Looking back I realize that this phase – the one where I needed to sit still so that they could put the epidural in again- was actually that thing called “transition”, but at the time I had no idea. I was having constant contractions, causing my body to shake uncontrollably. The anesthesiologist tried twice to insert a new catheter. Then he called on a different anesthesiologist to try.
After the third attempt I couldn’t help crying. I begged my nurse to just let me lay down for a minute. I couldn’t sit there any more, and I desperately needed to move. The anesthesiologist moved and let me lay down, hoping it would relax me enough to let them put the catheter in again.
I had been sitting there for about 10 minutes. As I laid down the nurse started asking me questions about my contractions. I was definitely feeling more pressure on my spine/tailbone. This comment prompted her to check me again.
In the past ten minutes I had dilated from a 7 to 10. No wonder I couldn’t sit still! Upon finding out that I was at a 10 the anesthesiologist was unceremoniously kicked out, my doctor was paged, and my nurse had me lie on my back. B-man was on my left, my Mama on the right – holding my legs. I had returned to my moaning/crying means of coping with the pain. The time between laying down and giving birth was kind of crazy, it flew by in a tizzy and people buzzed around getting things ready.
Note that at this point I am 10 centimeters dilated, with no (working) pain medication, and the pitocin is still cranking.
So my Mom is holding back my dead leg, while my husband is holding my other leg, and the nurse starts counting.
Again, pre-hospital I would’ve said “Don’t count at me!” but I am so glad that I didn’t have a birth plan with that written down, because it was exactly what I needed. Nurse Awesome had me do a few “practice” breaths. These were real ones…helping Ginny move down more. She’d say “Deep breath! 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 and Exhale…” and then we’d do it again. Three times per contraction.
While I “practiced” the breathing/pushing my doctor came in from another room (a different woman was also in labor, she ended up delivering 3 minutes before me!), the NICU staff came in (because of the meconium), and a whole battalion of nurses. My Dad stood in a corner with my camera, and my Mom and hubs were with me. The room was packed!
Once the doctor showed up the “real” pushing started… but it felt the same as the previous pushes. lol. My doctor used two fingers to help with the stretching as Ginny made her way down. After just two contractions my Doctor asked B-man if he wanted to see Ginny’s head. He said yes, and spent the rest of the time watching her be born. I’m was kind of surprised that he looked/watched. Before hand he had said he wasn’t interested in watching her actually emerge… but I left it up to him.
This whole time it didn’t occur to me to look down. lol.
I could feel her head in the birth canal though. B-man told me that the doctor had put her hand around Ginny’s head, to keep her from going back in.
Another two contractions later her head was out. I was kind of yelling at B-man because he wasn’t holding my leg the “right” way (I have hop problems, which is why it was hurting). He later said “I was doing the exact same thing as your Mom!” but my Mom was holding a completely numb leg… which would be why I wasn’t yelling at her too! Two more contractions and her whole body was out. All in all it was about 15 minutes of pushing and she was born! She was born July 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm.
The doctor cut the cord and Ginny was whisked across the room to the baby warmer thing. B-man didn’t get to cut the cord, but he doesn’t seem bothered by that. I don’t remember anything going on with Ginny, so this is what I have been told. As soon as she was born she started screaming. While that is generally a good thing, with the meconium it is very dangerous because she could have inhaled some of the meconium, which could cause a serious infection. The NICU staff quickly intubated her and started clearing her airways. I don’t have any memories of this.
While the doctors were working on her, I was working on the placenta. The contractions felt more like period cramps compared to what I had been feeling for the last several hours, and within a few minutes the placenta was out.
Ginny had been cleaned off a bit. My nurse then brought Ginny over and put her on my stomach. It was one of the weirdest moments in my life. I know some women say that they fell in love with their baby the moment they first saw the baby. I did not – and that is okay. I can’t really describe how I was feeling – worn out? That might be it.
My nurse then helped me start breastfeeding her. I looked down at this tiny little thing I had just pushed out. After a moment I said to the nurse “She’s not sucking any more.” Ginny had gone very pale and had actually stopped breathing – an apneatic episode. Had I been in my right mind I probably would’ve freaked out, but like I said before – I was too worn out to really realize what was going on around me. Nurse Awesome calmly whisked Ginny away again to the warmer thing as the NICU staff huddle around her. My Mom told me later they were about to jump start her heart whens he started breathing again.
She had a tough first 20 minutes of life.
Ginny weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and was 20 inches long – perfectly average – thank you very much! Three weeks before her birth the perinatologist told me she already weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces. lol.