My first pregnancy was pretty typical. I had morning sickness for the first trimester, felt great in the second trimester, and out of body in the third. When my ligaments started stretching, my right leg started coming out of joint. I was very uncomfortable. I went to pt, and that helped a bit. But not completely. By week 38 I was SO ready to be done. (But who isn't by week 38?)
My doctor was (a pushover) sympathetic. I told her I wanted to be done. Could I be done? Please? She decided that my baby was pretty huge--over eight pounds she guessed. So based on baby's size and my discomfort, she scheduled an induction at 39 weeks. It was a Wednesday evening when I went to L&D for a cervical gel to thin me out. They administered the gel, monitored the baby, and sent me home until morning.
I was told that the gel could start some contractions. It did. Yucky ones. I tried to sleep, but it wasn't restful. At all. I finally decided to just get out of bed at around 6, and then at 7 we went back to the hospital for the induction.
I was only dilated one cm when my doctor came to check that morning. They started a pitocin drip. The contractions weren't bad. It was then that I puffed my chest and stated that I thought I could totally do Lamaze through the whole thing. What are other women whining about? This is easy-squeezy.
A few hours later, with little progression, my doctor came back in to break my water. She said once she did, this would seal the deal. Baby would have to come that day. I was cool with that. I just wanted to be done. To hold my baby on the outside. She grabbed a long crochet hook and that was it. It felt like I sat there wetting the bed. I flashed to my life 60 years from then. This must be what incontinence feels like.
The contractions started getting more intense, but still, not too bad. I labored fairly easily for several hours. Then there was a nurse shift change. The new nurse came in and upped my drip by 50%. I hated her. Those ugly contractions made me want to die.
I had gone into the process thinking that I really wanted to try it without drugs. Not necessarily opposed to them, but wanting to experience the beauty of it all. But those ugly contractions reminded me of Genesis 3:16. And I ordered an epidural. My sweet husband gently asked if I was certain I wanted to go that route. And I ripped out his lips. (Almost.)
By this point I had been on the pitocin for 12 hours. The epidural came two hours later. I had FINALLY dilated to a seven. By this point I was ready to allow them to remove an arm if necessary to take away the pain, so when the anesthesiologist came in with his huge needle, I wasn't even phased. Poke it in my eye if you have to. Just take away this pain before it kills me.
While the huge needle was going into my spine, and my husband's jaw was resting on the floor--not from fear, but shock and awe. I had to "arch like a cat" and "hold still" while it was going in. Seriously. Isn't there a better way? An easier application? Do you know how difficult it is for a woman to hold still while her body is betraying her?
Soon it was all set. The drugs kicked in. It was heavenly. They checked me again, and while the stupid epidural was going in, I dilated from a seven to a ten. Ready to go.
Stink! You mean I did all of that and I don't even get to enjoy this epidural? They told me to push when I felt the urge.
"I think I already am." My body sort of took control. My abs (HA!) were squeezing uncontrollably and I had no idea what to do with myself. The hospital staff took their positions. The nurse grabbed one leg, told my husband to grab the other. "Honey, when you have another contraction, I want you to push."
Um. Okay. I don't know what that means, I thought. Push with what? Which muscles? There was a moment of panic, when I thought I had done all of this, gotten to this point, and now, because I am a total loser without musculature know how, my baby will remain clogged inside of me. We'll be like this forever.
But that's when my body started taking over again. I thought I was going to go to the bathroom on all of them. But I went with it. And the nurse said, "That's right, sweetheart. Great job! You're doing great."
Whew. Found the muscles!
I pushed and pushed for an hour. When the baby's head crowned, I said I wanted to push once more. I did. A big one, and out she came, with a rip and a tear. She was seven pounds eleven ounces. And perfect. And worth every second of pain I endured to get her here.
My mom always told me that a woman forgets the pains of labor once she holds her new baby. Maybe some women do, but not me. I remember. I've done it once more since then, and can remember the pain of that one, too. I'm hoping to do it a few more times, God willing.
So, while it stinks so bad to walk through that pain, the end justifies the means. The super mean means.