August 25, 2008 - five days after Oliver's due date
Right by the hospital I was delivering at is a Wendy's. We went through the drive-thru on the way there because I knew that once I checked in, I wouldn't be allowed to eat any real food. I ate a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. YUM. We got to the hospital at 11:15, and they were expecting us. Even though I was pre-registered and they knew I was coming, I still had to fill out some paperwork. They took me to my room and I was happy because it was one of the rooms with a enclosed patio attached to it. It was a little strange getting changed into a hospital gown, not being in labor but knowing that I soon would be.
The midwife on call came in. I hadn't seen this midwife since my very first appointment (they rotate you through all of them so that you will know them all), so I actually barely knew her. She had gotten a new hair-do and I didn't even recognize her, and I could tell she didn't remember me at all. She checked me and said that I was at 4 cm's. HUH? I really dilated 1 cm on the way over? She laughed and hooked me up to the contraction monitor thingie, and it showed that I was having small, fairly regular contractions. The midwife said, "Wow, maybe today was going to be the day anyway!" I just kind of nodded my head, but I was thinking, "Yeah right. These contractions are NOTHING compared to what I have been feeling for weeks."
After seeing that I was at a 4 and had some contractions, the midwife decided to break my water to see if that would get things moving along. This was at noon. When she did, there was meconium (the baby's first stool, which they normally expel after birth) in the amniotic fluid. He had already passed it inside of me. This sent me into a slight panic - I knew this was more likely with babies that went past their due date and it sent an alarm off in heard. My midwife didn't seem too bothered by it, but I had always heard horror stories about babies aspirating meconium, so that I thought it was really dangerous. I threw a couple of questions at her about it, and she said that she had seen this in probably 100 deliveries and not once had the baby ended up having a problem. They would just have a pediatrician on hand when Oliver came out and they would suction him out really well.
As soon as she left the room I had Chad google it (he had his laptop and our room had wireless internet), and read me all the information he could find about whether it was actually dangerous or not. The information he found seemed to confirm what she had told me, so I was able to calm down a little.
My midwife and nurse also talked to me about what kind of labor I wanted. I told them that I didn't want an epidural, and they both told me that it would be difficult to do that with an induction and to keep my options open. By this time I didn't really care that much either way. I just wanted to have my baby here safely. I told them that I really wanted to try a lot of different positions but didn't really know how I was going to do that being hooked up to everything. I already had an IV in and there was a monitor strapped around my belly and hooked up to a machine that monitored my contractions and the baby's heartbeat (that beeped like crazy whenever it was knocked out of place). It just didn't allow much freedom of movement. They said they would help me move all the cords around whenever I wanted to.
After my water broke, my contractions stayed about the same. I didn't really feel like anything was going on, and not much was showing up on the monitors. The had me sitting on a birthing ball and swaying side to side. I put Pride and Prejudice on, and Chad surfed the internet.
At 1:30 the nurse gave me first dose of pitocin (the drug that induces contractions). She informed me that it was the smallest dose and each dose after it would be stronger. I thought in my head, "I bet this does it. I bet I won't be getting a second dose."
After just fifteen minutes my contractions started getting stronger. I was on the phone to Audra and I had to cut the conversation short because it was getting harder and harder to talk through each contraction. By this time I had been on the birthing ball for an hour and it was not feeling good at all. Mr. Darcy was asking Elizabeth to marry him (for the first time) and she was telling him off.
I told Chad that I needed him and asked him to put his laptop down. Then I asked my nurse if she could help me find a better position. At 2:00, she raised the bed up so that I could lean on it. Each time a contraction came, Chad would massage the small of my back as hard as he possibly could. It helped me to draw my focus away from the pain and I imagined riding a wave up up up and then over the crest and back down. It worked well for awhile. I was having Chad massage my back so hard that it actually hurt, but the pain of it felt great compared to the rest of the pain. He talk lightly to me between each contraction, watching the monitor, and knowing to shut up and start massaging each time he saw another one coming. I felt really close to him, and he was being the perfect partner - helping me to stay calm and offering me drinks between each contraction. Sometimes I would turn around between the contraction and just hang on him. He was also taking notes for me, which is why I know all times that this stuff happened - I have the notes he took right in front of me.
I started to get a little frustrated because, although I was able to handle each contraction, it was getting harder and harder to relax between each one. The pain lingered after the contraction ended and stayed until the next one began. I wanted to be able to use the time in between each one to refocus and breath. I expressed this to the nurse and she told me that this was probably just the way it was gonna be, but we could try another position. I also asked her when the midwife was going to check me again to see how much I had progressed, and she said she wouldn't until I really got going. Once again, I didn't say anything (although I should have) but I wanted to tell her that things were definitely "going" now. I knew that big things were happening and wanted to know how much I was progressing so I could feel like at least these contractions were doing something, and so I could know how much more to expect. I was really starting to feel overwhelmed. I wanted some encouraging news and I also wanted the midwife and nurse to realize what my body was doing (I hadn't even seen the midwife since she broke my water).
(I vaguely remember Pride and Prejudice being on still and Elizabeth and Darcy meeting in the field)
I kept thinking, "I don't think I can do this. Which, according to the all books, means I am a probably in transition and the end is near. But what if I'm not? I can't do this!"
The nurse suggested that I get on the bed on my hands and knees to see if that position would help at all. Just getting up there was a pain, with all the cords to untangle, and as soon as that first contraction hit me in that position, I knew it was a mistake. It was HORRIBLE. I said, "That's IT! I want an epidural." I had warned Chad that me saying that was a sign that I was in transition, so he did what I had instructed him and tried to make sure I was really sure. I told him I was sure. I told the nurse I was sure. I was SURE. The nurse then told me that she would have to give me some fluids through the IV first and then we could call the anesthesiologist. Then we would have my midwife in to check my progression. I asked her to do the fluids as quickly as possible.
I honestly think she was dawdling, thinking that I could wait awhile longer. After all, it was 2:50 - I had just gotten a tiny little dose of pitocin an hour and 20 minutes before.
Now the contractions were at their peak and I was just laying on the bed, getting the fluids in and not trying any different positions or anything. Every time a contraction came, I would grab Chad's shirt and twist it into a ball and moan and groan. I remember very clearly that I was saying things like, "I can't do this! I can't do it." and "When is this going to end?!" Chad just brushed my hair out of my face over and over again and told me that everything was going to be okay and I was doing an wonderful job. I remember thinking how wonderful that felt. I kept telling him thank you.
Finally, at 3:18 (28 whole minutes later!)the anesthesiologist was there giving me the epidural. Getting a huge needle threaded into your spine is not pleasant to begin with, but when you so far into labor it is really hard to sit still. The nurse had me curl up and into her chest, and told me to grab her shirt as hard as I wanted. I was having contractions one of top of each other, so right as I could feel the needle going in I was having one, and I gave a huge jolt. She held me tight and calmed me down.
I felt the epidural working almost immediately. I felt a little drunk with relief. I turned to Chad and said, "I want you to turn the camera on, turn it to the video, and record me saying this - 'It isn't worth it! Why? Why not get an epidural?! It isn't worth it!!!!' so that I will never forget and try that again!!!!!!!"
It felt so good to be rid of the pain. I asked Chad if he could call Bobby and ask how Colin's first day of school was. Then right as the pain subsided, I could feel Oliver moving very very quickly down. It was so strange because the contractions didn't hurt, but everything else did and I could still feel all the pressure of the baby moving down. I told the nurse, "He's coming. I can feel him coming." She checked and said I was right and called my midwife in. Chad was chatting with Bobby and I called to him to get off the phone and get the camera ready.
My midwife came in, I pulled my legs up (they still had all the feeling in them), and they had me push. It was a very strange sensation because I could just barely tell when I was having a contraction, but it still hurt a lot to push. With my other two births, I had only felt pressure, not a lot of pain. But I could really feel Oliver coming out. I wasn't sure if I was doing it right because it felt so different. My nurse and midwife assured me that I was. I remember saying, "Wow, that really hurts!" Uh yeah, Katie, of course it hurts. I was about to ask them to for a mirror so I could see my progress, but the pushing went very quickly. One final huge pain and then his head was out, and then his body. Oliver Charles Coleman was born at 3:38 pm.
The midwife put Oliver on me and I remember just saying over and over, "I can't believe you are here. You are finally here." So much anxiety and longing, and it was finally over and I finally had the little boy to look at.
Oliver's first picture
They weighed him and he was 8 lbs 6 oz. He skin was really cracked all over and his fingernails were way longer than my other two boys' had been. Too much time in the womb buddy!
I realized that I still had all the feeling in my legs and wanted the nurse to turn the epidural off so that I wouldn't get numb. I asked her about it and she informed me that she hadn't ever even hooked the epidural bag up. I had just gotten the dose from the anesthesiologist when he had put it in. I was SO happy to be able to stand and walk around right after giving birth and of course now I was really glad that I hadn't gotten it til the very end.
They had suctioned Oliver out really well after he came out and the meconium wasn't an issue at all. He got a 9 and a 10 on his Apgars.
Chad left soon to get the boys. They came back, with a pizza for me, before Oliver even came back from getting his first bath. I got to greet them and get hugs from them before the nurse came him with Oliver.
They loved him of course. I was exhausted but all hyped up and ravenous. Chad went home with the boys and I spent that night nursing the baby, eating as much as possible and trying to sleep. I ate my dinner, the whole pizza and a whole snack basket that the nurses brought.
I really hate being in a hospital bed. I asked to go home as early as possible and got my wish granted. It is always such a wonderful feeling to drive home with your baby and then nurse them in your own bed.
I turned to Chad that night, as we looked at Oliver laying asleep in our bed, and said, "Doesn't he seem like he knows he is home? He seems so comfortable. It just feels like he already knows he is a part of our family."
Oliver was a great nurser. He ate every two hours for about 15-30 minutes. He liked to be swaddled for the first week or so, as long as his had his hand out, and then after that he wanted to spread out. Oliver loved to be held and cuddled. He started smiling at a very young age and the only time he cried was occasionally when he got his diaper changed.
I won't go into it too much, but the emotional side of recovery was way more intense than I remembered. I was very very moody. I can remember bawling and having absolutely no reason for it. I would tell Chad, "Don't worry - I'm not crying over anything. I just really really need to cry." Chad was really taking care of things for me, but I had a hard time not being able to be in charge of everything that was going on in the house - not knowing if all the laundry was done like I wanted it to be, where the boys shoes were, if Colin's lunch was packed, etc. (and I am usually not a very controlling person). It was a big adjustment, and Colin was bawling every night too about not wanting to go to school the next day. There were a lot of tears shed for about three weeks. Oh, and I remember driving somewhere about a week after he was born, and thinking, "Why do I feel weird? Something is missing. Oh, it's the contractions that are missing!" I had gotten so used to feeling them that it felt so strange to finally have them end!
Written on May 3, 2009