Now, where were we? Right. It was around 11:30am on February 10th, and I needed some Fentanyl to dull the pain. Not long after it kicked in, I felt this weird wrenching in my abdomen and then what felt like my water breaking. Since I had the drugs to take the edge off, I was more excited than scared--things were finally happening! I could still feel the cramps, but they weren't terrible. For about 15 minutes, I basically lounged around in my bed, dictating notes to Matt so I could remember everything and chit chatting with my mom and MIL.
Note that I said "for about 15 minutes." After about 15 minutes, the cramps really started to come on strong, and they were more intense and more painful than they were before the Fentanyl. We called the nurse in, she took one look at me and said, "let's get you your epidural." Things get a little hazy at that point--the nurse came back to deliver the bad news that the anesthesiologist was with another patient, so we had to wait. At that point, I was in more pain than I had ever felt in my life. It just came on so strongly, and my body felt like it wanted to push, which freaked me out because I was certain the baby was about to come.
"I just want to push!" I yelled.
"Okay," the nurse said," let me check you."
"NO DON'T TOUCH ME! JUST GET ME THE EPIDURAL."
And so this went on for about an hour. Matt kept asking them to hurry up with the epidural. He looked like he was almost in pain himself--I'll never forget the worry and anxiety that stayed on his face that entire time. While we waited for what seemed like an eternity, I was lying on my side, twisted up with my face smashed against the bed rails, clawing at the sheets and crying out in pain. I remember Matt's mom kept asking me if I wanted them to move me away from the bed rails, because that didn't look comfortable, but I kept shouting, "DON'T TOUCH ME!" Somehow, I survived. Matt was on one side, coaching me with my breathing, and my mom was on the other side rubbing my back. Finally, they called in another anesthesiologist, and they both arrived at the same time. Typical. They asked to clear the room, and only one person could stay. Since my mom and Matt both aren't good with needles, my mother-in-law remained. The nurse and anesthesiologist came over to me and pushed me up so that I was sitting up with my legs over the side of the bed--and in that moment my water really broke.
During the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I kept thinking, "what if my water breaks and I don't notice? Like maybe I'm taking a shower or using the bathroom?" Well, let me tell you, that is a sensation that can't be missed. My water broke all over that hospital floor, right in front of my mother-in-law. I suppose in other circumstances that might be embarrassing, but I was in too much pain to care--all I cared about in that moment was the anesthesiologist getting that epidural going!
Finally, those good meds kicked in. Ladies, if you're planning to have kids but you're nervous about getting the epidural, don't worry--it only felt like a few pinches, and I've had IVs that feel worse! Of course, my memory could be distorted by the pain of the contractions.
Once I had the epidural and felt relaxed, the nurse told me to take a nap, and once I woke up, it would be time to have a baby! I took her advice and dozed for a few hours. By the time I woke up, I was at 8 cm--so I really was almost ready! Matt got my special music playlist going, and we started texting basically everyone we knew. We were so confident that baby would be arriving in just a few hours. We were so wrong.
I started pushing around 6pm. The nurse is the one who does most of the work--my doctor came in every now and then to check on me, and then would come in for the main event. Once again, we were so confident that baby would be arriving in about an hour.
I ended up pushing for over three hours, and it was both physically and mentally exhausting. I don't know how women do this without an epidural--there is no way I could focus on pushing while being in extreme pain. I'm pretty sure that around 8pm, the nurse and doctor kept telling me "you're almost there!" I swear, by the end, if I had heard that one more time I was going to lose it.
When she finally arrived, she was immediately whisked away because she had swallowed meconium before coming out into the world. What's meconium, you ask? Well, it's poop. I actually read about this happening and it can be pretty serious, so of course I freaked out. Luckily, everything was okay, and she was quickly cleaned up and placed into my arms. Matt and I just kept looking at each other with tears in our eyes, not needing to say anything. It was one of the absolute best moments of our lives, and even more fitting, the song "Everything Changes" by Sara Bareilles came on the playlist just a few moments after she was born. Give the song a listen and you'll understand.
Whew! That was a long story, but it was a long labor! All told, we were in the hospital for almost 27 hours before she was finally born. I'm grateful that there were no complications, and we ended up with a healthy baby girl.
Thanks for sticking around! I'll be sharing more about our day-to-day life with a newborn soon.