When we last left off, my doctor had sent me to the hospital for the fourth time. Hopefully this time in active labor.
I got to the hospital around 11:00am, still contracting every few minutes. I had now been having contractions for 7 hours with no pain relief whatsoever. The nurses did the exam and I was 3cm dilated. Yes, I was progressing! They still didn't know if it was enough so they talked about sending me on a walk (good gosh!) but wanted to talk to the doctor first. So Dave and I waited, and waited, and waited to hear back from the doctor while the contractions got stronger and stronger and almost unbearable. I was in bed, out of bed, moaning, swaying. At one point I yelled at Dave to SHUT UP!!! Finally after an hour and a half the nurse came back and said she had talked to the doctor and they were going to admit me. Our baby boy was finally coming!!!
I knew I wanted that epidural right away. Sure I had taken all the classes and learned the techniques, but honey, contractions hurt like no other. I had labored for a long time without and still had a long way to go and there was no way I could keep it up. Unfortunately, though, they have to do a full workup on you along with getting a bag of fluid into you before an epidural can be administered. Finally around 2:00pm, I got that epidural. For those of you keeping count at home, that's 10 hours of laboring without any pain medicine and only 3cm of dilation. It was going to be a long day!
Let me tell you something, the epidural is the miracle drug. More power to those who want to do it without. Frankly, I think you're crazy! As soon as the epidural and the medicine was inserted, I no longer felt the contractions. Ahhh, relief. The doctor came in and broke my water. (Note, this was the only doctor I saw until MY doctor delivered the baby. The nurses do ALL the work.) I rested for a while, eating popsicles and ice, and enjoyed the company of my nurses and family. The next check they did, I was somewhere around 5cm. Yes! Halfway there. They figured that I would probably have the baby in the early morning hours the next day.
So, laboring (for me) with an epidural was a lot like a game of assisted Twister. Because the baby's head was not exactly in the correct position, the nurses had to turn me and maneuver me into positions to get the baby to corkscrew the correct way. Every hour my nurse would come in and turn me like I was on a spit. For one hour I would be sitting straight up with my legs in a frog position. The next hour the nurse would turn me on my side with my outside leg up in a stirrup. The next hour that position would switch to the opposite side. Needless to say, it was not easy to get comfortable or get any sleep. I would fall asleep and then every 15 minutes my blood pressure cuff would contract and wake me up. I was starting to get delirious with sleepiness.
Around 11 hours into the epidural (around 1:00am), it started to wear off. I began having pains in my left ribs and my left side of my lower abs around my hips. The doctor who administered my epidural had warned me that I would feel increasing pressure as the baby moved down and I dilated more. I was feeling plenty of pressure (seriously, am I shitting all over myself?!?!) but this was more. This was sharp pain. I was feeling every contraction and having to breathe through them all over again. Luckily they came in and pushed more epidural goodness and I felt better again.
Now 24 hours into labor (4:00am Wednesday), I had dilated to 7cm. This was taking forever, but everyone reassured me this is usually how labor goes for first time pregnancies. I had expected 12-14 hours, not double that. I was tired and getting a little restless. 5:00 came and went, 6:00 came and went. Things were starting to get a little more intense. The nurse noticed some problems with my catheter. I wasn't producing any urine and there was blood coming out of the catheter. She readjusted it. She did a straight catheter. She put in a new catheter. She pumped me full of fluids. And still nothing. A doctor came in sometime in the 6:00 hour and checked me again - 7cm. I was going nowhere fast. They talked to my doctor and decided to give it one more hour. They were concerned, and these are the words they used, that my bladder was going to "explode." Awesome.
Around 7:00am the resident doctor came in again and checked me - absolutely no change. They consulted my doctor and a decision had to be made. A cesarean it would be. Now, I didn't go into labor with a plan and knew with as big as baby as I was carrying that a c-section was high probability so I was not disappointed when this would be the final outcome. Shoot! We would have our baby boy soon and I would get two extra weeks of paid leave for work. Score! It was now shift change and the new nurses came in to prep me for surgery. I've never had surgery before so I was quite scared about what was going on. I began to shake violently and worried everyone. I cried a little, but kept being reassured that everything was going to be alright. After 8:00am I was wheeled into the operating room.
Everything got prepped, Dave came into the room, and the surgery got started. I couldn't feel anything but I could hear the doctors talking. My doctor schooled the residents on my awesome abs (seriously) and made sure they weren't doing any damage to them. And then came big pressure where it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. Dave was watching the whole surgery and I kept looking at his face. He began to cry and then the baby cried and I felt nothing but relief. Not only did I physically feel better, emotionally I felt great. They brought the baby to the warmer on the side where Dave was and I could see him too. We named him and he stopped crying. He was totally cool and collected throughout the process. I watched Dave cut the cord and then they swaddled him up and I got to nuzzle him. Welcome to the world, baby boy Anderson!
(My pictures got a little bit out of order when they were imported. You get the idea.)
As it turns out, the baby was facing the wrong direction. He was face up instead of down. And his head was in such a position that it was pressing against my bladder every time I had a contraction and thus why I couldn't produce any urine.
They stitched me up good (ouch, I could feel this), gave me some really good drugs for the dizziness I was feeling, and moved us into recovery. I was so out of it I could barely keep my eyes open. My family and Dave's family came in to meet Anderson. I kept him close and loved him from the start. I'm so glad he's finally here.