The contractions began to come every 3-4 minutes, and I had to stop and work through them. I wasn't ready to check in yet, though, so the midwife recommended that we go for another walk, and she would expect me in an hour or so at the hospital. I wanted to try for a water birth, so she called to let them know to set up the room.
The next hour was golden. We went back to the little winding path that I had walked earlier in the day by myself. The afternoon was humid, but the temperature was surprisingly mild for the end of June. The shade from the trees covered most of the pathway, but occasionally the sun would pass through the leaves in a glorious cascade of rays. We slowly walked a couple of laps hand-in-hand, stopping every 2-3 minutes till the contraction passed. Towards the end, I began to moan and want counter back pressure. Ben recognized this from past labors and recommended that we check in. It was around 6 o'clock.
|Just before we checked in!|
I decided I wanted an epidural, so an IV line was started, and I was told the anesthesiologist would be called once the liter of fluid was infused. This took well over an hour, so I moaned, groaned, and cried through the contractions, The midwife, the student, the nurse, and Ben all tried to help me. They infused essential oils, rubbed and massaged my hands and neck with oil, pulled my ponytail really tight (a mental distraction for pain relief), and offered me much encouragement and praise. Really, they were an amazing team.
I did not know a single hour could pass so slowly. Once the anesthesiologist was called, it took another half hour for him to show up, and I think it was about 8:00. The midwife asked if she could check me again, as I was having bloody show. I told her I didn't care what my dilation was, I wanted a epidural, for pete's sake!
I was 7 cm, maybe 8, and the midwife, the anesthesiologist and the nurses all encouraged me to hold out. I couldn't. I wanted pain relief, and I wanted it two hours ago. I told the doctor to shut up, to which he retorted that he was the one that held the key to pain relief, and I ought to be nice. I suppose that would have been funny to me if I hadn't been in labor, but circumstances as they were, he just made me mad. I had to be completely still while he inserted the epidural and spinal block, and unfortunately, the contractions were so close and intense, that stillness was impossible for me.
|Ben studying the Bible, hoping for a little name inspiration.|
Sitting up on the side of the bed, I squeezed Kristen, my nurse's hips, so tight during the contractions, I was afraid I was going to hurt her. Later, she told me I had given her the best cardio exercise she'd had in a long time. Apparently, I still moved, and the needle punctured my dura, and spinal fluid began to flow into the needle. He said he would have to try again and asked me if I still wanted it. I wanted to scream at someone by this point, but I resisted and tersely insisted that I did.
He tried again and was able to place the needle where it was supposed to go. After he completed the procedure, I lay down, waiting for the pain relief to wash over me. And waited. The only waves I was feeling were contractions, and they were not pain free. He gave it a few more minutes, trying the wet and sensation tests to check success. Failure--I felt everything. However, my bottom became numb, and my legs felt tingly, the way your hands or feet do when they've fallen asleep. The anesthesiologist asked if I wanted to try another one, but I declined. I'd had enough of him.
|Look at all that hair!|
The epidural did accomplish one thing. It numbed my nether regions enough that I had the best pushing experience I had ever had. I couldn't believe it; I was actually excited and enjoying it! I asked for a mirror to watch the progress of each push. The student midwife was attending, and within just a couple of pushes, the baby crowned. My midwife said she crowned so fast they weren't quite ready for it.
With the next push, she was out! They all collectively held their breath, as they waited for Ben and I to see the gender. Both of us were still a bit dazed from the birth, so it took a few seconds for us to register what we were seeing. Another girl! We all laughed at our perfect score of four girls!
They let the cord stop pulsing, then Ben cut it. Since we had a student attending the birth, she demonstrated the different parts of the placenta and cord, which was a neat little bonus.
Elise Magdalen was born on Wednesday, June 25, weighing 7 lb. 12 oz. and measuring 20.5 inches.