Oh right, I had a baby!
What an experience. Before I start off the labor story, let me just mention that as I type this little Violet is sleeping beside me in her bassinet and life could not be more perfect. I am so blessed to have this child. I am so absolutely in love with her.
Tuesday morning at 5:45am my husband and I were checked into the hospital for the induction. Things started slow. Very slow. I wasn't put on pitocin right away -- instead my doctor started me off with a pill (put in your who-haw) and after 4 and 8 hours (and a second pill) they checked to see if I had dilated any further. Now, I started off already 1cm dilated, so when I heard that after 8 hours I was only 2cm dilated, I got a little worried.
Then the pitocin was started. I had wondered throughout my pregnancy what 'real' contractions would feel like. I would very soon find out. Many hours later, I can't recall when exactly, maybe 10 to 12 hours into it, I was at about 3 1/2 cm dilated. The contractions were really starting to hurt. I had the worst stomach cramps from not having eaten in a long time, and the pain was very bad in my back. So I decided it was about time to get my epidural.
I knew that if I had to see the enormous needle used for the epidural I would freak. I'm a wuss when it comes to needles. I like to think I have a high pain tolerance, but the sight of needles going on -- *cringe*. So I kept my eyes closed most of the time and tried not to think about it. As it turned out, the epidural experience was the 2nd most painful part of my labor, with only hard pushing surpassing it. What happened was 3 things:
- I had to sit at the edge of the bed, hunched over my belly as far as I could, which was very uncomfortable. While I did this I was getting hard contractions, about 30 seconds from one to the next.
- They ended up poking me with the needle more times than I can recall. The pain really wasn't much worse than any old shot though. If they got me in the wrong spot I would end up jumping in surprise (and pain) and that is a very bad thing to do with the worlds biggest needle in your spine.
- The blood pressure cuff. Now before you call me a wuss, let me explain. The machine that worked my blood pressure cuff was all fugged up. It wasn't registering when to stop inflating, which meant that the pain in my arm was INSANE. A time or two I even ripped it off because the pain was just too much. So, that just sucked.
So with perfect timing (not), the epidural wore off. Now, the funny thing about this was that for as many times as I told the nurses, my doctor, anyone who would listen, that I was in SO MUCH PAIN, I would get the pat reply that, "That is just the pressure you are feeling." Pregnant women -- don't let them tell you that! I wish I had put my foot down and demanded more drugs at this point, before it was entirely too late.
I want to guess that from about 8cm dilation and on I was having contractions very close together, and eventually one right on top of another with no break in between. They were very strong (thanks a lot, pitocin) and I was frankly just miserable. Cranky, exhausted, hungry, my sciatic nerve was on fire, the contractions just wouldn't let up.
Finally I felt like I couldn't NOT push for any longer. The pressure, (and yes I knew what that felt like as compared to PAIN), was so strong that I couldn't help myself any longer. I asked to be checked again and they said that I was 9 1/2 cm dilated, just almost 10. It was go time.
As I started pushing, I had my husband holding my hand, two nurses on each side of me, and the doctor at the receiving end. You push 3 times, ten seconds each, then take a deep breath, and start again. Fast forward about 1 1/2 hours later, and there I am, still pushing. Only the pain was much worse.
I was desperate to get this little girl out. I asked, between contractions and pushing, if they had something to help her move down, as I had heard of babies being "vacuumed" which is kinda like sticking a plunger up your who-haw, suctioning it to the babies head, and as I push, the doctor tries to pull the baby down. The doctor said they could do that, and got ready to try it.
The first attempt was heart breaking. The pain, and pressure, was so intense and felt so low that I was sure that she was close to being born. I was pushing with everything I had, and at the last push, I felt an insane amount of pressure (again, and pain) and heard a loud POP, and I thought for sure the baby was out. Uh, no! The plunger deal had popped off. I am pretty sure I cried and had in internal panic attack.
We had to wait to make sure the baby was alright after that stress, and after we were sure she was fine, we tried again. No luck. My doctor looked at me and said that the baby was just too big, her head couldn't fit, and I would have to have a c-section.
Thank you GOD! I was about to lose my mind from the pain. Of course, it was very early in the morning and we had to wait for the surgeon and staff to be called in from home. I remember that as feeling like the longest 20 minute wait of my life.
I got more drugs (another epidural and morphine) and was wheeled across the hallway to the operating room. I got even more shots, IVs, and they put up the blue curtain so I couldn't see what they were doing. I was sooo happy once the drugs took effect. WHEW!
I didn't know where in the world my husband was, but it turns out that he couldn't come in the room until they had made the first incision. So I was kinda just laying there, thinking about meeting little Violet, and wondering when the surgery would start when the surgeon told me that the first incision had been made. What?? I had no idea! Thank you drugs.
My husband came in, sat next to me and was very supportive as the surgery progressed. It only took a few minutes before they told us that Violet was out -- and she was a big girl! I heard her cry and I felt so happy, just deliriously happy. The staff started working on her, cleaning her up. I got to see her for the first time, for a precious few seconds, before they whisked her away. She had straight, dark hair and grey-blue eyes like her dad.
I'll also note that the drugs did make my stomach very nauseas, so after seeing her for only a few seconds, I had to whimper that I had to look away from her so I could puke. And puke I did. Hehe.
What I didn't know (and wasn't told until later) was that the reason she was being whisked away was that she was 1.) having trouble breathing from fluid in her lungs and 2.) she wasn't getting blood to her arms and legs and a purple/blue color was moving up her lower body towards her chest.
I remember laying there and realizing after a minute that I couldn't hear her crying anymore. That is such a scary realization. When I heard her cry again I was so relieved. She was taken to the nursery and my husband followed to watch them take care of her. I was stitched up and taken back to my room. It would be hours before I could see her again.
Since she had breathing problems, she had to have an oxygen hood put on for what I think was a few hours. The oxygen hood sort of looks like a baby sized astronaut helmet. Before they could bring her in to see me she had to be off of the hood for a half hour. Time was moving slow but I was so excited to see her.
I finally was able to hold her, to kiss her, to meet the little girl who would be mine for the rest of her life.
The next few days went by so fast. Lots of pain killers, drugs for this and that. Waking up every few hours for more medication and to ask how Violet was doing in the nursery. Saturday in the late morning we came home for the first time. Which is scary for first time parents, but it also feels very good.
I feel like I love her more and more each day. Each day she is more beautiful, more charming, just more a part of my heart. I am trying to rest and take it easy, and I find myself waking up from a nap and missing my little girl for that short time I was asleep.
She is perfection. She is our world.
She also sleeps during the day and is up all night. It is okay though. She is worth it.