And along came Molly, part two

The Pitocin starts to work its magic pretty quickly. And by ‘magic’ I mean discomfort. The contractions pretty quickly begin to get more uncomfortable. I had told both the resident and Megan that I was interested in an epidural, and although there wasn’t any discussion of when, there seemed to be serious support for it (everyone nodded quite knowingly). Two bands are again set up around my belly — one measures contractions and the other, the baby’s heart rate. Megan tells us the baby’s heart rate seems fast, but that the doctor isn’t worried about it. My mom and Severa come to visit sometime around one am, I think. It was really, really nice to see them. I pretty much have no recollection of what we talked about, but I remember thinking, “Being a mom means getting up in the middle of the night, driving across town and sitting in a hospital room. Oh boy.” I sat on the birthing ball for awhile, which relieved some of the pain, but things were really not feeling totally awesome. I would still describe the pain, though, as really serious menstrual craps that come and go. Things get a little blurry at this point, but I know that my mom and Severa left and Aaron and Megan and I continue to just hang out. The three of us got along really well and Megan rarely left the room. I never used our iPod and I never turned on the tv. I’m not sure how the hours passed, but they did. I was clearly getting pretty uncomfortable and asked Aaron what he thought was going on with the epidural. Although I felt like I could still manage things, I was worried about getting to a point where I couldn’t and  then being told that it was too late for medication. So, Aaron raised the epidural query to Megan who got on it immediately. Soon a Chicago Bulls fan/anesthesiology resident was in our room, shifting his weight from foot to foot, asking me questions like, “Have you ever had surgery?,” “Any allergies?” and “Do you like cheeseburgers?” Ok, maybe not the last one, but there were a lot of questions that I felt had been well covered by every other person in the hospital. I understand anesthesiology is a huge deal and I’m sure their medical malpractice insurance is in a range I can’t even comprehend, but it still seemed pretty inefficient. And I was all about efficiency at that point. Finally, he sticks the needles in my back, which didn’t feel great, but wasn’t awful. Mostly it just felt odd — I worried he was sticking a microchip in my back and told him so. Soon, though, things were numb and while I could sort of tell I was having contractions, the discomfort and pain had subsided. Yay! The downside, though, was that in went the catheter. You’d think, of course, that if you’re numb, you wouldn’t really care about the catheter, but I found this wasn’t really true. I had great discomfort with that nonsense — I had a constant feeling that I had to pee. When I told Aaron that, he said, “Well, just go.” Uh, yeah, see, I didn’t have any control of that region so going or not going were no longer up to me. Shortly after the sweet relief is administered – I’d estimate it was a little after three am — Aaron and I decide to try to get some sleep. Aaron curls up on the couch and I am on my side on the hospital bed – tubes in my hand, blood pressure cuff around my arm, catheter in my whatever it is and epidural meds being administered in my back. Sweet sleep. But wait! Blech, blech, belch! Out of nowhere, I projectile vomit Twizzler residue all over the bed and floor. This is pretty upsetting. I’m embarrassed and a little scared. What the hell just happened? Aaron and Megan quickly clean it all up, Megan points out the barf bag behind me and things seem to subside. Aaron falls asleep. Soon, though, Megan decides that the bands aren’t doing what she’d like them to do. One thing after another is shoved inside me to measure the contractions and baby’s heart rate. One of them is even screwed into the top of baby’s head. Poor baby. I’m a little concerned at this point, but Megan seems calm so I sleep for a bit.

Not for long, though. I wake up shaking uncontrollably – my teeth, my arms, my hands, my head — everything is shaking. I feel very cold. Everyone checks on me and a cervical exam reveals I am now eight centimeters dilated. I’m happy to hear this, but the shaking is pretty scary. Megan tells me she thinks the shaking is from all of the work my body did in such a short time to get to eight centimeters. I accept this explanation because, well, why not. Things seem to happen quickly at this point and before I know it, I’m ten centimeters and given the green light to push. Baby’s heart rate is still high, but no one seems that worried (although everyone keeps announcing it like it’s something I should know. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do about it, though). It’s about 5:45 am. Pushing begins. Aaron takes one leg, Megan the other, and she tells me to wait for the contraction and then to do three pushes. All three should be done after a deep inhale, and on the exhale I am to push like I’m trying to have a bowel movement. There’s too much going on to say anything to anyone at this point, but I keep thinking, “Why didn’t I know that that was how I was supposed to push? How the hell did I miss that little instruction?” It’s probably obvious to Megan that I didn’t know that, though, because I almost invariably push wrong on the first one to two pushes of the series. She also keeps telling me to keep my butt down on the bed. This is all harder than I can explain, and not because it was painful or uncomfortable — though that part is soon to come. It just seems like so much to coordinate and my brain is hardly working and certainly can’t communicate such complicated and unfamiliar directions to my lower half. Breathe in deeply, push out my bowels on the exhale. But keep my butt on the bed. And do it again. And again. Ok, just as I sort of think that I am getting this routine down — Megan and Aaron are being super encouraging — things start really hurting. The contractions hurt more and the pushing is just incredibly painful. My legs and feet start tingling, like they had been asleep and were just waking up. The pushing becomes more and more exhausting. I am a broken record, “Um, things really feel weird. Things really hurt. Things are tingly.” There are other nurses in and out and no one really seems to take notice. I mean, they’re nice to me, but no one seems to think anything is strange. The attending finally comes in around this point, apologizing for not getting to us until now. It didn’t really bother me, especially as I hadn’t know that he was supposed to pop in for a visit. He assesses the situation and tells me that I have to do more work before he can help me by pulling or using forceps. Forceps! Good God. The doc also mentions that if I don’t get things moving along, I’ll have to have a c-section. A c-section! For God’s sake, we could have done that yesterday! I’m tearing up and Aaron is about ready to ask if we can up the epidural to get me some relief when a nurse walks around the back of my bed and sees that the tube from the epidural medicine into me has fallen out of me. Uh, oops. She announces that the back of my gown is soaked with druggy medicine. So, yikes. A new anesthesiologist comes rushing in and fixes things up quickly. Sweet relief. The thing I noticed most about this wasn’t so much the alleviation of serious pain — though I did notice that — but instead that I had more energy to concentrate on pushing. I assume this is because I wasn’t concentrating on being in so much pain and my energy could be used for more productive things. I then continued to push for awhile but nothing really seems to be happening. Baby’s heart rate is still high and, at one point, an unfamiliar nurse comes in and whispers with Megan for a bit. Megan tells us that all of the nurses are watching Baby’s heart rate and contractions on monitors out at their desk and are riveted. Uh, great. I have no clue what to do with this information. I feel like I should be really stressed out about it, but I feel like I can only concentrate on following the instructions I’m given. A shift change occurs so we lose sweet Megan and in comes maternal Linda and a teenage nursing student who could not have been nicer. Linda was pretty bossy — but in that kind of sugary voice that has scary conviction underlining it — and adjusting to the change in dynamic is a bit rough. But the tweenage nurse is so nice and kind that it eases the transition a bit. The doc comes in again and is more serious with his c-section threat. I push and push and push. Linda tells me Baby is going to be totally bald – she can see the head! I push and push and push. And nothing really seems to be happening.

I am lying on the bed with my legs up on the squat bar and pushing beyond what I think is possible for me.  I cry and scream and even start to swear. I honestly do not think this baby is coming out. Right before 8 am, a new doctor comes in — another shift change. At this point, it seems as though there are 100 people in the room, though I know that can’t be right. While the doctor is at the foot of my bed, I push so hard that I feel a football-size something-or-other fall out of me. In fact, I see my belly go from inflated to deflated (well, as deflated as I get) and I hear a short scream. What happened? I ask. There seems to be a moment of chaos and confusion before the entire room realizes that Baby Molly has just popped right out. After almost two and a half hours of pushing, over a day of contractions, vomit, shaking, epidurals in and out, our baby girl just fell out on the bed when no one was expecting it.

And now she’s here. Ten fingers, ten toes. And quite a bit of hair.

The next day the doctor visited us and apologized for not being ready. I’m not sure we were really ready, either. But I am sure about one thing: we are totally in love.


3 Responses to “And along came Molly, part two”

  1. 1 Terry April 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Hooray for Part 2 and the arrival of Molly! I remember being in Puerto Rico, getting texted that you were starting to push. Maggie asked how long that might last…I said it could take awhile. And she said, “it’s already been 20 minutes!”
    Congratulations my dear. She is totally a lovely baby.

  2. 2 Sara H April 6, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Oh dear, that was a looong night. I can sympathize with the 2.5 hours of pushing – that’s pretty much what I did. I just couldn’t find the right position to push correctly. (finally the nurse tied a sheet around the middle of that bar thingee above the bed, and I held onto the sheet while in stirrup position like I could be scaling a wall – and then it was over quickly) Man, I’m tired just reading that story. I’m so glad it all ended well! That must have been one hell of a push you gave at the end!

  3. 3 kateandgracie April 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    The nurse did that sheet trick for me too — but I think it was Linda and not Megan. It definitely worked – once i remembered what I was supposed to do with it. It’s amazing how simple instructions can be so hard to follow during labor. How do I push? Where is my butt supposed to be? Push on the exhale? Oops. Ah well, she got here somehow. I imagine, though, in addition to all of the ways in which your body is stretched out, and maybe stretches more easily second and subsequent labors, that part of the alleged relative ease in which second babies pop out is that ladies now know not only what to expect, but how to perform. I won’t, however, be testing out this theory. One and done for me.

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April 2012

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