I wrote out Lydia’s birth story in my journal and it was 3000 words long. I’ve shortened it here, because that’s just a little crazy for a blog post. Lydia’s birth was very similar to Miles’, but there were some important differences that made the whole thing less cool. With Miles everyone was very supportive and kind, and I felt empowered having accomplished something I didn’t know I could do. The people involved with Lydia’s birth were less than encouraging, but still I’ve decided that my delivery motto is just going to have to be, “Epidural? Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
So to abbreviate the story, I started having contractions at 5am December 10. They were nearly painless and were 30 minutes apart. This lasted all day. I happened to have my regularly scheduled doctor appointment at 4pm, so she checked me and I was only 2.5 cm dilated but fully effaced. I had a really great doctor who said she thought that night was going to be the night, or if not, then soon. She just gets it. Around dinner time I was starting to have to breathe through the contractions, but they were still easily dealt with. By 10pm I figured we’d better call Scott’s mom to come stay with the kids just in case. My contractions were still 30 minutes apart.
Kim arrived around 11 or 11:30pm. The contractions were coming a little bit stronger then. At about 1am December 11 I could tell that we were going to have to go to the hospital sooner or later that night or the next morning, and I wasn’t sleeping anyway, so I decided that we should head over. I figured that maybe we could get checked in, get a room, and then I would be able to relax knowing that we at least wouldn’t be having the baby in the car or something, and maybe I’d even be able to sleep a bit
By 1:30 am we were at the hospital. I had Scott drop me off at the emergency room entrance and I walked myself to a bench where I sat and waited for him. Of course I had a contraction before I made it to the bench and had to stop halfway to the bench…why do contractions always come when you stand up? Then, I walked myself inside with Scott, all the while having contractions that made me pause and breathe, but then I could answer the questions from the ER check-in lady.
Here’s where the comedy starts. The ER check-in lady just looked at me questioningly and asked, “she’s in labor?” I mentioned having had 4 kids already, and let Scott handle the rest. I walked away and sat down. A guy from labor and delivery came with a wheelchair. He made comments on Scott carrying around a “sherpa pack” (which was really just a backpack, my hospital bag and our pillows (because who doesn’t sleep better on their own pillows, right?)), and how those that show up with everything all packed generally get sent home.
Next came the L&D nurses debate. They looked at me sitting comfortably in the wheelchair, and were skeptical about me being in labor for reals. I think I even had a contraction while we were talking to them. We mentioned this being our 5th kid, and that the last labor went really fast at the end. The older nurses were in favor of putting me in a room right away, but the younger nurses and their skepticism won out in the end, and I was put in the triage area.
At this point I kind of lost track of time, which makes me sad because I like know how much time everything takes, but what can you do, we had other things to focus on. The nurses put me in a bed in the triage area, which had 4 or 5 beds curtained off from each other. There were I think 2 other couples there at the time. After probably an hour of the standard questions nurses ask when they check you into a hospital, they checked me. I was dilated to only a 4. My contractions were about 10 minutes apart by this time and I had to relax more thoroughly during them, but I could still answer questions easily in between. It was about 2:45 am.
Since they were so busy, they still wanted to delay me getting a room, and since I was just at 4 cm they thought that seemed like a reasonable idea and suggested that I walked the hallways for an hour or so and then came back. I went to the bathroom and then we tried to go for a walk. I actually thought walking would be a good way to at least kill a little time. I like having things to do while in labor. It helps me not think of it as a never-ending process. With Miles it was the plan to get in the tub for a while, with this one having a next step of going for a walk seemed fine to me…until we started to walk.
We got about 10 feet out the door and I started having contractions about 2 minutes apart if that. I was relaxing as much as I could, but I was having a hot flash and feeling nauseous on top of all the pain. Scott told me that while I was in the bathroom he had tried to convince the nurse that we should be given a room, because my last labor had gone from 4 or 5 cm to baby in about 20 minutes, and that she hadn’t given in. I told him how I did want to kill some time with walking. We walked another 10 feet down the hall in search of a drinking fountain (another mini goal for me to think about), I had a couple more contractions right on top of each other. Scott said, “this is seeming very much like the last time, I don’t think we have very much time left.” I had a contraction which took a lot of effort to relax and said, “this had better start going fast or I’m going to wimp out and be asking for an epidural here really soon,” and I had another contraction. We gave up on finding the drinking fountain and I said we should go back to the bathroom in the triage area. I went to the bathroom again and had a really strong contraction. The kind where you start crying and moaning in real pain.
Here’s where you have to remember that there were two other couples in this area with us. Scott left the bathroom in search of the nurse, leaving the door open, I had another contraction and yelled, “don’t leave me! Scott, I need you!” The next contraction was a pushing contraction. Scott could hear me growling in pain and yelled, “Are you pushing?” I yelled back, “I’m trying not to!” Oh, what were those two other couples thinking about us? I’m sure it made for a good story. I mustered my courage and hobbled back the 10 feet from the bathroom to my triage bed on my own, laid down on my side in the bed and continued to growl and push with each contraction. The nurse checked me, discovered that I was at an 8, and ran to get me to a room.
Now, with Miles’ birth once I started having pushing contractions it was like the part of my brain that filters out some conversation just turned off. Any thought that came to my mind I was yelling out loud. With Lydia, all I did was growl the whole time. I kept thinking thoughts and words, but I just kept growling at everything and with all the pushing. I actually had a very sore throat and couldn’t speak well for a whole day afterwards.
So the nurses pushed my bed into a delivery room, a doctor came running in, and they set up a bunch of lights. You know that scene in the movies when you see the doctors and nurses and the husband from the pregnant woman’s point of view and all you see are their heads in a circle around a giant white light, I opened my eyes at one point and that was what I saw. It actually seemed funny to me at the time, although I really just kept growling.
With Miles’ birth the nurses and midwife were all very encouraging and accommodating. They told me how well I was doing, they let me lay on my side to push the baby out, they helped me and were nice. This time the nurses were still the ones who didn’t want to give me a room, and they kept telling me to put my legs in stirrups and lie on my back, and they got an IV set up in my hand just in case. I was surprised to feel the baby almost crowning, because Scott wasn’t able to give me as many updates as he usually does and it was happening extremely fast.
Then the doctor showed up and started yelling at me to get my attention (I was just growling and lying on my side and closing my eyes and in a lot of pain, so leave me alone thank you), and kept calling me by my name and trying to get me to lie flat on my back because it was “safer for the baby” to which I say “psshhh, don’t give me that line.” Actually I didn’t say that, but I thought it…maybe it was better that words weren’t coming out. Scott tried to tell them that I prefer to lie on my side to give birth, but they kept insisting. I did however really, really want to avoid a tear, so I thought maybe if I layed on my back the doctor would be there to help me control the pushing and stretching and I wouldn’t tear. So I complied.
Then, what had seemed like one long pushing contraction from triage room to delivery room suddenly stopped and I didn’t have to push for a second. They were ordering me to push though. I pushed a bit, then another contraction came to help and I pushed the baby out at 3:32 am Wednesday, December 11.
They put our sweet little baby on my tummy (which I hadn’t ever had happen before), and I was surprised how warm she was and how much hair she had. I think I just said, “baby,” and looked at her, feeling exhausted myself. She was so cute and new and my new little one. Scott told me how well I did and that I was done.
Scott cut the cord and they delivered the placenta. At which point I was feeling like everyone should just leave me alone and stop squishing my tummy so hard and stop giving me pitocin to help the uterus contract back to small, and just go away. Then the doctor kind of apologized for yelling at me, but not a real apology, just one of those where the person is really just explaining why they did what they did, which I think involved the phrase “safer for the baby” again. She was looking for a tear at the time, so trying to make a joke I said, “well, if lying on my back stopped me from tearing, then you are forgiven.” She didn’t take it as a joke though, and I think it made her think I was a jerk for not lying on my back right away and for saying she wasn’t forgiven unless I didn’t tear.
Neither Scott nor I had time to check a clock, but from the bathroom in the triage area to having the baby out was no longer than 20 minutes. It may have been as little as 10. And from the time I started to feel uncomfortable to when I started pushing was only another 10 minutes, so all in all it was only 20 to 30 minutes of pain. But I just have to say that it hurt like hell. Just in case I forget (if there is a) next time.
See, all these little things made my delivery way less awesome than the one with Miles. With Miles I was in awe of what had just happened. The nurses joked that I didn’t even miss a meal that day, and were telling me how well I was doing the whole time from when I got to the hospital until I was done having the baby. Experiencing the intensity of un-medicated delivery, accomplishing something I wasn’t sure I could do, having supportive people around who were complimenting me on how well everything went made the whole thing almost magical to me. In fact, I reflected on the events over and over and felt compelled to write it all down the first day while it was fresh in my mind. This time around I was kind of annoyed at everyone except Scott and Lydia and the whole delivery experience was not “intense and magical and empowering” it was “hot flashes and painful and insulting.” Maybe I should have been saying things out loud, that was a very empowering part last time. If you can’t tell, I have felt a little miffed by the whole thing, and I haven’t been so eager to record it.
Little Lydia is so sweet though, and she fits so well into our family. The kids all love her so much. She is also a very easy baby. She sleeps well, usually waking up only once or twice a night to eat. She eats fast and she has a great latch, so I’ve avoided some soreness I’ve had with the other kids. In fact nursing has not been painful at all, which has really surprised me. This recovery has been super, super easy. I mean, I went shopping the day after I got out of the hospital, and I ran into my doctor at the store, not the mean one who delivered the baby, but my super nice one who was not on call that day. She was surprised to see me so soon out of the hospital, but she was nice and encouraging that I was feeling so well. I still need a nap every couple of days, since waking up twice a night is still tiring, but other than that life is perfect.
(Okay, so I only managed to shave 600 words off this…still too long, but kudos to you if you read the whole thing. It means you love me.)