Posted by: theweesak | June 20, 2009

Labour Story Part 2

Alright, let’s carry on…
The first nurse I had was Katherine. I didn’t really see to much of her because I spent about an hour and a half in the shower. She recommended it and it really did help. I stayed in there until the contractions started getting more intense and closer together…I didn’t feel like I could stand through them anymore. During this time, Bee and Katherine were talking about all kinds of things in the bigger part of the room — life, jobs, employment insurance — fun times!
After I came out of the shower, things really started to progress. No one had been in to check me recently (they were going to break my water at the same time and needed a doctor there to do it — they want to check as few times as they need to), but I could feel that things were moving along. I started feeling nauseous and eventually tossed it (For those of you who don’t know me — I hate puking, and I don’t do it…maybe 6 or 7 times in my whole life, once during the “morning sickness” stage of this pregnancy) At this point, I started to weigh my options for pain control. I had 4 choices:
1. Laughing Gas — I didn’t really want to go there as I was warned that it could make you nauseous. Given that I had already been sick, I didn’t want to give it a try.
2. Morphine — They give it to you in a shot. Downside is that it gets to the baby and can make her sleepy. They give her a shot when she comes out to reverse the effects. Also, the pain control was only moderate…it doesn’t take away all pain.
3. Epidural — You know the deal, IV in your back, freezes you from rib cage down.
4. No pain control — yipes. Ouch.
So I thought about my options. My plan going into this whole thing was to have no plan and no expectations to that I wouldn’t be disappointed or stressed about my plan not happening. I thought that I would give no pain meds a try and then see where we go from there. If I didn’t feel that I could handle it, I’ll see what my options are then. So here I was, out of the shower and in a lot of pain. I felt that I needed some pain control. I have never been on morphine, and it scared me a little. After talking it over with Bee, we decided on an epidural. I was a little concerned because of the stigmas surrounding epidurals and the risks associated with them. Looking back, this was the best decision I could have made (for me — everyone is different!). After the anaesthesiologist came and administered the drug through an IV in my back (very weird feeling — like bubbles in your spine). About 5 minutes after the medication went in, one foot started feeling warm, then it felt like my whole body from my rib cage down was in a hot tub. Honestly, it felt like I was on a relaxing holiday. I hadn’t felt that comfortable in weeks! I could still feel a lot of pressure (an intense sensation in le’bum area), but the shooting/cramping pain associated with each contraction had diminished. At this point, my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart.
I had sent Bee out of the room for a little break and to get something to eat. The doctor came in to check me and break my water (basically poke it with a crochet hook — I couldn’t feel anything but a rush of warm water) at about 9:00pm. When she broke my water, there was a lot of merconium in the fluid, which meant there would be a respiratory nurse there at birth to help clear baby’s lungs. I was hoping to be about 7 cms dilated, but to my surprise was 9-10 cms!! This meant I could start getting ready to push! At first, my main concern was that I had to pee, but because of the epidural, I couldn’t walk to the washroom. When I asked the nurse, she just kind of gave me a funny look and said, “Oh, I’ll do that for you…”. I felt kind of stupid at that point. I have never been in a hospital for me before and didn’t really know what to expect — it is really humbling having everyone and their medical student stare at your girlie parts, and have a nurse empty your bladder for you. Brent came back into the room and I was really excited to tell him that we were ready to start pushing (see picture below — not looking my best). It must have been that he hadn’t really had anything good to eat, he was tired and overwhelmed, but at this point, Bee had to sit down. He felt faint. I joked with him before that even if he fainted, he had to stay in the room with me — being unconscious was not a valid excuse to leave me alone!

So at about 9:30pm I stared pushing. It felt good to push — when I couldn’t push, it was uncomfortable. So every contraction – 2 or 3 minutes apart – I have to give 3 or 4 pushes at 10 second intervals. I always heard from women that you will know what it feels like when you need to push and that you would know how to push. I didn’t expect it to feel quite like it did. Honestly, and this may be too much information, it felt like you were really constipated (please note previous declaimer!). I pushed in all kinds of positions (laying down, sideways, squatting, etc.). I few times, we found that if I laid pushing on my back, baby’s heart rate would fluctuate. Generally, her heart rate was a tad bit high at 160bpm, but a couple times it dropped to 80-100bpm. When that happened and the nurse got a look on her face that I knew wasn’t good. She called for help straight away…luckily, when I rolled back onto my side, her heart rate would return to normal. That was the most scared I have ever been in my whole life.

The doctor came back at about 11:30 and administered some oxytocin to increase the intensity of the contraction so that I was able to push harder. It worked! Each time I pushed, I could feel her come out more and more. I kept pushing with all my might each contraction. The doctors and nurses and a few residents and students came into deliver her at about 12:30am. Let me tell you, you get a different perception of privacy when there are 7 people at your feet with a light shining on you with your legs wide open. Yeesh! The great thin was that I knew they were all there to support me. Each push, they encouraged me and praised me when I did a good job. Surprisingly, it really helped. I had a good feeling before labour even started that I would need an episiotomy. I was right, and I was worried — I shouldn’t have been. They froze me with some local anaesthetic and made a little snip. I couldn’t even feel it. Before I knew it, I felt her head come out, and I could see her when I looked down. She was trying to cry before her body was even out! After about 3.5 hours of pushing, at 1:04am, Stella June was here! They laid her on my chest briefly while they cut the umbilical cord (I told the nurse not even to ask Bee…he would have passed out for sure! — not so good with blood) and immediately took her away to deal with the merconium business. She was away from me for probably about 5 or 10 minutes while a doctor and student tended to all of the “after business”. When she was given back to me, I was still being sewn up from the episiotomy. At this point, a nurse started teaching us to breastfeed. I was surprised how quickly this was started (maybe only 30 minutes after she was born!). While she was being taken care of by the nurses and then when she was being nursed, I think everything finally hit me. I was in labour for just over 24 hours, in the hospital for 12 hours and pushing for 3.5 hours. It was a lot of work, I was tired. But I was so so happy. I don’t know if I have ever cried for being happy before, but I did then. Everything was so emotional and everything was perfect. Bee stayed with me, then went to see Stella. He came back and told me that she looked beautiful.
First picture with Dad
First picture with Mom

What a great day. A hard day, a long day. But the best day of all of the great days. The feeling of immediate unconditional love is amazing. We love her so so much. She’s perfect.


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