Once morning rolled around we got word from Dr M, via nurse Chris, that we should have started pitocin already! She came over on her rounds and agreed to let me go a while longer, but warned me that we were closing in on the time when we’d have to get things going. She also reminded me that, without an epidural, in the event I needed an emergency c-section they would have to knock me out and I wouldn’t be awake during delivery. Rob and Barb (who’d returned sometime that morning, I don’t remember when) went to work! They focused on a cycle of acupressure points that are supposed to bring on labor – and they worked! Slowly but surely contractions began, but they were very gradual and they weren’t consistent in time intervals or length.
It was maybe an hour later when nurse Chris stopped in again, regretfully, to inform me that Dr M wanted her to start the pitocin. She showed us the bag and declared she was just going to hang it on the pole…because it was time for her break. Then she left! She was buying us more time to get things moving on our own, the sweetie! Unfortunately, it wasn’t much more than 15 or 20 minutes before she was back and told us that Dr M had called – she was monitoring me from her office across the street and could tell the pitocin hadn’t been started.
“She can do that from there?” I asked.
Nurse Chris seemed as startled by the news as we were. We were busted. She started the pitocin on the slowest, tiniest, drip of an amount she could.
Contractions began almost immediately, and they were long, strong, and mean. This was not the gradual build-up of labor I’d had with E2 – it was as though someone had hit the fast-forward button. Rob and Barb were trying everything they could to help me deal with the onslaught. I was sitting on the edge of the bed, with my head and arms draped over the rolling table/tray thing. Barb was on the other side, both bracing the tray so it wouldn’t roll, and calmly, quietly, talking me through contractions.
“Is another one coming? Take a deep breath so you can stay on top of it. You’re doing great. You’re so strong! That baby wants to come out to see you.”
Rob was behind me, using his fists to push on my lower back with all his might. I was having some mighty lower back pain and pressure, so he was doing his best to provide counter-pressure.
Barb suggested I try kneeling on the bed, and hanging onto/over the head of the bed, hoping to relieve the back pain somewhat. The contractions were slamming together, one right after another, and I was starting to gag. At the time, I thought I was positioned weird on the head of the bed and I was causing myself to choke. Nurse Chris saw it for what it was though. Transition.
“Is she going to throw up? I’m getting a delivery tray out now. I think that baby’s just going to come shooting out of there. I’ll call the doctor.”
However, the baby did not come shooting out of there. They soon noticed that every time I was having a contraction (constantly) the baby’s heartbeat would decelerate. Then the shit hit the fan.
“The baby doesn’t like this position. We need you to turn around.”
With some help, I turned myself around to lie on the bed. This was a miserable position, and I was trying to hold on to some shred of concentration, willing myself to relax and breathe. Dr M arrived and everyone kept talking louder and louder. Finally, I heard Barb’s calm but firm voice in my ear.
“Nancy. We need you to turn over to your left side.”
I realized then that’s what they’d all been loudly telling me to do, but I was trying to stay inside my own head. A c-section was needed, Dr M decided, and they were going to be preparing me for surgery. A thought flitted through my brain as my body was being wracked with pain…Good. They’ll knock me out and it won’t hurt anymore. I was given a shot of something to stop the contractions (ironic, eh?) which made me shake like I’d spent the last two hours in a freezer. Dr M told me an anesthesiologist would be coming to put in an epidural.
“I thought you would have to knock me out?”
“No, we can still do an epidural. It’s safer than knocking you out.”
“I don’t think I can hold still for an epidural.”
“We’ll help you.”
Damn, and double damn. So much for the threats – and just when I was looking forward to them following through. The anesthesiologist showed up and began asking me the SAME QUESTIONS he’d asked before at check-in. Rob interrupted him and told him we’d already answered that, and a quick check of some chart or something showed he was right. Dr M left to get ready for surgery. Rob left to get suited up too.
Now we started through the process of getting ready for surgery. The contractions had indeed stopped, but the nurses were moving at light speed compared to the scheduled c-section I’d had six years before.
They wheeled me down the hall to the operating room, and then lifted me over to the surgery table. They helped me sit up so I could receive an epidural. At the direction to hunch over my belly, I asked if I could bend my legs. I could, thankfully.
For my previous c-section it took several sticks before they got the spinal block to work and they kept telling me to hunch over, “think poor posture”…which is really hard to do when your legs are straight out in front of you, and your baby belly is on your lap. There’s no where for you to hunch!
This time, I moved my legs into a tailor-sit position, hunched, and viola; In went the epidural on the first try. Then it was back to lying flat on my back, while my body began to get numb from the toes up. Then anesthesiologist was blathering on about something they put in the epidural that would help afterwards. Whatever.
Dr M arrived, and so did Rob, and surgery soon began. Rob had no desire to watch this time, having seen it before, and having the crap scared out of him in the last 20 minutes. Dr M, in her paper bootie covered high-heeled fashion boots, stood on a stool (she’s short) and got things started. Soon, they found E3 with the cord wrapped around her neck and got her out of there. She was covered with a thick coating of what the baby books refer to as ‘cheesy vernix’, not uncommon when babies come early. It seemed like forever before she made any noise. They suctioned her, and gave her oxygen. I have no idea what her APGAR scores as they didn’t call them out like they did during my last section.
Dr M worked on closing me back up, and eventually Rob got to bring E3 over to my side. She was SO tiny compared to our other girls, only weighing 6lbs 12oz, and she had some dark ‘stork bite marks’ on her forehead and nose, but she was SO pink and So pretty, and I was so very glad that she was okay even though she’d been through a hellish ride.
Dr M told me that if I were to have any other babies they would have to be delivered by c-section. In my head, I disagreed with her, “Put down the knife, lady.” but I’d been having thoughts for a while that E3 might be our last, so I just smiled and nodded at her.
After the required time in recovery, with me trying to rest through the ‘spins’, I was soon ready to be rolled to my room. I had my eyes closed when they began to move the bed though, and I got a wicked case of vertigo. By the time we’d gone the short distance to the nurse’s station right outside of surgery, I’d asked for a cool washcloth, which was quickly provided. On we rolled.
“I think I’m going to throw up.”
They started to wheel faster, I guess to get me into my room- the floors there would be easier to clean now that I think about it, while I dry-heaved and finally threw up into a little basin. E3 came back to my room and Rob told me all about how he helped give her a bath. In the pictures I look like hell, but I remember giving Rob my approval to take one. As usual, holding the baby helped me feel better. Rob alerted the family that I was feeling pretty crappy and to hold off visiting until the next day.
The next few hours were just yucky. They offered to bring in a tray of liquid diet food, but my stomach was still too queasy. HOWEVER, I was already getting feeling back in my toes! It was a good 12 hours before that happened after my other c-section. I was spent, in every sense of the word. After all the labor and surgery and dry-heaving I just felt gross. I asked for a washcloth so I could wipe myself off a bit and feel less sweaty, but the nurse saw my washcloth and raised me a sponge bath. It was awesome. I felt almost human again.
It was a very short night between nursing, diaper changes, and the ratcha fratcha pulse-ox monitor. We sent E3 down to the nursery for a short while so I could try to sleep, but it wasn't long before the nurse was back with her saying, "There's no distracting her. She wants what she wants NOW." Very prophetic, that.
Morning rolled around and I was up and walking with very little pain. Turns out that the stuff the anesthiologist was prattling on about was some sort of morphine they added to the spinal block and it had allowed be to be free of a morphine drip after the surgery. SWEET!
When Dr M came through on her rounds that morning she reported that it was five degrees below zero outside. I had the air conditioner on in our room because I'm thermally challenged dut to hormones. Over the course of the next couple of days Amy also brought me a robe, and she brought a change of clothes for Rob; this in addition to essentially living at our house each day with her own 3mo baby. When the day came that I convinced the dr to let me go home (even though it wasn't the standard 96 hours or whatever) I realized yet another blunder in my quick-packing spree: No pants! I wore Rob's athletic pants (one of Amy's many deliveries) home from the hospital that day.
Happy Third Birthday, Sweet Baby Girl!