I pretty much wrote the following for me, so I wouldn't forget how it all went down. But I figure that I would share it as long as I have it! Sorry if it's TMI for some, but nobody said birth was pretty.
June 27, 2008
I woke up for about the sixth time that night to use the bathroom, about 4 a.m. When I came back to bed, I couldn’t fall back asleep. At about 4:45, I felt the baby move A LOT and heard a “popping” sound. I had heard of this happening to others with no effect, so I just ignored it. About 5 minutes later, I felt slight wetness, but not enough to wet the bed or anything, so I just ignored that, too (there’s a lot of wetness/discharge during pregnancy). About 5 minutes later I felt even more wetness, so I got up to check it out. Once I got into the bathroom, there was a sudden gush that came out, the end of which was tinged with blood. I figured my water broke! So I woke Brian up (me: “Brian, my water broke!” Brian: “Really?”) and called the doctor. She said that if it was my water breaking, it would probably still be trickling, so she wasn’t convinced. She said that my baby’s head might be blocking the rest of the trickle, though, so she told me to go to the hospital. No rush, though, just be there within the hour and eat something light. So Brian and I took our time, got our stuff together, and ate something light: toast. I started having non-painful, but time-able, contractions which were coming about 10 minutes apart. I had just taken 2 bites into an apple when a contraction hit me more strongly and I just knew that this was it. “We gotta go,” I told Brian as I threw the rest of the apple away. My contractions continued in the car and got slightly closer together. When we got to L&D, the doctor checked me out and said I was 2 cm dilated and that she did not feel my bag of waters inside me, and I was admitted at about 6:15 a.m.
My contractions were very regular at this point and getting more and more intense, but manageable. I breathed through each one with Brian’s help as my coach. At some point, however, they got INCREDIBLY PAINFUL, so painful that I threw up. I cannot even describe what the contractions were like. The closest I can get is comparing them to menstrual cramps x 4,000,000. At about 9 a.m., I requested (demanded?) an epidural. The anesthesiologist came in and set me up. It was a longer process than I thought and difficult to stay perfectly still to get the catheter and shot (or whatever he did) in my spine while having these insanely painful contractions. I remember, though, when the medicine hit me. I was sitting up and slowly the room came back into focus. I remembered where I was and was again aware of who was around me. Yes, the pain is so intense it bends your mind like that. I cannot believe that women go through labor naturally. They have super-powers that I do not possess.
So from about 10:00 a.m. on, I felt nothing. That’s right…NOTHING…from my waist down. It was strange to not be able to feel or move my legs, especially my left one. (For some reason, the anesthetic usually affects one side more strongly than the other). At this point, I think I was 3 cm dilated and almost completely effaced. I felt great, carrying on conversations, answering the phone, etc. My mom and father-in-law showed up. Around noon, Brian, my mother and my FIL went down to eat lunch. By the time they returned, I was 7 cm…progressing very, very quickly! Around 3:00, I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push!
Brian and my mom stayed during the pushing. It was pretty grueling and repetitive. I had been worried that with the epidural I wasn’t going to feel the urge to push, but I did, even though I didn’t feel the pain of the contraction that accompanied it (yay modern medicine!). Brian was an awesome coach, helping me lift my head and put my chin to my chest, reminding me to use my arms and pull up (on the bed handles). The contractions were slowing down, not coming as often as they were before, so my doctor gave me a shot of pitocin, which helps move the contractions along. When that didn’t help, I had another round of pitocin, which also didn’t produce the desired effect. After 2 1/2 hours of pushing, the baby was NOT moving down. The baby was faced the wrong way and had a big head. Between contractions, the doctor would reach in (yeah, this part was greeeaaat) and physically turn the baby around, but when I started pushing, the baby just flipped right back over. (Stubborn like mommy). The doctor was afraid that the baby’s head was just swelling in the birth canal instead of moving down. She said that she usually gives her patients 3 hours of pushing before considering a C-section and that she was absolutely willing to go for another 1/2 hour. I asked her for her professional opinion: Would another 1/2 hour of pushing move the baby down at all? She didn’t think so since the past 2.5 hours had barely moved that baby. After some crying, I decided to have a C-section.
This part is kind of a blur for me. I think it was about 5:30 p.m. when I was wheeled in to surgery. I remember seeing Brian dressed in scrubs. He was told to wait in some holding room for about 5 minutes until I was ready. (He later told me it was the longest 5 minutes of his life). I remember being moved from my rolling bed to the surgery table by many people. I remember the anesthesiologist, Dr. Eng, was really, really nice. He stayed up by my head and told me exactly what he was injecting into me. Brian was brought in and was sitting right next to me (on the “safe” side of the curtain). It was weird to be awake the whole time and not feel my body being cut open. I remember the doctor announcing when she was making the incision. During the next hour, I pretty much just laid there and listened to the doctors’ idle chit-chat. I remember finding that to be strange, but I guess this is routine for them. After about an hour, the doctors announced, “Okay, this is it!” I felt an intense amount of pressure and then heard the most joyous sound I have EVER heard in my entire life: my baby crying. Of course, Brian and I sobbed. Then we heard the doctor say, “It’s a GIRL!” I was shocked. I was so sure it was going to be a boy. The doctors were all surprised at how big she was and I heard them betting on the baby’s weight. One said at least 9 lbs., another said 8 lbs. 5 oz. She ended up being 8-3.
Brian was beckoned to the table where our daughter was being evaluated and cleaned up. They handed her to him and he brought her to me, or as close as he could. (There were lots of machines in the way). Out of the corner of my eye and through my tears, I could just make her out: our daughter.
I was then sewn back up with stitches and staples and brought into recovery where I spent an eternity before they brought the baby to me. At this point, it was about 2 hours since she was born and I still hadn't really seen her, let alone hold her. Even though I was totally out of it, I was going crazy waiting for her and Brian. Finally, FINALLY, they brought her in. She still had no name at this point because I wanted to see her before we chose one of our two girls' names we had picked out. We chose Samantha Florence, which I think is the most beautiful name in the world.