Thursday, March 29, 2007
The Banker and I checked into the hospital at 7 a.m. and soon after the doctor came in to break my water. Things turned funny when I realized the doctor was breaking my water on top of a pad that's identical to the potty training pads we use for our dog, Ginger. I looked at The Banker and we couldn't help but laugh out loud, much to the amusement of the doctor and nurse. As one wee-wee pad after another was soaked, we giggled about how Ginger had nothin' on me.
I was hooked up to a bit of Pitocin because Becca wasn't engaged far enough into my pelvis. In the back of my mind I kept worrying that I'd have to have a Cesarean, but we tried not to talk about the possibility. My mom showed up first as I slowly dilated from a 4 to 5. The contractions started small and gradually grew incredibly intense. My mom and The Banker stood on either side of me as I writhed in pain on the bed.
Unfortunately The Banker kept telling me when the contractions we coming in addition to when they were peaking and subsiding. I snapped twice at him that I knew when the contractions were coming, thank you very much. When he began to utter those fated words again, even my mom told him to shut up. After that, he was careful just to tell me when the contractions were fading.
By the time I was dilated to a 7, the contractions were peaking off the monitor--giving new meaning to "off the charts." I felt like I was being split in two and was struggling to maintain my metered breathing. The nurse said it would be the best time to have an epidural, especially given that things could roll into a last-minute Cesarean. I caved, even though I feared having the epidural. Part of me was disappointed--I wasn't tough enough to struggle through labor unaided.
But the epidural was an almost-instantaneous, incredible relief. The only thing that bothered me was that my legs felt tingly and while I could move them, I hated not having full control over myself.
By that time my dad and sisters had arrived and my utter relief spread to everyone in the room, lightening the mood considerably. Everyone felt more at ease, and we laughed and joked and watched TV (including the Oklahoma game for my dad) as the monitor became a constant map of peaks and valleys.
It's funny that during most of this time, I was more concerned with everyone else's wellbeing. I asked what the family wanted to watch, offered them snacks we'd packed, sent them off to lunch at around noon, and constantly apologized that this process was taking so long and was so boring. I think I was trying to keep my mind off of my own fears. I function that way: Denying that something big is going to happen until it actually occurs. While I plan and prepare appropriately, I guard my emotions by not fully comprehending what will happen until it actually does.
This lasted until I began to feel the contractions through the epidural, a sign that the Pitocin had really ratcheted up the labor pains (in addition to making my face and body swell) and that things were beginning to progress. It wasn't long before the nurse informed the room it was time to push and everyone but The Banker went to the waiting room.
I felt like each push got me nowhere, though the nurse kept encouraging me to continue. About a half hour in, the epidural began to wear off and I could only push so long before I would smack into a wall of pain and lose my breath. The nurse told me to quit pushing and she called in another anesthesiologist. This doctor was different than the first and as he swaggered into the room he informed me that what he had may not help me and that maybe I needed "to tough it out and just push through it." If I'd been able to talk, I would have shared some choice words with the idiot, but it's just as well that all I could do was weakly nod.
Thankfully the doctor was wrong, and the pain medication was able to take just enough of the edge off that I was able to continue to push. The pushing was so exhausting, and I uttered to the Banker that I didn't think I could do this. But almost an hour into it, the doctor said she could see the head. The Banker stood (safely) by my head, encouraging me to keep going and to keep my chin tucked to my chest. Much of what followed seemed surreal--suddenly the doctor and nurse let out a cheer and the doctor told The Banker the sex of the baby. "We've got a Becca," he beamed.
It's funny that after nine months of wanting a girl I was too exhausted to fully register the news. I'd been right all along but couldn't even utter a triumphant "yes!" The doctor put Becca on my chest and I looked at this little creature with bewilderment. I remember thinking how perfect she looked before the nurses whisked her away to be cleaned up and weighed. And as the doctor stitched me up and The Banker shouted out how big Becca was, I lay there and thought that, just like that, we were parents. Wow.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
P.S. Thanks for the warm wishes everyone has sent via e-mail and more! It means so much to The Banker and me. I promise more musings later about lack of sleep, stumbling exhaustion, stress over no poopy diapers and more. This parenthood thing is one tough but incredible ride.