Not like the movies … a birthday

I am still trying to process all that happened Monday morning. I thought the birth process couldn’t be any crazier after Cameron (if you haven’t heard the story it’s pretty close to the one I’m about to tell). I always imagined myself laboring for hours, taking each contraction a few minutes apart, asking for an epidural, leisurely “enjoying” the rest of labor and then casually being told by the nurse it’s time to push. Sort of like the movies. THIS IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED! NOT EVEN CLOSE!

I’m going to start by saying I was under strict orders by my doctor to arrive at the hospital ASAP so I could be treated with antibiotics (I was supposed to receive 2 doses by the time I was 4 hours away from delivering – pfft!). Given my 6 hour (fast) total labor time with Cameron, we were both thinking I could at least get one of the 2 doses and then go from there. If we could accomplish that, we’d be happy campers.

Soooo…Cameron woke up EARLY on Monday morning and I crawled into his bed with him, hoping to get him back to sleep (it didn’t work). After laying there for about 45 minutes I began feeling stronger and slightly more uncomfortable contractions than the Braxton Hicks I’d  been feeling for weeks. At that point, I was pretty sure it would soon be time to have a baby. I started to pay attention closely. Start time: 6:30AM-ish.

Cameron and I crawled into bed with Keith and I laid there for another half hour or so, looking at the clock with each contraction. I pulled up my good friend contractionmaster.com and measured the length of one contraction before deciding to totally bag the idea and get in the shower instead. I didn’t have time to waste. From past experience I knew if my contractions lasted through my shower (aka change in activity) that this was totally for real.

Took shower and shaved legs (VERY important to me if I was about to be manhandled!!) and sure enough, the contractions continued regularly and ouch. Get out of shower, call doctor’s office to confirm I should come in. Leave house and drive to hospital. Check in at front desk. Time: 8:45AM

Put in teeny-tiny observation room. Hooked up to baby monitoring equipment. Initial check by nurse indicated I had not progressed in the almost week since last doctor appointment. I am 2.5 CM and 80% effaced. LAME. I think I might be sent home.

Sit in room for 1 hour with mild contractions. Nurse re-checks. No change. Orders? Walk around the wing for 30 mins and see what happens. Change? 3 CM and still 80% effaced. I was pretty bummed and still not sure if they’d send me home or not. Instructions? Walk more.

So, we are walking around and I’m thinking how I will cry because these contractions have to be doing something. Worried if I’m sent home the baby will seriously be born either on the couch or in my car because that’s how it seems to work with me. FAST. All hope is not lost, and I keep walking and the contractions are starting to HURT. Wondering if this is all in my head and if I’m over worried because of the freakishly fast birth of Cameron. Shake it off, self. You are at the hospital.

Hearing the sounds and screams of another woman in labor. Sounds of bloody murder. I’ve never been so scared. I’m serious. The sounds she made were HORRIBLE. This was probably made even worse because I was on the brink of another painful contraction and her noises just weren’t that awesome. Quickly turn around and make Keith promise not to walk me by that room again. I can still here the Latina woman screaming, “aye, dios mio!”

Back in room after 40 mins of walking. Thinking I could die. Contractions hurt. Ouch. Nurse checks me. 4.5 CM and 90% thinned. We are having a baby! Quick, get IV started and antibiotics in my blood. Discuss pain management with Doctor. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have another drug-less birth again, but wanted to leave the option open. Decided I would try to do it but since I was only 4.5 CM I still could decide in the next hour or so (in my mind anyway). A few contractions later I think : “forget this! Give me the epidural.” I knew I could do it without but on that day, I really just didn’t want to.  Before we leave observation room I tell nurse I’m definitely going to want that epidural we talked about. Turns out the anesthesiologist is in the building so it shouldn’t take long to get it done. Exciting. Walk to nearby labor/delivery room. Ouch. Lots of pain. My smile has faded. Time: 1:15PM.

Quickly settle into nice room. A few contractions later I think I might die. Pain is excruciating. With each passing moment I am getting more and more antsy for the FREAKING EPIDURAL! “Keith, I want you to go find out where that doctor is because I want my epidural NOW”

Nurse rushes in. Anesthesiologist is on his way. Man comes in and introduces self. Talks a bunch of mumbo jumbo about the risks and how the procedure works. Can’t he see I don’t care?! I just want the drug. You are wasting time! He’s already told me it takes 15-20 mins to kick in. Dang it! Contractions are coming faster and harder. Ouch. Think I might kill someone. Time: I don’t care.

Sit up on side of bed. We’d been told by doctor and nurse that as long as I can sit still long enough to get needle in spine (*shudder*) then I am golden. Doctor also mentioned initially that sometimes when a woman sits on bed, that opens up her cervix and the baby wants to come out even faster, making an epidural useless. I did not want that to happen. Still sitting on bed. 1 contraction passes. Ouch. Keith has to let go because apparently I am pushing his ring into other fingers too hard.  I remember seeing him hunched over with both hands in mind, writhing in pain. Sorry! Takes ring off. Problem solved.

A few seconds (one minute?) pass. 2nd contraction – strong urge to push. I can feel my bag of water and there is a lot of pressure. I have to bear down and push to get through this one. Ouch. Nurse stops man with needle, who has completely prepped my back. I’ve been painted with iodine or whatever and have the plastic stuff all over my back. Thisclose to getting my epidural. “I need to check her” I look down at the nurse, seriously about to cry. “You mean I can’t have the epidural?” “Honey, you had to bear down to get through that contraction. The epidural may not do you any good” CRAP! She checks me, hitting and breaking my bag of water in the process. Yup, I’m fully dilated. It’s time to push. Anesthesiologist reminds me I’ve done all the hard work. That’s probably the only thing that keeps my from sobbing in epidural disappointment. Because I REALLY wanted it. Drat.

Hear anesthesiologist frantically pack up, he tells nurse he’ll have doctor paged. Lots of commotion around me. People trying to get everything ready. QUICKLY. Feel another contraction. Ugg. They are getting very intense, find myself having to grunt/scream to get through them. Did not want to be the “Aye, dios mio” lady and I’m sure I was much more controlled than that. But dang. OUCH.

2 or 3 grunting/screaming/pushing contractions over the course of the next 2 or so minutes. At some point, the doctor made it in there. I push with the contraction. Hear doctor telling me how great I’m doing. Baby is crowning. Yes, in one push. (He was in a hurry). Head is out. Doctor tells me to do some half pushes. BAM! We have a baby! Time: 1:48PM

Whoa. It was intense. Even though I got to the hospital so early, it was STILL crazy. Doctor says for the first time in 6 months she had to park in fire lane. Did I mention how crazy it all was?

I’m not going to lie. The pain was excruciating. But, really it’s supposed to. That’s how labor is. Looking back would I have LOVED to have the epidural? YES. But there was nothing I could have done and I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself for doing it au naturale, even if it wasn’t by choice. Makes for a pretty good birth story, don’t you think?

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In observation room

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Brand new

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Our first family outing. Headed home from hospital but not before some shave ice!!

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  1. Thanks for sharing your story! Looking forward to a similar experience in just a couple of weeks!

  2. I love birth stories and love that you did it natural! Super impressive since you didn't even necessarily WANT to do it natural! We are going to have a natural birth plan, but see how it goes and get some sort of pain relief if I am dying!

    Good job, Choach!

  3. Awesome! And good for you! I chose to do it natural and sometimes I think I am crazy.
    Congratulations though. He is adorable and I am so happy for you all!!


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