Soon after the doctor left the room, my mom and sister arrived at the hospital to keep me company. My mom saved the day by thinking to bring chapstick, cough drops, and a menthol stick to help me breathe a little better, since my cold was still very bad. My contractions were steadily intensifying, and I played Go Fish with my sister to try to distract me from them.
You know, because you can totally distract yourself from a full-body cramp with a pre-schoolers card game!
My contractions started hitting me like a wall (I'm told this is due to the Pitocin), I don't know how else to describe it, and although I didn't actually time them, they were right on top of each other. The nurses started coming in to ask how my pain level was, and then they started turning my Pitocin down to 'give me a little break between contractions'. Around 2:00pm I finally asked(begged!) them to check me again, and as I laid down in the bed to be checked, I just kept praying 'please be progressing, please be progressing' I was terrified that I would not be able to have my baby in the allotted 24 hours after my water had broken. The nurse checked me, and sure enough...no progress.
I nodded, then the nurse left me with Matt, my mom, and my sister again. I lost it. I just broke down, all this work, all this pain, and a c-section was still looming in the not too distant future? I felt like I was already failing my child. My mom was such a comfort in this time, she prayed the sweetest prayers of encouragement for Matt and I.
In an hour or so, another nurse came in, and asked me if I wanted an epidural. All I wanted was to make some progress, and I told her that. She said it wouldn't hurt my progress. So...they called the anesthesiologist.
I got my epidural by 4:00, and I was then promptly put on oxygen. They said that because of my cold, they were worried about the baby getting enough oxygen. Somewhere in here God sent me an angel in the form of Jess, a nurse. She was incredible, she was the person I needed to have in that room on that day.
They gave me a bolus in my epidural, and then they checked me. I was at 10cm. I looked frantically for my older sister, motioned her to the bed, and told her that I didn't know what to do. I didn't think I knew what to push with, and due to the bolus in my epidural I couldn't feel a darned thing from my ribcage down! She assured me that I could do it, and she gave me a few pointers.
I don't remember why but it took a while for them to let me start pushing. I was told later by my family that they were talking about my blood pressure, and my oxygen levels. About an hour later they let me start pushing. Because I was having trouble breathing through my cold, they only let me push on every other contraction, but by the second set of pushes my mom, sister, and Matt were excitedly telling me that they could see his head, and he had hair!
After about 20 more minutes of pushing, our doctor came back into the room, along with a resident in training. He watched one push, and told the nurse to get everything ready, because we were going to have a baby.
All I remember was Matt holding my leg for me, and jumping up and down saying "there is the head, there it is! So close! You're doing good baby!" His excitement totally fueled my next push. I don't remember who said what or who even told me it was a boy, all I knew was that there was a tiny wiggling body placed in my arms and he was making the loudest little squawks. At 8:37pm on November 6, 2009, my son was born.
|Nurse in blue? That is Jess, our L&D angel|
After the room cleared, Jess came back in and sat down beside my bed. 'Okay,' she said. 'here is the deal. You have protein in your urine, and your blood pressure is higher than we like to see.' In the sweetest possible terms she explained to me that I had developed pre-ecclampsia, and that I would need to be put on Magnesium Sulfate for 24 hours and stay in the Labor and Delivery hall where doctors would be nearby at all times, and that Jack would be staying in the nursery until I was moved into the maternity ward.
With that, I lost it. I had worked so hard to get him here, and all I wanted to do was to be with my baby. I hated the thought of him spending his first night on earth away from me, his mother. I called Matt, who had gone with Jack to watch him get weighed and bathed, and asked him to come back. Jess explained everything again for him, while I basically just sobbed in the hospital bed.
Jess left our room, and all I could do was cry and watch the video Matt had taken of Jack getting his very first bath. I tried to calm down, to tell myself that this was not to take Jack away, but to help me get better faster, to enable me to mother him properly.
Our door opened again, and all I could think was that I had to try to act okay for whoever this was coming to check on me, to convince them that I was ready to have Jack back with me, that they didn't need to keep him in the nursery.
Jess peeked around the door, then backed in wheeling Jack's bassinet.
She brought him to me, she said she could see that the best thing for me was to have him. Again...I sobbed. But this time out of gratitude. He stayed with Matt and I that night, and every night after that.
The rest of our stay continued to be kind of rocky, with my blood pressure topping out at 189/118, which I am told is kinda high. But those details aren't the ones I want to immortalize, I want to remember the wonder of looking at his hairy little body (he had sideburns!), counting his fingers and toes, memorizing the look of his face, laughing at the first poopy diaper, and watching my husband become a father. For the majority of our stay all I could do was stare at my beautiful little boy. My son. The story of our family was just beginning.
If you made it this far, thank you for bearing with me as I, once again, tried to find words for an event that I can't possibly describe.