Archive for February 24, 2011

The Birth Story – Part 3

(So this is going to be 4 parts instead of 3. As I kept rereading it, there just weren’t any details I wanted to omit.)

(Click here for Part 1)
(Click here for Part 2)

After a much-needed trip to the restroom, I settled back into my hospital bed and allowed my visitors to come back in. Everyone was revived, renewed, ready for the next step. This was no false alarm, this was the real deal. I knew that within 24 hours, my baby boy would no longer be taking up residence in my uterus.

I’d say than no less than 30 minutes after my doctor broke my water, my contractions started getting more intense. You could see my belly tighten up and I could no longer ignore the pain. As you can imagine, this just upped the excitement of The Contraction Game my dad was playing. He was getting more and more excited as the numbers went higher. My nurse was fluttering around my room doing something productive, I’m sure, but mostly just being the most important person in my entire life. “Deanna. I’m ready for my epidural if my doctor says it’s okay.”

I wasn’t willing to play around. I didn’t want to have a situation where I went from 4 to 9 centimeters within the hour and the epidural was no longer an option. I’d have gotten through it, I know, but I would have been a wreck the next couple days. The pain would undoubtably caused me to tense up during each contraction, which would then cause some serious knots that would turn into a serious migraine. I was really hoping to enjoy the first few days with my baby, so a migraine wasn’t an option. Plus, I have nothing against epidurals and I didn’t (and still don’t) see any reason I shouldn’t completely enjoy my birthing process.

There’s something you should know about me. I’m terrible at understanding accents. I watched the entire movie Four Weddings and a Funeral and I honestly have no idea what the movie was about. So when my anesthesiologist, who was a small, soft-spoken Indian man, came in to my room to give me my epidural, I was pretty clueless as to what exactly was going on. Plus at this point my contractions were quite painful and I didn’t have the energy to focus on decoding the message he was giving me.

I planned to get through my epidural the same way I had gotten through my water breaking – by squeezing Stephen’s hand until his bones crushed to a fine dust. Unfortunately that was not an option. I don’t know if this is a nationwide rule, but at my hospital, husbands have to leave the room. “Why? Why? What? But why? He has to leave? WHY?” They told me something about it being a liability. That there was a case where a man was watching and he fainted and fell and hit his head. The doctor and nurse couldn’t help him because, well, you all have to be very still during the epidural so it’s done properly. So the woman was freaking out because her husband was laying unconscious on the floor. Anyways, bad stuff. And Stephen had to leave.

The second the door closed, I felt very alone. I was tired, hungry, hurting, anxious, and extremely nervous about the epidural. The doctor instructed me to sit on the side of the bed. I was to tuck my arms to my chest and then curl into my nurse who was standing in front of me. She wrapped her arms around me and I was instantly comforted. Don’t get me wrong, I was still tense and scared to death, but I no longer felt alone. I felt safe. The doctor started giving me the shots to numb my back. I have no intention to scare anyone here, but in an effort to be completely honest, it was not fun. Shots in your back are not enjoyable. And since I knew I had to stay really still, I was very tense. We waited a bit to let the pain killers do their thing. I figured the worst part was over so I relaxed a bit. My nurse, who was a woman in her late twenties with pretty hair and a sweet smile, talked calmly to keep my nerves in check. She was wonderful and I thought that maybe I should order her to-go so she could comfort Stephen and Jansen when they are sick and I’m not being compassionate enough.

It was time for the epidural. I rested my head on my nurse’s shoulder and tried not to think about it. I felt the pressure of the needle. No pain, just fear caused by the knowledge that there was a needle in my back that had the potential to cause a lot of damage. He injected the anesthesia. I could feel it enter my back and move into my body. The feeling was so uncomfortable that it almost makes me hurl when I think about it now. My nurse tightened her grip and talked me through it. And just like that (well, several minutes of “that”), it was over. They taped the line to my back and told me to relax and lay back down.

I consider myself a pretty smart girl but every now and then I shock myself with how stupid I can be. I understand what happens during an epidural (your whole bottom half goes completely numb) and I also understand how to deliver a baby (lots of pushing in the nether regions). But it never dawned on me that you have to have a catheter put in. Obviously I couldn’t walk to the bathroom anymore. And I’m sure my doctor had no desire to get peed on while delivering my baby. So when my nurse said, “Okay, now that your epidural has kicked in, I’m going to put your catheter in” I was totally taken aback.

She put it in and it totally freaked me out. Catheters give me the heebie jeebies. Not to mention how weird it was to see my line immediately fill with urine and go into my pee bag. Childbirth. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now that I was numb, I’d no longer be able to feel how intense my contractions are. And since they’d broken my water, they couldn’t just check my cervix anytime they wanted. Each time they checked, it would increase the chance of bacteria and infection in my system. So basically, it was up to me. They kept telling me to buzz them if I felt like I was going to have a bowel movement. Over and over they said this. I kept thinking that it was awfully weird that they were so concerned about my poop, but then I realized (after further instruction from my nurse) that when Jansen descends into the birth canal, it’ll feel like I have to poop. So really poop time is actually baby time.

Things were pretty easy at that point. Every few minutes my belly would tighten up. I’d hardly feel anything but a bit of movement but I would still try to guess if it was a big contraction or not. We had to make a lot of assumptions since we didn’t know how far I was. So we all just hung out and hoped for something to happen soon. At one point I could feel my epidural starting to wear off. Through a series of miscommunications, I got a double dose. My nurse was less than pleased, but I after I found out that it wasn’t going to kill me, I didn’t really mind the extra drugs.

Around 10:00 that night, my nurse came in and told me that I should try to get some rest. Whenever the time came, I’d need energy. I felt like saying, “Do you honestly think I can sleep at a time like this? Don’t you realize I’m about to have a baby??” But I didn’t. Instead I asked everyone to leave so that Stephen and I could close our eyes for a bit. There was a chair that pulled out into a twin bed, so Stephen put some sheets on it and laid down. I couldn’t move so I just laid where the nurse had left me and tried to clear my mind. We turned the lights down and tried to ignore the beeps and bum-bum, bum-bums from the monitors.

A few minutes went by and I heard Stephen’s breathing patterns change. He was resting up for the big moment.

February 24, 2011 at 7:09 am 16 comments


February 2011


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