When last I told this epic tale I was being driven to the hospital post haste. My tale began around 9pm, and at this point it is a little after 11pm. We made it to the hospital, and Steven wheeled me up to L&D in that same wheelchair from an hour ago. I remember the wheelchair. I remember the nurse Erica’s face when we showed up for the second time that night under considerably different circumstances. After all the poor woman had discharged me less than an hour before. I remember Steven asking where they wanted him to take me. I was so tired and the contractions where continuous at this point. No breaks in between to breathe that I could distinguish. I was beginning to feel a foreign urge to push. Push what from where I wasn’t certain but I knew I needed to push. Nurse Erica pointed us toward a room and Steven helped me get out of my clothes and into a gown because there was no way I could do it myself. I remember somehow ending up on the table.
We had taken a tour of the L&D wing several months before where they showed us all the neat features of the bed, like how it transforms in all these different ways for ease of birth in different positions. I never got to use any of those features. I didn’t need anything to speed labor along. I got onto bed somehow and Nurse Erica checked me. As she was checking me I was asking about an epidural. Or pain medication, or really anything. In my head I was thinking just hit me with something. Knock me out. I’ll take a csection please. Originally, in my birth plan which never saw the light of day, I thought I would let labor progress until I was at six centimeters dilated and then ask for the epidural. I didn’t want to get one until I really needed it. Its funny how intense pain will change ones mind because I really didn’t care how dilated I was at that point I just needed relief.
Nurse Erica looked at me, with a big smile and said “Well how about lets just have a baby”…. My immediate thought was “What the fuck?”. You have got to be kidding me right? However I had promised myself that no matter how much pain I was in I would be polite and nice to the nurses and to Steven during my labor. I didn’t want to look back on it and have to apologize for being a crazy bitch. However right at this moment Nurse Erica was reminding me of the chesire cat. I was certain I had fallen down a rabbit hole. So I politely asked for an epidural to which she then calmly ordered the nurse next to her to get a doctor because I was at a ten. As in ten centimeter dilated. As in the babies head was coming out anytime now. I don’t think she realized I heard her but I did. In my head I am thinking and out loud I kept thinking I’m not ready yet. It isn’t time yet. This is too fast. Nurse Erica had assured me I wouldn’t be ready until probably tomorrow. I want my epidural. I wasn’t going to be a hero.
I had said, since almost the beginning that I wanted pain meds. i said this in labor class and I am fairly certain they thought I was a drug addict. I just thought it had to be a joke. But it wasn’t funny. Then I thought it had to be a dream, it was too soon to have him, but then the pain came through and I realized I had never had such a painful dream. All of that was obliterated as soon as the next wave of pain came with the overwhelming urge to push. I told everyone that I thought I needed to push which was very adamantly denied. Don’t push I was told. Breathe through it I was told. I was beginning to believe there was a hell and labor, specifically trying not to push, was it. There were nurses everywhere trying to put an IV in, prepping for the baby, and Steven was there holding my hand and repeating what the nurse said about not pushing. I could see them all, but at the same time it was like I only saw parts of the event at a time. My world had narrowed to the pain and fear and the occasional face I saw above me and Steven holding my hand. The pain isn’t scary. The pain is just something to get through. Ive been in pain before. What is scary is being in pain and being responsible for helping a child come into this world. Of all the things in life you don’t want to screw up this is a big one. I knew I could deal with the pain because it would eventually end but I was a lot less sure about being able to deliver a healthy baby.
Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity but in reality was probably about 20 minutes a doctor showed up. He was a sarcastic sort of fellow with glasses and a square face and a dry sense of humor. His name was Dr. Hurd and he is definitely not who I would have picked to deliver my baby, but at least he had a good sense of humor and didn’t add to my mounting sense of panic. My regular doctor is a kind, soft spoken sort of fellow who instantly makes you feel like everything will be ok. Dr. Hurd had nothing of that bedside manner, but he would do in a pinch…which this definitely was because shortly after he showed up the babies head started to crown and I heard lots of exclamations about a head full of hair. Apparently I was birthing Chewbacca. I remember having this thought rather fleetingly. After finally managing to find a vein that would take an IV. They tried both arms and finally got a hand. All that was going on while I was trying not to push and dealing with my new completely pain medication free reality.
I’ve really enjoyed writing this story and looking back on it with fresh eyes. I’m so glad I chose to write it down and I hope someone else might benefit from it. You can catch parts 1 and 2 here. Stayed tuned for the next installment.