweat. She came in the most peaceful way.
When she was all the way out, I thought to myself, “That’s a good looking baby. Did she really just come out of me?” My first feeling was that she was someone else’s baby, not mine, and I had no business claiming her, but then the doctor put her in my arms, and I saw Travase in her face, and I knew she was ours. Travase surprised himself, too, by cutting her umbilical cord, something he had said he didn’t want to do. Then, they took her to check her out and do footprints and all that fun stuff. I made Trav stay right by her side, and I watched from afar as the doctor wasn’t done with me. I tried to avoid looking at the massive amounts of blood at the end of my bed and what the doctor was working on down there – he was at it for what seemed like forever delivering my placenta and sewing me up. Again, thankfully I felt nothing.
There were surprisingly a lot of people in the delivery room just for her delivery, but once they were done working on Ellis and me, they filed out and let the three of us have alone time. I nursed Ellis for the first time, and a nurse may have checked on us to make sure it was working out. We were in the room for about an hour and 15 minutes before they came to transfer us upstairs to the postpartum floor. I got to hold Ellis as they wheeled us up, stacking all of our bags and belongings on top of my legs because I couldn’t feel it anyway!
I’ve included the timeline Travase kept updated at the hospital. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep track of everything, and my memory would be fuzzy with everything happening. Obviously once things started progressing quickly, the timeline was abandoned, but I think I’ve kept an accurate account of her actual birth. That’s something I’ll never forget!