Monday, October 31, 2011

Birth Story, Part 2

LE04 was a Labor and Delivery Evaluation room – basically triage.  We had been in these rooms before; once after my car accident at 25 weeks, and once the night before when I went in for fetal movement monitoring.  Our nurse’s name was Stephanie, and we LOVED her.  She honestly was a huge factor in what made our labor experience so wonderful.  I peed in a cup, put a gown on, and climbed into the bed.  Stephanie hooked me up to a fetal monitor, a contraction monitor, a blood pressure cuff, and a pulse oximeter.  Lane was doing fine, but my blood pressure was again high.  She checked my cervix, and I was still only 4 cm dilated.  She then told me I would probably be asked to walk around the hospital for an hour, to see if any progress could be made.  However, after consulting with the on-call doctor, she told me I would not have to walk, as my blood pressure needed to be monitored.  So, I stayed in bed for the next hour, having near-constant contractions. 

After a little while, Stephanie came back in and had me try lying on my side, as Lane kept moving away from the monitor.  I couldn’t get comfortable in any position; having to stay where I was and not be able to move around during contractions killed me.  I kept telling Josh, “What if they send me home?  I can’t get back in the car and ride 30+ minutes.  I don’t want to go home.”  It basically continued like this for another 45 min. or so.  I would have a horrible contraction, Josh would dig his fists into my low back as hard as he could, the contraction would end, and I would panic over whether or not I was going home.  Then, we would do it all over again.

Finally, about an hour after getting into our room, Stephanie and Dr. Gage came in to assess my progress.  When Dr. Gage checked me, I just kept silently praying that there would be progress.

And there was!  I was 5 cm dilated, and Lane had moved down even more.  Dr. Gage said she would get the paperwork going to have me admitted, and Stephanie told me she already had a room ready for me because she could tell when we arrived that we would probably be staying.  They both knew I wanted an epidural, so the request was already in for the anesthesiologist to down.

Stephanie said I could be unhooked from the monitors for the time being, which meant I was able to get up and move around.  This was a HUGE relief, as I could get into whatever position felt most comfortable during a contraction.

Josh and I kept smiling and giggling, still not really believing we were going to be having our baby soon.  We took this time of waiting for our room to start calling our families.  We used the hospital room phone, knowing it would show up on people's caller ID's as "Providence St. Peter's".  We called Josh's mom, Josh's dad, my parents, and my boss (I had to let her know I wouldn't be coming to work the next day!).  Everyone was so excited, and we knew the waiting room would soon be filling up with our families.

Shortly after, Stephanie came back in to our room, and we made the move to our labor suite.  I was hooked back up to all the monitors, and my IV was started.  Being 39 weeks pregnant, I constantly had to pee, and having an IV of fluids didn't help matters.  I was still having horrible contractions, but Stephanie reassured me the anesthesiologist would be arriving soon.

Not long after moving, our families arrived!  My mom and dad, Josh's mom and step-dad, Josh's dad, my aunt Pam, and my cousin Jessica all showed up to await the arrival of baby Lane.  It was slightly awkward having everyone in the room, because everyone was standing around talking while I was having contractions, and I was trying to not moan/groan/scream too much.  At one point, Jessica asked how many kids I wanted, as I've always said two or three.  I simply held up my arm straight in the arm, with my pointer finger sticking up, and proclaimed, "ONE!".  I also told Josh that next time I said I wanted a baby, just to get me a puppy instead.  Obviously, the pain from labor was hindering my thoughts on wanting more children.  No one stayed long, as it was about time for the anesthesiologist.

But then, Stephanie came to deliver the bad news- the doctor had been called into emergency heart surgery, so they had to call another anesthesiologist from home to come in.  So obviously, it would be a little longer before I got my epidural.  Stephanie offered me a shot in my IV to help with the pain in the meantime, but I told her I thought I could handle waiting.  I so badly wanted to be strong, and push myself through the pain.  I continued with the contractions, but soon I was telling Josh I didn't think I could handle it anymore.  I was almost in tears, and literally felt like I could not make it through another contraction.  He told me I was doing great, and that if I needed that shot, it was just fine.  I intended to tell Stephanie when she came back in that I wanted the pain shot.  As soon as she walked through the door, however, she announced that the anesthesiologist was here!  In he came, with all of his tools, and he got to work.

The epidural itself wasn't painful; it was having contractions while in a scrunched-up position without being able to move that was rough.  Josh had to sit in a chair away from me, and I know it killed him to watch me be in pain without being able to help.

I want to say here how amazing of a job Josh did while I was in labor.  He stayed calm, which helped keep me calm.  He also knew that I needed kind, supportive encouragement, rather than harsher support (like he would need in a similar situation).  He helped me remember to breath long, slow, deep breaths, rather than short and shallow ones that I tended towards.  I was so thankful to have him there with me, and cannot wait to experience it all over again when we have child #2.

My mom giving me a pep talk!
So, after I received my epidural, I could immediately feel its effects.  My left side was affected more than the right, so I laid on my right side to try to let gravity move the medication towards that side.  I could still slightly feel my contractions, but they were barely noticeable.  I did, however, get sick right after having the epidural, which wasn't pleasant.  So much for that pizza...  At this time, Stephanie inserted my catheter, as I didn't think I could wait any longer to use the bathroom, and obviously I couldn't feel my legs.  What an amazing feeling it was to finally not have that feeling- all pregnant women should have a catheter for the entire 40 weeks!

Everyone got a kick out of watching the contractions on the monitor, since I couldn't feel them.
Now that I was feeling good again, we invited our family back in for a short while.  I told everyone how amazing of an invention the epidural was, and that I could NOT see how anyone would labor without one!  Right after receiving the epidural, I got the shakes really badly.  I didn't feel cold, but I couldn't make my teeth quit chattering or the rest of my body quit shaking.  This really freaked Josh out, and everyone kept asking if I was cold and needed more blankets.  I kept saying no, but finally accepted a warmed blanket to make everyone feel better.

Dr. Gage came in soon after, and announced she was going to break my water.  Our family retreated to the waiting room, with the promise that we would update them with progress as it came.  Dr. Gage broke my water with her little tool, and it was a weird and slightly gross feeling to have the warm liquid running down my legs without being able to stop it.  I was also given Pitocin, to help progress my contractions.  Stephanie explained that the contractions were "coupling", meaning I was having 2-3 contractions in a row without much of a break in between.  The Pitocin would hopefully make that stop.  Since now we just had to sit and wait, we decided to rest.  We had the lights dimmed, and turned on the TV to try to lull ourself to sleep.  I think I slept more than Josh, but I still didn't sleep much.  We had planned on telling our family when we got to 8-9 cm, so they would know pushing would be happening soon.

I started feeling a lot of pain in my pelvic bones around 1:30 AM, and mentioned it to the nurse.  Stephanie said she wasn't surprised, as she had noticed slight decelerations in Lane's heartrate, which often happens as the baby's head is moving through the pubic bones.  She said pushing wouldn't be far off!

I was afraid I wouldn't be able to tell when I had to push, and I kept telling Josh how nervous I was about pushing.  I was afraid of the pain, of it taking hours and hours, of not knowing if I was doing it right.  Well, about 2:15 AM, I could DEFINITELY tell I was nearing pushing!  The pressure I felt was very distinct, and there was no mistaking it.  I paged Stephanie to tell her, and she came to check for progress.  I was between 9 and 10 cm dilated!  She said it would be very soon, and she started making preparations for the actual delivery.  Around 2:50, she had Josh grab one of my legs, and she grabbed the other, and she had me practice pushing.  Well after one contraction (three pushes), they could see Lane's head!  It felt so amazing to push, as it relieved the pressure I was feeling.  Josh was amazed at being able to see Lane's head, and announced he wanted to watch the whole delivery (he originally said he wanted to stay up by my head).  Stephanie continued to prepare things, and paged Dr. Gage to let her know she would be needed soon.  Whenever I felt a contraction coming, I told Stephanie, and she let me push.  In between, Josh texted his mom to let everyone know I was pushing and NOT to come into our room.

Lane's bed waiting for him.

Dr. Gage and a baby nurse arrived in our room, and took their positions at the foot of the bed.  Lane's birth was just around the corner...


Mandy McMahan said...

I LOVE these posts! You're doing such an awesome job of recording every little detail. You will read and re-read these over and over again and feel the emotions and excitement of the day over and over again, too. Proud of you! And thank you for sharing Lane's awesome story! How's the sleeping/napping going? :)