A re-post for Mrs. Wagon

Hi! If you are new here, I'm lovehoneybee, and I am allergic to brevity! Just thought I'd give you a heads-up that this is long (and it's not even the first draft!)

Evan Charles McK was born on 8/8/12 at 1:31pm tipping the scales at 8lbs, 12oz and 20” long.

I went into having a baby not with a “birth plan” but a “birth preference list”…a wish list that assumed my labor and delivery would be uncomplicated and progress at a normal, steady rate. I also went in knowing that things rarely go according to plan, and I needed to be ready to go with it. DH took the folder with the plan out one time as I was being checked, and before he could even pull it out I was waving it away. The “plan” never saw the light of day (or of a hospital room).

On Tuesday morning (8/7), around 6-7am I woke up with small waves of back pain. They weren’t bad (maybe a 2-3 on the pain scale), and although they were time-able they were pretty far apart (15-20 minutes). I tried to go back to sleep, but they were just painful enough that I couldn't. I thought I might be in labor, but also knew it could take a long time, so I sent a very excited DH to work at 11:30 with the promise that I’d call if and when things really started rolling.

My mom had been timing my contractions with her phone. By 5pm they were getting much closer together (8-10), and more painful. The pain, as it had been all day, was almost entirely in my back. I had a suspicion that he might be sunny-side up, but I couldn’t line it with the way I’d felt him move for the past month or so. I went for a walk, took a warm bath and (awkwardly) shaved my legs.

DH came home early from work around 6:30p (he usually would have gotten home at around 11-12). He knew I still had a ways to go, and my mom was with me, but he said he didn’t want to come in during the 3rd quarter of the game. My mom ordered us up a ton of Chinese food (which I barely picked at), and we watched half of “The Stand” on Netflix. I spent a lot of time on the ball. By 11p the contractions were starting to get worse, but were still manageable (and still entirely in my back). Mom told me they’d been 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long for an hour, so I called the hospital. The woman told me it sounded like I was close, but to stay at home and time them for another hour.

When I called back an hour later the woman asked me some ridiculous questions, like was the umbilical cord hanging out and could I see the baby’s head. Seems like if either of those were happening I would have mentioned it right away, called 911, or gone to the ER…

Anyway, she told me to come on in, so we headed into L&D, excited and in pretty good spirits. I was hooked up to a contraction monitor, and when I was checked by the doctor, he told me that I was only MAYBE 3 cm (at my Friday appointment I had been a “loose 2-3”. So no progress. And while sitting there the contractions stalled out. He didn’t immediately send us home, but told me that I was welcome to stay, and they could check me again in a few hours, but that I’d probably be more comfortable laboring at home. He said the baby looked very healthy and happy, and we didn’t want force anything along if he (and my body) weren’t ready, and he didn't think we were.

I’m not going to lie, I was really upset. Like ugly-cry face upset. I couldn’t believe I’d made pretty much no progress, despite contracting all day. So I decided to go home. Dave napped, and my mom settled down on our couch with a blanket and pillow so she could keep an eye on me. Funny thing, before we even got out of the hospital the contractions went from a maybe 5 on the pain scale to an 8. I couldn’t talk through them. I couldn't breathe through them. They were hitting every 2-3 minutes. The only relief I got at all was sitting on the toilet. At some point I threw up in the bathtub (after two warm baths failed to bring any relief). Up with the Chinese food came the Tylenol PM the OB had suggested I try to take to get some rest.

I spent the next 2-3 hours pacing the house, trying to find ANY comfortable position to labor in (besides the toilet, I also got some relief by leaning over the kitchen counter). Finally around 4a I woke DH up and told him I needed to go back to the hospital. I was in so much pain I was ready to beg for an induction, beg for a c-section, anything to stop the pain. Despite the fact that I was obviously in labor, because we had just been sent home I had myself convinced that it was still early labor, and if early labor was this bad I couldn't deal with active labor.

The car ride was awful. Dave and Mom were trying to talk me through the contractions, but every bump, every turn had me crying out. He dropped us off in front of the ER (where we needed to be admitted), and I threw up again. They got me in a wheelchair immediately (in a rushed way, not in the more laid-back way they had earlier that night), and took a shortcut up to L&D. (Through the staff offices--who cheered me on as we passed!)

While I was trying to change into a robe and give a urine sample I heard the nurse tell the OB I looked way worse than I had when I left. I threw up again.

They hooked me back up to the monitors. Having to be on my back to be checked was torture. I was arching up crying out. Dave finally got them to raise up the bed some, so that I wasn't flat on my back. The OB came in right away (same one from earlier) and announced I was dilated to a 5-6. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to what he said, until he asked if I had any questions, and I desperately asked “You’re not going to send me home again, right?” He laughed and said that no, we were going to have a baby today.

The nurse asked if I had any pain management preferences, and I yelled at her to get me an epidural like yesterday. It was at this point that DH pulled out the birth plan folder (which included things like wanting to hold off on an epidural until I asked for it because I wanted to labor on a ball/walk/etc. Yeah, that didn’t happen in the hospital). The anesthesiologist came in almost immediately. I got annoyed with her because she kept talking/asking questions that I could barely understand because the contractions were hitting even harder and faster, one on top of the other and all in my back. Luckily DH and Mom were paying attention.

She told me how important it was that I sit perfectly still when they were placing it. I didn’t flinch when they gave me the numbing shot, and actually found some relief from curling into a C when they placed the line…which was good since I had three contractions while they were doing it. She told me it would take 15-20 minutes before I started feeling it, but I felt immediate relief. I almost kissed her on her way out. I actually did ask her to marry me. At this point I had been up for 20ish hours, and I was finally able to lie down and rest.

They came to check me at 7am, and I had dilated to a 7. I was feeling pretty great, and sent Dave’s parents a text that I was feeling awesome if they wanted to come to the hospital. At some point I realized my left leg completely numb. It slipped off the bed and I couldn’t get it back on and had to have my mom put it back for me, which she thought was hilarious.

My IL’s came and hung out with us. I was feeling so good I didn’t even care that they were in the room when they came and checked me again at 9am. By 9 I was dilated to 9cm, and they broke my waters.

Very soon after I realized I was starting to feel the contractions that according to the monitor were coming one on top of the other, with almost no break. Within 15 minutes the epidural had worn off except in my left leg from my thigh down, which was still dead weight and which would stay dead weight for at least 12 more hours. I had tried hitting the epidural button, as did a nurse when I told her I could feel everything. She told me she’d talked to the doctor and they felt that since I was so close to pushing they didn’t want to replace the epidural. I’d say I was terrified of the prospect of pushing without an epidural, but I was too consumed with the non-stop back contractions.

The next hour and a half went by in a painful blur. The back pain was excruciating. I’d never felt pain anywhere close to that before. It felt like my back was being smashed with a sledgehammer, over and over again. I was so completely overwhelmed by the pain that I couldn’t even open my eyes during them. I was sitting up curled over my stomach, one hand clutching Dave’s and the other his mother’s. My mother was watching the monitor and would tell me to take a deep breath. MIL and FIL were breathing with me.. Dave would tell me when I had hit the peak and when it was starting to fade. In the ten or fifteen seconds between them I would open my eyes and look at Dave, which would steady me through to the next one. It felt like it went on like this for hours. I didn't utter a word. At the time, it felt like it was taking every iota of concentration that I had to breathe through each contraction, and even uttering a peep would make me lose the bit of control I felt that I had.

Finally a new nurse came in and D and MIL begged her to give me SOMETHING for the pain. She couldn’t believe they hadn’t redone my epidural, and went to talk to the doctor. Apparently the previous nurse misunderstood me when I told her I was feeling every effing contraction at a ten, and had told the OB I was feeling a lot of pressure, which is normal. The anesthesiologist came in and put some painkiller into my IV and then upped my epidural. It muted the pain a lot, and I was able to rest some before pushing.

Pushing was strange. I had a crowd in the room (we were at a teaching hospital), and I didn’t care at all. My mom was there, as was MIL (down by my feet, at that). My FIL was there too, but he stayed up by my head well out of the way. DH was down bracing my feet, and telling me what he was seeing. After a half an hour or so of pushing I realized the painkiller/epidural was wearing off again. I know a lot of women find relief from pushing, but because there was so much pressure on my back I wasn’t one of them. The pain was radiating down into my thighs. I didn’t say anything, though, because the pain was a good motivation to get him out, and I could feel how I was pushing much better so I started pushing more effectively. At some point I accepted the offer of a mirror, which I never thought I’d do, but it definitely helped me to see what I was doing.

The last few seconds before he came out were intense. Everyone in the room was rooting me on hardcore, I was trying not to scream from the pain, and the OB was trying to turn his head (he was sunny-side up). Then he was out. I didn’t cry when he came out. I think I collapsed back on the bed. Dave yelled “A BOY! IT’S A BOY! HONEYBEE WE HAVE A SON!” My first thought, after “Oh, I could have sworn he’d be a girl” was “Wow, he’s huge!”

I had wanted delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin/nursing, but I started to hemorrhage. My mom and FIL both cut the cord (she cut it, then he trimmed it, D had zero interest), they put him on my chest for a hot second, but immediately took him away.

I ended up losing almost half a gallon of blood in the span of a few seconds before they gave me some clotting drug (I think, it’s pretty hazy). DH said the floor beneath my bed looked like a scene from Dexter. I never actually saw it…and had no interest. DH and my mom stayed with me, and MIL and FIL stayed with the baby. DH told me later that he really wanted to go see the baby, but needed to be by my side.

After some seriously painful uterus massaging, they upped my epidural again, and kept the clotting drug in my IV for a while. As a result, I was unable to get out of bed for almost 6 hours (although I wouldn’t have been able to walk--I think the epidural pooled all in my left leg; it was completely dead weight well into the night). I was also not allowed to eat or drink anything besides ice chips, which I kept letting melt into water, and DH kept sneaking water into my cup.

I’d thrown up so much during the day (especially near the end, there was seriously an assembly line to get me clean buckets/empty the old ones) that by the time they told me I could eat I was so nervous about it coming up that at first all I managed was a bit of apple sauce and apple juice. Later on (around midnight) DH went out and got me a turkey sandwich, which I ate very slowly (and was the best.thing.ever). The first time I was allowed to get up to use the bathroom it took a nurse on either side of me to get there, get me on the toilet and then replace the ice pack/pads. Talk about no modesty. By the way, don’t look down that first time.

My birth experience did not end up being the calm, peaceful day I’d hoped it would be. I had been hoping to labor on the ball/walk whatever else with intermittent fetal monitoring. I had been hoping to put off getting an epidural as long as possible. Back labor pretty much blew that out of the water, although after an hour and a half of laboring from 9-10cm without it, I don’t regret getting it. I think I could have gone on without it, but I desperately needed to rest, and I think if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been able to push for two hours like I did, and probably would have ended up with a c-section.

Because of the hemorrhage, I needed immediate medical attention and did not get the delayed cord clamping/immediate skin to skin/immediate nursing I wanted (although I was able to nurse within half an hour). I was monitored very closely. I didn’t end up needing a blood transfusion, but just barely not. Because Evan was a chunky guy (seriously, everyone that saw the two of us looked to me, then at him, then to me, then asked how I managed to push out such a big little dude), and had to have his glucose levels checked every few hours that first night.

Because he was a big little guy, his melon head wasn’t coming out, no matter how much oil and massaging the OB used. My heart rate and blood pressure were fluctuating wildly, and his heart rate was getting high, so the OB gave me an episiotomy (which I also didn’t want, and is not standard at my hospital). I ended up with a second degree tear on top of the cut. All things considered, though, I think DH was a lot more traumatized by the whole experience than I was. He was an incredible cheerleader and coach, but said at the end he thought I was going to die because there was so much blood (which is why he couldn't leave my side).

Very long story short…I have an incredibly healthy baby, and we’re so very much in love with him. I feel very overwhelmed…in a good way…and grateful for him. I can’t imagine any other baby being mine.

If you read this far, wow! If you just scrolled down to see the little dude, enjoy!