Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Labor and Delivery, Part Two

Around 6 pm it was time for the Cook device. It was also time for dinner, and I was still allowed to eat, so Melody went to pick us up some Chipotle. I was very hungry and really excited to eat my burrito. I also ordered dessert from the hospital food service. Before I ate I had the Cook device inserted. They first gave me a narcotic to dull the pain. They offered me either a shot or an IV with the narcotic and anti-nausea medication. I foolishly took just the shot, thinking I didn’t want to be lugging an IV around because it would further restrict my movement. With the narcotic the inserting of the catheter was still really painful, but once they finished I felt fine. That lasted about half an hour. I tried to eat some of my dinner, but it wouldn’t stay down. Nothing would stay down. Then my mom opened her grilled vegetable burrito, and the smell permeated the entire room, which disgusted me so much I ordered her to leave. Then the pain started. At first it felt just uncomfortable, but by about seven it was very intense.

We called for the IV with the anti-nausea medication. I thought it took forever for the IV to be ready, but my mom said it was actually only about 15 minutes. I got to use my labor breathing to manage the pain, but it didn’t work that well. After they got the IV in the pain was significantly less, and I was exhausted, so I went to sleep. I slept fairly soundly, until maybe 4:30 the next morning, and then I dozed some more after that. Another intern took out the Cook device and checked me around 6 that morning. She was very surprised and pleased with my progress. I was at 7 centimeters. They thought labor could be over as early as mid-morning. They started the Pitocin and, given my experience with pain the night before, they gave me an epidural right away. I called my mom and told her to rush back to the hospital. Jeff had, of course, stayed with me overnight, sleeping in the "Dad’s chair." The nurse called the photographers from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. The nurse hooked me up to a machine to monitor my contractions. I couldn’t feel anything, so I could only tell I was having one when I saw my stomach tense up. It was weird because I became so tired, but I didn’t feel like I was doing anything. I went back to sleep for a while longer.

I was supposed to deliver around noon or so, but Dr. G got tied up in an emergency, I think a c-section. He ended up coming back around 2 pm. They set everything up for delivery, and turned down the epidural so I could feel to push. I still really couldn’t feel anything, just a little pressure. They had to pick up my legs for me, because I could barely move them. Three pushes later I heard a really strange suction-y sound and it was done. I somehow knew the baby had survived, but I still didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. Jeff cut the cord while the doctors were checking me and dealing with the afterbirth. I was so happy and exhausted. God had answered our prayers, and Jeff and I would be able to spend some time with our daughter here on earth.

Given the circumstances, I had a very positive labor and delivery experience. My nurses, Lori, Amanda, and Sarah took great care of me. I had a constant supply of huge cups of cranberry juice and water. All three of them were very caring and kind people. They were so sensitive to our circumstances and gentle in their care of us. Their assistance and understanding really eased the difficulty of a hard situation. Had I not been so stubborn about refusing the IV, I would have felt very little physical pain at all during the entire induction and delivery. I am profoundly grateful for all of the care and support we received from the doctors, nurses, photographers, family and friends during this time.

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