Well friends, it’s been over a week since TJ and I welcomed our daughter into the world. To say time has flown would be a gross understatement, but it’s the best I can muster right now.
I hope you got to read TJ’s live blog of the whole experience. I was able to read the first few updates before I was otherwise occupied and I’m so glad he was able to do that! There are lots of gaps in my memory where I was sleeping or contracting or in a blissful epidural-and-exhaustion-induced stupor.
Apologies in advance if I ramble on…a lot of things happened during the 26 hours between induction and delivery. I’ll probably repeat things TJ has already said too, so bear with me.
I spent Thursday puttering around the house making sure we were ready to bring a baby home in a few days. I rechecked my hospital bag, baked cookies (?! wtf right? I’m a crazy person) and generally twiddled my thumbs until we had to leave at 5:45 for the hospital. I got a few phone calls from family and friends, loaded new music on my phone and got dressed to go. At 5:45, we are literally walking out the door when my phone rings. It’s labor and delivery…they had 3 women come in laboring that night, so they didn’t have a bed for me and therefore couldn’t induce me that night. Talk about blue balls, you guys. Since I was 41 weeks that day they wanted me to come in for a NST (non-stress test) to make sure the baby was still doing fine. I was pretty upset, I won’t lie. It’s no secret that I was ready to be done with the pregnancy. Still though, those other women couldn’t control when their babies were coming as much as I couldn’t, so I tried not to get too ornery. We went to the hospital and were greeted by the sweetest nurse in history who took me to the one room they keep open for emergencies, hooked me up to the fetal monitors and took my blood pressure. She showed me what all the lines meant on the computer monitor (I appreciated that she took the time to do that for me) so I knew generally what I was looking at and then left us alone while the test ran.
Turns out my blood pressure was elevated, which is abnormal for me but not surprising considering I was a. ) upset about not being induced and now b. ) stressed because a snowstorm was starting to blow through and I was worried that we’d be sent home and then get stuck there or something. The nurse goes to call the OB and get her read on my situation. The OB was slow to respond to the phone call and my nurse gets busy with the other women on the floor, so we’re in the room for over an hour. A family friend of ours who works on the maternity floor came to visit and it was a great distraction for both of us. When my nurse finally does come back, she reports that while we were waiting, babies had been delivered and they were just cleaning up a room to get ready for me–they were going to induce me after all! Hurrah! TJ alerts the family and some close friends and we head on over to the room where I would eventually deliver.
They originally planned to start my induction with Cervadil at 7PM, but with the busy L&D and the blood pressure and all the rest, they didn’t get me started until around 10PM. I get my last solo pee trip taken care of, they insert the Cervadil and hook me back up to the monitors and away we go.
Fast forward through that night since TJ has covered it, but I will say that though Loud Nurse was indeed loud, she was also a sweetheart who made me toast before they started me on Pitocin, and a hungry pregnant lady can’t glaze over those facts. That toast was freaking amazing and the only solid food I was allowed to eat in 12 hours. I ate my toast, took a shower and at 7AM sharp they hooked me up to the Pitocin drip at 2 drops/minute.
And so, the waiting commenceth. I had not dilated much on the Cervadil and the Pitocin drip was still minimal, so TJ and I did a lot of time-wasting throughout the day. It was nice to meet the nurses after the shift changes, and I met the midwife from my OB practice too. She was a total spitfire and I enjoyed speaking with her throughout the day.
My parents and TJ’s parents showed up at some point in the afternoon. I ate a delicious lunch consisting of clear liquids only (I mean it when I say delicious…I hadn’t eaten anything but toast and ice chips all day) and all the while the nurses would show up to increase my Pitocin drip. At one point, TJ went out to the waiting room with our dads. My contractions were getting to the point that I had to close my eyes and focus pretty hard to get through them. (It felt like there was a V-shaped vice grip on the lower half of my body, if you’re curious.) My mom’s phone went off at one point in the middle of a contraction, blowing my concentration. She neglected to silence it and I completely bit her head off yelling for her to “HIT THE DAMN BUTTON AND SHUT IT UP”. Sorry mam, you were caught in the contraction crossfire.
At this point, my sister, MIL and mother read the writing on the wall and politely excused themselves to find the hospital cafe. TJ came back and I asked him to please not leave again.
Prior to being induced, I was checked twice for dilation at routine OB visits. Nothing about that procedure was terribly comfortable, but I had no idea how terrible it could be. There was one nurse who dove right in there and was not delicate in the slightest. Another blogger whose name or blog I can’t recall described cervix checks as being turned into a hand puppet, and I think that’s the most accurate description I can think of.
Nothing, NOTHING compared to the unpleasantness that was my water being broken. I cried you guys, and it was the only time in the whole labor that I did. It hurt, and I cried because I felt so incredibly violated. The nurse and midwife assumed I cried because I was overwhelmed with the impending birth, and I let them believe that so they would go away.
I think I was at 3cm when they broke my water. Fast forward another hour or maybe two (I really don’t know) and I’ve progressed to 4cm. I was happy to be making progress, but the pain from the contractions was making it difficult for me to relax. At this point, I was contracting every few minutes and making my best effort to wrench TJ’s hand from his arm. I asked for something for the pain and was given the option to have Stadol and Benadryl, with the express warning that it caused a feeling of drunkenness. I happily bared a buttcheek and was rewarded with an hour’s worth of sleep and, as promised, a sensation of tipsiness. I still felt the contractions but the edge was gone and I was temporarily a little more comfortable.
90 minutes later, when the Stadol/Benadryl no longer smoothed the edge from the pain and I was begging the nurse to not up my Pitocin everytime she came in the room, they checked me again. 6cm. I was completely writhing at this point and whimpering that the baby wouldn’t come and WHY WON’T IT COME?! I asked for the epidural. It had taken me so long to get to 6cm that I couldn’t fathom another 4cm with ever-increasing Pitocin and by now we were into about hour 22 of labor. Uncle uncle uncle, call that anesthesiologist!
I have to add a disclaimer here and say that every single staff member I encountered throughout the entire L&D and postpartum process was nothing but amazingly kind, helpful and informative.
Except the anesthesiologist.
It’s possible that I was way overreacting because I was in pain, but I found her to be completely rude, cold and lacking in bedside manner of any kind. The first thing she said after telling me her name was “you should have called me sooner”. The second thing I remember her saying was “I knew this was going to happen. This is why I didn’t go home.” Her tone wasn’t comforting or anything either, it was entirely snark-laden back-handed commentary on my mistakes as a first-time laboring mother. She went through the whole rigamarole, asking me the standard questions (whose answers are already on file, why do they have to ask again?) and even asking how much I weigh. Honestly lady, I know you’ve got to figure out dosage and all that, but I’m 41 weeks pregnant and haven’t glanced at the scale in months, not to mention I’m being split in half by a baby here! Poor TJ was practically hopping mad behind me. I didn’t complain (far be it from me to anger the woman who is going to insert a needle into my spine) signed the form…they kicked TJ out and in goes the epidural.
SO WORTH IT. The pain from the needle was absolutely minimal compared to the pain from the contractions and when they gave me the first bolus it was PURE BLISS in comparison to the previous 22 hours. I was still able to feel the contractions on the left side of my body, so they had me roll to that side to see if it would help. It didn’t really, and though I told the nurses a few times, it was never changed or adjusted (to my knowledge anyway). Still though, I could tolerate the contractions now with just some focused breathing and a grip on TJ’s hand.
Erin showed up at this point, but I was pretty much useless and drifted in and out of sleep. I think she and TJ sat on the couch and talked. Just after 11, the nursing shift changed and the new rotation checked me. 10cm! HOLY CRAP YAY! If I could have gotten up and danced, I would have. They called the OB and started prepping for the baby. They let me do a few practice pushes so I put my head to my chest and delighted in the opportunity to actively help this process along.
They probably tell everyone this, but apparently I am a gifted pusher. The OB walked in, took one look at me pushing and donned her baby-catching outfit (not unlike the waterproof suit one may wear whilst power-washing a house). At this point the nurses all looked over at TJ and wondered if he had eaten in a while. Turns out he hadn’t, so I waited through a few contractions so he could wolf down some peanut butter crackers and avoid passing out. They assigned him to holding my left leg up and then it was on, bitches.
I pushed that baby like there was no tomorrow and at 12:29AM, Caroline Quinn came into the world at 7lbs 2oz and 20.5in. They put her on my chest for approximately 30 seconds and then took her away because she wasn’t pinking up quickly enough or making a lot of noise. TJ and I were completely engrossed and enamored with her, and completely blown away that we were now parents. I barely noticed that the doctor was kneading my abdomen, that I delivered the placenta and most of all that my ankles were still by my ears and they were stitching up my “small grade II” tears. I remember saying to the whole staff “you have the best job in the whole world.”
Being the perma-nerd that I am, I asked if they make it a procedure to inspect the placenta to ensure that it is delivered intact and if it’s possible to tell what ovary the egg came from “like they do with horses”. Pretty sure the OB thought I was a looney toon, and TJ already knows I’m a looney toon, but it seemed like a perfectly pertinent question given the situation. What else does one talk about with the person sewing their ladybits back together?
They took Caroline in the little incubator bassinet to the special care ward to make sure she was ok. TJ went with her and got to introduce her, albeit briefly, to our anxiously waiting visitors. Back in the delivery room, they started getting me cleaned up, changed and removed my epidural. They brought me food to eat too which was amazing, but I was hopped up on adrenaline and my internal organs were busy settling into their factory-standard locations so I was hesitant to eat too quickly and risk causing myself to yak everywhere. Our parents went home and, TJ came back and I was ready to get up and change my clothes.
If I had any shred of modesty left, this is where it was quickly abandoned. I’ll avoid the really descriptive details, but suffice it to say that nurses deserve a goddamned medal for what they do. This woman stood me up, didn’t blink at the mess that poured on the floor, walked me to the bathroom where I tried (and failed) to pee, got rid of my ruined johnnie, wiped down and redressed me, including putting me into a pair of those mesh underpants with an enormous pad. She was my absolute hero and I felt just about human once again.
They wheeled me down to the maternity ward and we were finally able to hold our little girl for a few minutes. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of visitors and parenting lessons and diapers and amazingness. And now, pictures!