Friday, July 15, 2011
Be warned, I'm not shy with specifics.
12:30 p.m. :: I decided to have Chipotle for lunch semi-thinking something spicy might help move things along. I had been having back pain and cramping since my routine checkup the day before when I learned I was 2cm dilated, somewhat effaced and had a hunch something was in the works. A hunch I kept to myself (and Shawn) in the event I turned out to be completely wrong.
1:00 p.m. :: I started to notice a pain in my right abdomen. It was similar to pains I've had in the past and I fully assumed it would dissipate. In the meantime, I started to guzzle water assuming I was just dehydrated.
3:00 p.m. :: The pain was not only still present but had grown steadily worse. After I visited the bathroom for the hundredth time that day and noticed some other "happenings" I decided to call Shawn.
3:30 p.m. :: At Shawn's suggestion, I called my doctor's office. I gave the synopsis of what I was experiencing and was told I'd get a call back after the nurse had a chance to confer with the doctors.
4:00 p.m. :: After no such return phone call was received, again at Shawn's suggestion, I called them back. In the meantime, I had conferred with my boss (Did I mention I was at work?) if it was cool for me to just hang out in my cubicle since I was experiencing some "pain" and asked her to keep it on the down low in the probable event that this turned out to be nothing.
4:15 p.m. :: In finally speaking with someone at my doctor's office, it was suggested I go to the hospital because it sounded like I might be in labor.
4:30 p.m. :: Shawn arrived at my work to pick me up and take me to the hospital. This was just after I was caught sitting in my car in the parking lot by some coworkers who had come out to check on me. The jig was up, they were suspicious that something was going on, wanted to make sure I was okay and wished me well upon Shawn's arrival. Having to leave one vehicle at work because I was instructed not to drive, we headed in the other to the hospital.
5:00 p.m. :: We arrived after one of the hardest drives I've ever experienced. I felt every pothole, corner turn and lane change on Interstate 94 and had everything magnified by the fact that I had to pee (again) so bad I felt I would explode any minute.
5:30 p.m. :: Shawn had parked the car, we had both used the facilities (Shawn was nervous), we had filled out the necessary paperwork, I had dawned the atrocious hospital gown and I and baby were officially being monitored. At United, where we delivered, you're admitted to a triage area to see if you're really in labor before they admit you to an actual labor room.
It was in this room that we sat for the next five hours. The nurse declared I was having contractions but they weren't regular or intense enough to warrant admittance and I hadn't dilated any further in the process. She also couldn't deduce what was causing the stabbing pain in my right side. They drew blood, took a urine sample, took my blood pressure and temperature all to determine that again, nothing could be determined. So the doc came in and told me to walk around for a bit to see if that would help things progress. It was on this walk that I nearly fell over from the side ache and where my first tears started to form from the pain. I had started to feel actual contractions but they were nothing compared to this ache in my abdomen. I managed to walk for the hour they suggested and upon my return to bed, immediately complained (as politely as possible) again about my side ache and tried not to jump to conclusions with my concern.
The nurse suggested they monitor me for a while again and then check me to see if I had made progress. Before any of this could happen though, I felt a gush of liquid escape. I assumed my water had broke but when Shawn took a peek to verify, all he saw was blood. He immediately alerted the nurse who came to check but didn't seem overly concerned. What felt like moments later (but was probably more like an hour) I felt another substance escape but this time it felt more… solid. Again Shawn verified (bless his heart) to find I had passed a blood clot. Again he alerted the nurse who seemed slightly more concerned but still, not alarmed. Finding some comfort in her calmness, I continued to lay in bed and be monitored while my side pain subsided some and where we waited to see the doctor again. Right before she arrived, the nurse informed me she was going to do a speculum. I remember this term very vividly because when I asked what it was, I quickly learned it was "the duck." The metal, beak-shaped instrument they painfully insert at every yearly right before they scrape the inside of your uterus.
Knowing I was dilated and making it through contractions I figured, how bad could this be. Oh how wrong I was. Holy SHIT in God's name on everything that is holy, I had never felt such pain! It actually started out tolerable until the doctor decided there was too much blood to get a sample of anything so instead, decided to check my bag of waters and see if I had progressed. Just as she was digging in, a contraction started. I nearly shot off the bed! My ass went into the air, my hands grabbed the side of the bed and my head went back in mortifying pain while I refrained from cursing obscenities at the doctor as she apologized to me in as sweet of a voice as possible. Afterwards, all I could think of was that quote from Juno…
"Well, honey, doctors are sadists who like to play God and watch lesser people scream...
When the visitation of Satan was over and my ass had returned to the bed and I had assured a somewhat scared Shawn that I was okay, we had a heart-to-heart with the doc on where to go from here. She said I wasn't really in active labor but there was too much blood for her to feel comfortable sending us home. She made the suggestion they break my bag of waters, admit Pitocin to get things going and see where I went from there. Knowing how painful Pitocin can make things and not initially wanting too much intervention, I asked what my alternatives were. She said I could go home, labor there, maybe sit in my tub, lay in my bed and come back when my contractions were closer together. This sounded appealing until I asked the risks. She had come to the assumption that I may be experiencing a placental abruption, where the placenta starts to actually detach from the uterus, and the main risk of this is stillbirth. My heart took over my head and I immediately was on board to be admitted.
10:30 p.m. :: We were finally officially admitted and escorted to our digs where I would labor and eventually deliver. We met our fabulous nurse and I settled in in preparation to have my water broke.
11:00 p.m. :: This event reads basically like that of the speculum… only it lasted longer, it was more painful and I was convinced it was never going to end. Happily it did and I survived. After this, an ultrasound was done to make sure the wee one was head down. After it was declared that the head was in fact, due south, the doctor also discovered that right where I was having all my side pain was where my placenta sat. I think it's safe to say she was accurate in her assumption of a placental abruption in progress and we were right to hang out at the hospital.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
1:00 a.m. :: Shawn enjoyed a Jimmy Johns sub (he hadn't ate since lunch) while I contracted and drained and contracted and cringed and contracted and contemplated. After painfully being checked, again, I had advanced a half a centimeter. Half. As in, not whole.
After this I don't remember if I went another hour or they suggested the Pitocin right then and there but I do remember, very vividly, the minute I decided to get the Epidural. It was during a contraction right after I learned it took two hours to dilate a half a centimeter. This is when doubt set in. I didn't doubt I could deal with the pain, I doubted my endurance. I doubted my ability to push at the end of it all and I doubted my strength during the dark hours of the early morning. And so, I caved. I got the Epidural and let me tell you something, I could have kissed the anesthesiologist. Hell I could've gave him tongue for the relief he was able to provide with his magical needle. God bless technology for us pansies. After God's angel had done his deed, they started to administer Pitocin and within minutes, I was as numb as an Eskimo's ass sittin' on ice. From then on out, I dilated in peace whilst trying to get a few minutes of shut eye to prepare for the big push.
5:00 a.m. :: Another check. This time, I didn't feel a thing. All was right with the world again and I had progressed to 5cm. Back to schnoozing I went.
6:00 a.m. :: I was beginning to feel not so much pain, but very intense pressure. I was alarmed the happy drugs were wearing off so I pushed the little addicts drip they give you. It will only actually administer more meds every 20 minutes but I managed to get three more hits in. In the meantime, I was checked again. 10cm baby! 5cm in one hour, now that's progress!
Sometime after this, I started the process of pushing. Three pushes per contraction, each held for ten seconds. Shawn and the nurse had a good laugh at my expense as soon as I started pushing. She told me to take a deep breath, hold it, put my chin down, legs up and push. So that's what I did. At least I thought so. Apparently right as I started to push, I let all the air out my nose. Come on, this is natural right? I'm a swimmer, I do yoga, this is the most natural thing to me. Apparently though, it wasn't helping my cause so I fixed my method and went on my merry way.
This pushing process went on for about an hour to an hour and a half when the nurse decided she better hail the doc to deliver our little Cletus. He arrived, he prepped and moments later, his work was done. Right before Miss Maci entered the world, he asked us one last time what we thought the gender would be. Immediately I said boy even though during labor I had been feeling some pretty intense girl vibes. Intuition? Maybe… Coincidence? Probably…
After Shawn hesitantly agreed to the boy declaration, he delivered our little nugget and showed her to us ass end first. Shawn's exact words were, "And we have aaaaaaa… vagina." I was SO SHOCKED and happy and elated and emotional and overjoyed and every other emotion in the book. She was placed on my chest while they rubbed her down and immediately, we bonded. It wasn't until they took her off to assess her APGAR score that I looked over at her under the heat light and lost it. As this was all going down and just after I had my "moment" I turned back to Shawn and the doc (who was doing whatever they do after the baby comes out) to hear what they were talking about. Fishing. Fishing in Canada to be exact. If I wasn't on such an emotional high I would've been annoyed but I just had to laugh. I think it's a good sign when you're husband is kindred spirits with the man who delivered your baby.
Arriving at 7:49 a.m., we declared her name as Maci Mae and when she was handed back to me after weighing in at 6 lbs. 3.8 oz., she went right to the boob, latched on and camped out there for the next half hour. Everything after this is as they say, history, but more accurately, it's truthfully all a blur. It's an experience like no other. One I will never forget. I will always remember the nerves I felt upon entering the hospital, the fear I felt when I started to lose blood, the overriding instincts to stay at the hospital when I heard the word stillbirth, the gratefulness I felt for having the side ache bring me to medical care, the relief I felt when I was finally admitted, the disappointment I felt in my own pain tolerance, the elation I experienced after the Epidural kicked in, the strange tingly numbness in my legs and their heavy jello-d weight as I began to push, Shawn's smiles as he saw her start to emerge, the intense connection I felt to my husband, my giddiness when I learned how much hair she had, my surprise when we heard she was a girl, my validation in deciding to wait and find out the gender at birth, my love when she was delivered back to me and Dad's presence when I saw the fold on her little left ear, just like mine, just like Dads. Part of him had been passed on and I couldn't have been more proud. He was in my mind a lot that night simply because I knew he would never get to meet our little apple but I was sure he was there in spirit and love experiencing the whole thing and I'm positive, grinning from ear to ear. I still crave to know what ole Grandpa would've said though… but I'll find out. Some day.
I learned a very quick lesson the day Miss Maci arrived. No matter how prepared you think you are, you can never fully be prepared. Our little peanut was uber punctual and ended up coming early. Therefore we didn't have a bag packed or a camera in tow. We had to rely on our next best option, our cell phone. Shawn snapped some photos of which there are a couple below. I will treasure these blurry, pixelated pictures and be thankful we at least have them to help document her arrival. One thing is for sure, I will never forget how surreal everything seemed. It was an out-of-body experience. It still is. I have yet to have time, energy or the brain power to reflect on everything that has happened. Luckily, I will have the next 18 years to do so…