WARNING: This may be a little TMI for some of you. Just a head’s up. Also I’m sorry for the long, rambling nature of it. It’s hard to put something as emotional and amazing as the birth of your child into words.
OK, so I finally feel up to sharing Amelia’s birth story. It wasn’t anything like I thought it was going to be, but in the end I got exactly what I wanted. How she got here doesn’t really matter.
I woke up around 3:30 AM Friday morning. We got to the hospital to show up at 4:15 AM, checked in, and were admitted to Labor and Delivery. They hooked me up to all the monitors and informed me I was already having contractions, which shocked the hell out of me. The nurses checked my cervix, and I was, sadly, only 1.5 centimeters. By 5:00 AM, the pitocin was dripping.
I knew that induction could take a while, so John and napped while watching Something Borrowed on TV. You do what you can to make the time go by, you know?
By about 8:00 AM, I was really feeling the contractions. They were coming strong and fast, and I was having a hard time keeping up with them with almost no recovery time in between. At about this time, my doctor came in and broke my water and checked my cervix. I figured I had to be 4-5 centimeters by this time, but I was only 2-3.
I pretty much knew there was no way I was going to be able to keep this up without some sort of pain management. My blood pressure was rising; I was fighting the contractions instead of working with them. There were tears. I struggled with the decision to ask for an epidural because I was SO DETERMINED to have natural childbirth. In my eyes, I felt like I would be failing myself if I gave up. John, being the amazing birth coach he was, reminded me it was okay to change my mind and things were only going to intensify.
After the next couple of contractions, I called the nurse. The thought of spending the next several hours writhing in pain no longer appealed to me, and I asked for the epidural; I thought I might die waiting for the anesthesiologist to get there. John was kicked out of the room, and I got the epidural.
Funny thing about epidurals I didn’t know, they can cause your blood pressure to drop. Well. After the administration of the epidural, my blood pressure, which had previously been pretty high, dropped significantly, which caused Amelia’s heart rate to drop. All of a sudden, there were five nurses in the room, I was being rolled over onto my other side, they were putting a scalp monitor on the baby, and I was getting oxygen. I remember one of them calling my doctor to tell them what was going on. Other than the nurses I am alone in the room. John’s out in the waiting room, with no clue about what’s going on. All I knew was something was wrong, and I was scared. Thankfully, my sister-in-law came in the room and went and got John and my mom.
Shortly after that, when the nurses checked me again, I was six centimeters. A little but later, I was at nine and a half. I’m not sure what it was, if the epidural calmed me down enough or I was no longer fighting the contractions, but by 11:30 AM I was at 10 centimeters and ready to push.
I pushed. And Pushed. And Pushed. For two freaking hours. The nurses kept saying “just one more set and we can call the doctor” but one more set turned into three more sets, and I honestly thought they were never going to call my doctor and this baby was never going to be born. Finally, at about 1:00 PM (ish, I don’t really remember), the doctor got there.
For those of you who don’t know, when you’re in labor you typically have one or two L&D nurses with you. But, when it’s actually time for the baby to be born, it seems like a whole football team is in the room. And you are ON DISPLAY for everyone to see. Feet up in stirrups, spotlights on your crotch, with A LOT of people hanging around for the show. The good thing is at this point, you really could not care less WHO is there as long as that baby gets out of you, stat.
And so I pushed some more. And more. AND MORE. My doctor, at one point said, “This baby is hanging on by her toenails, because these are really good pushes.” At this point, I was just about ready to give up I was so exhausted. I was crying. I was reaching the end of my rope.
Then, at 1:44 PM, with one final push, Amelia Rose was born.
From here on, things get really fuzzy. I was crying a lot, and there was a ton going on. I remember she didn’t cry right away, instead she was making these grunting noises. After some suction she decided to open her lungs, and we heard the best noise ever: Her screaming. A nurse asked me if I wanted to do skin on skin with her, which I automatically answered yes to even though I hadn’t even thought about it before. I just wanted to see her, to be close to her. It was an amazing experience.
Eventually they took her away from me to get cleaned up and weighed and all that jazz. Her heart rate and temperature were a little high, probably from the stress of being in the birth canal for two hours. Our pediatrician wanted her to go to the transition nursery (a special nursery for babies who are having trouble “transitioning” from life in utero to life in the world) and be seen by neonatology, just in case. I vaguely remember having this conversation with the nurse, I was pretty out of it, really the only thing I could comprehend was my baby was going to be taken away from me, and I wasn’t very happy. Shortly after this though they gave me a Percocet so between that and the waning epidural I was almost completely comatose.
By the time I had napped and gotten up to my recovery room, Amelia had been released from the transition nursery and was back in my arms again, where she has basically been ever since. On Sunday we were released from the hospital, and we’ve spent the past nine days learning how to be parents and enjoying our daughter.
Actually, A LOT has happened in the past week or so, but that’ll be another post for another time. I need to go hold my baby now.