I've written this birth story more for my own memory than for the entertainment of others :) As the days go by, the details are fading fast, so I wanted to write down everything that I still remember. It's not funny or witty, but if you're into birth stories, feel free to give it a read.
Soon I'll post a few details about the first week, complete with more pictures :) Here's one new pic of Maya and her buddy (my sister brought George to the hospital for Maya):
6:55pm We arrive at the hospital. Nurses change shifts at 7:00, so we were told by the midwife (Elizabeth) not to arrive until after 7. We stand outside across the street and I call my parents to let them know we'll be going in soon. I'm nervous.
7:10pm We arrive on the Labor & Delivery floor. All of the bigger birthing rooms are full, so we're put in a little room . . . which isn't bad, kind of like a small hotel room. I get into a gown, they bring me paperwork to fill out. The chief doctor on the floor comes to interview me and input my info. A resident trails behind him (St. Vincent's is a teaching hospital . . . I am amused by the trailing residents for the rest of my stay . . . they don't do anything much, sometimes they nod). My nurse's name is Rita, which seems mystical because my grandmother's name was Rita, and Rita isn't all that common of a name. In some sort of religious way, this is reassuring.
I'm hooked up to the monitors (one for baby's heartrate, one for contractions) and am surprised to see that I am having contractions . . . just little ones that I can't really feel. An IV line is started.
8:15pm Elizabeth arrives, bustling into the room, talking over the nurses to me. She has a very forceful presence (especially for a midwife . . . I would picture them as more zen), but her take-chargeness is also calming. She's like a bossy, protective mom. She checks me . . . still at 1-2cm. Pitocin (the drug that causes contractions) is started in the IV line.
10:00-11:00pm The Office is on NBC, late for some reason :) Sometime around now we're moved into one of the larger L&D rooms, which has opened up. 5 other women are having babies on the floor at the same time.
11:00pm-3:00am My contractions are getting stronger and more regular. I have to breathe through them. They feel like bad cramps, but nothing too awful yet. Elizabeth comes in regularly to check on us, and to make sure that there's nothing I need.
Dave and I talked about Elizabeth during this time . . . having her as a midwife turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made. All night long she sat out at the nurse's station, watching my monitor and waiting (she does this for all of her patients). I felt that someone was literally watching over me, and she kept popping in to see that I was ok. I can't imagine how different the experience would have been with a doctor . . . I would guess that they would have arrived sometime right before I started to push.
Going to the bathroom is a ridiculous endeavor. Dave helps (not literally helps me go to the bathroom, but helps me to get in the bathroom). The monitors have to be unplugged, and then my IV machine has to be wheeled in there with me. This is comical now, but once things get painful it becomes less funny and more another-tiresome-thing-to-deal-with.
We do a crossword puzzle, then I quit and Dave does a few more. I watch bad TV (there is NOTHING on). I may have tried to rest a little, but I don't really remember. Dave leaves again at 3:00 (he left once before) to get another cup of coffee. This is when things start to get more intense.
3:00am Things are intense. I can't really think about anything besides my physical body (I feel like an animal). I don't know what to do with myself, so I try to find a comfortable position . . . I try laying on my back, laying on each side, sitting up, standing up, standing up and rocking, leaning over onto the bed, kneeling on the floor next to the bed, kneeling on top of the bed. Nothing helps.
Elizabeth checks me sometime around now . . . I'm much more effaced, but only 2-3 cm.
This is when I start to get sad about the induction. I (obviously) never wanted to be induced, and this type of labor is the reason why. The contractions are starting to come right on top of each other, without nice breaks to relax in between.
4-7:30am Things are no fun. Sometime in here I throw up a few times. I try breathing through the contractions, and I time them. I feel like if I know that a contraction lasts 35 seconds (for example), then I can make myself last through them (without medication). But they're really variable. Timing them makes me realize that the average contraction gives me around 35 seconds of bad pain, and I only get about a 40 second break before it starts again.
I'm debating getting an epidural, which I really didn't want (but I promised myself to be open-minded once I found out that I would need an induction). I'm concerned that I still have a LONG way to go to get to 10 cm, and if it takes a while, with contractions like this, I will be totally depleted.
My water breaks (which was crazy . . . I could feel a little *pop* in my belly, like a water balloon breaking). I know that the contractions will get stronger now, and as I'm stumbling to the bathroom through bad contractions to throw up again, I realize the epidural is necessary.
I have to wait 90 mins for the epidural because of an emergency c-section that's going on. They offer me a demerol injection, but I decide to wait.
7:30-8:30am I get the epidural. I'm at peace with the decision----I made it through nearly 12 hours of unmedicated induced labor, and that's all that I can do. They let Dave stay in the room and watch, as long as he doesn't get out of the chair in the corner. I was surprised that he watched it. Within half an hour I feel much better, but still has pain. Twice they added medication.
Then I started to feel hot. Really hot. My face felt hot. This is what happens before I pass out (which has happened after giving blood, when I broke my elbow, and almost after my knee surgery). I let them know and heard them talking about my blood pressure. They lowered my head down and I figured that my bp was dropping (which they later confirmed). They gave me a shot of something to bring it back up.
Through all of this, the labor, the epidural, etc. everyone kept telling me how good-natured the baby was. Her heartrate stayed totally normal, not stressed at all.
Oh, and get this . . . the nurses have changed shifts. My new nurse's last name is McLaughlin. That was my grandmother's last name. Her name was Rita McLaughlin, and now I've had a Rita and a McLaughlin . . . AND later, when I'm moved to the postpartum unit, I get a new nurse named Rita. Dave would say it's all coincidence, but this is the sort of stuff that I believe in :)
8:30am-11:30am Finally comfortable, I sleep a lot, drifting in and out. I can't feel my left leg at all, which is kind of creepy. Everytime the nurse comes in I ask her to feel my feet and make sure that they're still warm, that I haven't lost my circulation. My legs are heavy and feel freezing to me, but are warm to the touch. Elizabeth checked me sometime around 9:30/10 and I was 4 cm and fully effaced.
I start feeling the contractions again around 10:30, but they're only mildly uncomfortable, so I dont' want to ask for more medicine. By 11:30 they hurt enough that I have to breathe through them, and I ask the nurse to get Elizabeth so I can ask her about increasing the medication. She checked me (around 11:30/12) and I was fully dilated. So we turned off the epidural and waited for it to wear off (mostly) so that I would be ready to push.
12:30ish pm? I'm not sure of the exact time. I was feeling the contractions a lot and it was time to start pushing. I felt a huge amount of pain & pressure on the inside of one hip, which stayed the entire time (whether or not I was having contractions) (later on, we figured out that this must have been Maya's elbow).
Pushing was hard work. It lasted around 2 hours (Elizabeth told me later that if not for her arm, she would have been born faster). Dave was great, he counted and encouraged me, got wet cloths and held up a leg.
almost 2:40pm: Maya's head is born. Dave had been watching it descend, but it must have been pretty crazy when it was born. He says there are no words to describe what it was like. Elizabeth felt around her head and realized taht she had a "nuchal arm"---her left arm was up, kind of wrapped around her neck. Nothing bad, but a bit more painful to deliver.
2:40pm Maya is born :) She had been stuck for a little while because of her arm, so she was born kind of filled with fluid. Elizabeth and the nurse rubbed her to make her cry, and she whimpered a little, but that was it. I knew that she would have to go to the nursery to get woken up a bit. They put her on me for a minute, and I couldn't believe that that whole person had been living IN me a minute earlier.
Dave followed her across the hall to the nursery. They were gone for a while, while I was cleaned up & all that. He later told me that it was scary, but while everything was going on he did a great job of pretending to be totally calm. She was suctioned and put on a warmer. Finally they brought her back so I could check her out. The end :)