**This is the second part of a two part series: Labor And Delivery. A lot of people have been asking me about my experiences so I thought I'd share. DISCLAIMER--if you have no interest in reading about labor or my labor, you should stop here. Things will get pretty graphic** V grabbed my bag and ran to the parking lot to pull the car around to the front of the complex. I called my OB office to let them know I was headed to the hospital. Another rush of fluid. Gross. I quickly cleaned up and grabbed some towels for the car in case there was any more that needed to escape before we got to our destination.
I felt every bump, every hole, every acceleration, and every sharp brake. Luckily it was 9pm so there wasn't really much traffic on the road. We got to the hospital relatively quickly, within 15 minutes, and checked in at the emergency entrance. The nurse grabbed a wheelchair and wheeled me over to the labor and delivery unit, where I changed into the most unflattering backless dress in the history of hospital fashion.
Despite the pain, I was getting really excited. It was just a matter of time before I would meet the baby who was growing inside me. I laid back on the bed and the nurse hooked me up to some monitors. The needle on the monitor drew a low, flat line, followed by a sharp peak. I grimaced. "That's a contraction," the nurse remarked. She sat and studied the monitor. After one of the most awkward silences, the nurse pivoted in her stool, turning towards me.
"It's still too early. Your contractions aren't getting any stronger and they're still pretty far apart. I think you need to go home."
"Well my water broke, and I'm group B positive, so I need to be hooked up to antibiotics ASAP."
"Ma'am, I don't think your water broke."
I couldn't hide the expression on my face, the "you're an idiot" stare. Surely, she was the medical professional and she should know better than me. I humored her.
"Okay. If, like you said, my water didn't break, what exactly is the reason for my leaking vagina?"
"Ma'am, if your water broke, it would still be flowing out of you right now. It was probably incontinence. It's actually not unusual for pregnant women."
At this point I was completely and utterly annoyed and disgusted. Here I lay, fighting with a nurse between contractions. V sat silently and continued watching the exchange.
"I think I would know if it was urine. It didn't feel like urine coming out, and it didn't look like urine after it was out. I lost my mucus plug. I don't know what else to say to you, but my water broke, and you need to hook me up to the antibiotics."
The nurse left the room since it was no use arguing with a stubborn, laboring, pregnant woman. She returned with the doctor. I explained everything to her that I previously explained to the nurse. The doctor then turned to the nurse with a puzzled expression and asked, "why is this an issue? Why don't you just test her? " The nurse took some samples with a swab and took them for testing.
It was around 11:30pm. The nurse returned.
"Well it looks like your water broke. It says here that you're group B positive. We need to hook you up to the antibiotics right now. "
"Yeah. I know."
Unfortunately the gloating didn't last long since it was cut off by another series of contractions. The doctor came back in to explain what was happening and what was going to happen.
What she said was:
"Right now you're not progressing as quickly as we want you to. We're going to administer pitocin, which is going to help your body along in the process."
What she meant was:
"We've already admitted you and we can't wait all day. We're going to inject you with this devil drug from hell that is going to make you hate everything about your life."
She asked if I wanted the epidural. I declined, since I was managing the pain well enough. She assured me that there was still time to ask for it if I felt like I needed it.
Then the pitocin kicked in. What I had experienced up to this point was mere child's play.
Pre-pitocin contractions: "Ow, I'm in labor, this hurts. Hold my hand to help me get through this. Ow, but we're having a baby, I love you"
Post-pitocin contractions: "Aaaahhh shit shit shit shit aaaaawww no no no no stoooooooop aaaaaaaah aaaaaaaah I caaaaaaaaant no no no aaaaaahh I'm going to throw up! "
I was a complete mess. I was all over the hospital bed. I was leaning on my side, holding on to the metal bars with a death grip with my feet dangling off the edge. I was down on all fours doing involuntary pitocin-induced downward facing dog. I was sitting at the edge of the bed with my head between my knees, aimed directly over the vomit vessel I requested.
The pain was unbearable and indescribable. It was like every muscle from my abdomen to my thighs was trying to rip itself free and out of my body. It felt like grabbing and twisting and punching simultaneously, from both inside and out. It felt like literally being stabbed in the back and left to die in a dark alley. It was everything I never experienced and never again wanted to experience. While I shouted and screamed externally, I was having a profound internal dialogue. How can people do this? This is not natural. This is not normal. Why would people go through this more than once? Is it too late? Can I just opt out of labor? I never signed up for this. How can people do this? Is it too late?
I had had enough. It was time for the epidural. But I felt like a sweaty gorilla. In my state of laboring delusion, after my contraction I pleaded with the nurses to let me take a shower.
"Are you crazy? You're not going anywhere!"
"WELL GIVE ME MY EPIDURAL! NOW!"
The timing of my request was such that my next contraction started before the anaesthesiologist made it to my room. I feebly suffered through the torture of another contraction while he set up his instruments. I never expected to feel so much relief at the sight of a needle so monstrously huge. It was that big, so it had to work.
Almost instantly, my pain quite literally melted away along with all other sensation in my lower body. The nurses hooked up my catheter. I was on cloud nine. My body was furiously working to bring our baby into the world and I didn't feel a thing. I never pictured luxury as being in a hospital bed, watching animal planet, eating a Popsicle, and peeing into a bag taped to my leg, but this sure was it.
It was 1am. I drifted off to sleep. The doctor and nurses came in to check on me periodically but that did little to disturb my slumber.
It was 9am. The nurse came in and peeked under the sheet. "You're crowning. I'm getting the doctor in here right now!"
I asked V what he saw.
"I see hair. A lot of it."
"Now is not the time for jokes. Now what do you see? Is it a head?? "
"I'm not kidding. It's a head, and a whole lot of hair."
The doctor came in and told me to push with my next contraction.
"Contraction?! I can't feel a thing! How the hell am I supposed to know I'm having a contraction?! "
"It'll feel like you need to poop. Trust me."
I waited. Then, sure enough, there was the sensation.
"I need to poop!"
I pushed 4 times for 10 seconds each push. Well, at least I thought I pushed, because I was completely numb and had no idea what I was doing (that epidural was no joke). On the fourth "push", the doctor grabbed a tiny curled up baby from under the sheet and dropped her onto my chest. She was crying and I was crying. It was surreal.
V and I were smitten. She was perfect. She was ours. In one split second, our family of two grew into a family of three. Our lives were changed forever.