We got up crazy early on Tuesday morning and set off for the hospital. Before we left, my sister took this picture: our last moment as a family of three.
(Props to Angie for the idea.)
The Boring Part
We got checked into the hospital around 7:30 a.m., did all the medically necessary prep work, got the IV started with Pitocin, and then we waited. And waited.
A few hours later, the contractions started to get really intense, and I was still barely dilated 1 centimeter. I asked for some pain relief, and I was given a drug called Stadol. Which was… well, it made me high as a kite, is what it did. It was actually quite pleasant and it definitely took the edge off of the contractions. I passed out for a while, I’m not sure how long.
At some point the doctor came in to check me, and said that I was dilated to 4 centimeters. She broke my water for me to get things moving, and then they called the anesthesiologist to get my epidural going.
Meanwhile, I realized that it was almost 5:00, and visiting hours ended at 8:00, so basically my whole plan to have Catie come to the hospital to meet her baby sister immediately after she was born? That wasn’t going to happen. And I almost cried. Dave suggested that she could come see me anyway, but I was worried that it would freak her out to see me in pain and lying in a hospital bed with an IV.
Finally, I got my epidural. I don’t remember it hurting very much when I had one with Catie, but this one hurt so bad it almost made me cry. Once it was done, the pain from the contractions went from excruciating to almost non-existent. Oh, and I was flagged as a fall risk, which cracked both me and Dave up. I should probably wear this bracelet all the time.
Since I wasn’t in pain anymore, I agreed to Dave’s original idea to bring Catie to the hospital, as long as we prepped her beforehand about what to expect. “Mommy’s in a bed, and there are some tubes and things to give her medicine,” etc. My sister explained it to her on the way to the hospital, and she didn’t seem too freaked out by it.
Tracy and Catie stayed for a little while, then went home for the night.
At some point, I mentioned to the night nurse that I had a headache, and I suspected it was because it had been over 12 hours since I’d had any caffeine. She told me I could have a Diet Coke. I will love her forever for that.
The Part Where Stuff Started Happening
I started to feel some weird pressure, and I asked the nurse to check me. She started to, then her cell phone rang and she said she had to take it because it was her baby-sitter. While she was out of the room, the pressure got suddenly very intense and I told Dave she better hurry up because I thought I might be fully dilated. She came back a minute later, apologized, and checked to find out that yes, I was indeed at 9 cm and almost fully dilated, the only problem was that the baby was still face up, but once she flipped around, she’d be out in no time.
My OB had left the hospital, so they paged her, and she said she’d be there in 10 minutes. The nurse was worried that the baby might try to come before the doctor could get there, so she had me (with my numbed-up from an epidural legs) flip over on the bed and get up on all fours. No, seriously.
And yes, that was exactly as awkward as it sounds. Especially in a hospital gown, so I was basically mooning the whole room. Very nice.
The nurse also mentioned something about not being able to get a good read on the baby’s heart rate, but I didn’t think much of that at the time.
The Really Freaking Scary Part
My OB got there and had me flip back over on the bed (again, numb from the waist down – VERY. AWKWARD.) and she had me start pushing. As I pushed, she tried to reach in and manually flip the baby around the right way. She’d get Lucy flipped, and on the next push, she’d flip herself back. The problem was that the angle of her head was such that she couldn’t get past my pubic bone with the direction she was facing.
I pushed for something like 45 minutes. Finally the doctor said that she was going to have to do a vacuum extraction to flip the baby over as she came out. Fine by me, I just wanted her out, and it seemed like the safest option for both of us. As soon as the vacuum was attached to the baby’s head, she was out on the next contraction.
What happened next is probably something I’ll have nightmares about for the rest of my life. Lucy was out, and she was covered in blood (as you’d expect). But she was gray. And even though her eyes were open, she wasn’t making any sound. I heard the doctor say that the cord was around her neck.
There was a team of people who swooped her over to an incubator and started working on her. I was sobbing and saying to Dave, “She’s not crying! Why isn’t she crying??” Dave said that he could see her (I couldn’t see much at all from where I was), and he kept telling me that she was ok. That didn’t really help ease my growing sense of panic at all.
Finally, I heard her cry, then I started crying tears of relief.
The Happy Ending
As scary as those few minutes were, as soon as they were over, that was it. She was just… here. And she was perfect.
Now it’s five days later, and we’re still getting to know each other. But I think we’re going to get along famously.
This one is a keeper, y’all.