I managed to sleep from the time your dad left (around 2300) until about 0115 and then, got up to walk around and go visit some of my friends and co-workers in the NICU. I was still pretty high from the Morphine and dizzy, but walking was helping with the cramping I was feeling. I returned to bed around 0300 and fell asleep right away, only to be woken up by contractions at 0330.
0330: I got out of bed and asked the nurse if I could get something else to help ease the pain of the contractions as it was getting pretty intense. I have always gone into this whole pregnancy thing with the idea that I was going to take things in stride when it came to pain control and medications. The nurse on A/P (Antepartum) said she would need to assess my status before giving me pain medication. It turns out I was 80% effaced and dilated at 2-3cm. I moved over to LDR (Labor and Delivery Room) right after I called your dad to tell him he should come back to the hospital as things were progressing.
0415: By now, I was dilated to 5cm and the contractions were unbearable. (To me, they were anyway). I have never suffered such pain in my entire life. I tried the Nitronox (laughing gas), but it was making me über dizzy and I felt like I was about to pass out every time I took a drag of it. I requested the epidural. The pain was making my whole body tremble uncontrollably from all the adrenaline rush.
0445: Epidural is in and this Babymama was feeling a whole lot more relaxed. I felt like I could conquer the world. I was dosing in and out of sleep, trying to recuperate a bit from all the pain. By then, I was dilated at 8cm.
0630: I am completely effaced and dilated at 10cm. Time to start pushing with the contractions. It came so easy and natural, thanks to the relief of the epidural. All I had to do was lift up my legs and push whenever I felt a contraction coming. I asked them for a mirror as I wanted to see the progress I was making as I was pushing. Your dad on the other hand, chose not to peek. It was fine with me. I wanted him at my side and also wanted him to aknowledge his limits without pushing his boundaries. It was more important for me to have him there than to force him into things he wasn’t comfortable with. He probably felt like he wasn’t doing much, but he was my pillar of strength through what was to come.
At this point, I lost track of time a bit, so I’ll go with approximate times.
0830: My labor has been stopped for about 40mins. We have tried different positions, but no contractions are felt or monitored. Oxytocin is increased to help kick things back into gear.
0900: I still can’t feel the contractions (even though my epidural is working at the right levels), but they are showing up on the monitor. I tell the nurse just to let me know when they are coming, that I am more than willing to push with them. Apparently, I am a great pusher!
0930: You are experiencing some decels and even though it makes me panic inside, I try to remain calm for your dad who looks completely helpless as he realizes that your heart rate is dropping at times. We are both crying at this point because the mention of a vacuum extraction is something we had discussed and I was strongly against. However, you are crowning and since you’re in distress, I would do it. As I am such a great pusher and you’re crowning, the doctor decides to let me push you out, but we now have a pediatrician in the room, waiting for your arrival. By now, we are 9 people in the room: you, myself, your dad, our GP, 2 LDR nurses, a student nurse, a pediatrician and his resident. That’ a lot of people for such a small person… The anxiety in me just keeps rising.
1013: I give a push and your head comes out then our GP announces that your umbilical cord is looped around your neck. I don’t like the sound of this. Shortly after, she announces there is a second loop. Not liking this even more.
1014:I am told to give one more push in order to get you fully out and thanks to the mirror that is strategically positioned, I see that you are shortly followed by meconium. Lots of it. Meconium in the womb is a sign that the baby was in distress. When the baby is born and there is presence of meconium, we usually don’t want the baby to start crying before it has had a chance to be suctioned in the lungs as meconium aspiration in the lungs could have very serious repercussions. You are whisked away by the pediatrician and his resident and the start working on you. Your dad and I are now bawling in tears and I’m trying to watch what’s going on with you through my tears. The pediatrician intubates you and suctions your lungs. He then goes on to suction your stomach too. He dries you up in an effort to stimulate you. You are limp and pale and still haven’t taken a breath yet or moved. I am urging you to do so through my tears and I still don’t know if you’re a boy or a girl. Finally, you let out a wail and I do the same. To me, this is the sweetest sound in the world. They bring you over to us, you are bruised on both eyelids and your scalp, giving you this sad little look, like you’ve already been in a fight. I shorten your umbilical cord as your dad declines to do it and we fall in love instantly. We are now a family and are given a few minutes to bond before I am put to work again to expulse my placenta. Normally, you would want the placenta out within 30minutes from the delivery of the baby.
1045: We are still trying to get my placenta out to no avail. The doctor is gently pulling on it as I am asked to push. My oxytocin is increased and my uterus is massaged furiously, still the placenta isn’t coming out.
1115: Still working on getting the placenta out. The OB/GYN on-call comes to assess me and lets me know that if the placenta isn’t coming out, I’ll have to go to the OR (Operating Room) STAT in order to get it out. He gives us 10minutes to keep working on it. I am told to keep pushing, being the great pusher that I am and all…
1130: The OB/GYN on-call comes back and puts the 2 of us to work. He tells me to put you on the breast (to stimulate contractions) while I am ordered to push again. Imagine the scenario: Lying on my back with you at the breast, legs up in the air and trying to curl myself up in the pushing position (chin to chest) without squishing you. I am not focusing on your latch and will suffer from it later, but right now, I have a job to do and I plan on doing it, type A that I am!
1145: I finally manage to get the placenta out with the help of many hands pulling from inside my uterus, affording me a dose of Ancef (antibiotic) to prevent infections. The placenta seems to be complete and is sent to pathology for analysis. I am then announced that I have torn my perineum to 2nd and 3rd degree and need stitches. 15 stitches to be exact. The epidural is still doing its job so I say go for it. I will feel the pain later… I will also find out later that I have suffered important blood loss trying to push out the placenta (600cc, to be exact).
1600: My IV is finally removed and I am allowed to stand up. My left leg is still a bit lazy from the epidural, but I am allowed a much needed shower. By the way, when you’re in the hospital, showers are totally underrated! I also get a glimpse of myself for the 1st time in a while in the bathroom mirror and I now understand why your dad is teary-eyed every time he looks at me: I also look like I’ve been the loser of a boxing match. My eyes and face are swollen beyond recognition. And yet I shrug it off. I wear this new face with pride: it is the face of someone who has been through hell and back. It is the face of someone who has given life to a human being and at that precise moment, I embrace the battered look. It is my badge of womanhood. I am now part of a group of women called Mothers and I am damn proud of myself for having survived the process.
The rest of the day is a bit of a blur. Your dad brings me McDonald’s for dinner as I am starving, not having eaten anything in over 24hrs. I devour it. We spend the evening feeding you, crying when we look at you, overwhelmed with joy and love, dozing in and out of sleep and attempting to mend my nipples. Because you weren’t latched on properly and I was focusing on pushing out my placenta, you have given me blood blisters on my nipples and made breastfeeding pure torture. I resort to pumping until my nipples are somewhat less of a bloody show.
Welcome to the world little Monkey! We are sure thrilled you are finally with us!
Mom & Dad Xxo.