As we left the house, Tim was all, “Do we have everything?!”
My response was something like, “I’m here…[ouch ouch ouch]…the carseat is…[bang on side of door...grip OS (oh shit) handle]…here…[breathe breathe breathe]…so I think we’re all set.”
I also somehow had the wherewithal to grab my camera to make sure I’d get a sunrise picture, since I was 100% certain Kellan would be arriving later in the day.
I mean, it figures we would be driving to the hospital while the sun was rising. I guess better that than while I was pushing…
Anyhow, before we made it to the interstate, I had multiple contractions that resulted in me climbing the walls.
Kellan’s car seat was installed behind my seat, which made my seat all straight backed and super close to the dashboard (read: my knees touched it).
While in labor, this kind of position is no bueno.
After the second contraction that hurt 10000000000000 times worse than any I had already had, I made Tim stop at a gas station to move the car seat so I could lay my seat back.
Tim, already on high alert, turned super human on me and whipped into the parking area, flew out of the car and ripped the car seat out/shoved it out of the way all in one fluid motion all whhhhhapaaash!
I’ve never been so happy to lay my seat back in my entire 29 years of life.
The contractions still hurt like hell but at least I was a little more comfortable…or as comfortable as you can be in a car.
The other bit of fun?
Trying to capture the sunrise between contractions while sitting inside a moving object.
It’s not easy to try and time a picture between trees, buildings, power lines and other cars.
Now try it whilst writhing in pain.
Tim kept trying to slow down when there were no cars behind us so I could get a clear shot. He was so focused on that task that he almost missed the exit for the hospital.
I saw the exit coming…and Tim not getting into the exit lane…and I was all, “Isn’t that the exit?!”
Ironically, we had talked about making sure we didn’t miss the exit during multiple trips to OB, which is located a few blocks from the hospital.
For whatever reason, we didn’t put the hospital into the navigation system into the car. Doing so certainly would have simplified things.
Not only did we almost miss the exit off the highway, we also were not sure where to turn for hospital. The only other time we had been there was for our one day childbirth express class.
Obviously, commonsense and rational thinking go out the window when you’re in labor.
The baby gods were smiling down on us, though, because we lucked out and made the correct left turn after debating out loud, “Is it this turn or….not?”
It is a huge relief to know you A: found the hospital and B: will not be giving birth in a car on the side of the road.
Since we were there before regular business hours we had to check in at the ER.
That was the one piece of advice we both remembered from the childbirth class, so I guess the $50 we paid for the class was worth it…..
We found the ER…but had no idea where to park. The only place near the door we saw was for ambulances. Obviously, parking there would probably end up in a hefty ticket or Tim getting carted off for super illegal parking, so he instead pulled into a spot across the street from the ER in front of a parking meter.
As Tim turned the car off he was all, “Let’s see them try to give me a ticket.”
I don’t remember responding. I’m pretty sure if I did it was a grunt or moan or something just as unladylike.
Tim helped me out of the car and across the street, as there was still snow and ice on the sidewalk from a snowstorm a few weeks back where we got dumped on…something like 13 inches…
The entrance to the ER was empty, nobody and no apparent emergencies taking place.
After we went through the double doors, we walked into a completely empty check in and waiting area. I looked at Tim like, “Are we in the right place? Is there a bell to ring? OMG am I going to have this baby on the floor of the ER waiting area?!”
Fortunately, the woman working the front desk heard us shuffling about, trying to figure out what to do. She came out from behind a wall that was behind the large receptionist desk.
She took one look at me and was all, “Are you in labor?”
I’m still not sure if my belly or the lack of blood spurting from an appendage gave me away.
The woman, who probably told us her name, took us behind the desk and around the back side of the wall where a few chairs and a desk with a computer were situated.
I sat down in a weird half reclining position while Tim stood next to me and the woman sat in front of the computer and started asking me questions.
I had preregistered with the hospital so they already had most of the important information. I know she asked me my name…and I think my birthdate…but I kept having contractions so I sort of spaced out while Tim answered for me.
Note to self: always preregister. Questions during contractions s.u.c.k.
The woman at the computer finally finished her questions and called L&D to send a nurse down to get me. Then, she printed my information on the standard plasticky hospital “bracelet,” slapped it on my arm and then told us we could wait in the waiting area for the nurse.
Tim and I made our way back from behind the wall over to the waiting area where Tim asked me if I wanted to sit down.
I said no, since sitting seemed to be more painful than standing.
I also noticed that another man…maybe two…had come into the waiting area while we were getting checked in. I remember having a moment thinking, “I wonder if he can tell I’m in labor…I hope I don’t do anything crazy…”
Then I had another contraction and that train of thought went right out of my brain. I didn’t care who was out there or how crazy I looked. I was in pain and that’s all that mattered.
The nurse from L&D made quick work of coming to get us and asked me if I could walk.
I said yes and she turned heel and immediately started leading us to the promised land, aka labor and delivery (L&D).
Our trip back, including a short ride in an elevator, took a bit longer than it probably should have since I had to keep stopping each time I had a contraction. Walking through them was not an option. Stopping, holding onto a wall, breathing and closing my eyes was.
Either the nurse – who was very patient and very supportive-smiley – or Tim mentioned something about how empty and quiet it was…and when I took a second to pay attention to our surroundings…it WAS.
We didn’t pass another woman in labor or requiring assistance as the nurse led us into the L&D ward, past the nurses station and into a delivery room.
It was kind of nice, the quiet.
Once we were in the room, the nurse handed me a gown to change into and told me to go pee in a cup in the bathroom.
This peeing request posed a slight problem, as I didn’t have to pee at all...but I managed to find some somewhere within the depths of my squished bladder.
Also? Peeing in a cup becomes so second nature when you’re pregnant that you don’t think anything of it.
Also, again? Peeing in a cup becomes exponentially more difficult as your belly grows and you cannot see what is going on ‘down there.’
Also for the third time? The nurses totally forgot about my pee in a cup. Tim had to remind them it was sitting on the counter on the sink.
Anyhow, I peed and changed into the lovely hospital gown, debating out loud if I should keep any undergarments on or just go bare assed.
Eventually, after getting into bed with my panties still on, I decided modesty would be fruitless and took them off, handing them to Tim to pack away.
A few minutes passed before our nurse for the duration of my labor – and eventual delivery – came in to introduce herself and check me to, “see if I was in labor and would be staying to have a baby today.”
I didn’t respond to her but was thinking, “The hell I’m in labor and staying to have a baby today.”
Tim was thinking the same thing…though I didn’t know it at the time. We did share a quick look like, “WTF?”
So, our nurse, Laura, asked if I had any allergies or issues with any medications, etc. I said no…except laytex. Latex makes me break out in a rash.
She wrinkled her nose as she went to this squareish table with wheels to search its drawers for non latex gloves.
There weren’t any.
Laura left, in search of gloves and left Tim and me to wait, still not sure if I’d be able to stay or not.
Laura came back, special gloves in hand, and got down to business.
That began a multitude of people having their hands up my hooha.
As she was up there feeling around she looked at us all, “You’re five centimeters! You’re in labor! You’re definitely having a baby today!”
No shit, Sherlock.
(Sorry. It was the contractions talking)
(Also, I went from two centimeters to five between Thursday at the doctor and Sunday)
Once my fate was decided (ie the hospital agreed that I was actually in labor) (again, no shit, Sherlock), Laura started asking me what kind of labor I wanted.
I told her I wanted to try natural but was open to alternatives.
Laura was all, “Ok…but if you decide on an epidural, you need to decide soon since you’re so far along.”
I said ok…still having to stop every now and again for the contractions…and figured I’d go walk the L&D hallways for a bit to see if I could help my cervix progress any further.
Unfortunately, I had to be all wired up with monitors for twenty minutes first so they could monitor both Kellan and me.
Begin torturous twenty minutes of two monitors on my belly, a blood oxygen monitor thingy on my finger and a blood pressure cuff that would squeeze my arm every what-felt-like thirty seconds.
During that time, Tim ran out to move the car and bring in our hospital bags, camera and pillows. I wasn’t happy he left, leaving me to deal with the contractions on my own, but I was super excited to see my own pillow upon his return.
Laura came back in after my twenty minutes was up all, “We took you off the induction list and you’re contracting just like you said, about every four minutes.”
(no…shi..well, you know where I’m going with this)
She also slapped a “latex allergy” band on my wrist.
After I got the all clear to go walk around the halls, Tim and I got ready, which was really just him helping me put my grippy socks on, and headed out of our room and down the still empty halls. The hospital was so barren that there was a guy cleaning the floors that we had to pass, which was both weird and slightly uncomfortable – me only in a hospital gown with God only knows what kind of look on my face.
About two minutes into our walk I was all, “Didn’t Laura tell you to bring my water for me?”
Tim shook his head, “I had one job and didn’t even do it right!”
We moseyed our way back to the room, passing the floor cleaner guy yet again, to pick up my plastic mug of water, my ability to walk long distances halted immediately by ridiculously strong contractions and then we were on our way again.
I’d like to call this next part the Walk of Hell.
I guess there really is something to walking and helping yourself dilate further/keep the contractions going/make the contractions unbearably painful. I have no idea why it works but holy hell. IT WORKS. The contractions started getting really strong and really close together – like every two minutes or so. At one point, Tim saw a fish tank and asked me if I wanted to stand and watch the fish for awhile, thinking it might be relaxing and calming.
Then a contraction hit and the next thing we both knew, I threw my arms around his neck and let all of my weight fall into him while he rocked the rest of my body back and forth.
It was all I could do to keep standing…and keep breathing.
We went on that way for probably…maybe…another ten minutes…up and down the halls of the L&D ward, me stopping and holding on to Tim whenever a contraction hit. Finally, I decided I had had enough of this walking business and wanted to go back to our room.
By the time we made it back, Laura was ready to check me again to see if I had made any progress.
My little walk brought me to seven – SEVEN – centimeters.
I’m not even sure what kind of conversation I had with anyone at that point because I had to keep stopping to focus on the contractions. Tim asked me if I wanted the epidural and I looked at him like, “Yes…but no?…but OMG I don’t think I can deal with these kind of contractions back to back once transition starts…”
I was already exhausted. It was close to 10am and after being awake since one in the morning with contractions, I was just….done.
I had wanted, desperately, to do this naturally and Tim had to keep reminding me that I needed to do what was best for me given the current circumstances and that the end goal was a healthy baby, not a stubborn showing of, ” I said I was doing it this way so I’m doing it this way.”
I knew he was right and I knew I didn’t have the strength or mental wherewithal to get through the rest of my labor. I’d never had an epidural before, so I was nervous about the prospect, but I was more nervous about going through the remainder of my labor sans medical intervention.
So, the next time Laura came in, I told her to go and get the medicine man – aka the Anesthesiologist.
I think I forgot to mention that Laura was super supportive with whatever decision I made and had planned to get the jacuzzi tub ready for me after my walk of hell. She also helped me breathe through each and every contraction as they came. I have no idea how the people in those positions – L&D nurses – are so patient when we – the laboring woman – can be extremely obstinate.
Anyhow….where was I?…..right. The epi.
Laura went out to find him and then came back a few minutes later to inform me that he had just gone into another room to insert an epi in another patient and that it would be a bit before he was able to see me.
“A bit” was close to 45 minutes.
45 more minutes of ridiculously painful contractions.
Laura brought me the consent form to sign and tried to reassure me that the risks of complications were super low.
Eventually…finally…the Anesthesiologist came in. He was really tall and asked me if I did any yoga.
(What does that have to do with anything? I’m getting the drugs that will make any potential yoga positions null and void.)
I nodded yes and he was all, “Good. Then you know how to do the cat pose. That’s what you’ll need to do when I insert the needle.
Then he started asking me a litany of questions and every few minutes I had to be all, “Hold on…contraction…” and I’d cringe in pain while he busied himself prepping the epi stuff. I have no idea what any of that “stuff” was, by the way. I just knew I was in pain.
Laura told Tim that he could sit next to the bed and hold my hand while the epi was inserted. I think he was also there to make sure I remained still through any contractions, as any kind of jolt when a needle is going into your spinal column is bad mojo.
Finally, Mr. Chatty was ready to give me the drugs.
He moved over to the side of the bed my back was facing and told me to “Curl up like a cat.”
So, I did and mind you, my entire back and butt was completely exposed for the world to see…and wanna know something?
I didn’t care. At all.
He then made sure I knew that he would tell me what he was about to do before he did it – including swabbing my back with an alcohol swab.
The first part where pain was involved, the numbing shot thing, hurt like he said it would (bee sting my ass). It was worse because I was contracting at the same time and OMG you try and keep still through that kind of pain shooting through your entire lower abdomen and lower back.
Once the numbing thing was done he told me he was putting in the needle that would next be used to thread the catheter that would stay there and numb my lower extremities.
The needle went in fine…the catheter…not so much. The first time he put it in, he asked if I felt it and I was like, “It feels like my right leg is on fire and having uncontrollable spasms.”
He pulled it out, apologized, repositioned the needle and tried again.
I cringed, waiting for the pain, but thankfully, it never came.
Apparently the second time is a charm.
I’m pretty sure Tim’s hand needed that numbing shot after I was done squeezing it through that experience.
After he set up the medicine that was hanging above my head in a bag sitting inside a clear locked box, he started doing his paperwork.
While he was doing so, he and Laura began talking about another hospital where they allowed women to eat throughout labor. The Anesthesiologist thought it was crazy, saying it was dangerous, especially if the woman got nauseous and started puking during an emergency c-section.
I chimed in, feeling much better now that the contraction pain was subsiding, stating that there was no way I could eat anything. Even with the pain gone, I still felt sick to my stomach.
Laura was all, “That’s how you know you’re in active labor.”
Before the Anesthesiologist left, he showed me this little elongated plastic thing with a button on the top that I could press any time I felt like I wanted an extra “shot” of the meds.
I smiled and thanked him.
I now see why everyone sings their praises and they’re the most loved doctors in the entire hospital.
He left, saying he’d be back to check on me and Laura started hooking up all of the monitoring devices again, my ability to move around thwarted.
Epidural = constant monitoring.
Laura also inserted a catheter.
The fact that I now had a tube coming out of my hooha and attached to a pee bag (that Tim kept checking every so often) hanging off the side of the bed was mortifying.
But…it came with the epidural deal. Apparently it’s a combination package.
Laura left, off to fetch me a Popsicle since I had not eaten since our Chili’s dinner the night before, and I told Tim to go find himself something to eat since it was just a waiting game, now.
While Tim was trying to figure out where to get breakfast, Laura returned with my frozen juice meal (aka Popsicle).
I managed to eat about half of it and then had Tim throw the rest of it away, my desire to eat at zero.
Apparently, though, I should have had Tim wait five minutes before he left because as soon as he walked out of the door, drama ensued.
…to be continued…