I’ve been working on another blog entry, but something came up on Thursday that pretty much blows anything else I’ve got out of the water. Thursday afternoon around 3PM my water broke. You can imagine this made for an interesting evening.
I had no idea what was going on. In all those stupid videos they show in the birth preparation classes, when a woman’s water breaks you always see this huge gush of fluid coming out and soaking the place like a centennial flood. Not what happened to me. I’d been having contractions all morning, some fairly strong, although nothing in a pattern that would indicate I was in labor. You know, I’d have a few good squeezes, then nothing for a while, then another contraction strong enough to stop me in my tracks. Only thing unusual about them was that I was supposed to go to karate class that morning, but I’d had enough strong ones on my way over there that I didn’t think I’d be able to either take class or help teach without having to drop everything at least three or four times during class and freak everyone out. Some people in my class having been playing “Prophetess of Doom,” predicting when I’d go into labor, and a couple of folks have just been getting on my damn nerves by going on saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t be in class today! I just know you’re going to go into labor right now!” So I just decided not to deal with the aggravation and stay home instead, although my instructor kept giving me a bunch of crap about how he expected me to show up for the annual dojo banquet that evening anyway, contractions or no. He was optimistic that I would be there, no matter what. I was optimistic that he’d get hit by a bus.
So anyway. I skipped karate class, took my daughter home instead, and let her play in her little wading pool in the backyard while I lounged in a lawn chair and kept contracting. After an hour or so of that, I put her down for her nap and lay down to rest myself. Fifteen minutes later, I had a contraction hard enough to wake me up from a sound snooze, and that’s when I felt this pop and gush between my legs. And I said to myself, “What the hell was that? Did my water just break? I have no idea!” And I didn’t, because the gush was just a little one, not even enough to soak the pad I was wearing. So I figured maybe I was losing another big of my mucus plug, which I’d been doing since 2AM that morning. Yeah, yeah, I’m not too bright. I should have realized what was going on, but hey, I was expecting Niagara Falls here, not a tiny trickle.
But the trickle was what I got and what I kept having, and after half an hour of trying to work at my desk, I finally called the doctor’s office and they told me to come in. I woke Princess, called my husband, and we were all at the office by 4:45PM. I was hooked up to the non-stress monitor for an hour. Hubster kept Princess entertained by spinning her around on the doctor’s chair and playing peek-a-boo with the privacy curtain until I finally sent them both out. Then my doctor came in, looked at the non-stress test and at me and said I wasn’t in labor but yeah, my water broke, and off we went to the hospital.
I spent from 7PM Thursday evening until 11PM walking the halls of the labor and delivery floor, dragging an IV pole behind me. At 6PM, I was barely 1 centimeter dilated, and the doctor said I’d probably have to walk all night to get any farther. Even then, he didn’t think the chance were good that I’d open up, so I could expect to have an emergency C-section. Well, I told him I’d walk and we’d see. He was worried about infection since my water had broke, so he said he didn’t plan on checking my cervix again until morning and then he took off for the night. Here’s what happened after that.
7PM – I finish up registration paperwork in the labor and delivery ward and start walking. Hubster takes Princess over to my best friend’s house to spend the night. I have completely forgotten it’s M’s anniversary, but she told me afterward she didn’t mind, because Princess kept her son occupied and out of her hair, and that was the best anniversary present she could have ever gotten from me. Her husband was hoping to get laid, of course, and that didn’t happen with two kids running around the house screaming, but Mary said she made it up to him later.
8:30PMish – Hubster returns with my running shoes. I’ve already been walking a good while, and my contractions have settled into a regular pattern, but only when I walk. If I stop to chat to anyone, the contractions stop too. So we keep walking and dragging that stupid IV pole with us as we go. The nurses think it’s funny we consider the time to ourselves an actual date. Do you know how rarely we get time to ourselves?
11:00PM – the contractions get hard enough and frequent enough that I can’t keep walking. The nurses hook me up to the monitor to see what’s going on. Sure enough, I’ve finally got an early labor pattern going. After an hour of monitoring, Hubster and I discuss getting up and walking some more. I try, and can barely get two steps before the contractions knock me back on my ass again. Back into bed I go.
11:30PMish? – I start to lose track of time here. The contractions are coming really hard and heavy now, which surprises the hell out of me. I’m more than uncomfortable. The nurse asks me on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being like their cutting off my leg and forgot the anesthetic, how uncomfortable am I. Not having ever had my leg cut off, with or without anesthetic, I have to guess. I say I’m at a 5, sometimes up to a 6 with the contractions. The nurse wants to keep me at a 3. Do I want pain medication? No, what I really want is to go to the bathroom. I have this overwhelming urge to have a bowel movement. This should have been a huge clue to everyone in the room what was going to happen next.
Midnight – used the bathroom. Still need to go, and the feeling gets worse with every contraction. I’m at a 7 on their little pain scale now, and am having a hard time keeping up with the contractions. Every time I have one, I’m sure I’m going to rupture my bowels. I can’t stop myself from pushing down on them. The nurse suggests pain medication again. I say yes. She checks my cervix, the one the doctor says he wasn’t going to bother with until 8AM the next morning. I’m 2, almost 3 centimeters dilated. The nurse gives me the lowest dose of Stadol and Phenergan she can give me. I’m completely loopy for the next several hours.
1AM – Hubster tells me I slept for 40 minutes before the contractions started waking me up. Then I grunt and groan and push down on that horrendous feeling of constipation I’ve been fighting all evening for a few minutes while my entire lower abdomen tries to turn itself inside out. Soon as the contraction is over, I’m out again. I start having conversations with people who aren’t there (that’s the Stadol talking). I lose all sense of time. I have no idea exactly what happens when next. I’m still in pain though, so I tell the nurse I want an epidural. I’m getting a little panicky at this point, because I can’t control the need to push and can’t think through the pain (again, the Stadol has really put me out).
Between 1AM and 3:47AM – Things get very confused at this point for me. The nurse checks my cervix again. I’m now dilated 3-4 centimeters, enough to go ahead and call the anesthesiologist in for an epidural. It seems to take forever for this guy to arrive. I recall lying on the hospital bed and demanding at one point, “WHERE IS THAT DAMNED EPIDURAL?”Hubster stands by me the whole time, letting me squeeze his hand. He says I never managed to crush his fingers, but that was probably because all my strength was going toward this tremendous urge to push something, anything, out of my body. He finds a pregnancy magazine at one point and announces that is has an article on “Ten Things No One Ever Tells You About Labor.” Item number four says that the urge to push during labor often feels like having a bowel movement. Great. I’m not supposed to be pushing just yet, and that’s what I’ve been doing all along. I can’t control it and I can’t stop myself no matter how hard I try. I’ve completely lost control of my lower body at that point. Shortly after getting this news, the anesthesiologist arrives. They check my cervix again. I’m now at 6 centimeters. The anesthesiologist asks me to sit on the edge of the bed and curl my back over while he puts needle after needle into my spine. I can barely hold still with the contractions, and the floor seems like a long way down. At one point, I realize I’m about to get extremely sick. The only coherent thing I say during this entire four hour period is, “Get a bucket!”Hubster ’s been married to me long enough to know what’s about to happen and gets a small basin. Most of what I bring up goes into it. Only a little ends up on his shoes. It’s all bile, which I hate.
The epidural sorta kinda kicks in. It takes the edge off a bit, but I can still feel everything. Between that and the Stadol, all I can really feel is every agonizing contraction, but I’m not actually panicking now. We’re too far gone for that. All I can do is ride out the waves and keep pushing. The nurses are the ones panicking now, because I’ve dilated to a full ten centimeters and the doctor hasn’t arrived yet. Poor Doctor T. He honestly didn’t expect to see me until 8AM. Now he’s got to get up out of bed and come running to catch this baby. I don’t think he’s going to make it though, and I tell the nurse so. She keeps saying, “You’ve got to stop pushing. Please stop pushing!” And I keep yelling back, “I CAN’T STOP PUSHING! YOU GET DOWN THERE AND CATCH!” Hubster and the nurses keep telling me to blow. I’m sure I say something very unrepeatable in response. Then one nurse says, “Dr. T is here. I told him we weren’t in any hurry, so he could take the stairs.” I announce that the epidural did not take any great effect on me and I will get off the hospital bed to kill her if the jokes don’t stop. Or at least I think I did. The Stadol really has me going at this point. I know because I spend fifteen minutes talking to my dead grandmother. Unfortunately, she has no advice to offer me on how to survive having this baby.
3:47AM – Finally, Dr. T shows up in the delivery room. He pulls on a gown, gets down and checks me out and tells me it’s finally time to push. Nobody bothers to mention the obvious, which is that I’ve done nothing but push since about 11PM. So I’m pushing, and pushing, and pushing, and the more I push, the more I think I’m going to die. And I mean this. I can feel tissue inside me tearing as something HUGE comes clawing its way out of my body. There’s no way in hell I can pass something this large out of me, and I can’t believe how incredibly stupid I was to think I could ever do a vaginal birth. I vaguely recall one of the other obstetricians at Dr. T’s practice telling me that a vaginal birth after C-section can result in a ruptured uterus, killing either the mother or the baby or even both, and I’m thinking maybe that’s what’s happening now. A few minutes later I realize nothing of the sort is happening, and that I’m not going to die, maybe I can’t die, and that’s even worse because I can’t go on with pushing and I can’t back out. I’m stuck in this eternal hell where my nether region is being stretched and torn and ripped to shreds and I can feel every single second of pain, magnified a bazillion times by the Stadol. But now everyone is telling me to curl up and push, and they’ve got my legs pulled up behind my damned ears making it impossible to do what they want me to do, but I’ve got no choice so I push and push and push and then the contraction quits and I have to quit, and then another one starts so I start pushing again, and if this isn’t the longest damned ten minutes of my life I don’t know what is. Dr. T keeps prodding at my vagina, trying to open it up I guess. He tells me I’m doing good, keep pushing, and I keep trying and then I feel this god-awful tearing/burning sensation and I know I’m actually ripping and I’m not ripping down my perineum like I expected, but up into my clitoris instead, which I figure must hurt a hell of a lot worse, because hey, I use that part of my body for fun and it doesn’t like being tortured. But tear it does and I give a couple more pushes, and Dr. T says a couple more after that and we should be done, and I want to ask, “How many more is a couple more, you *&#$?” But all I can do is push.
And then miracle of miracles, at 3:57AM on Friday, 2 June, I rip open and something slips right out and the next thing I know, Dr. T is catching a baby and all the nurses are cheering, and nothing, I mean nothing, feels as good as having that kid slide out of me, and by the way if anyone ever asks you on a scale of 0-10 how much pain you’re in, 10 has nothing to do with having your leg cut off. It’s all about having your naughty bits ripped down the center instead.
Anyway, that’s how Pixie was born.