I felt another contraction and wasn’t sure if it was as strong as the last few, or if the epidural was kicking in. I kept saying a silent prayer that I wouldn’t be one of those fluke cases of people who are immune to the proclaimed glorious drug.
As that contraction fizzled out I waited for the next but it never came. Well, it did but I didn’t feel it. I was in heaven.
I always thought it was so funny watching a Baby Story and seeing the 180 women did after having an epidural. The dreamy smiles they had on their faces and praises seemed a little overboard to me. Now that I was experiencing this for myself I knew EXACTLY how they felt, and they were not playing!
I had to tell every person who came into the room how wonderful the epidural was.
“Ooh mom, it’s working, this is great! I’m so glad it worked.” I told her.
“This is great, I’m so glad I got the epidural,” I told my nurse Elizabeth.
“This is amazing,” I told my OB and anyone else who would listen.
“Ep-i-DUR-al” I tried to coach my 5-year-old sister to remember the word for a couple of decades.
“I love you,” I said past my husband and to the bag of liquid gold dripping down through my IV.
The epidural man looked even sexier than before when he came back to check on me. Are all anesthesiologists hot? Everything was working great.
Now I was able to sit back, relax and enjoy the last few hours. I joked with my sisters, took a nap, watched TV, and played “guess what she’ll look like,” with my husband.
My OB checked on me, at about 3:30 and I was 8cm dilated, 100% effaced, and a 0 station. Woohooo!! I was on my way to having this baby, and no epidural was slowing me down!
Just an hour later I started to feel pressure in my booty. I didn’t tell anyone, but I knew she was squeezing her little self downward.
I was checked again around 6:30 or so, and fully dilated. My doctor explained since I had a lot of meconium in my amniotic fluid, NICU nurses and doctors would be on standby when my daughter was born. She said if she came out crying, we could continue as planned. She’d hand the baby to me right away, and my husband could cut the cord. But if she wasn’t crying right away, she’d need to be whisked to the people standing by, so they could check on her.
She went to finish something else up but she told the nurses we could start pushing and she’d be back. Sadly, that’s when Elizabeth’s shift was ending. So another nurse came in for the fun part.
There was quite a bit of down time before we got the pushing started. I took that to my advantage and decided to do what?—Take my hair down. My mom helped me unravel a couple dozen rollers from my hair, and get it in place for pictures after the pushing.
Elizabeth did get to see my hair out of rollers right before she left, and was impressed with my preparedness.
I asked for a mirror before she left (not for my hair, but to watch my baby come out) and they brought one out from the back room. I was back and forth on wanting to see but I figured if I had the mirror there I could always choose to look away.
My new nurse sat down beside me and said we could start pushing while we waited and see how much progress I could make.
My husband started to freak out a little, in shock mostly that we were actually about to have our baby. I told him to keep his eyes above my waist, and he had no problem obeying. Our nurse told him to warn her if he was going to pass out.
I didn’t feel a huge urge to push but I did feel pressure when I was having a contraction, and could feel the muscles I needed to use to push down. I pushed them on my own a little while I was waiting cause I could have sworn it felt like a baby was about to fall out of my vagina.
Once I could tell things were about to get going I told my mom I’d have my husband come get her once our baby was born. She and my sisters left to anticipate our daughter in the waiting room.
During a contraction the nurse asked me to push but immediately told me to stop.
“The baby’s head is right there,” she pointed in the mirror. “Can you see that?”
I could! And just as I had hoped, this said head had hair!
My nurse asked me not to push as she called my OB.
“She said you were going to be a great pusher,” my nurse told me. I wondered how anyone could have guessed that, but tried to take it as some sort of compliment.
So this isn’t going to take two hours. I thought to myself. I had heard pushing could easily take an hour, two or three, and get tiring. I was happy to hear it wasn’t going to take me that long.
My doctor asked the nurse to shut off the pitocin while we waited for her to get back. I was curious if it would do anything to stop my contractions or if they had picked up on their own. I had written in my plan to try to labor without pitocin after my contractions had picked up a set pattern and see if they could be self-sustainable. I never asked to try it because 1. I was afraid they’d stop and we’d have to start all over and 2. After getting the epidural I didn’t care.
As we waited I could see on the monitor that my contractions were dying down, not coming as often or as strong. I guess that’s why I was on pitocin in the first place. That moment re-confirmed my decision to be induced.
When my OB came back she came with a team of people, all dressed up in scrubs from head to toe. She reminded me of the different scenarios that would play out depending if my baby cried or not. I hoped she would cry so I’d know immediately that she was ok, and so that I could hold her right away.
She asked for olive oil to help ease the baby’s head out—She doesn’t do episiotomies. I tried not to watch the stretching but I was curious to see my progress at the same time.
We waited for a contraction, they asked if I could feel it, and even if I didn’t, I tried to just push when I felt like pushing. I imitated what I saw on TV, took a deep breath and PUUUSHED.
It didn’t hurt, though I imagine it would have if I didn’t have an epidural.
I pushed three times and they told me her head was about to come out. We had to wait awhile between contractions and I was anxious to meet her, so I didn’t want to stop pushing.
After a few more contractions they told me one more push and she’d be out. I thought they were joking—Or just telling me that as some sort of ploy to keep me motivated, and that they’d tell me “one more time” about five more times. But sure enough after the next push they told me my baby’s head was out, and with another little push she slid right out, and cried.
My doctor instantly handed her to me, slimy and all, and I kissed her little face and introduced myself to her as her mommy. I was happy she didn’t have a cone head, surprised as how chubby she looked, and at her strength. We lied chest to chest but she lifted her little head up to look at me. Newborns don’t do that. I thought. I was impressed already.
My husband, who was by my side all along had a permanent smile on his face.
He took the scissor-like tool from my doctor’s hand and cut our cord.
We sat together as a new family of three in our own little world for some time. I was in disbelief. I couldn’t—and still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that this was the same little faceless child that was in my womb for 9+ months.
When they finally took her away and weighed her they told us she was a big and healthy 9 pounds 9 ounces. All were impressed.
I did need a few stitches since I tore a little in the process, but I didn’t feel that either—Until later. Luckily there were pain meds for that too.
The experience is one I’ll remember forever. I went into this birth fearing the worst yet hoping for the best, and came out wondering why I had ever worried in the first place. I’ve learned to stick with my mother’s intuition and feel confidant in my choices, even if they differ from popular belief, or even my caregiver.