When the nurse came back, she took
the printouts and went to call Dr. N. She returned shortly after
and said that we had a choice: to go home and labor, and come back when
things got more intense, or to stay for overnight observation. I
figured, if I was already making progress, I didn't want to leave. So we
stayed. As unreasonable as it may have seemed, I was afraid to go home.
I was afraid that we would get home, my water would break or I would
suddenly dilate to 10 and feel pressure and have to rush right back to
the hospital. If I could do it all over again, I probably would have
just come home and labored. We would have had a better chance at sleep,
anyway. The observation room we were moved to in the hospital was small
and uncomfortable, and we had to use a shared bathroom. Not my idea of
fun, but hey - it's what I thought was best at the time.
Throughout the night, the nurse came in and out and checked my progress every so often. In an attempt to get myself to dilate more, I was allowed to walk the halls for about an hour. DH came with me, and we walked and talked, stopping every few minutes for the really bad contractions to pass. It seemed to be working! By 6 am, I was a good 3 centimeters dilated, and the nurse decided it was time to admit me to my own L&D room.
I was wheeled to my new room, and DH brought all our stuff - suitcase, camera, my clothes. We got all settled in, since we assumed we'd be in that room until I delivered.
Wrong again. But we'll get to that a little later.
-January 17, 2011-
With a new day came Nurse Ann, who had just started her shift, and Dr. M, the next OB on call. Nurse Ann was just awesome. She was so attentive to my every need, and really helped make me feel comfortable while I labored.
I was checked frequently and hooked up to IVs - bags of fluids, antibiotics (because I tested positive for Group B Strep at my last prenatal checkup) and eventually pitocin, once my cervix seemed to stop dilating at 4-5 centimeters. In an attempt to move things along further, Dr. M came in and broke my water, which was a very strange feeling. DH saw the gush from where he was sitting, but bless his heart, he wasn't nearly as grossed out as I expected he would be.
After a couple hours, I was on the maximum allowed dosage of pitocin, and my contractions were 2 minutes apart and getting pretty painful. I finally gave in at this point and asked for an epidural. The anesthesiologist was great, and I was surprised at how much the epi didn't hurt. I was expecting for it to be incredibly uncomfortable, but it really wasn't bad. DH sat in front of me and observed while Nurse Ann basically hugged me so that I could bend forward into an awkward, hunched over position. I did have two contractions while the anesthesiologist did his thing, so I think that sort of distracted me from any pain that I might have otherwise felt.
Almost immediately after being given the epidural, I started to feel less pain from the contractions, which at this point were still consistently 2 minutes apart. Since I wasn't allowed to get up from my bed once the epidural was administered, I had a catheter inserted, and since she was in there anyway, the doctor decided to insert an internal monitor as well, so she could keep an eye on the intensity of my contractions.
Dr. M came in for one more check somewhere around 3 pm, and said that based on the internal monitor, my contractions looked great, but I hadn't made any more progress, and my baby had moved from -1 to -3.. so he was actually going back up the birth canal instead of coming down. Go figure. I was told that it was time to prep for a c-section and move from my labor and delivery room to the OR.
I was absolutely terrified. As soon as the doctor left the room, I broke down into ugly, raw sobs. DH held me, and we cried together. I told him that I had worked so hard, and said that I wanted so badly to do this on my own; that I didn't want a c-section. I was so tired after 21 hours of labor and no sleep. I suddenly hated the pitocin, hated the contractions that led absolutely nowhere, hated the epidural because had I known I would be having surgery, I would have opted for the spinal instead. The epidural is designed to help with contractions and pushing, I was told. Women with scheduled c-sections get the spinal. This terrified me even more.
Nurse Ann and an anesthesiology nurse prepped me for surgery. My pelvic area was shaved, and a whole new dose of.. something.. was pumped into my back via the epidural. It made me feel incredibly cold, and I started to shiver to the point where my teeth were chattering. A lovely blue hairnet was placed over my disheveled hair. DH was given a sterile ensemble to put on, too.
Within minutes, I was being wheeled through hallways in my hospital bed. Since I was laying flat on my back, all I saw were ceiling tiles and ugly florescent lights. I tried to focus on the end result, on the beautiful baby that I would soon get to hold in my arms. I knew that soon, this would all be over and I would be a mommy to a perfect little boy.
DH was told to wait outside the operating room while everything was set up. A big blue sheet was put up, separating my upper and lower halves. The anesthesiology nurse took out my earrings, and I felt a light pressure on my lower abdomen as I was swabbed with something - alcohol or iodine, maybe - and I heard the surgical team talking to each other, as if I weren't even in the room.
I heard Dr. M say "incision" as she cut into me, and that single word made me incredibly nervous. This was it. No turning back.
DH was finally allowed into the room after the surgery had begun. He talked me through the surgery and tried to keep me calm, but it was so hard to focus on anything other than what was going on behind the big blue sheet. I felt such incredible pressure, and at one point, I was sure I felt pain. When I said so, the doctor said that she was cutting through a layer that I might feel a little bit of. Great. I'm pretty sure I moaned and grunted through the rest of the surgery, because I felt SO much going on down there. I've heard women talk about their c-sections before, and say that they didn't feel anything, and I kept thinking that this was the most awful thing that had ever happened to me. Maybe it was because of that stupid epidural, or maybe it was all in my head; I don't know. What I do know is that I felt like I was being ripped in half.
I asked if the baby was almost here, and someone said they saw a head...
and then, suddenly, I heard the most beautiful sound in the entire world. I heard my newborn son's cry. And it was amazing. DH and I instantly started to cry right along with him. The sheet was held down a bit so that we could see him, and the doctor said "we have a boy!" I barely remember seeing my baby for the first time; my eyes were so blurred from tears, and as soon as he was out of me, the anesthesiology nurse pumped something else into my back that made me fall asleep on the table several times. I even had a few dreams, but I don't remember what they were about.
My boys were both whisked away from me as I was stitched and stapled together. They later came and saw me in recovery, once Colin was all cleaned up and had been checked out.
So, there you have it. Recovery was pretty rough, but four months later I am feeling almost like myself. I'm still coming to terms with the changes my body has gone through, but I wear my scar and stretch marks proudly. They are a badge of honor. I am so blessed to be a mommy, and to have this amazing little boy in my life. I look at him every day with a sense of awe; I haven't fully wrapped my brain around the fact that he is mine, and that I grew him in my body. I honestly couldn't ask for anything better. And my husband has been fantastic throughout this whole adjustment process. He is such a great daddy, he truly is. And we are a family.
ETA: What good is a birth story without pictures? Here is DS fresh out of mommy's belly..
..and here's a recent pic of my little cutie. I love him so much!