Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Labor tales: Part 1

I want to start knocking out my labor story before it all leaves my brain. I'll try and keep it brief-ish.

(No, I won't.)

I think a good amount of you followed my tweets last week, so you have the rough outline already, but here goes:

After a busy day Wednesday (another membrane sweep, a long walk with my mom at Golden Gate Park, various errands) I woke up early, early Thursday morning with some cramping and squeezies. It felt a little different than the past few days and the nervous butterflies started to kick in. It felt crazy that I might actually do this before my due date, without induction. I crossed my fingers tight.

I got up, ate a bunch (seriously - like four) rice krispies treats on the fort/couch and watched my Netflix queue under a blanket. The cramping and contractions continued coming, about 15 minutes apart. I didn't want to alert the crowds, because false labor is so common, but I felt hopeful. After peeing, I noticed a small amount of pink on the tissue paper. I pretty much knew it was really happening then.

I told Clay to head to work because it could be a long day (or two) and I'd spend the day with my mom while he wrapped things up for a possible few days out-of-office. Mom came over around 11 and things started moving fast from there. By 1-ish, the contractions were never more than 10 minutes apart and were largely concentrated in my back. By 2-ish, the contractions would come and go - but the back pain wouldn't. It just HUNG OUT and never went away. I'd been really worried about this (I've always had back issues) and rightly so. It really, effing hurt. Like, in that terrible claustrophobic, I-can't-get-away way. Because instead of being able to gather my strength and sanity for the next contraction, I had to battle through the constant back pain and then try and find some reserves for the actual squeezing.

I bossed my poor mom around, telling her to apply counterpressure (leaning really hard on my back during the worst of the pain) and then yelling that it wasn't good enough. She made me snacks and I couldn't even look at them. ("WHY WOULD I WANT GRAPES?!") We watched a lot of Man Vs. Food because even though I didn't want to eat anything, watching someone else eat disgusting things was strangely comforting.

At one point, I told her:

"I hate everybody."

She said:

"Except baby Libby." (My cousin's baby.)

I had to agree. But seriously - everyone else? Even Santa Claus? I hated them.

Clay came home in the afternoon and joined in the fun. He and Mom took turns applying counterpressure until he brilliantly remembered our heated massage chair tucked away in the closet. Once that came out, it took serious prodding to get me off it. I watched News Radio and took sad little walks up and down the 12th floor hallway. I felt crabby and exhausted and anxious and over it.

I kept asking them:

"Will I always feel like this? Forever?"

Because...it really felt that way. I tried to remember the soothing messages my birthing books taught me. That "each contraction is a step closer to meeting your new baby" and other gems like that, but nope! Not happening.

Around 8ish, my contractions were coming about 5 minutes apart and had been for an hour or two. But they were still "only" about 45 seconds long - and the hospital doesn't want you showing up till they're 60. We decided I'd hang in another two hours and if they weren't 60 by then - screw it, we were going. An hour into our two hour deal, I suffered yet another insane wave of contraction pain on top of the constant waves of back pain. I stood up and said:

"I'm done."

Obviously, they weren't messing with a preggo.

I called my doctor, lied about the timing, and grabbed our (way overpacked) hospital bag.

By that time, I'd decided an epidural was happening. I was hoping, in my innocent before-Thursday-life, to avoid one. But I'd never talked too much about it, knowing I didn't want to set myself up for "failure" if I gave in. I just kind of kept my mouth shut over the course of my pregnancy and figured I'd know what the best answer was.

The best answer was an epidural.

Ten minutes later, we arrived and they quickly took us to triage. A speedy (seriously, I've never seen emergency room people move so fast - could it have been my DEATH GLARE CRYING SAD CLOWN WANT TO DIE-ness?) exam showed me at 3 centimeters, 100% effaced. I panicked for a second that wasn't good enough, but nope! I was in.

Clay immediately took action. After sage warnings from his co-workers that it can take awhile to get one set up, he said:

"She wants an epidural. Now."

And dammit! Those people hustled. Maybe they thought we were important somebodies? I had no idea things didn't have to take 79 hours in a hospital. But 45 minutes after walking into the ER, I was numb from the waist down. HALLELUJAH.

I kind of wish I had a transcript of the things I was saying during all this. But I do remember the anesthesiologist coming in and explaining his credentials and experience and what he was doing and yada yada yada. And me interrupting him to say:

"I don't care if you're a man off the street. Just do it."

After I was numb and warm and cozy, they set up a cot for Clay and told us to get comfortable; I was still in early active labor and it would take awhile to get to 10 centimeters and pushing. My mom headed to her pad a few miles away, Clay got "comfortable", and I turned on a Frasier. I was snuggled up and pain-free, I could hear my baby girl's heartbeat thumping away, and exciting things were just around the corner.

I was giddy.


  1. i love this. i feel like this is a window into all that i missed while in morphine c-section land. i cant wait for chapter 2!

  2. This is amazing, and I love all of the details! Don't leave anything out - yeah, I will probably regret that later, but it might stave off the baby fever for awhile!
    Already I think you're a rock star; I imagine contractions are one thing and bad enough, but constant pain? NO.

  3. Ouuuuuchie. Poor Ams. It's a good thing I know how this story ends because that sounds like NO FUN.

  4. oh oh oh! i can't wait to hear the rest! :)

    lolol @ clay - "she wants an epidural. now." when & if we have kids, i'll be sure to prep lain for stuff like that. except, i think they'll know because i'm SURE i'll be screaming like a banshee. :D

    waiting patiently for the next installment! and more pictures of perfect little harper. <3

  5. christie4:04 AM

    "You hate me Ho-Ho?"

  6. dude, you're lucky with how fast you got your epidural. i was 9cm before i got it and waited 2 hours. *dies* can't wait to hear more!


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