Now, I’m going to warn now, I’m going to keep this tame but some people might find it too much information. A few days later everything is a slight haze but this wouldn’t be complete without some form of story from the hospital. I’d call it a birth story but that brings to mind all sorts of blood and gore and I kind of want to avoid being too personal.
Technically my labor was 13 hours long, but I consider the work to have begun Friday night. After a particularly long day to end a particularly long week at work, I landed at home in one heck of a mood, and a run to the grocery store saw me with a whole bag of salt & vinegar chips that didn’t last the night. (Didn’t even last the hour, actually.) As a result, when I woke up around 2 in the morning with all sorts of cramps, I figured it was that. I even continued to think that as Saturday eased on and the “upset stomach” kept pestering me, though by Sunday morning I’d finally grabbed a clue and realized they were contractions. This was helped, of course, by the fact that I hadn’t been able to get to sleep Saturday night until somewhere around 4 in the morning because they were just painful enough to keep me from drifting off. There was no real rhyme or reason to the timing of them though, and they hadn’t gotten any stronger all weekend, so I didn’t really give them a lot of credit. Just another joy of the whole late pregnancy thing.
Somewhere around 10pm on Sunday, though, they had gotten fairly consistant. No stronger, and when I tried to time them they came up about 5 minutes apart, so I did some surfing online and grimaced through them. My old doctor’s instructions to call when they were less than 5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute was stuck in my head, along with everything that says true labor gets more intense while false labor just stays the same, I started timing them and went with the flow. I was exhausted and miserable, of course, but I didn’t want to drag John out of bed for nothing. At least, that was the thought at first. The contractions would stay at 5 minutes for a while and then swing back up to 8 or 9, then back down to 5, and the irregularity of them further convinced me it was still just a warmup. I timed off and on, not that often, until around 12:30 at which point I just started keeping track.
By 3, John woke up to see how I was doing and I figured … you know … maybe it wouldn’t hurt to check this out. I called my doctor but they didn’t have a number to reach him during the night, so to the hospital it was. I had lost my plug (that magical sign that true labor is anywhere from 2 seconds to 2 days away) and I’d make it up to him if I was wrong and was dragging him into the car for nothing. The drive sucked, there was no traffic but there was pain and while I can take pain I don’t exactly enjoy it. There was a good show on the radio (Glenn Beck, I never get to listen to him because I’m at work when he’s on) so that helped, and pretty soon we were there. Now, at our tour, they had said that as of the second or so week of August they were accepting women straight into labor & delivery, but before then you were supposed to go to emergency. He dropped me off and I wandered in and awkwardly announced that I thought I might be having a baby. One of the ladies snickered and offered to let me have a seat until my ride got in. John arrived and we proceeded to get lost. The emergency room desk gave us instructions to go down “through a wood door, then turn left, then turn right, then go up the elevator to the 2nd floor.” Well, all the doors open and closed were wood, so we went through the first open door, turned left, turned right, and found ourselves staring at some kind of utility room. We backtrack a little and find a set of closed wood doors with a keypad beside them, decide that can’t be it, and head back to the desk. It really was through the closed doors – they just pushed open – and took a left, then a right, and walked. And walked, and walked, until we finally stumbled onto some elevators and made our way rather hesitantly to the 2nd floor. Here, we were greeted by the sight of the L&D waiting room – right place! – and a desk that was totally black. So we started wandering until we finally found the check in desk.
Finally in the right spot, it didn’t take long to get the small amount of paperwork filled out (pre-registration is a beautiful thing) and get me into a room. Into the robe I went and the nurse came in to check on me. She asked if my water had broken, and since not, why I’d come in, giving me a rather dubious look when I told her about the contractions. I’m a trooper, I was working through them just fine, could still talk through them so didn’t really show most of them. She gave me a once over, then did an internal and gave a surprised blink followed by an odd look at me. “Wow, 5cm dialated and about 90% effaced… Good job!” John and I are both pretty sure she didn’t believe me and thought for sure she’d end up sending me home. As it was, she said she’d find out who was on call for my doctor because she didn’t figure there was any reason to send me home this far in unless my doctor wanted to send me for a walk. When she came back, she confirmed that I was, indeed, staying and checked to see if I wanted an epidural. I explained that, no, I don’t particularly though if I need it I’ll get it. I asked about IV drugs and she told me that, this far along, they didn’t want to go there in case I had the baby and they were still in his system. This gave me hope – maybe this wouldn’t take very long! (Ha.) She ran through how I felt about having my water broken for me and how I felt about pitocin, and discovering that I didn’t really care either way, decided that I should watch the epidural video since I hadn’t taken any anesthesiology classes.
Well, that rather confirmed that I wanted to avoid that at all costs.
We got the IV started – I cried, the nurse gave me another surprised look as though she didn’t believe I was terrified of needles – and I settled in. Did you know that TV sucks at 4 in the morning? I always suspected that one, though I never realized just how many food commercials there are. Not being allowed to eat does that. John went along and starved with me, I kept telling him to go eat while he could but he refused, so we watched TV and things didn’t really go anywhere. Aside from the pain every 3-5 minutes, it was particularly boring to tell the truth, a day relegated to bad TV, more Jello than I ever wanted to see if my life (the closest thing to food I was allowed), and pestering the nurses every couple hours to go to the bathroom since I was hooked up to monitors that diligently told me that yes, my baby is fine, and no, he’s not out yet.
It was sometime mid-afternoon when I started to see a tiny bit of progress and feel whole new worlds of pain. 2 more centimeters (7 total) and the annoying cramps turned into hellish claws. The nurse started talking about giving me a little pitocin, just to give my body the final nudge, and got out a birthing ball as she once again refused me IV drugs just in case the baby shot out of me in the next 5 minutes. (I heard this story, what, 10 hours ago? Haven’t we learned this isn’t going to be fast yet?) The monitors kept falling out of place, John rubbed my back, and all the resolve and strength that the nurses said had impressed them so much. A few blubbering conversations later, shaking, I called the nurse and asked for the epidural. I was weak, but I think what actually did it was I felt awful for putting John through it when there was an option available. Stupid? Yeah, probably, but I needed some reason that didn’t make me feel like such a wimp and all the other ones left me in a loop of “but you should be strong!”
Within 15 minutes the cart of doom rolled into my room and the nurse of the hour was comforting me as the anesthesiologist started preparing her stuff. She began with the idea of letting me see everything and know, step by step, what she was doing; I quickly told me that I wanted no part of it and she kindly moved around behind me and out of sight. I spent the next 10 or so minutes sitting on the edge of the bed with John’s hand in a death grip while I existed in my happy place (as John put it) somewhere far, far away. I didn’t move, I barely even cried; I almost scared myself with how stoic I was, all things considered. Somehow, thanks to the excellent job of the lady administering it, I came away thinking that the IV had been the worse of the two.
And oh god, the relief. They started the pitocin not long after, on the lowest setting, and suddenly I was having rolling contractions that felt like mild Braxton-Hicks ones, no pain, no nothing. They told me to expect to not be able to move my legs, but I could, they were just a tad tingly in the feet and a little on the heavy side. No dancing for me, but I could lift and shift as I needed. I was now able to confirm that daytime TV still sucked (the past few hours I’d watched but actually only taken in about 5 minutes of any given show, when it was even turned on) and then it was a bit before 4 and I was uber-dialated and we got the show on the road. The nurse commented that she had figured all it would take it bringing the pitocin bag into the room to get my body to finish up, and somewhere in there she turned it off.
Pushing? Not so much fun. There was still no pain, but it was like a nightmare of being on the toilet unable to come or go. The baby’s head kept being pushed a bit out and then sliding back in, but eventually he made permanent progress. (Well, obviously, duh.) Somewhere around 5 the nurse decided to call the doctor because I was that close and he swooped in, making his first appearance of the day. Within minutes, it seemed like seconds, he had these freaky, massive scissors, and back to the happy place I went. Except this, this I felt. Again, epi = evil. Episiotomies are no fun. I got a local anesthetic with my eyes closed and they stayed that way til he told me I could push again. John had this queer look on his face and, really, I’m pretty sure I don’t even want to know. Let’s just say the stitches afterward too longer than I would have liked and they, too, extended beyond the reach of numb to hurt for the last few goes.
But that was after 5:09, when I heard this little gurgle and looked down to see this little mess that had caused me all this trouble. I don’t feel bad for saying that until they got him cleaned up, he was less cute and more just kinda … ew, weird. But it was a relief and rather amazing at the same time. They talked John into cutting the cord – there was that queer look again – and he and the nurse scooted across the room to clean Eric up while the doctor worked his mojo on me to get me finished. When all was said and done, I got some cuddling time, then the baby was off to the nursery, John was off to eat, and I was flipping through the supper menu discovering steak while I waited for the nurses to get the OK to take me up to my new room. They called for someone to take the epidural out, but it wasn’t until 5 minutes before they arrived (about, oh, half an hour later?) that they realized they had never turned the medication off. (The lady had set it to automatically administer doses, so while I had a button to amp it up if I needed to, I didn’t need to constantly work it.) This explains why they kept asking me if I was in pain and needed medication and I just kept looking at them like, what, pain? When it was out the nurses fussed with me to get me into the wheelchair, and I surprised them again, standing on my own and shuffling in a little semi-circle before easing down. Why yes, I can support my weight on my legs, thanks! Apparently, this is rare when they’ve turned the epidural off at the regular time, let alone when they’ve forgotten it.
And that all led to the room, a steak and baked potato, more bad TV, and – of course – this.
The rest, as they say, is history.
how much weight can i lift during pregnancy?
. * Recent research reveals calories with engineered lipids taken before and during workouts promote leanness. Why is that? Besides