While laying in the hospital bed, somewhere between full on labor and slowly escalating contractions, Escape from New York came on TV. I couldn’t pay attention to much and decided to just leave it on since it was a old favorite. Now every time I see it I’m going to think about having a baby! I’m thinking Snake PlissKen is going to make an awesome future costume idea for the little guy, lol.
But I’m jumping ahead with my story! So here is the story of Keelan’s birth from start to finish:
I arrived at the hospital at 6AM, Tuesday April 14th. I wasn’t allowed to eat anything past midnight and was very worried about that because I get sick if I don’t eat. If I ever have a baby again, I will be eating a big meal before I go in because I was absolutely starving the whole time and I did get sick from it. They had to give me Zofran to stop it. I’ll say it right now, a full day of ice chips is bullshit. Being weak from hunger is unnecessary torture during an already strenuous experience.
The labor suite was really nice and very hotel-like. I would be giving birth and staying in the same room the whole time with the baby. There was a couch for my husband to sleep on and room for everybody to hang out while things got going. My husband’s parents were there, plus my mom and grandparents.
By 7AM I was all checked in. I was effaced 60% and dilated to 3 on my own, so they hooked up my IV and started Pitocin. Over the next few hours they increased the dosage every hour. I had very very mild cramping, a level 1-2 on the pain scale and was slowly making progress dilating. Since I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and IV, I had to use a bedpan. Because of all the fluids, I had to use it a LOT. I got pretty darn good at peeing in a room full of people. I retained a smidgen of modesty by asking the grandpas to leave the room when I peed.
At noon the doctor came in and broke my water with a giant crochet hook. It didn’t hurt but was extremely weird and uncomfortable. I felt a tug and then warm water gushed everywhere. My first thought was “hey, maybe I should just pee too and get one in without the bedpan and nobody will notice.” Of course this was the one time I didn’t have to go.
After that things really started to escalate. I dilated to a 5 in less than an hour and went from light cramps to “oh god help me” kind of cramps. I ordered my epidural and waited. The epidural experience was awful. I actually screamed several times when he was putting it in. I learned “you’re going to feel some pressure and a little stinging” really meant “I’m going to stab you in the back and you’ll think I’m trying to kill you.” I don’t know if I would want to go through that again. But when it finally kicked in and the cramps stopped, I was glad I had it done. Really glad, until 3 hours later when it wore off on my left side.
I started feeling cramps on my left side only. It was really weird. They started getting stronger and that came with a lot of moaning and trying to breath through it. The extra epidural doses from the button they left me weren’t doing anything, so they called in some stronger drugs. That took the edge off but I could still feel that left side. My right side, however, was dead as can be. I couldn’t even move my right leg, but I probably could have stood up and jumped around on my left leg. A couple hours of that went by and I asked the nurse to check me because it felt like he was on his way out on his own. Lots of pressure and it felt like something was hanging out me already. So weird. So she checked and I was at an 8! She said that’s probably why the cramps were so strong. I was having major contractions and was nearing push time. I got to 9.5 in no time and the doc was called in at 9PM.
The nurse set me up and explained I needed to hold onto my legs and push 3 times in a row. It was show time! Honestly I thought the whole holding my legs thing was awkward and ridiculous. There were stirrups attached the bed and here I was in some archaic birthing pose. I know my husband grabbed one leg and I think my mom was on the other side helping while grandma was at my head. I kept having to tell my mom to stop peaking between my legs. I warned my husband several times that there may be poop involved since I hadn’t gone that day and that he should look away quickly if that happens. Later he let me know I did not poop after all.
Unfortunately all the pushing and straining after a day of not eating made me feel sick and I had to keep stopping to throw-up. With nothing in my stomach it was just a lot of spittle and foam. I kept the pushing up for a about 20 min and during that time the baby’s heartbeat started to slow down when I pushed because I was holding my breath to long. How was I supposed to push and breath at the same time? So they started giving me oxygen in between pushing which of course got everyone really worried. The nurse wanted me to count to 10 when I pushed but I was having a really hard time holding it that long so I told her I’d do better with a 6 or 7 count and we switched to that. Usually with an epidural you can’t feel the contractions coming but because I could still feel my left side I knew when it was starting to build up and knew when I was going to need to push. I wasn’t feeling the full brunt of the contractions, but it was enough for me to notice.
I got the hang of it after a few rounds and suddenly the nurse yells “stop pushing” and runs out for the doc. As the doc shows up, they finally bring out those stirrups. With legs in place I was told to give it all I got. I’m not much of a religious person, but I can honestly say I said a very heartfelt prayer before I took a deep breath and put my heart and soul into those last few pushes. I did my 3 in a row and felt a tremendous pressure and my mom yells “I can see him, don’t let him go back in!” and the doc tells me to give it one more push without a break. It was 9:37 when I gave my last big push and lot of pressure and then relief. I was surprised there was no pain even with the epidural not fully working. I felt a tugging sensation as he was pulled out of me and suddenly there was a bloody gooey absolutely screaming baby laid on my chest. Our little lion man entered the world roaring at the top of his lungs. Everyone around me was crying and I thought I’d be crying too but I just teared up a little. I was too much in shock that I actually did it and it was over.
Little did I know it was not exactly over! He was still connected to me by the cord so they took him back and held him for my husband to cut the cord. After that they took him away to be cleaned. The doc was still between my legs and said “Give me one more push” so I did and out plopped the placenta. Then the real fun started as the nurse and doc started trying to kill me, oops I mean pushing on my stomach to get the rest of the stuff out. Then the doc started looked really concerned because I started losing too much blood. I looked down and she was covered up to her elbows and stuffing wads of gauze in me. They gave me a shot and then a suppository to stop the bleeding. It seemed like this went on for way too long. I started to wonder if I was going to need a blood transfusion, but they finally got it to slow down.
I’m honestly not sure if the stitching was before or after the bleeding but I think it was after. I just remember thinking what a long piece of thread that was! She said I had a second degree tear, a little outside and inside. Because the epidural didn’t work so well on my left side, I kept feeling sharp pricks on my left when I was only supposed to feel pressure. So she gave me a Lidocaine shot and some topical stuff. I still felt it! So she marveled at my uneven nerve distribution and gave me yet another shot in my vag and that one actually worked.
After I was all sewn up and not bleeding to death anymore, they finally handed me my sweet little baby boy and I have not wanted to take my eyes off him since. I can’t stop marveling that those little feet are now kicking me from the outside. He’s a wiggly boy! I know thousands of women do this every day, but I still find it amazing that I gave birth to this new little human after working so hard for so long to get to this point.