Guess what? I’m not pregnant anymore! (Can I get a hallelujah?)
For nearly seven days, Jason and I have been looking at each other in shock, because its so freaking different this time. Maybe I should explain … (Notice: This is quickly descending into a labor story. Consider yourself warned.)
At my last OB appointment, my blood pressure spiked again. I was already on modified bed rest, which had previously helped bring it down. Well, that wasn’t working anymore. My doctor checked my chart, and my body had done the same thing when I was pregnant with Sean and by the time he was born, I was probably pre-eclamptic. So, as she put it, we called it: I was scheduled to be induced the next Wednesday (Dec. 15). I had instructions to call the hospital at 6 a.m. to make sure they had a room for me and to get there by 7 a.m. At the last minute the week before, another patient who was scheduled for induction went into labor on her own, opening up a spot for me on Monday.
To say that I was excited is an understatement.
My brother spent the night and brought enough supplies to camp out at our house for up to a week while he watched Sean for us. Everything was going smoothly.
6 a.m.: The alarm clock goes off and I call the hospital to see if they have room for me. But I’m not on the schedule — I’m scheduled for Wednesday. After explaining that I was moved up, the nurse says she will call my doctor and get back to me before hanging up. I tell Hubbs the news and he revels in being able to sleep a little bit more. I, however, am now wide awake and slightly freaking out.
6:15 a.m.: No call.
6:20 a.m.: I call my doctor and let her answering service know what is going on, just in case the nurse got busy and didn’t call. They put me on hold while they call her, and when they click back, they say that yes, the hospital called her and her instructions to me are: “Don’t worry. I’m handling it.” Hubbs tells me to go to sleep.
6:30 a.m.: No call.
6:45 a.m.: I’m going to be pregnant forever. Nobody has called yet.
7 a.m.: Still no call. I’m getting fidgety and paranoid.
7:15 a.m.: I can’t take it anymore and call the hospital. I get the scheduling nurse. She apologizes for the confusion and says she talked to my doctor and that they WILL get me in today. But at the moment, there are no rooms available. So I have to wait. She’ll call me when they can take me in.
7:30 a.m.: Sean wakes up. We get him up, dressed, and ready for day care before unleashing him on my brother. For the next half hour, our house is filled with giggles, happy shrieks, and the staccato rhythm of small feet running up and down the hallway.
8 a.m.: My brother takes Sean to day care. Hubbs and I get dressed and get everything ready to go before eating breakfast.
8:30 a.m.: The phone rings. It’s the hospital: How quickly can I get there? I’m already halfway out the door, thankyouverymuch! I hug my brother and Hubbs and I take off for the hospital.
9 a.m.: We’re at the hospital, registered and taken to our room. After changing into the hospital gown and looking around, it hits me: We’re in the same room. I had Sean in this room. Hubbs and I smile at each other. What are the odds?
9:30 a.m.: The nurses have taken all my information and have hooked me up to the IV with three bags attached: The fluids they always hook people up to, antibiotics (because I tested positive on the strep B test), and Pitocin — the bag o drugs that make the contractions start. The nurse hits the button and we’re off! About five minutes later, the doctor on duty comes in to break my water.
She makes the comment that my cervix is “really high”, then apologizes to me. And just as I’m opening my mouth to ask “why?” she reaches way, way up there with her crochet hook thing. I’m pretty sure it only took a couple of seconds, but it felt like it took longer. After she left the room I looked at Jason, who was stroking my hair, and murmured “I think I felt her elbow.” My nurse, who was handing me a tissue because my eyes wouldn’t stop watering, giggled.
Now, since this isn’t our first rodeo, Hubbs and I did things a lot differently. There’s a lot of downtime when you’re in labor. Especially when you’re being induced. You’re basically sitting in a bed, waiting for contractions to start, and then waiting for them to get painful enough to get the epidural. (Or you could bypass that all together — some women get the epidural as soon as they’re hooked up to the Pitocin. I chose to wait a bit. Why? Cause I’m sadistic like that.)
So while we waited for stuff to happen, we took advantage of the downtime: We chatted with the nurses when they came in — oddly enough, we ended up giving one of them a referral to our mortgage broker since she was looking for someone reliable and spent about 15 minutes talking about the Elfa closet system at the Container Store, which I am in love with. But mostly, we slept. Seriously. Hubbs pushed his recliner flat and I turned the TV down and we slept. Why? Because you never know how long labor is going to take. With Sean, I was in labor for 18 hours then pushed for 3 hours before he was born. I was STUPID not to nap when I had the chance, because I was completely exhausted at the end.
1:05 p.m.: Ouch.
1:10 p.m.: I ask the nurse for the epidural, and am told that the anesthesiologist is assisting in a surgery right then, so it may take up to 45 minutes until he arrives. This is why it pays to plan ahead — the contractions weren’t unbearable yet, but they were getting stronger. I’m glad I asked early.
1:30 p.m.: I start huffing and puffing through the contractions. Because OWIE.
1:45 p.m.: The most popular guy in the hospital — the anesthesiologist — arrives.
1:55 p.m.: Ahhh … that’s better. Hubbs goes to get himself some lunch. I nap.
2:30 p.m.: New nurse comes on duty. My cervix is still “very high” so she calls in an ultrasound tech to see exactly what’s going on in there. After the ultrasound, we play “move the hippo” — otherwise known as moving the pregnant lady to a different position to coax the baby into a more ideal position.
3 p.m.: Oh Tony Bourdain, you amuse me so …
4 p.m.: Ouchie.
4:05 p.m.: Seriously dude. OUCH. I push the “hit me” button on the epidural (oh yeah, there’s a “hit me” button). Downside to this button, you’re locked out for 10 minutes after the hit.
4:15 p.m.: I’m huffing and puffing through contractions that last at least 2 minutes each and come every 4 minutes. We call the nurse. I push the button again.
4:20 p.m.: I’m dilated to 9.5. My cervix — and baby — are no longer high. She calls my doctor, then calls the anesthesiologist to give me a larger dose through the epidural.
4:30 p.m.: HIT ME BUTTON!
4:45 p.m.: The anesthesiologist arrives, bless his heart. After talking with the nurse, he does something behind me and my back gets cold for a little bit, and then … ahhhh …
4:50 p.m.: I tell the nurse I feel the need to push. She pats my hand and tells me to wait for the doctor.
4:55 p.m.: My doctor arrives and pulls the table full of tools next to the bed mid-greeting. Now, even though this is my second pregnancy, and I’ve been with her through both, this is the first birth with her. She was out of town for a family event when I had Sean. She’s calm, confident, and efficient. By the time she’s done saying her hellos, I’m surprised to see her sitting at my feet, already scrubbed up and pulling on an extra protective sheet while the nurse transforms the bed — bringing the stirrups up and getting me ready.
My sense of time gets all fuzzy here. It all happened so fast, and yet it was almost in slow-motion. But here’s the short version: I pushed through three contractions. THREE. Three pushes per contraction, and two extra pushes sans contraction and the doctor put this tiny, writhing body with a head full of black fuzz styled in a pixie cut onto my chest.
Naturally, I teared up. She was finally here.
Allison Olivia was born Dec. 13, 2010 at 5:15 p.m. She was 8 lbs, 8 oz and 18.75″ long. She has a full head of thick hair, her father’s eyes, my nose, and the same lips/chin as her brother. She also has the craziest, fullest, most-kissable cheeks I’ve ever seen.