Friday, April 18, 2008

My version of Lucy's big day

A little bit of Rashomon for our devoted readers...

I was dreading the weekend - Greg had commitments (work and otherwise) that spanned five days, and I honestly didn't think I could physically endure toddler-wrangling in my physical state for all that time. I was desperately uncomfortable and in my heart of hearts hoped that the baby would come on the weekend. After all, it would be easier for me, and most convenient for everyone involved. It seems as though Lucy heard my unspoken prayers.
That Saturday morning - April 12th, Greg got up early to get ready for an 8am shift at work. We had had a roughish night with Rebecca, and when we opened up her door to check on her, we discovered she was buck naked on top of her sheets. I broke my water when I went for my morning pee. It was a medium gush - not like the huge volume involved with breaking my water for Rebecca, but nor was it a simple trickle. Because I had just woken up, and because I went pee, I wasn't 100% certain right away. However, since the fluid is regenerated and continues to leak, it was soon apparent what was going on. I felt overwhelmingly excited and and relieved. I was able to stop Greg from leaving the house, and we began to get things rolling. Unfortunately, I did manage to go through multiple pairs of pants before making it to the hospital - despite my best efforts to contain the flow of fluid. It is a very odd feeling because the liquid is so warm. My parents came over to look after Rebecca - and we all had breakfast together. My sister was also able to make it - which may or may not have been possible on a different day. The procedures were the same as for Rebecca - we called obstetric triage and were told to come in. Since I was not in labour, it was felt that I would probably be sent home again, but all the same, they needed to have a look at my situation. My father drove us all to the hospital. Once at the hospital, I handed over my prenatal records - which unfortunately lacked the Group B strep results. Fortunately, they were able to track them down - and I was negative again. They verified that I really had broken my water by testing a fluid sample. There was a lot of waiting involved, and I spilled enough fluid to soak even more clothing, which was awkward and uncomfortable. I was hooked up to several monitors - for blood pressure, fetal heart rate, and contractions. Lucy was doing great, but as for me, my blood pressure was high. They asked me about this, and I described the blood and urine tests from Wednesday. Although I gave them the name of the lab, they were unable to track down the results, and I was told I would have to give samples again. I thought they were going to let me go, but one of the nurses was concerned about my pre-eclampsia, and also thought the monitor showed mild contractions (this was true), so they decided to take me to a delivery room.
We settled into the room, and I was told someone would come by to take the needed blood samples. At the same time, they would hook me up to an IV in order to eventually enable the delivery of pitocin for induction. I believe this was due to the blood pressure issue. It took four attempts for the nurses to get the right vein - I was surprised because I have been told I have good veins and I have never encountered this problem previously. My hands and wrists are still covered in bruises to this day. The administration of the pitocin certainly moved things along, and every half hour, someone would come by to jack up the dose. I think the pitocin started at 1pm or so. Eventually, the pain was excruciating enough so as to be incapacitating. However, because I find the dilation examination to be infinitely worse than bad contractions, I held out on pain relief for as long as I could. The magic number was 6pm. If I could make it to 6pm, I would probably be dilated enough that I could be given an epidural and the pain would go away. I wanted at all costs to avoid more than one unmedicated dilation check. I don't really know why they cause me so much pain, but they do! When 6pm arrived, I was in tears and incapable of much else. I felt as though I was in a tunnel where the world had shrunk into just myself and the pain. No means of comfort seemed effective. I was given nitronox to undergo the dilation check - and it was agony all the same. I felt terrible for all the crying and protests of pain, but... I was 3cm and they took pity on me (before, they said they would wait until 4cm for an epidural) and sent the anesthesiologist. At this point, the contractions were brutal, with Lucy kicking in between them! What was worse, was that they had to make four different attempts to get the epidural needle properly inserted. The bruises on my back make the ones on my hands look pleasant. Once the pain relief took effect, I felt that I had my personality back, and that I might actually be able to interact with people and enjoy the delivery. After that point, the labour progressed very quickly (especially compared to my experience with Rebecca). Before I knew it - we were at the pushing stage. As we approached this point, I began to have uncontrollable shakes, and I felt very nauseous. The shakes continued for quite some time, but, with some controlled breathing, they eventually subsided. The pushing stage only took 45 minutes this time, and unlike Rebecca, Lucy never slipped back, and I never needed oxygen. Lucy's head was not properly oriented, and she had to be shift somewhat, but that went fairly smoothly. Near the final pushes, I threw up nine times in quick succession. It was fairly projectile, and I nailed poor Greg. I felt a lot better afterwards, and I was able to push more effectively - holding my breath was easier when I no longer felt I was inhabiting the edge of puking. The doctor (not my OB - he was out of town) asked Greg whether he wanted to cut the cord. Greg said he would, then, as the baby's head emerged, I saw the doctor snipping at something. I figured the something was me, but then, after the last push, they whisked the baby away. And it was silent. I didn't understand what was going on - but I knew I should be hearing a baby crying. I asked Greg, but he didn't know or he didn't answer, I don't know which. I couldn't see full details across the room because I didn't have my glasses on, but I saw them squeezing an air bag into the baby. By them I mean the sudden crowd of people who had appeared out of nowhere. Then, I heard the baby - and Greg cried, so I knew it was o.k. An alarm went off, but they stopped it. While Greg and Elizabeth were able to go look at the baby, I lay on the bed delivering the placenta. Eventually I got to hold Lucy - but it seemed like I had to wait forever. She was incredibly alert, and immediately breast fed like a pro. She also looked properly flabby and very healthy - not too bruised. The contrast to my premature Rebecca was really quite astounding. I was stitched up, washed off, and wheeled away with Greg and Lucy - and that is my version of the big day.

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