Okay, I may have been kidnapped by those pesky aliens I mentioned in the previous post. I am writing this a couple of weeks later, so my memory may only be partially erased. :)
My doctor was worried that Benjamin was big and because of my gd she scheduled an induction for August 25th. I was to report to the hospital on the 24th at 6:00 p.m. I kept hoping that the labor would come naturally, but little Benjamin just wasn't ready.
I, of course, tried to get my house prepared for guests. Thank God for my mother who gets on her hands and knees to clean the kitchen floor.
We checked in and they put me right into a gown and started the gel. Apparently this gel is used to soften the cervix. They inserted it a total of 3 times. The first time was with an exam. Not super comfortable, but not the worst I have ever experienced. The second exam was horrible and actually brought tears to my eyes. Not sure if the nurse had enormous fingers(or hands, since that is what it felt like,) or if she was just a sadist. Of course, I was only dilated to 1/2 cm at the beginning. I don't know how I lost 1/2 of cm in a week or if the nurses and doctors measure differently. Anyhow, this was the beginning of a long sleepless, uncomfortable night.
The nurses monitored my blood pressure and I had an iv in too. The actual worst part was a killer blood pressure cuff that monitored me every few minutes. I swear to God that thing just about cut off my circulation. Unfortunately it took the nurses until morning to realize that this thing had a death grip on me. Any hopes of sleep, went away with each horrible squeeze.
By 6:00 a.m they were ready to start the pitocin. Here's the thing....I expected that contractions came every 15 minutes or so and then worked there way from there. Oh no, not with pitocin. Apparently for me the contractions started to come every 2- 2 1/2 minutes with some ferocity. With each contraction I looked at the monitor and realized they were at about the 20 level. I kept thinking, "holy shit, what must 100 feel like?" By about 9:30 I started to think that I could use some advice about when to get an epidural. By this time I was trying to find a position to squat in during these contractions. I just couldn't catch my breath. One would end and the next was right behind it.
I asked for the epidural. I was at about 4-5 cm at this time. So, everyone says that the epidural is so relieving. Okay, but what if the doctor tells you to hold completely still while he sticks a huge needle in your back? Did I mention that he asked me to do this while I was in the middle of one of those heinous contractions? Not easy and I probably crushed Brian's hand in the process.
My mom arrived about this time and I started to feel gloriously better. I wouldn't say paralyzed, but I felt really sleepy. My mom and MIL chose to visit a lot for the next few hours. Brian's family noisily filled the waiting room. I looked at the computer, maybe watched the tv. I remember seeing my ob come in to check on me and I noticed she had on some perfectly pressed white pants. She always dresses flawlessly. Anyway, she left. Brian went for some grub and my mom came in. At about 3:00 or so, my mom was asked to leave when the nurse examined me. She said, "oh my you are all ready at 8 cm and your bag of waters is bursting out." The doctor then walks in and breaks it. I didn't feel a thing. I guess that was good because, my friend Cara gave birth a few days after me and said that it hurt.
From then on, I thought it could be anytime. However, Benjamin was firmly planted in the birth canal and wasn't making much progress. The nurses were flipping me from side to side about every 45 minutes or so. I was in and out at this time. Super sleepy. Brian came back from food and was sad that he missed the water breaking, but happy that I was dilating. A few hours later panic set in.
When the nurse turned me on my left side, the baby's heart rate dropped. She decided that I was to stay on my right side. My blood pressure was really irregular and higher than normal. My glucose levels were also really low and so they were forcing me to drink juice. At this point, all I wanted to do was sleep. The nurse told Brian that she was worried and that she was calling the doctor to come in. I could tell that she was thinking it was time for a C-section. I started to tear up a little bit because it was the last thing I wanted. At this time my mom came in again and Brian kind of let her in on what was happening. He wasn't going to worry anyone until he knew for sure what was happening.
It seemed like hours before the dr arrived. I think it was more like an hour. She walked in said I was dilated to 10 and that I was to start pushing. My mom was leaving thinking, "oh, thank God he is almost here." Then the nurse said something that made my mom crazy....."the pushing usually will last for 1-3 hours."
To a normal woman, this may seem reasonable to my mother, her labors don't last that long. She was worried about how tired I was. They had put me on oxygen about an hour before and I was exhausted.
Somehow, I started to push. I couldn't really move my legs at first, but feeling came back quickly. The anesthesiologist came back in just before to give me something since the epidural was now gone. Whatever it was, it didn't really work. Not that it mattered, it wasn't that bad, just exhausting.
So here's my biggest complaint....Why in the hell do they have a huge clock in my view? I kept looking at it thinking, how much longer? Every time the freaking nurse or Brian said he's almost here, I wanted to scream..."You said that 1/2 an hour ago." I remember getting real whiny and telling Brian I couldn't do it anymore. But I plugged on. I pushed every contraction, every two minutes, three times each contraction for two whole hours. That's a lot of freaking pushing. At some point other nurses were piling in. The pediatric nurse would try to get me to push 4 times for each contraction. I secretly wanted her dead. She also decided to pepper me with stupid questions at this point. I closed my eyes. When she asked me what I was going to name the baby, I snapped and suddenly got angry at Brian. I punched him in the chest(lightly according to my recollection) and said, "Answer Her."
A few minutes later, Benjamin's head popped out and then his shoulders. When they held him up, all I could think was..."He's huge." Brian cut the cord and they started getting him cleaned up. It seem to take forever and I just wanted to hold him. Brian counted fingers and toes and took a picture of him on the scale. He looked great. Found out he got a 9 and a 9 on the Apgar taken at birth and 5 minutes after birth I think. Leave it to our child to be an overachiever so early on. Doesn't take after his momma in that respect. :)
Benjamin Joseph was 22 inches long, 8 pounds, 11 ounces and just about as perfect as you can get. I fell in love at first sight.
Things happened quickly after that, Brian left to make announcements. They stitched me up and cleaned up super fast and transformed the room for guests in a matter of minutes. I had a rush of adrenaline after he came out. I was super excited and wide awake.
I tried to spare the gorier details. I think Brian saw a lot more than he needed too.
I also wanted to mention that all of the nursing staff at San Ramon were awesome. I couldn't have asked for better care. Every nurse came in and helped with whatever I needed, be it food or nursing tips. I think that I wouldn't have been that successful at breastfeeding if it weren't for all of the nurses involved.
Okay....here is the truth about how I felt about labor...I was pretty disappointed with my pain tolerance. I really thought I could have done it without pain meds and instead I caved pretty early on. I learned later that they can really only track the frequency of contractions and not the level of pain or how strong they are. That would have been nice to know before I asked for the epidural. I wished I would have been in better shape. I wished I would have taken some yoga classes. I wished I would have been better prepared. I was kind of kicking myself the first week because I thought maybe the epidural impeded progress and that maybe Benjamin could have been born earlier.
2 weeks later...I am no longer kicking myself because the end result would have been the same...A beautiful, HEALTHY, perfect, little boy named Benjamin Joseph. ;)