So a few months ago, I did this thing, I had a baby. Lemme tell you bout it...let's all travel back in time to November 1st. Are you there? Do you remember? The anticipation, the hope, the non-stop TV coverage. No, not about me - because there was a presidential election looming - silly!
Well, after standing in line to last-minute-early vote, I went home to meet my husband and parents for lunch and then last minute baby shopping. I figured I needed to cram some more useless stuff into my hospital suitcase. I couldn't possibly go have a baby without the Brest Friend Pillow...right?! Afterwards, we went to meet my sister at her new apartment in Charlotte. She moved just in time - 24 hours before the induction (or is it inducement? is that even a word?). While the menfolk helped lug heavy objects, I sat on the couch and then played on the floor with her soon-to-be nephew, Colby. I figured it was good training for how to interact with boys.
At around 7 PM, we decided to call it a night and head to grab some dinner at Chili's before going home to my place. I thought we'd go home and have a nice night of sleep before arriving at the hospital on Sunday at 10 AM for my dose of pitocin. I guess baby had a better plan. While in the bathroom at Chili's (what a way to start a sentence), I started having what I thought were really bad Braxton Hicks contractions. I mean, it couldn't possibly be labor. I wasn't even dilated the day before, and as my least favorite OB said "you'll know if it's labor. you won't be able to talk or walk when it's real!" (Thanks guy. I mean, I know you and your penis have been through so many labor pains - jerk!) So, I was convinced it wasn't labor because here I was walking and talking. But, I did decide I didn't want to hang about at Chili's, so my mom gulped down her glass of wine and we skedaddled. On the drive from South Charlotte to my place, I started to really hurt. So much so that my dad, who was driving, started speeding and breaking a sweat. Even though I was in pain, I was still convinced that it wasn't labor. I just needed to get home and be on the couch in loungey pants...that'll solve it. I mean, this baby is scheduled for November 2nd people - get with the program!
Once we arrived home, I started to feel better. Enough so that I had J make me a dinner of grilled cheese, and got on Facebook to distract myself. After a few bites, the pains resumed and took my breath away. At that point, my dad said "I think this is labor." I kept asking my mom what it should feel like, and she was like "I can't remember, it's been over 20 years." Thanks for the help! Well, we decided to start timing the pains around 8 PM. I would feel something, yell it out, and my dad would jot down the time. Soon he started anticipating my pains, which was really frustrating because he would look at his watch and then stare at me...alerting me to impending doom. I got so angry, that I told my mom to help me upstairs, away from the pain patrol. I was pretty convinced this was it once I had to "go" to the bathroom, which was terrifying. Have you ever tried to poop when you're having contractions? I just knew I was going to pop the baby out in the toilet! Everyone was pretty convinced that I should head to the hospital because the pains were about 5 minutes apart for an hour, and I was on board because I wanted that epidural as soon as possible. But first, I wanted to take a quick bath, fix my make-up, and update Facebook. I know, priorities! Let me say the bath was a huge mistake. Once I was in, I almost didn't get out! I didn't realize how huge I was, and neither did James. It took him and my mom to get me out. Ahh, fatty-ness!
On the drive to the hospital, I sat in the back and just writhed in pain because the contractions were about a minute apart. Seriously, contractions are the worst pain I have ever felt. Ever. That shit just hurts. Period. When we got to the ER, I remained calm but simply told everyone I wanted the epidural. People, I want the epidural. Don't leave me hanging and tell me I can't have it! We got checked in by the skeleton crew because it was about 11 PM on a Saturday night, and I wasn't expected until the next morning. At around 1 AM, I was 4 centimeters dilated and the doc okay'd my epidural. For a girl terrified of needles, I had never been more happy. When they started the epidural, I was scared to death but handling it fine...then came a contraction, and the doc said "Don't move!" Let me say, it is not so easy to stay completely still with a needle in your back and a big old contraction coursing through your body. But I got through it, and the medicine took its toll and calmed me right down. To those who have done it without meds, more power to you...but I would highly recommend the epidural, it will be your best friend.
After the epidural, the doc came in and stripped my membranes and broke my water. I didn't feel any of it! My mom, dad, sister, her fiance, and my husband were all in the room with me and we all settled in to watch Dickie Roberts (I love that movie! And I wanted something mindless because it was really starting to hit me, I am about to have a baby! OMG!). I think I got a few hours of sleep before I started feeling pain on my left side. I thought it was odd, but didn't know if maybe it was normal to feel something...so I didn't say anything. Around 4 AM the nurse noticed I was wincing from pain, and got the anesthesiologist to give me another bump of epi meds and had me lay on my side to get the meds to travel to that side of the body. Basically it became a waiting game, when is this baby coming? The doc kept checking me, but there wasn't that much change. Finally around 7 AM, I was at 8 centimeters but not fully effaced. However, I just knew it was almost time. We started placing bets on when Ben would join us. At around noon on Sunday, and after nurse and doctor shift changes, I was finally fully dilated and ready to push. It's all so surreal when it comes down to push time. I was ready, but also just shocked that I was about to have a baby. It just becomes so real when you realize this boy is going to leave the belly and come home with you.
There was a bit of a situation when it came time to push. I knew that James would be there, but sitting behind me. He's not really good with gore, in fact once we arrived at the hospital he started to look pale. I knew my mom would be there, and I assumed that a nurse would be there to help too. Go figure, I get the 8-month preggo nurse and she's not allowed to help in lifting my legs. So they say "We'll get your sister." And I was like, "Oh no. She will pass out, and definitely never have kids if she sees this!" I told them to get my dad, the nurses were a bit shocked by that, but it's my dad. Who cares. Believe me, he would have preferred to be in the waiting room - but he helped out and just stared at the wall behind me the whole time. Poor guy. Once we started pushing, apparently I started bleeding a lot from tearing. James saw a bloody towel, and almost lost it. The nurses made him sit down and drink OJ. So in between pushing, I'm holding his hand and asking if he's okay and demanding he stay seated and not pass out on me! I was in the zone when it came to pushing, and I just focused and stayed quiet because I was in deep concentration on getting this baby out. After two hours of pushing, I started to feel pain again. It felt like my whole lower half was going to split and fall off. It was horrible. Apparently the epidural wore off, and they were trying to decide if I should keep pushing or go to a c-section. During this time the baby's heart rate was fine, but my blood pressure was not so good. The doc wanted to give it one last big push and try the vacuum. I thought, "Whatever...just get this damn baby out of me!" During the last pushes, I started to grunt loudly while pushing. One of the nurses, Nurse Helga as I like to call her, grabbed my arm tightly and said "SHH! Don't make any noise, it's just wasting energy and you need to focus on getting this baby out." I thought my mom was going to jump over my belly and beat this woman down. Surprisingly, I just rolled my eyes at her and pushed on. Well, that last push didn't work. Ben refused to come out, and then they decided to take me to the OR for a c-section. They rushed everyone out of the room, except James, and came in to shave me. This is when I almost lost my shit. I so did not want a c-section. When my parents said bye, and my sis came in to say good-luck, they were all crying and I started getting teary. I just kept saying "Why can't I do this? What's wrong with me?" I felt like a failure. I know that's silly, but I really wanted a vaginal birth. After so much effort, it was a disappointment to then have to go for a C. To add insult to injury, the contractions just kept on coming and I was told to just lay there and not push. Hello, seriously?!?
Finally around 3 PM, I was in the OR and getting the good meds for surgery. They got me situated and then had James come in. He looked terrified, and I was physically shaking. I was just so worn out and so scared, my body was just involuntarily convulsing. The doctors and nurses in the OR were so nice, and really helped calm me down. The doc started to prick my abdomen to make sure the meds had taken effect before cutting...but I felt it. Every time he'd prick, I'd say "Yep, I feel that!" So then they'd give me more meds, but I kept feeling it. This scared me even more. The doctor leaned down and said "We're going to have to go with Plan B." In my head I was thinking, "But this is Plan B. What's next? Do I just have to suck it up and feel this?!" The doc said that in about 5% of c-sections, the patient has to be put 100% under. Lucky me. They had James leave, as he was not allowed to be in the room. I was terrified, but only remember saying "100, 99, 98" and then I was out!
I woke up around 4:30 PM and totally could not figure out where I was and what had happened. The nurse was talking to me, but I don't remember answering - even though I was. I just started scanning the room for James and the baby. Finally, I saw him at foot of my bed, holding the baby. I asked if Ben was okay, did he have all his fingers/toes - and then James brought him over for me to look at. I felt too weak to hold him, but the nurse assured me I would be fine. When they put him in my arms, I just melted. There is no feeling like holding that baby for the first time. He was just so beautiful and alert. He was just staring at me, and it was like he could just see your soul. God, that's so hokey! But really, there's no way to describe it. After a few minutes they allowed my family and friends to come in, and that's when I felt overwhelmed. There was just so much love and joy in the room, and I knew my life would never be the same. And so far, it hasn't.