Part Four – and FINAL really. FINAL. Figured I better wrap this thing up within Q1 of the kiddo’s life;) Oh, and MORE pictures - worth the wait, right??
So we were staying! I will admit that I was a little disappointed to only be 3 cm, but now that I was completely effaced and I knew my contractions were so close together, I found a lot of comfort in knowing that I was where I was going to be to have the baby. And speaking of those contractions – in the time it took us to get from home to the hospital they had only escalated and in a major way. I was really working now to stay focused and I found myself doing some intense breathing/singing stuff. I would alternate between very loud ooh’s and ahh’s – Ty later joked that it was quite peaceful, like I was running vocal scales before a big performance. I guess I was unleashing my inner diva?
Now after we were admitted they continued with the check-in process – getting me in to a hospital gown, on the bed for monitoring, etc… We discussed with our nurse that we had a birth plan that had been signed off by our doctor and that we had hoped to avoid consistent monitoring, we wanted to be able to move (Hahahaha, as if I could move at that point!), and all those other desires we had for our birth. We were met with a very snotty and abrupt response of “Well, your doctor isn’t on call. So none of that stands now, I have to get sign-off from the on-call doctor…so till then you’ll have to follow procedures.”
Oh man. This is where I started to do some major internal panicking. Not that I didn’t have the willingness to be flexible for safety, but the whole purpose of having our doctor so intrinsically involved with the birth planning was to avoid ALL of what the nurse had just told me. Now, thankfully this nurse was just a jerk and it was the end of her shift almost immediately after she said that to me, I didn’t even have time to complain!
Then in walked Sue. Talk about a God-send. I could not have asked for a better nurse. She was much older, had been a nurse for nearly 40 years, and had a very quiet and calm demeanor. She immediately acknowledged our birth plan and started working on facilitating our requests…I just remember thinking – she’s here from 7 pm to 7 am, please let this baby come before her shift is up! She wanted to get us off the monitor as we had requested, but our little guy’s heartbeat was all over the place. Sometimes, very scarily so...so we were trying to figure out what position was best for him to labor in before we took off the monitor. This part was just awful, because at this point all I wanted to do was hold in any position. Movement was horrible and laying on my left side was the worst, but of course, he was doing better when I laid on my left side.
Now, as part of our birth plan we had written that I did not want to be asked if I wanted pain medication but rather, we would let someone know if I had reached that point. (HAHAHAHA). Sue – angel that she was – totally followed these plans but smart lady said, “Now, I know your birth plan has spelled out some wishes regarding pain medication, which is great, but I just want to let you know how the timing of such medication works at our hospital so that you can make an informed decision if that time comes.” And I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this – but Sue went on to explain that when/if you finally request pain medication it can take a long time to happen. You’ve got to get the anesthesiologist to come over (and they’re not always easily accessible at a smaller hospital like ours!), and you’ve got paperwork, prepping, etc…she said it can take upwards of an hour. I muttered an okay in between my scales as she walked out the door.
I immediately looked up at Ty and said “I think I’ve got to get the epidural.” I was met with an immediate okay. At this point I think I could have said I wanted a lobotomy and Ty would have agreed. You could tell he had never been so worried for me and concerned about how much pain I was in…I’m sure he was equally as happy that I was planning to find some relief. I knew that if I had continued at the rate I was going, that I wouldn’t have had the energy and strength to push. Remember how I mentioned that my contractions were rolling? Before the epidural talk I remember just looking at Ty and saying “they aren’t stopping.” I wasn’t looking at the machine that monitored my contractions and if I had, I would have known. But Ty had been – and he knew. As did that dear lovely nurse, Sue.
Sue walked back in and I blurted out, “I want the epidural.” Sue very quietly said, “I thought that might be the case and I stopped the anesthesiologist from leaving, I’ll get things ready.” Hallelujah! The epidural was CAKE. I was so focused on the prize of some relief that I was all over what I needed to do, who cares if I was contracting?!? The anesthesiologist actually laughed and said she almost needed me to not “curl” so much over the pillow. I was all about it you guys – you want me to curl over a pillow? I will curl like you’ve never seen! And I seriously thought getting an epidural would hurt – didn’t feel a thing? Not a sting, not a prick, not a single thing.
Now a word about the epidural, after some debate with the anesthesiologist about where my pain was, she agreed to give me a very low dose – because I was so concerned about losing feeling in my legs. But she did tell me that if I needed to up the dosage, to use my clicker to do so and that if that wasn’t enough because of the low dosage she gave me – that they would have to come in and adjust but that it wouldn’t be a problem to do so if I couldn’t manage the pain with what she had given me.
The epidural took about twenty minutes to really set-in and what a DREAM. Seriously. I could still feel my legs, I felt like myself – and I could still feel contractions but just barely so – no pain, more pressure. Hard to describe, but I felt like I had stumbled across the “goldilocks” concoction – everything was “just right!” And wouldn’t you know it – Tobin’s heart rate totally leveled out and he was also apparently as happy as could be.
|Funny note about this picture - hated that other nurse so much I had Ty go write Sue's name in as soon as she started:) I didn't even want to look at the other nurse's name:)|
Sue checked me out right after the epidural and I was at a six – and now this is where the story takes a boring turn. From then on out, it was just about as wonderful as of an experience we could have hoped for. We were largely left alone, Sue kept our checks to a minimum, and with each check she made I had made wonderful progress. I was dilated to a nine within a couple of hours but Tobin was still a little too high to start pushing. From roughly midnight to 2 am we just let my body “labor the baby down.” Till finally it was looking like it was close to go-time! Sue wasn’t completely happy with the fact that Tobin still wasn’t as engaged as we would have hoped he would be, but she thought a few practice pushes to get things moving would help. She left to let the on-call doctor know we were going to start in the next hour. Ty and I had a few moments of “oh my gosh this is happening” and lots of prayers were said for this next stage – which we knew would be a lot of work.
|This is what those hours in waiting looked like...just listening to my birth playlist and at total peace.|
I so clearly remember the minute we really started pushing, they broke away the bottom half of the bed, and turned on the delivery lights. The on-call doctor was awesome and I couldn’t have loved her more…she kept the lights to a minimum and it was really pretty peaceful. In the beginning of course – and then about 45 minutes into pushing things got really serious. It takes a while to find your groove with pushing and with as low of an epidural as I had, I could feel the contractions but it still took me some time to figure out how to make my pushing the most effective.
And remember my low dosage of an epidural? The doctor and Sue kept telling me I could up my dosage with my little clicker, but I was so focused on pushing, that I really didn’t make the most use of that. I’m telling you – once I got in the zone of the pushing – I was in the ZONE. It became clear while we were pushing that Tobin was not going to come easily, the doctor was concerned about his shoulder width and even told me that IF it came down to it, she would do an episiotomy to get him out. Man, I tell ya, just hearing the word episiotomy got me focused. All this to say – I wasn’t so focused on my clicker and upping my pain medicine. BIG REGRET. That whole “ring of fire” business – why just a ring? Let’s be honest and call it what it is – a GIANT HOLE OF FIRE.
Pushing was SO intense. Like I can’t even really sum up into words the effort, and I can totally tell you that more times than once I had images in my head of me being wheeled into surgery with Tobin’s head stuck and not being able to get him out…it just felt like it took FOREVER. My whole face started to feel swollen from squeezing everything together with every push – I felt like one of those roided out guys you see in the gym who have to yell to get out the last set on the bench press. And yell I did at the end, my friends. Yell, grunt, whatever it took – I was going to do it.
I remember when things started to get close to the finish line – I would see just how excited Ty, Sue, and the doctor would be – and they were SO encouraging. And then that was it – all of a sudden all the pain was washed away with a huge push of relief that brought with it our son.
Our Tobin. The name we had picked out seven years earlier for our once and future son - he was here.
|Love that face!|
|This is what pushing did to my face...me, Tobin, and our awesome team!|
|Getting to know one another|
And of course, that’s really where our story begins…
Tobin – we are so abundantly blessed to have you in our lives. In the short amount of time you’ve been with us, you have already taught us and given us so much. You are a delight. That’s really the best way to describe you. You made us a mother and a father – parents. And for that we couldn’t be more thankful.