Jan 3, 2015

Pain, Puddles, and Praise: Elise's Birth Story Part 2

Back at the doctor's office, I was hooked up for a non-stress test, so they could track the baby's well-being and my contractions.  By this time, the contractions were beginning to ramp up, so I was completely uncomfortable.  Added to that, the air conditioning had broken in the building, and the little exam room where they had us was stifling.  I begged the nurse to send the midwife to check me and get me out of there.  She came, and she said I had progressed to four cm.  That was not what I wanted to hear, but her exam seemed to set the labor into serious mode.

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!
We arrived in the room, and the nurse checked me and said I had progressed to 5 cm.  With the midwife's blessing, I got into the portable birthing tub.  The warm water felt wonderful, but it was very shallow, maybe eighteen inches, and I couldn't get comfortable.  My favored positions during active labor are on my feet with Ben providing counter back pressure, and the tub did not accommodate that.  Looking back now, I think I should have gotten out of the tub, since I could not stay on top of the contractions. I was clearly transitioning, and I had mentally checked out.

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 midwife checked my cervix, and this time, she asked me if I felt the urge to push.  I did, but I hate pushing, so I denied it.  I was just not ready. I laid on my side, clutching the bed rail and secretly pushing with each contraction.  Finally after fifteen minutes of contractions and secret pushes, I worked up enough courage to tell her that I was ready to push.

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.


2 lovely comments:

annabelle82 said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for sharing!!! I am sorry your epidural did not work like you wanted it to. Pretty funny you were doing "secret pushes" :) never thought to do that! She is so beautiful and such a pretty name. Where in the Bible did Ben find that exactly?! lol ;) Congratulations on all your girls!

Debbie Barth said... Best Blogger Tips

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your birth experience, April! Thanks for sharing it. (Some parts had me chuckling out loud) ;-) You have 4 lovely little girls...what a blessing! Love you!