Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Labor tales: Part 2

Where were we?

A couple hours into our night's "sleep" (I was way too ramped up to sleep), the doctor came in and checked my progress. She sounded really surprised to find I was almost 5 centimeters. They hadn't started a pitocin drip and oftentimes the epidural slows things down for awhile, so this was moving fast. She gave me a thumbs up and headed out.

I felt another wave of excitement and realized it was time for a cherry popsicle.

I rang the nurse and snap! Cherry popsicle in my mouth.

While she was puttering around with the baby's heart monitor, I felt the weirdest sensation. A small *pop!* and then a big GUSH of...stuff...came out of my nethers.

"Did my water just break?!"

Quick check.

"Yep."

I think I've watched too many sad clown birth shows on TV where they always have to break the water bag with some arcane pointy object, so I was totally stunned when it just...happened. And I was psyched because things would definitely move even faster now.

Doobie doobie doo. Another few hours passed. Clay flipped and flopped in his medieval cot and I continued to enjoy my numb legs. I could still feel lots of pressure when a major contraction rolled around, but pain? There was none.

Around 5 in the morn, the nurse came back in to check my progress. I was fully dilated! Holy Batman.

I could have started pushing then, but because a) I wasn't in pain b) the baby still sounded great on the monitor c) the baby was still pretty far UP inside and d) there was a doctor shuffle going on (I could write a whole entry on this, but meh - boring), we decided to keep me chilled on ice for a couple more hours. This way, the biscuit could mosey on down naturally and hopefully reduce my pushing time.

I called my Mom and she headed on over to the hospital. Clay opened up his laptop and started doing a little work. I...don't remember what I did. I really couldn't believe I was about to push out a baby. Like, you can mentally accept that fact all you want, you can know you have to do it, but when it's suddenly time? It's absolutely bizarre.

Finally, the doctor situation got (sort of) settled and it was time to begin the Great Push. The nurse hung out down below, and up by me were Mom to my right and Clay to my left. I felt suddenly self-conscious about people seeing everything, so I asked if she could drape me with a towel? She hooked me up and I kept telling Mom and Clay NOT. TO. LOOK. Not sure why I really cared at that point, but I just felt completely exposed and vulnerable. And one definite downside to the epidural is how immobile you feel. I needed help pulling my legs up into the stirrups and I kept making inappropriate comments like:

"This is how John Locke would have to give birth."

I don't even really know what that means?

I also got it in my head that I needed to have music during the pushing time. So Clay found my phone and started scrolling for good tunes. Of which we kept failing to find. I think at one point I was pushing to Paul Simon singing 'Take Me to the Mardi Gras' which...I don't recommend.

So pushing! Yeah, it's weird.

My good friend Manjiri told me a year ago that it's exactly like...going to the bathroom. And to use exactly those muscles and nothing else. Don't picture you're pushing something out of your ___, picture you're pushing it out of your ____. Which is exactly what I did and is exactly what worked. Thanks, Manj!

But I totally hadn't prepared myself for how athletic the whole thing would be. Dang! Like, it is work, people. You push and push and push and people are shouting things to you:

"ARC OVER YOUR BABY!!!!"

(What???????????)

"MAKE A "C" OVER YOU BABY!!!"

(???????????)

"PULL ON THE HANDLES!"

"PUSH MY FINGERS OUT!"

"DON'T JUST PUSH WITH YOUR FACE!"

Wow. So yeah. I pushed and pushed and pushed. For two hours. And nothing was really happening. Harps was slowly, slowly, slowly moving down the birth canal - but she was taking her sweet time. They kept asking me

"How big IS this baby?"

And I'm all - I have no idea! Big I guess? Can we not talk about this right now?

Then they started warning me she'd have a conehead. Clay and I were both born with coneheads due to lots of push time by our mamas, so I wasn't too worried. Tradition!

Toward the end of the first hour, my pain levels started increasing. My lower back was suddenly in agonizing spasms again, I could feel each contraction, and I was super nauseous/shaky/sweaty. I asked to push on my side for a bit, which helped with the back pain, but didn't help move our lady down anymore.

Aside from some bad times pre-laboring at home, I was most unhappy during this stretch of time. It feels so depressing to push and push and push with no results. And how was the pain coming back with a spinal tap full of numbing juice pumping through me? And why did all my least favorite Beatles songs keep playing?

I think I might have said a lot of nasty things during this chunk. I'm choosing to embrace the amnesia, though I'm sure Clay and Mom could help you out if you're interested in specifics.

So after two hours of minimal progress, we changed our game plan. We'd start me on a pitocin drip to strengthen the contractions and move her down passively (read: she does the work, not me) past the pelvic bone, up my meds, and try again in a couple hours. I feel super lucky we were able to do this. Many times, c-sections are ordered up when things don't progress fast enough, but because Harper stayed happy and healthy and steady with her heartbeat the entire time - there was no reason to rush. Thank you, my best girl!

In strolled Mr. Drug Man Pusher Man and pumped me up again. The waves of pain started to subside and I nodded off to sleep, exhausted and really ready to meet Bisquick.

3 comments:

  1. i was wondering about the drug sitch...if it eventually fades and your left to push without meds (owie). i am very relieved to hear that it can be refreshed. (maybe there is a god???)

    looking forward to part 3!

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  2. I. Cannot. Imagine. Pushing a HUMAN. Out of my HOOHAH.

    I mean, I can, but I know I have nooooo idea, really.

    GOOD WORK. Can't wait for Part III!

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  3. I second emmysuh. You are a superwoman. And good job Harps - sounds like you and your momma had some nice teamwork!

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