May 25, 2013

The Labor

Now that I was going to be staying at the hospital for a while, Josh and I got as comfortable as we were going to be. In that moment, it really sunk in that this was the last time "we" meant just the two of us.

Before we came to the hospital, I remember Josh telling me that humor was what was going to get me through labor. He couldn't have been more right. We just talked and laughed and rested when we could.

I know I was the one having the baby, but Josh was right there there with me the whole time. He held my hand when I needed it, he knew when I needed to be encouraged, but also knew when I needed to be left to concentrate quietly. Most importantly, he was there. Josh was supposed to be deployed when we were due, but thanks to his wonderful leadership, he was taken off that mission. Kudos to all the ladies out there that have had to do this by yourself, I don't know that I could've been that strong.

By around 7pm (I'd now been at the hospital for about 10 hours), I had found my rhythm. As a contraction came I'd breathe through it, no he-he-he's or ho-ho-ho's, just deep breaths that I used to push out the pain the best I could. It almost felt like my contractions were getting easier, maybe I was getting used to the pain, or maybe I was just that focused, I don't know.

The doctor had come in to check my progress I was at 7 centimeters and fully effaced. The doctor had asked how I was doing with the pain, if I wanted an epidural. I said I thought I was doing okay, but then he said that the anesthesiologist was available now but that soon she wouldn't be for a while, and it looked like I was progressing quickly.

In that moment, I sort of panicked. What if the pain suddenly got so much worse that I just couldn't handle it. I had a "birthing plan" but that was just to say that I wanted to play my pain management by ear. I wasn't dead set on going naturally, nor was I set on getting an epidural as soon as I walked through the door. I decided to get the epidural when the nurse, Kat, whispered how tired I looked, and that once I got the epidural, I could take a nap. That was the deciding factor.

Everyone is different, obviously, but when I received my epidural it didn't hurt. There was a little pressure, but it was nothing compared to the contractions. Josh and I took about an hour nap. I woke up because I was feeling pain on my right side. The epidural wasn't working on half of my body. Kat had me lay on my right side to see if we could get the epidural to sort of come over to that side, but nothing worked.

The anesthesiologist came back and tried fixing my epidural, not fun. I was all taped up and that all had to be removed so she could adjust it. It was all for not. I could still feel everything on my right side. I just had to deal with it. Some of the pain is better than all of the pain, I guess.

By the time the anesthesiologist left, it was around 9pm. I felt like I needed to push. Kat had checked me and said I was at 9 centimeters, so I wasn't quite ready to push but we could practice so when it was time I would be prepared. We practiced different positions so I could figure out what I wanted to do.

I was becoming uncomfortably warm, my amazing nurse got me a fan and adjusted the thermostat in our room so it would be cooler for me. I looked up at Josh and he looked like he was freezing. I felt bad for him, but I was so hot I started feeling nauseous. He never complained once though. I also noticed how exhausted Josh was. He'd been up with me the whole time, and without having pain to keep him up, he was struggling to keep his eyes open. Josh needed to rest, and after some convincing from the nurse and I, Josh finally laid down on the reclining chair in our room.
While Josh napped, I continued to try out different positions. The doctor came in around 11pm and told me I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing. For my first 30-45 minutes of pushing, I was trying to be as quiet as I could, so Josh could rest. At that point, I accidentally made a loud sound and Josh woke up and bolted to my side. I think he may have been a little embarrassed that he slept through my first few pushes, and he teased me a little for trying to be quiet while I pushed. But I needed my coach at 100%, if that meant I had to be quiet for a little while, then silent I was.

It was now the 25th of May, and I was still pushing. Dr. Ball said our little boy seemed stuck and said he would try using the forceps. After 4 or 5 contractions of me pushing and him pulling. He looked up at me and said he thought it was time for a cesarean.

I started weeping. I looked up at Dr. Ball and Kat who both looked back at me with sympathetic faces. I'll never forget what I said next. I was so full of disappointment in myself. I looked at Josh who had teared up himself, and then back to the doc and nurse and said "I'm sorry I failed you." The look on their faces was that of horror. They tried telling me how I great did, and that the baby just couldn't fit. Nothing they said was going to make me feel any better. Josh held my hand and gave me a kiss. He told me it would be alright. I hoped he was right.

I didn't have time to think about it though, it was time to act. They gave Josh a pair of scrubs to change into while they wheeled me into the operating room. I had a new anesthesiologist now. He gave me a spinal. By the time Josh was by my side, we were ready to go. Dr. Ball talked me through it, step-by-step. Suddenly the whole table was shaking. One of the OR attendants asked the doctor if he needed to make a bigger incision, but Dr. Ball said no, and that he would be getting his work out it today, and climbed on the table with me and after a little more maneuvering, I heard the most beautiful sound in the world. My baby was crying and my husband was laughing because my son just peed into my open incision. Dr. Ball said it was no wonder he didn't fit, he was a very healthy 9lbs, 13oz baby boy that was born at 3:29am.

Welcome to the world Coleden Levi. Welcome to the world.

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