Introducing C.A.D.! (I decided to keep their names anonymous. You never know what they’ll mad at you for when they’re grown.) Or C2 for short.
C2 was born May 2, 2016 at 8:57am. He was 8 pounds, 8 ounces and 21 inches. He was born in a little over 6 hours from when we started the process, and after only 15 pushes in 16 minutes. (They aren’t kidding when they say birth goes faster after #1! Thank you Jesus!)
Here’s how it all went down, as I try to recall it using the notes I jotted in my phone:
Because I was going to be induced, we checked into the hospital at midnight. A little later, actually, because we couldn’t find the right parking lot and entrance to the labor and delivery unit. Thankfully I wasn’t in actual labor as I was already exhausted and fuming, standing on the street while I waiting for DH to park the car wherever he believed he needed to park. Check in took a long time, and I remember having to waddle from one part of the building to another and back, trying to find the area I was supposed to be in. We got ushered into a room that was so tiny, the lady could barely close the door with me sitting down in front of her desk. All I remember from the questions was this one: “It seems like you have a balance of $7,000 or so. Would you like to pay that now?” Um… no? “Ok, that’s fine. I’m required to ask that.” Whew! Having shitty insurance is so fun!
We eventually made it to a labor and delivery room, and I made myself comfortable in the bed while DH tried to figure out how he was going to rest in the half-cot-looking couch thing. He was rescued by a nurse who informed him, “It pulls out.” “Unlike you!” I joked. Bah-dum-bum.
They gave me Pitocin at 2:45am. Around the time DH was asleep on the couch, and I was trying and failing to rest. Contractions began 15 minutes later, and oooh, boy, they were intense immediately. DH was resting, so I was trying to breathe through them and just deal. I don’t know why, but I felt like I should wait a bit to ask for the epidural. I mean, surely they won’t get that bad so fast. Maybe I can even sleep a little…
At 4:00am, I was almost crying. I held out for a few more minutes and finally rang for a nurse at 4:20.
“I’m ready for the epidural.”
“Oh, you want that now?” (What I heard was, “Oh, already??”)
“Yes, please. This really sucks.”
Ten minutes later, I was bracing myself through a contraction, trying but failing to breathe, when my water broke. Whooosh! A nurse or doctor was there, and I groaned out, “Aaaaand, my water just broke.” No one really reacted. I was sitting in a puddle, expecting some sort of reaction, when I think maybe a nurse went, “OK.” I mean, come on, this is news! Shouldn’t I get some applause or something at this point? (I’m joking. But I did think the non-reaction was funny, because in my head, I was thinking, “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod here we go!”
Shortly after my water broke, I got The Shakes. Uncontrollable shaking from my head to my knees. It was like I was convulsing. I couldn’t control them, couldn’t talk and couldn’t even joke. It was so weird. DH was trying to comfort me, but all I could do was grit my teeth so I didn’t bite my tongue off. I remembered this with my first child as well.
At 4:40am, this beautiful, young, Asian doctor walked in to give me the epidural. Now, it could be that she seemed so lovely because of what she was bringing. I’ll ask my husband. But I remember her as strikingly beautiful, and I swear, a lovely light shone around her head as some beautiful harp music accompanied her every move. As DH tried to hold my hands still while she inserted the needle in my spine, he suddenly said, “I have to go sit down.” The nurses all looked at him and said, “Yes, yes! Go sit!” because he looked pretty pale. My guess is fainting husbands are not on their agenda. I would’ve laughed but I was still feeling contractions and The Shakes, so I just concentrated on not vibrating right off the damn bed. I didn’t feel anything at first when the beautiful doctor did her thing. I was still having pain, so every second was like “hurry up, hurry and work already” for me.
Then The Itching started. I started scratching my arms. Then my chest. Then my legs. At first it wasn’t that big of a deal. In fact, it was a welcome distraction to the pain and the clock watching as I waited for the epidural to kick in. It took 30 minutes for me to realize I could no longer feel contractions. But now I was in full on want-to-scratch-my-skin-off itchiness. A nurse, or maybe it was my doctor (I’m not sure when she arrived) told me it was a side effect of the drugs. It was very uncomfortable (though still better than before) and I struggled not to pull out my IVs while I scratched my scalp, face, neck, etc. They offered to get me something to deal with the itching but I either turned it down or it didn’t work. I can’t remember.
Around this time, some alarm in the room started going off. This happened repeatedly. It was a drawer to a drug cabinet that no one could shut properly. I think we watched nurses come in at least 6 times to shut the drawer and shut off the annoying alarm. So relaxing….
At 5:50am, I threw up for the first time. I knew this part would come. In fact, everything I ate in the last few days of my pregnancy had me asking myself, is this going to come back up, and will it hurt? Turns out that giant bowl of pasta I ate wasn’t painful, but I did regret the amount. DH handed me puke cone after puke cone as I filled them. A nurse came in at one point, having seen the spikes on my contractions monitor, and asked, “Are you vomiting?” Yes, yes, I am. “I thought so,” she said.
At 6:05am, my doctor informed me that I was 5 cm dilated. “That’s it?!” said me and every pregnant woman there ever was.
I puked some more. And then I was 7cm. More puking. Then 8cm.
Then I got tired. So tired, I felt drugged. I wanted to close my eyes and drift off, but that didn’t feel right. I remember thinking, I could slip into a coma right now. This can’t be normal. My doctor then told me the baby’s heart was elevated. The strong contractions do a number on the little fella. I told her that I felt like I could sleep forever. She looked at my machines and said my blood pressure was low. The doctor got a team together, and they decided to move me. Perhaps my position was putting pressure on the baby or the cord or something. So it took several people to roll me back and forth, back and forth. I ended up on my side. I’m not sure it worked. My doctor ordered two shots – epinephrine for me, and something that started with a T for the baby. The shots worked, and both of us were stabilized.
At some point, my doctor introduced me to the teams of people who were at the ready in case anything went wrong. There were so many people in my room, it was like a convention. There was the baby team, ready to receive the baby and check him out on the warming table. There was the C-section team, in case shit went down. And there was the team prepared to do something in case I started hemorrhaging, like after C1. Plus my doctor and lots of nurses in and out.
As I was gearing up for pushing time, I heard my doctor comment, “I don’t like all this blood.” She examined me, then told me I was bleeding a lot, and she wasn’t sure why. She feared it would be a placental abruption, which is when the placenta tears away from the uterus. It’s no bueno apparently, and she said, “We might have to get this baby out of you immediately.” I was like, oh no. I don’t want a C-section! My vagina is already fucked up. Can we just be consistent?! And the idea is terrifying. I said “OK” like a good patient, though I’m sure she could see on my face that the idea scared me. She decided to manipulate my cervix, to see if she would get it to open up so we could give pushing a try. Hands up my hoo-ha, she did her thing, and it worked. “OK, let’s try pushing!” she said.
Amidst a flurry of activity, someone handed her a pair of waders. Giant rubber boots that she pulled on and up over her legs (to protect her from the blood, I’m guessing. Smart. No one likes bloody shoes.) I remember looking at all the people moving about and saying to DH, “Look at this. There is no dignity in childbirth.” The doc did kick out the C-section team, saying she’d call them if she needed them. So maybe 12 people in the room now? It’s a party!
I started pushing at 8:40, giving 3 pushes for each contraction. A nurse counted to 10, and I was supposed to push all through the count, but found myself giving up around 8. They told me to pull my legs into my chest, and I asked a fellow nurse who had one leg, can you help me pull? No, she said, because that could lead to an injury. It had to be all me. This is always when I wish I would’ve stayed in shape while pregnant, or at least attempted some cardio from time to time. Pushing is hard, y’all!
There was five rounds of pushing, and although it was only 16 minutes, at the end I was begging for it to be over. Thankfully it was quick, and I heard “Yes, yes, yes! Here he comes!” His cord was around his neck, but they got it off, and he was good. Hurray!
A few minutes later, my doctor informed me that my placenta was already out. No weird complications there, like with C1. She sent it off to pathology anyway, to see if it was tearing and maybe that’s where the blood was coming from. I checked in a few weeks later, and she said there were no signs of abruption — but there were early signs of an infection, so “we got him out just in time.”
Compared with #1, this time was much easier. Not complication free, but all is well and I don’t feel traumatized. My doctor was wonderful, and all the nurses were very nice to me. This was a much much better birth experience. Thank you Cedars Sinai!