My Birth Story – Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Epidural
Whelp, it happened. It was kind of a nightmare, with moments of sheer joy that wiped the nightmare away. On the whole a truly humbling experience. I’ll never speak ill of epidurals or catheters ever again. So here’s the long story. I’ll title each section so you can skip around if you want.
Sleeping through hours of contractions
Monday, 1/5/2015 – I go to work. Come home. Start to get contractions as usual, and then they start to hurt. I tell Man Biscuit, “I think this is it. Everyone on the internet says we should go to sleep.” We went to sleep.
Not a false alarm
Tuesday, 1/6/2015 – I wake up around 7am, feeling great. I assume the night before was a false alarm, and then a contraction hits. Still hurts. Hoo boy. This is happening. At this point, they’re maybe 8 minutes apart. I chillax on the couch a while, and observe Man Biscuit as he nervously wanders the house in a state of grumbling denial. It’s adorable.
A couple hours pass, and around 10ish I’ve been having contractions get more intense, and they’re around 4 minutes apart. We finish our packing and lollygagging, I eat a zesty breakfast burrito and we haul ass to the Hospital.
Triage and the trouble with urethras
By 10:30, I’m in triage, trying to answer questions between contractions, which are now a startling 2 minutes apart. They keep asking if my water broke, and I don’t have a clear answer. I never felt a real gush or anything, but I had some dribbling here and there in the underpants. I assumed it was trickling as some do. There was a wierd scary moment when I tried to go pee and felt an uncontrollable urge to push. I got off the pot and walked it off. It was spooky though. I haven’t been able to pee successfully for a day or so at this point. Gwen had been headbutting my urethra making a good pee all but impossible.
They check me out, and I’m at 4cm. Good enough. They also brought in another doctor and an ultrasound machine to find out what’s up with the water breakage. They determine that it did indeed break, and probably yesterday. This apparently means that you need antibiotics, so I got some of those. We get a delivery room, and I go there to wait. Still contracting around 1-2 minutes apart. They’re right on top of one another, and they suck. Ugh. The breathing helps. Stick to the breathing.
Lots of waiting & pain
Man Biscuit starts texting family members to tell them of our impending spawn. A few rush right over, and hang out with me while I breathe through the pain. Now, let me talk about pain for a moment. The contractions hurt like crazy. Like period cramps, mudd butt cramps and like I’d been kicked in the bladder a few times all at once. Crazy. I had romantic notions of doing this eau natural, but those were sucked out of me after about the millionth contraction that now seemed to be coming 5 seconds apart. After about an hour of torture, they invited the nonchalant anesthesia guy in. He said “let’s talk about anesthesia.” I replied, “Yes. Let’s.” Now this guy was a pro. He jiggles around his supplies behind me as I’m perched in wretched anticipation on the bed, biggidy bam, slight pinch, biggidy boom, sweeeeet relief. Oh lordy. That was wonderful. I had a good two more somewhat felt contractions and then it was like they turned the dimmer switch all the way down. I was twitching like a frog in a hot pan though. Nobody told me about the twitching. I shivered like it was 20 degrees out instead of our balmy Florida 58. At this point they popped in the catheter (didn’t feel a thing thanks to my best friend, epidural.) About 19 gallons of pee came cascading down into a hefty bag, and they dragged it away. Thank goodness.
There’s a party in the delivery room
After the epidural, things got fun. My momma showed up, MB’s mom and dad, friends and family held a vigil in the cafeteria and kept a constant stream of visits and entertainment. It was like a party, where I was the paraplegic starlet in a bed that everyone simply must come see. This went on for quite a while, with checkups here and there. I crept from a lowly 4cm to a tantalizing 7cm over the course of many hours. My OB showed up about 9:30pm, gave me a cursory once over, and declared me 8cm. Then, I think he went to a movie or a bar or something. Didn’t see him again until about 1am. Damn, it must be good to be da doctor. Throughout this rigamarole, my epidural wore off about 3 times and I whined and breathed and whined and breathed until they fixed it. Praise the bringer of the epidural, long may he reign.
A declaration from the doctor
1:15am rolls around, and my doc sachets into the room like Elvis taking the stage. He gives me the ol’ 3 finger twiddle then declares that I’m still only 8cm after 5 hours, and this baby has got to come out. He tells me and Man Biscuit that it’s c-section time, and I’m only too eager. It’d been about a half hour since the last epidural wore off and I was in a haze of pain and flusterbation that knew no bounds. Plus, my visitors were looking bored.
Oh, so now we’re in a rush. Sheesh.
Seconds pass, and everyone bursts into a flurry of activity. My favorite guy, anesthesiologist comes in (now it’s a woman with a soothing latina accent) and starts injecting stuff into my back port. Chills rush up and down my body, and the shaking & quaking starts once more. This time it’s quite a bit more violent. I’m shivering like crazy and trying to keep my teeth from slamming together (I have TMJ, so this is unpleasant for more than a few reasons.) I decide biting my tongue is the only way to prevent total jaw meltdown, and that works pretty good. My tongue still hurts, but my jaw’s okay, so I guess it was a good decision. They wheel me into the operating room, tie me to the cross like a prone Jesus, and stick Man Biscuit in some adorable scrubs and booties. He gets to sit behind me and whisper stupid jokes in my ear.
Next, came the actual extraction. I was numb from pain and temperature, but not pressure. It felt like they were moving furniture around down there for a while, then like I was a piece of luggage they were trying to overstuff. Just as it seemed like someone might be sitting on my gut to get the zipper to close, I heard a beautiful noise. Gwen. Wailing. I asked, “Is that my baby?” With tears already pouring down my face. Man Biscuit asks, “Is it?” and after a moment, “It is!” They proceed to move some more furniture, then MB goes in back to do mysterious daddy stuff. I hear him exclaiming and talking with them, but I’m focused on not shivering and trying to control my rocking body. They bring her around to see me, and I kiss her fuzzy little head. She was so effing cute. Even now, 6 days later, she looks so much bigger and more baby like. At the time, she just looked like one of those overly realistic dolls that tend to stab folks in B-movies.
I have a baby!
Alright, I was pretty out of it at this point. I’m fading in and out, taking cat naps about as often as I had been having contractions earlier. Sometimes I’d drop off in the middle of a conversation about something important. Thank goodness MB was there to answer questions and make decisions. I was like a bobble-head. They wheeled Gwen in the after-surgery waiting room and I stared at her dreamily between naps. It was super cool. At some point they stuck us in the recover room, and we began the process of healing as a family.
Gwen is super cool. She only cries when she seems to need something, and that need is pretty evident most of the time. We’re breastfeeding and pumping and supplementing when necessary, and she seems pretty good with all of that. She’s a pretty chill baby in general. She sleeps like I do, often and like the dead. It’s great.
Baby Stats: Gwendolyn | Born 1/7/2015 at 2:09am | 7lbs 9oz | 19in Long | 100% Cute