Remember those pain scale you were shown at the doctors office as a kid, with the faces in different stages of grimace... "How much does it hurt, on a scale of One to Ten?" Did anyone else have a hard time picking a number? How would you know?
Out of the tub, I had to stop twice before reaching the bed to moan through more contractions. Fast and furious doesn't begin to describe. I feebly try to dry myself off while putting on the lovely gown provided, Matt all but holding me up. Once to the bed, I request the nurse in here NOW. She wanders in several contractions later. I've lost all sense of time at this point. My whole world exists in the few seconds I have between mind blowing pain.
"When will that epidural get here?" I ask.
"On, Dr. B just called in your request."
WHAT?? I requested that epidural a LIFETIME ago! I can't do this! I can't do this!
I'm getting scared at this point. The are getting harder, faster..... moans have been replaced with an escalating "ouch, ouch, ouch".
I'm told I got rather loud.
I remember saying I was scared.. I remember seeing my husband across the room, sitting on a chair, a helpless look on his face. I remember thinking... He's scared too.
I remember saying to him, teeth gritted "I'm OK. I'm OK"
I remember the nurse offering me an IV drug to take the edge off. I don't want IV drugs... Baby feels those too!
Another contraction hits.
OK, yes, I'd like the IV drug.. Maybe just a half dose though?
I notice no difference other then a nausiousness when opening my eyes.
I remember feeling terrified that I was drugging my baby. Was he nauseous too? I'm still scared... Is he scared too?
Then things change.
At the end of each life altering contraction.. I have to grunt. Push? What? No.... I can't be ready to push.... Yet there it is again.. With each contraction, I get this overwhelming need to push. The urge is so strong, I can't describe it. Yet, I'm not ready to push! Must grunt, breathe, anything... But don't push! It's like telling a drowning person, upon pulling them out of the water, not to breathe. You can't control it. Grunt. Push.
My nurse checks me... 8+ centimeters. Fully effaced. +1 station.
"I'm sorry honey, I don't think you're going to be able to get that epidural... You're too fast"
Beeps. Dips. I learn later that between each contraction, my son's heartrate is dropping..... It resumes it's speed WITH the contraction... But between, it drops. My doctor is called in. He check me again. I don't know what the results of that check are.
I feel all alone with this pain. Nothing else exists. Breathe, Moan, Ouch, Grunt. Repeat. I remember someone telling me to breathe for my baby. Pant for my baby. Don't push!
I remember my doc saying something about an injection..."Go ahead and get it". I have no idea what "it" was.
I remember apologizing over and over for needing it... For not being strong enough... Brave enough. I don't remember any replies.. Matt tells me he said it was OK. I DO remember seeing his face. Still scared.
Me too, honey. Me too.
I am sat up... Grunt. Don't push! And folded over, my spine bared. An anesthesiologist from the ER comes in and pokes a needle in my back. Lightning shoots down my left leg. This is the one and only time in the whole ordeal that I scream. It was such a sharp, unexpected pain! That on top of the somewhat predictable yet horrifying contractions was too much.
"Which leg?" He asks.
He pokes again. More lighting. A yelp. More apologizing on my part.
"Left!" I sob.
Breathe, Moan, Grunt.
A few minutes later I hear him mutter "it's done" and I am helped to lay back on the bed. An Oxygen mask is placed on my face. I kind of remember seeing Davinie and Alyca come in the room... But not really.
I remember asking when it would work.. I can still feel everything!! I'm told to wait, it will take a few minutes.
A few minutes later... They are going away. I can feel them less.. Yet I still can FEEL.. And it stays that way.
This is WONDERFUL!! I can feel the contractions, but they are back to being the easy crampy ones I've felt for weeks now... And I can still feel my legs, the rest of my body! Whatever they injected simply took away the pain in my belly... And that's it.
Finally, I relax. Breathe. Catch my breath.
Next thing I know, the nurse asks me to push. I push.
I remember her asking for 2 people to come hold my legs. I remember thinking I am perfectly able to hold my own legs, thankyouverymuch....At some point in the confusion I'd asked Davinie and Alyca to decide among themselves who would cut the cord ( Matt not at all interested... Alyca cut Raegans cord..) Davinie comes up on my right, Matt on my left... Although I think at some point they change sides. Holding my legs with me, I'm asked to push. My doctor is here again, not the nurse, doing some perennial massage ( hows that for too much information) between each push. I remember Davinie telling me to relax my arm... Apparently I was flexing? I remember my air mask falling off all the time, and she fixed it for me several times. I remember her patting my arm, rubbing my leg. I remember Matt's soft presence counting to ten. Several times. I remember all the blood rushing to my face..
"I don't think I'm doing this right!"
I don't know how long I pushed. I do know that it was both easier and harder then when I had Raegan. I could feel what I was doing. Easier. I could feel that progress was slow. Hard.
Then all of the sudden I've got him. The squirmy blue-ish little man on my chest.
A few brisk rubs and he is whisked away to the warmer. The paparazzi ( Davinie and Alyca) go over to assess his condition... He is yelling furiously... So apparently fine.
My foggy memory brings up me asking several times if he was OK. Short laughs from my doctor, patiently waiting for the placenta to be ready to deliver. "Yes" he says, "Hear him? That's One Healthy Boy."
I ask Matt if he wants to go over and see him? He is still holding my hand, rubbing my wrist with his thumb. "I can hear him" he says. "I'll stay right here."
Quiet, soft support.
I look at the clock. 1:43 PM.
My entire labor process, from time of A.R.M. when I started having real contractions to the time my son was delivered, was just over two and a half hours long.
It felt so much longer. It was... An entire lifetime.
Now, one week later, the memory of that day is becoming fuzzier. I remember there was pain. I remember I was scared..... But mostly, I remember that cry. I remember my husband at my side, holding my hand, counting in my ear.
I remember the important stuff.
Hours late, my daughter has met her brother, my sisters and mother are all here again, and my brother-in-law is asking me about the labor.
"So, did you find your ten?"
Yes. I found my ten.
And so much more.