Wednesday, August 24, 2011

the birth, part two

Read part one.

We pulled up to the hospital and the valet opened my door, heard me and said "hmm wheelchair?" Uh yeah, buddy. The nurses took me into the triage room where I had to strip, put on a hospital gown and get checked.  "Well, I have good news and bad news. You're 100 percent effaced but only 1 centimeter."

It was in this moment things turned down a different path. I panicked. "If this is 1 cm pain, how am I going to get to 10 cm? I will surely die. Or pass out from shock. Something must be wrong. I'm going to have a c-section."

The same nurse yelled at me to calm down. She wasn't sure if there was anything they could do since I was only 1 cm. Which if I could have actually spoken, I would have assured her that I was most definitely NOT leaving this hospital without a baby. After checking me again, she reported that I was pushing. "If you think you are in pain now, wait til you rip your cervix." More panic. And later a grievance against snotty nurse who fortunately we did not see again.

I've never been in labor. I've never pushed. And I most certainly did not how to stop pushing. Things didn't get better from there. The nurse botched my IV and a wide-eyed Shea told me not to look. The two-inch long bruise left on my arm now 12 days later is evidence of what probably happened.

Half an hour later, I was checked again. Eight centimeters. EIGHT. Suddenly it all made a lot more sense. The pain I was feeling, the panic, was me in transition. A few minutes later I would be at 10 cm, and I could hear the nurses' shocked whispers in the hallway. I was shaking violently, which they told me was hormones that surge right before pushing.

Then I made a decision I am still processing. I cried, begged, pleaded for an epidural. I told Shea not to be mad at me but I couldn't do it. The nurses and Shea assured me this wasn't "normal" labor and I had nothing to feel guilty about. My strong desire for a natural birth went out the window when my body had no time to prepare and cope with the pain. When I went from one to ten in an hour. There was no lead up, no time for coaching or confidence building. And there was a nurse who induced panic and fear. And the confusion of what was happening and the lag time as I had to wait to push when my body was already ready to go.

I didn't feel the epidural needle. My body was slumped over Shea's with my eyes locked into his waiting for relief. And then it came, like a sweet wave of warm water. I know I could still feel the contractions somewhat because I remember asking "is this one?" but my memory is fuzzy. We waited an hour for the little man's head to turn. The nurse asked me to try pushing just to see how close we were. With one push, the nurse asked Shea if he wanted to see his son's head.

My midwife arrived and with only two more pushes, I was sobbing as my son was placed on my chest.

The consequences of a speedy labor, though, started soon after Shea cut the cord.


  1. Rockstar and congrats! This is forever your story.

    We welcomed our little man last week on Thursday. I had been 3-4cm dilated for WEEKS. But he was still up high and my cervix wasn't thinned. My water broke that morning and I was having contractions 2 hours later. I labored for about 6 hours and got to 9.5 dilated and my cervix STILL wasn't thinned out and they wouldn't let me push... and sweet mercy, it was painful. I was able to use a birthing ball during contractions, but I was throwing up with each one. I really only remember the last 3 where they made my lay down on my left side (the side that wasn't thinned) and I was shaking, but I knew I was so close. Well... then I pushed for 2 hours. I was crying because I was running out of energy and he would NOT come out. That's when I finally had to get the episiotomy, and he finally arrived. Following that... the cord detached from the placenta and had to be hand delivered... I felt sorry for anyone getting a hospital tour that day because I was screaming bloody murder. Honestly, I think next time... if there is ever a next time (ha!), I will definitely opt for the epidural. Oh, we took Lamaze classes... and yeah, I used NONE of the techniques. Don't doubt for 1 second your decision for the epi... I would have never in a million years guessed it would have been as painful as it was. You did great and have an amazing story! And what really matters, is that our little guys are here safe and sound!

  2. Wow, Amber. That's quite a battle. I cringe just thinking of how painful that must have been. I agree that the pain was worse than I imagined, at least going into it that fast. And yes, we used pretty much nothing from our Bradley books. Funny. Congratulations on your son!

  3. ack I think I had a tiny panic attack just from reading this! you are made of effing STEEL, woman. Good job!!