To say I was exhausted was an understatement. I had a heplocked IV in my hand. A nurse came in and said I needed to seriously increase my water intake, or start an IV. I couldn't imagine taking in major amounts of water - I was THIRSTY, but the thought of all that water sloshing in my tummy...ugh! I had been sipping water all along because I thought I was supposed to SIP. Guess I should have glugged as I felt the need. I went with the IV. Barb had a washcloth with lemon oil on the squat bar in front of me, and was massaging my feet with Peppermint oil in between contractions when she'd stop to do acupressure.
About an hour or so later, the Dr checked me again. I was at 7cm - 8cm during a ctx. She wanted me to try nipple stimulation to increase the frequency and duration of the ctx. When the nurse left, I commented to Rob and Barb that I REALLY didn't want to try that. Logically, I knew that it was supposed to work. However, it just wasn't something I wanted to do at that point in time. I also said I couldn't believe that she wanted longer and stronger ctx! I went to the bathroom again - about a 10 min ordeal including ctx, that would brought on chills when I got back to the bed - and Barb suggested I try to rest.
That sounded great! I was actually dozing off between ctx I was so tired. The only problem - there was no position I could find to rest in that was comfortable. Any movement brought a ctx slamming about. The three of us discussed what to do - Barb suggesting things, but very diplomatically leaving decisions to me - Rob giving me sips of water, or a washcloth to my face at my command.
The nurse came in and started another bag of glucose and gave me a Sprite to alternate with the sips of water. The Dr came in and said I NEEDED to get up and try something else: shower, nipple stimulation, sit on the birth ball. SOMETHING to bring on longer stronger ctx.
The overhead lights were turned on. It bugged me at the time, but in retrospect it seems like the nurses may have used it as a way to push me into a change. As they un-tethered me and taped over my IV so I could go in the shower, Barb talked quietly to me about going into the shower and finding a new frame of mind for getting the baby down. "The sooner the baby come out, the sooner you can rest. You're not going to be able to rest until the baby is born." I sat on the edge of the bed, waiting for a breather in between contractions. A nurse advised me to get up and head to the bathroom before the next one started. I had a brief thought of “That makes sense,” before getting up – I wasn’t getting a real breather anyway. I was waiting for something that wasn’t going to happen at that point in time.
Into the shower I went. Rob stood outside the shower curtain as I tried to steady myself, aim the spray of water at my belly, find a 'comfortable' position in the cubicle, all while being slammed with one of those dandy movement-induced ctx. I tried putting one knee on the seat with my head resting on the wall for a few, then tried squatting with my head on the seat for a while. Ctx were definitely stronger and sometimes double peaking.
I had had several thoughts and doubts throughout these events, but now I really couldn't stop myself from wondering 1. What the heck possessed me to go for a vbac? If I'd scheduled a section I would have had the baby by now! 2. Maybe an epidural wasn't such a bad idea at this point, and 3. If not an epidural, maybe something to take the edge off.
Thankfully, I still had enough logic to remember that I'd never heard anyone say anything good about drugs to 'take the edge off'. They'd probably just make me loopy and feel out of control. Although I was managing what felt to me like a hard labor, I still felt in control. Also, I couldn't even BEGIN to imagine how I'd sit still long enough for an epidural!
Interspersed with these thoughts were thoughts of my pals at Moms Online, who I knew were aware that I was probably in labor, the e-mail from Nancy A a few days ago telling me she knew I could do it, and the phrase ‘Pain with a Purpose’ from the Bradley Childbirth book.
After what was maybe 10 min (?) the nurse came in and said they really needed to get me back on the monitor and check the baby. Since I was a vbac, they wanted to keep an eye on things a little closer. I was annoyed by this. I was finally up trying something else, couldn’t they just let me be for a while?
Out of the shower I came...and immediately dropped to hands and knees for a ctx. Rob frantically tried to towel me off and cover me with my gown, but I grabbed him. After a ctx that seemed to last FOREVER, I managed to grunt out, "I think I need to push!" He called to someone and they said to just push if I felt like it, then to come out in between ctx.
I was pushing and pushing and pushing when I heard Barb ask, "Nancy? Is that ctx over?" I realized I was pushing whether there was a ctx or not. I remember feeling a slight urgency to 'prove' that I was at a pushing point and was determined that they weren't going to tell me 'not time yet' one more time.
Somehow, I managed to make it over to a pad they'd placed on the floor in front of the monitors. After another ctx, the nurse said she'd check me if I could manage lying on my back. So, Rob sat down and I leaned back against him. In between a barrage of ctx, I heard, "Oh yeah, the head's right here."
Barb and Rob began cheering me on with, "You're doing it! You're doing great!" while I remained reclined against Rob - who was hanging on to the bedrail with one arm to support us both!
The Dr had just left the floor to go assist with a tubal ligation, when she was paged to come back. She walked in and asked if we fell, or if that was an intentional position. Then said she'd need us up on the bed if I didn't want to deliver flat on my back. Up they hoisted me and I managed to climb onto the bed.
Finally there was a bit more of a breather in between ctx. They wanted me to grab behind my knees and pull them back and out with the next ctx. I pleadingly looked at Rob and Barb and asked if they'd help with that. The next ctx came and I started pushing. I didn't feel that my pushes were very controlled - just frantic all out pushing whatever the cost. Rob was on my left, and Barb was on my right. Barb was quietly cheering me on, telling me I could do it – I WAS doing it, keep up the good work. When I opened my eyes, they had moved a full-length mirror to the end of the bed. After another ctx, someone asked if I could see the head. I looked, but didn't really recognize ANYTHING in the mirror, much less a baby's head.
After a few more pushes the Dr said with the next ctx I should try to hold the push for as close to a count of 10 as I could. My birthplan had asked for spontaneous pushing, but I NEEDED this direction because my pushing was beginning to feel frantic. Another pushing ctx and the head was almost there...another pushing ctx and the head was out, then the rest of her and they put her on my belly!
Rob said later that the Dr slipped her cord from around her neck just after her head came out. She was very alert, but a bit blue despite lots of hands and blankets rubbing her. They had to bring her over to the warmer and give her some oxygen. But, she pinked up right away, and they brought her back over while I got stitched up. I had torn a 'quite a bit' according to the Dr - although it's not as bad as some of the horror stories I've heard. I delivered the placenta just before the stitching began, and the Dr reached up into my uterus and checked my c-section scar - all was well.
I didn’t want to nurse during the stitching process – I just wanted to hold Barb’s hand and whimper. Once the Dr was done stitching, I started nursing E2 and she latched right on and went to town. I think I actually leaked a few times during labor, so there must have been something there for her already!
We were left alone to have some family time, Rob made a few calls, and I drank the rest of my Sprite, two small cans of oj, and ate a Nutrigrain bar. The nurse made me promise to finish all before I would get in the shower - I had REALLY low blood sugar by this point. They came back to weigh and measure E2, (she was 8lbs, 13oz and 21"long) then took her to the NICU. Since she'd had oxygen they needed to monitor her vitals for a bit longer. I told Rob to go with her because I was going to take a shower. The nurses laughed and asked that I please wait until they come back before I tried to get up. For a few moments I was alone, resting in bed, and grinning from ear to ear.
After a nice hot shower and instructions on perineum care, I got wheeled to my recovery room where Rob had moved our things and was already dozing in a chair. We both tried to sleep for about 45 min until Amy and E1 arrived.
E1 and Rob went to get E2 from the nursery. They came back and E1 declared E2, "A beautiful baby! She's so cute! Baby E2!", then she got to sit in a chair and hold E2. They stayed for about two hours, then Mom stopped by.
The DR that delivered is the wife of my regular DR. He was on-call, but had a section scheduled as soon as his call shift ended, so when his wife took the call she agreed to come instead. I was supposed to meet her for the first time (she just joined the practice this month – we were her second delivery) at my scheduled ob appt on the coming Thursday. I’m glad it was her. I felt quite a bit of animosity towards her during delivery – I think if it had been him I’d have let loose what I was thinking, blowing any sense of control I had left.
I was really surprised that other than being a bit short with one or two especially pesky nurses I wasn’t grouching at everyone and cursing up a storm. :o)
Immediately after the birth, I was still questioning my vbac decision. But after a bit of rest, and being able to walk around on my own, use the restroom on my own, shower on my own, and move, shift, change positions without abdomen pain on my own, there was no question. This recovery was already easier!
E2 was born on Tuesday, Sept 12th at 12:37pm. We left the hospital around 4:00pm the next day.