Tuesday, May 6, 2014

That One Time I Gave Birth

Ah, the much-anticipated birth story.  We'll just pretend that it isn't a whole month late.  I know a lot of you are chomping at the bit to see juuust how much I'll overshare, and I can assure you that I will spare no detail of my birthing experience.  Well, you know, short of posting some pretty horrifying pictures/videos of my gaping wide open vagina - because no one needs that shi permanently burned into their brains.  Yoooou're welcome.

(Also, for those of you who are feeling extra lazy and don't want to read this long arse post (seriously, it's LONG), there's a long arse video you can watch instead at the very end of the post that's full of pictures and some videos from the hospital.  I promise the only person's junk you'll see is Eli's - something I'm sure he'll forgive me for someday.)

So, as you may recall, my blood pressure started getting pretty ridiculous towards the end of my pregnancy - "Gestational Hypertension", they called it.  As a result, my doctor was planning to induce me sometime between 37 and 38 weeks.  After Shawn and I collectively crapped our pants upon hearing the news, we started hauling major ass to get everything ready - because we still had no idea when exactly this kid was coming, just that it would be a few weeks earlier than we had originally anticipated.

On March 24th I went in for my weekly check-up, secretly hoping that I had progressed from the 2+ and 75% that I was the week before so I could just go straight to Labor & Delivery and have my baby.  And by secretly, I mean it wasn't a secret at all.  I had my mom and Shawn with me, the hospital bag ready to go and everything.  I was ready.  Well, as ready as any first-time mom could be to push a tiny human out an even tinier hole.

My doctor snapped on her gloves and went elbow-deep to check my progression.  Much to my dismay, she told me that I was maybe a "generous 3" and still 75% effaced.  My heart sank as I realized that meant more waiting around.  (Because it's not like I would have had to wait 2-3 more weeks had I nooot been getting induced.  Cough.)  She told me that she was going to strip my membranes to help ripen my cervix.  Because apparently my cervix is a fruit.  I had heard from friends and the internet that this particular procedure was not pleasant, to say the least.  So I laid there, half expecting her to pull out some medieval looking cheese grater to "strip my membranes" when she suddenly was all finished and telling me to pants it up.  I was confused.  I hadn't felt any more pain than I already was feeling when she had her whole effing hand shoved clear up my love tunnel digging for gold.  And granted, that certainly wasn't my favorite feeling - but it was manageable, I suppose.  So, not knowing whether or not she had set my cervix on the path for "ripeness" or not, I asked her if she was still planning to strip my membranes.  Of course she told me that she already had, and I immediately felt like a giant dumbass.

She began going through her calendar to see when she could schedule me to be induced.  She started talking about sometime the next week, and I immediately began sending her frantic howaboutTHISweekinstead vibes.  Because...  seriously.  I figured if she was going to induce me, and I was already "full term", let's just get on with it.  Luckily she finally decided on that Friday, March 28th.  She handed me a paper full of instructions and told me that the hospital would be calling the night before to give me "special instructions".  I was pretty excited.

That is, until the hospital never called.  It was finally about 9pm on Thursday night, and I had no idea how "special" or crucial these instructions would be or not.  So I finally just called Labor & Delivery myself to ask.  The special instructions?  "Make sure to eat a good breakfast tomorrow morning, because we're going to starve you for the rest of the day."  Anticlimactic much?  She went on to tell me that they'd call me, likely some time in the morning, when it was my turn to be induced.  She let me know that they could call as early as 5am - because that's a fun time to have a baby.  I hung up, praying to sweet baby Jesus that we wouldn't get called in at an inhumane hour - whether that be 5am or 10pm.

Friday morning felt like Christmas.  I was so anxious and so excited and not nearly as nervous as I thought I'd be.  Apparently I was so anxious and excited, that I decided to get up at the asscrack of dawn to get showered and pretty so I'd be ready to go whenever the hospital called.  Luckily, they ended up calling around 8:45am, so I really only farted around for an hour or two waiting.  She asked me if I was ready to have a baby, and I told her I had been ready for years.  She told us we could come in at 9:15am, a nice, humane hour.

(Semi-Related: Turns out it doesn't matter how much you shower or get ready beforehand, if you're anything like me, you're going to look like an enormous, swollen rhinoceros in your hospital pictures.  Seriously.  Yikes.)  

Shawn and I started throwing everything in the car, and quickly took one last bump selfie for funsies - because we all know how much I love those.



As we drove to the hospital, I instantly felt shaky.  The nervousness was apparently starting to kick in.  And although I was nervous about any number of things going wrong during my labor, my excitement and pure joy overshadowed any doubts by a long shot.  I had been waiting years for this day.  I was finally going to be a mom.  As I sat and daydreamed about what our boy would look like, Shawn and I noticed a car a little bit ahead of us driving like a bat out of hell.  I'm talking weaving in and out of traffic, blasting through red lights, cutting everyone and their dog off - whoever was driving that car clearly had somewhere to be...  Or was completely plastered.  After a few minutes of watching the car, I told Shawn, "I'll bet you any amount of money that they're on their way to the hospital."  After that, we lost the car as they pulled out from behind another car stopped at a red light to go through the intersection.

Sure enough, as we pulled up to the hospital's Women's Center, we saw that same car parked right in front of us with a man frantically pushing a very pregnant woman in a wheelchair into Labor & Delivery.  As we walked into Labor & Delivery, the sound of sheer horror echoed throughout the halls as that same woman in the wheelchair screamed bloody effing murder from, what I can only assume, was supposed to be our room.  I mean, hot damn, it sounded like the poor girl was being shanked to death - probably by a medieval cheese grater.  We exchanged worried glances with another couple who had just checked in as well.  Nothing like the deathly shrieks of a woman in labor to reaffirm just how much I wanted needed an epidural.  The woman at the front desk told us we'd have to wait for a little bit while they found another room for us.  So Shawn and I sat there for a while, just listening to this poor woman moan and scream.  If I wasn't nervous before, I definitely was now.

We finally were put in a room, only to be moved to the room right next to it - because apparently it was the wrong room?  They had me put on the super pretty hospital gown, and I'm proud to report it wasn't nearly as traumatizing to get it on as my first trial run in Labor & Delivery had been.  I was hooked up to an IV (which was pinching me like a mother, but I decided to just deal with it instead of having them re-do it) and in bed around 10am-ish.  The room we were in was a nice and toasty 75 degrees. I quickly let my nurses know that unless they turned it down, I was going to sweat to death before I even got an epidural.  They were super nice about it, and cooled the room down to a chilly 64 degrees.  I'm pretty sure everyone else in the room was freezing their keisters off - but I was gooood.
 
The nurses checked to see if I had progressed any further since when my doctor had checked me on Monday and, of course, I hadn't.  I was still dilated to barely a 3 and 75% effaced.  So much for a ripe cervix.  They started me on some Pitocin to get things moving.  Once that had a chance to surge through my system, I started feeling contractions.  They were bearable, like period cramps, but not my favorite.  My nurse asked me if I was going to want an epidural, to which I responded with a resounding "HELL. YES."  She then asked me on a scale of 1-10, what my pain would have to be at to get the epidural.  I told her a 3, as my mind replayed the blood-curdling screams I had heard earlier from the woman down the hall.  I was kidding, but only kind of.

At around 11:30, some random man doctor came in that looked like he might be my same age and told me that he was going to break my water.  Alrighty then.  He told me it wouldn't hurt at all - which is good, otherwise homeboy wouldn't have gotten anywhere near my lady garden until I had drugs.  I obviously wasn't down there to really see what he was doing, but according to Shawn (who, purely out of fascination, stayed South of the equator most of the time), said that Dr. ManChild pretty much just took a hook and poked my water bag.  It took him a second, he said I had a tough sac - so, yeah.  He finally was able to break through and I instantly felt like I was totally peeing my pants in a major way.  I was leaking fluid all. day. long.  Nothin' like soaking in a puddle of your own amniotic fluid.  Yum.

At this point, the contractions were getting stronger - still manageable, but I was getting a little antsy to get the epidural.  My nurse came in around noon and told me that the anesthesiologist was about to go into a C-section, so I could either get my epidural right then, or wait for another hour.  I think it goes without saying that there was no way in hell that I was going to risk waiting another hour without drugs.  (Hi, I'm Chelsea and I'm a drugaholic.)

The anesthesiologist showed up with the good stuff and started doing his thing.  The whole process was actually a little more painful than I had anticipated.  You know, for something that is supposed to numb pain.  (Says the girl with absolutely zero pain tolerance.)  Shawn actually had to switch which hand I was holding, because I was squeezing him a little too hard, apparently.  And of course I was all sorts of paranoid about moving and totally paralyzing myself.  At one point, the anesthesiologist told me I might feel a "little electric shock"...  And by that, he meant my entire leg was going to completely convulse out of the bed - it was the most bizarre feeling ever.

I like to call this the, "Oh shit, what was THAT?" moment of my epidural.

After the anesthesiologist finished with the drugs, I started getting super shaky. - because apparentlshivering like you're wandering buttassnaked through the North Pole is normal after you get an epidural.  My nurse told me even though it might seem like I was shivering because I was cold, it was because of the drugs.  Nevertheless, since I had our room set to cold as balls - they got me a warm blanket, and that seemed to help a little bit - but I was still shaking like a doofus.

At this point, I was still a 3 and 75% effaced - and my contractions were coming in nice and steady at 3 minutes apart.  Contractions that I, luckily, could no longer feel.  Thank you, Western medicine.  As my legs started to numb, I could tell that my left leg was way more numb than the right one - and I was suddenly paranoid that I was going to have one of those half-assed epidurals that everyone seems to love telling horror stories about.  The other leg started to get a little more numb, but I could still move both my legs and feet around with some extra effort.  Granted, I wasn't about to get up and do laps around the hospital, but I (along with everyone else in the room) was still surprised at how much I could still move.  I had always imagined I'd just be a giant pile of dead weight.  So, that was... fun.

After I got the epidural, they put the catheter in and shoved some wire thing up my cha cha that would monitor the intensity of my contractions - because, you know, I couldn't feel a dang thing.  They had to re-do the vag monitor like 3 times, because I kept bleeding, or something?  I don't even know - all I know is that I couldn't feel it, so they probably could have shoved a crowbar up there, and there's a solid chance I wouldn't have cared.  Afterwards, I kept feeling like I really had to pee, but I couldn't.  I kept telling my mom and Shawn how badly I need to pee, and they'd just respond, "Then go!"  I kept telling them that I couldn't, and my mom finally walked over to my pee bag, lifted it up to show me that I clearly had no problems relieving myself.  Swell.

Around 2, my nurse and CNA came in and cranked up the Pitocin - because my lazyass vagina needed some extra encouragement.  Afterwards we shot the breeze about all the cray crays they see come through Labor & Delivery.  They told us about some women who do water births with the baby daddy sitting in the tub with them - and how sometimes they both end up soaking in a pool of poop stew, iiiiif you know what I mean.


They finally asked about the horse head mask that had been creepily sitting in a corner all day long.  We tried to assure them that we weren't some freaky ass fetish couple, and that it was purely for entertainment's sake.  I actually didn't even realize Shawn had put the mask in the car until we were at the hospital.  All I know is that I'm sure glad he did, because that thing is damn hilarious.  Our first nurse (who I absolutely loved and was so sad that she had to leave us) told me she wanted me to put the mask on when they switched shifts, just to freak out the next nurse when she came into our room.  And really, how could I not?







They checked me again around 3, and I was dilated to a 4 and 90% effaced.  Naturally I was totally bummed out, mostly because I was antsy to meet my kid - but also because I was so effing hungry.  Bitches weren't lying when they said they were going to starve me.  Watching my family eat Chick-Fil-A was pretty much sheer torture as I tried to pretend that the 800 cups of cherry-flavored ice chips I had just inhaled had done anything to stave off my hunger.  Though, in the ice chips' defense, at least they were flavored.  I'm not sure I would have been able to even pretend flavorless ice chips were even kind of helping.


Anyways.  Around 4, I started feeling crampy and realized that the cramps were lining up perfectly with the peaks of my contractions.  And although they weren't necessarily super painful at that point, let me just emphasize how not okay I was with the fact that I was feeling anything my babymaker had going on.  I had asked my nurse earlier about all the epidural-wearing-off stories that I had heard, and she assured me that epidurals could technically last forever, if you wanted them to.  (Yeah, and I'm the damn Pope.)  So as I was starting to feel more and more small cramps, naturally I started beating the shi out of that little epidural button they give you.  Because so help me, if the drugs wore off, I was going to fly off the handle.  My nurse tried to convince me that I had the "perfect epidural".  I could still move my legs around, and I could tell when contractions were happening without feeling much pain.  I finally conceded that, fiiiiiine, maybe it wasn't so bad that I could feel when contractions were happening - maybe it would help me push better.  Just as long as they cramps didn't get any more painful, I'd be okay.

At around 4:40, they came back to check my progression and of course I was still a 4, but I was finally fully effaced, and little man's had had moved down to a -1 station.  My nurse explained that it was totally normal to not progress very quickly with your first baby and that sometimes the epidural can slow things down as well.

The next few hours consisted of hanging out with my family, taking ridiculous horse head pictures, and downing as many cherry ice chips as humanly possible.  It had been a long day.  I felt like my vagina was going to be eternally dilated to a 4.  As 7:00 rolled around, the epidural button was quickly losing its charm as those contractions I was feeling earlier began to multiply in intensity by at least 800 million.  Shit was getting real and I was not thrilled.  Panicked, I pressed the button again, and the machine I was hooked up to started beeping and told me that my "reservoir was empty".  I immediately called the nurse and asked if we could kindly get my reservoir FILLED THE EFF UP.  The anesthesiologist came back and re-dosed me with some feel-good juice and, thankfully, the contractions slowly started disappearing back into a land where they should stay forever.


They came and checked me again at around 7:30, and I was full on prepared to hear that my vagina was closing back up, when all of a sudden I heard the number 9.  I was a nine.  Last time they had checked me I was a 4, and now I was A NINE.  I turned to Shawn and told him it was a dang good thing they re-dosed me when they did, or I probably would have died.

I'm going to be honest, I don't really remember anything in particular that happened over the next two hours other than me shivering like crazy from the epidural.  I also remember getting really tired and worrying that I'd be too tired to bother pushing a kid out my cookie.

Around 9ish, my nurse came in and told me I was a 10, and she was going to have me start pushing.  I knew from all the YouTube videos I had watched and forums I had read that I just had to push like I was pooping.  So, before I started pushing, I was already apologizing to her in advance if I totally pooped on her.  Of course she acted like it wouldn't be a big deal if I did - I'm sure they see it all the time.  But still.  Poop coming out of a baby's butt is one thing, poop coming out a grown ass woman's butt?  Kind of different.  Anyways, I started pushing as she counted to ten.  Initially, I may have held back just a tiny bit, because I was so sure I was going to rocket launch a turd right into her face.  Luckily I got over that pretty quickly.


I pushed for about a half hour, and it was exhausting.  Like, the world's most epic bowel movement ever.  I can't even imagine dealing with pushing and feeling contractions.  No wonder some women scream bloody murder during labor.  They'd have me do the pushes in sets of threes, and by the third push, I could barely even inhale enough to get a good breath and push.  Luckily they hooked me up with an oxygen mask, and although it helped, I was starting to loudly exhale at the end of each push.  (A super pretty noise you'll probably notice in our birth video.)  

My doctor had finally come in and told us that Eli was posterior (face up), and if we couldn't get him turned around, I was going to be pushing for a lot longer.  As fun as that sounded, I was pretty antsy to get him turned the heck around.  They had me stop pushing for a little bit and put me in some weird position on my side with my leg in a stirrup to see if they could get him to turn around.


After laying in that position for about 10-15 minutes, my doctor came back in and shoved her tiny hand up my lady and confirmed that Eli was all turned around and ready to go.  Thaaaaank goodness.  I continued to push in sets of 3, with Shawn holding my right leg and my mom holding up my left leg.




I ended up getting an infection towards the end of my whole birthing fiasco and had a fever that was rapidly increasing, so my doctor decided that she was going to give me some Tylenol rectally.  After she shoved the pills up the ol' poop chute, I told her, "You realize the second I start pushing again, those pills are going to go shooting across the room, right?"  She laughed and had me start pushing again, after the first push she was like, "Ah, yep.  There they are!"  She assured me that at least we knew that meant I was pushing correctly.  Lovely.


After Eli turned, I ended up pushing for another half hour before he was born.  My doctor later told me that she only counts the half hour after he turned as my "total push time".  Even though I technically pushed for an hour, and had some pretty gnarly hemorrhoids and burst blood vessels in both my eyes to prove it.  During the home stretch, my doctor excitedly told me that he had plenty of hair and that she was giving him a faux hawk while we waited for the next contraction.  I finally knew that my heartburn had paid off - my baby had hair.  Woo!  It was so fun to see Shawn's face light up when he finally saw Eli's head.  He was all smiles the entire time.  It was relieving to know that my disgusting, inside-out vagina didn't send him shrieking in horror in the opposite direction.  Because boy howdy, when I watched my mom's cell phone version of the birth later - that shit is not pretty.


Towards the very end, everyone was starting to get really excited and told me that he was so close to coming out.  As I was pushing, one of the nurses got up on the table and put all her weight onto my belly.  I had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on.  Just that I had a nurse on top of me, and I was trying to push what felt like an effing St. Bernard out my crotch without completely destroying what was left of my babymaker.  I later found out that Eli's shoulder had been caught on my pelvic bone, and she was trying to get it dislodged.  He had been turning blue, so time was of the essence.

Eli was finally born at 10:45pm.  The moment the rest of his body finally came out was the most relieving moment of my life.  He didn't cry until my doctor put him on my chest, and it was the sweetest, most beautiful little cry I've ever heard.  I felt so much love in that brief moment they let me hold him for the very first time.  Naturally I was just sobbing the most ugly cries in the history of ever.  Like, seriously.  Of course they were happy cries.  Well, and totally exhausted cries - but happy, nevertheless.

(You know, just in case you didn't believe the whole ugly cry thing.)

(Ya'll can thank Shawn for that stellar editing job.)

They had Shawn cut the cord and they whisked him over to the other end of the room to weigh and measure him and make sure he hadn't broken his clavicle from the whole shoulder ordeal.  Luckily he was pretty much perfect, with the exception of a small fever he had gotten because of my infection/fever.


 Speaking of my fever, I was boiling hot after he had finally come out.  They told me that I was going to need to go on some antibiotics to help with the infection.  (Luckily Eli never did need antibiotics, as his fever went away pretty quickly.)  I laid in bed with a fan that we had bought from WalMart the day before - a fan we had tried to find the week before, but a WalMart employee told us they weren't in season.  Because apparently there's a season for fans?  Spare me.  Anyways, I was trying to cool off as my doctor delivered my placenta and other...  stuff.  She told me I was going to want to hit my epidural button a few more times as she stitched up my 2nd degree tear - and, of course, my stupid reservoir was empty again.  She told me it was up to me if I wanted to get re-dosed again or not, but that she strongly suggested it if I wanted to be in less pain.  So, I'll let you guys go ahead and guess what I decided to do.  (Hint: DRUGS.)


Eli weighed in at a hefty 7 lbs. 15 oz and was 21.5 inches long.  Let's just take a brief moment and appreciate that those were his measurements two weeks prior to his due date.  Homeboy would have been enormous if I had gone to or past my due date.  (Just like his 10 pound mama.  Yeesh.  Sorry mom.)  I asked my doctor to see my placenta - even though I knew it was totally gross, I was kind of curious.  She showed me that it had begun to calcify - which apparently means it was starting to be totally less effective.  So between Eli being a big ol' chunk and my placenta crapping out, it ended up being a really good thing that I delivered him two weeks early.




That day was literally one of the best (and most exhausting) days of my entire life.  I've dreamt of becoming a mother for so long, and it is more wonderful than I ever could have imagined.  Eli is worth far more than every single penny we spent to get him here and I thank God every single day that he's in our lives.  I truly couldn't ask for a more perfect, adorable kid.

I have plenty more to talk about as far as recovery, breast feeding, and not sleeping is concerned.  So stay tuned for more of that fun.  Until then, enjoy this totally novice video I put together with some more pictures my amazing friend (hi Julia!) took throughout the entire day along with some video clips.  I had to zoom in the video clip of him actually being born, so you guys didn't have to witness my Grand Canyon of a vagina - so the video clips aren't super great quality - but you'll get the gist, I promise.

Enjoy!



(If YouTube is being obnoxious and won't let you watch the video with the music, you can try watching it here.)