My Birth Story: Part 2

Missed Part 1 of my birth story? Click here to get caught up!
The pain was coming fast and furious, as is the case when you’re induced (Pitocin = evil). I was still handling it without any drugs, but I was beginning to realize that I didn’t want to go without pain relief for much longer.
What surprised me was that the pain itself was not a totally unfamiliar pain. Before going into labour, I had figured I had no idea what it would feel like. Contractions actually felt like a combination of horrible period cramps and horrible have-to-go-to-the-bathroom cramps — both things I had experienced before — except on a MUCH bigger scale.

Sunday, 1:20 a.m. The contractions were unbearable and were coming so close together. I kept forgetting to breathe through them, and would just tense up and cry out. You wouldn’t think you would forget something as basic as breathing, but I did somehow. The nurse would say, “Breeeeeeathe,” and I would be like, right, breathe, of course.

Sunday, 1:25 a.m. I started begging the nurse to check my progress again. I was desperate for the epidural, and I knew they wouldn’t give it to me until I was 4 cm dilated. I was hoping and praying I was actually like 9 or 10 cm along. I mean, how could I not be? The pain was awful!!!
Saturday, 1:30 a.m. The nurse checked me again, and reported that I was 2-3 cm dilated. Again, I cried, and then told her I was considering myself to be “3 cm.” It was definitely a case of rounding up.
Sunday, 1:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. I spent a half hour sobbing and begging the nurse to ask if I could have the epidural. Technically, I was a bit early to get it, but I was hoping the 4 cm rule was just a loose guide. And crying gets me what I want sometimes. It did in this case! She said the doctor would be in shortly.
Sunday, 1:55 a.m. While I was writhing on the bed, I noticed my nurse push in a cart that said “EPI” in big letters. “That means epidural!” I cried to Darling Husband. “It’s coming!” I had never been so happy to see those three letters.
Sunday, 2 a.m. The anesthesiologist came in. It was actually a resident — some youngish, not-very-nice woman with a French accent. I didn’t care who she was, or how nice she was, at that point.
Sunday, 2:01 a.m. Somewhere behind me, I heard a full-fledged anesthesiologist directing her. In my haze of pain, I wasn’t cluing in that a freaking RESIDENT was about to give me my epidural — you know, the thing that could paralyze me!
Sunday, 2:02 a.m. The resident — or maybe it was the nurse? — explained the chance of side effects. I just babbled that I knew there were risks and I was TOTALLY COOL WITH IT. Please begin. Please, please, please!
Sunday, 2:03 a.m. They got me to sit up on the bed, with my legs hanging over one side. I leaned against Darling Husband’s chest, and they kept telling me to give them “really bad posture.” I’m very conscious about keeping my back nice and straight all of the time, so it felt weird to hunch like that.
Sunday, 2:04 a.m. The contractions were coming less than a minute apart, and the pain was so bad that I couldn’t stay still, as hard as I was trying.
Sunday, 2:05 a.m. Enter the blessed Fentanyl. It went straight into my IV, and it eased the pain enough so that I could stay still as they did the epidural. I felt cold wetness on my back (alcohol or something to sterilize it). I braced myself to feel a “crunching needle,” like I’d read about, but never did.
Sunday, 2:10 a.m. “I’m so high!” I moaned to Darling Husband. “I’m going to fall off the bed! I’m so hiiiiigh!” Yeah, drugs hit me hard. I am the same girl, after all, who once slept for 30 hours after a dose of Contact C.
Sunday, 2:11 a.m. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I was slumped against Darling Husband, and whenever I opened my eyes, I tried to focus on the logo on his T-shirt.
Sunday, 2:12 a.m. “Fentanyl is the best,” I mumbled. “Oh my God, I love drugs. I LOVE DRUGS!”
Sunday, 2:30 a.m. The epidural was finished, and the anesthesiologists slipped away as quietly as when they arrived.
Sunday, 3 a.m. Just realized that a resident gave me the epidural — and she was new enough to need supervision! Shit, I would have totally spoken up and insisted on the full-fledged anesthesiologist, if I’d been thinking clearly.
Sunday, 3:01 a.m. Oh well, the pain was better. And hopefully I wouldn’t be paralyzed.
Sunday, 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. Darling Husband was no longer at my mercy during the contractions, because I was feeling OK. I insisted he go sleep in the rocking chair in the corner, and he was out cold seconds later. I laid in the bed quietly while the nurse wrote things down at a little desk nearby. The pain was not gone gone, but it had faded a lot. I could still feel each contraction, but just barely. I wasn’t crying, I wasn’t screaming. I couldn’t sleep, though. I couldn’t take my eyes off the monitor measuring Baby Boy’s heartrate. I was so worried about him. If labour felt this traumatic to me, how was it feeling to him? I just wanted him out safely.
Sunday, 5 a.m. Darling Husband woke up because I was starting to breathe hard again. The Pitocin had been flowing steadily into me ever since 11 p.m. The epidural felt like it was wearing off, even though I think the nurse explained (several times) that it was not. I was feeling the contractions again. Feeling them so strongly that I had to focus and breathe through them. Still not screaming, but … ow, ow, ow!
Sunday, 5:55 a.m. The nurse looked at me curiously, and said something about how she was surprised I was needing to breathe through them. She thought she should check me again, and I immediately scrambled into position.
Sunday, 6 a.m. The nurse checked me, and announced that I was dilated 7 cm. SEVEN! I was finally happy with the progress. “You’ve really motored along,” I remember her commenting.
And that’s when things started to get messy …

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