Ack! So much to do, so little time! I feel a little bit like superwoman right now, and that probably won’t last too much longer, so I’m taking advantage of it. Multitasking has always been one of my fortes, so here we go!
By now, most of you know that little Carson Alexander has arrived. Here’s the story of his arrival:
Tuesday, March 09, 2010, I was 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and ready for labor to get started. We’d had some false labor, a little cervical ripening, and about 1 cm of dilation, and I was pretty impatient. Ryan will leave for Ranger School on the 21st, so the earlier Carson came, the better (to some extent, of course). Anyway, I had finally decided I wasn’t going to get excited over anything until I was at the hospital, and they told me I was for sure in labor (this is always when it happens). So, we invited a couple of Ryan’s buddies over to grill hamburgers. I went out to check the progress of the coals, and as I was standing there talking to Ryan and Tully, I felt a powerful pop in my abdomen. That little voice inside my head said, “hey, your water just broke,” but the skeptical side of me said, “no way, that was just Carson kicking an organ.” When I felt the gush of fluid, though, I knew for sure. Even still, I pulled Ryan aside and said, “listen, don’t get excited, but I’m pretty sure my water just broke. I’m going to wait to be sure, so don’t say anything to Tully.” When I went to the bathroom, there was another gush of fluid, and when I looked in the toilet, I got excited. In case you’ve never seen it, amniotic fluid in the toilet is pretty obvious: there’s little bits of vernix floating around. So, I told Ryan the news, and I took a seat in the recliner to avoid a prolapsed umbilical cord. Meanwhile, Ryan is hungry, and the burgers are just ready to come off the grill. Tully is running around asking me every five seconds, “hey, do you need me to do anything? Can I get anything for you?” As I started making phone calls, the contractions started. They were pretty strong, but not anything too terrible. I figured I probably had at least another 8 hours before labor would really get underway. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that to Ryan. The boys grabbed my bag and all the things I had put aside to take to the hospital, and then Ryan asked, “Do I have time to eat a burger before we go?” I knew he probably wouldn’t get anything to eat for the next several hours, so I okayed it. As I sat there, though, the contractions started coming pretty quick, and they sure weren’t getting any easier. I ended up making him bring the burger along for the ride, and we left Tully standing in the kitchen with a plate full of burgers.
I continued making phone calls in the car ride to the hospital, but with each phone call, I was able to talk less and less. By the time we made it to triage, I could barely walk, and when a contraction hit, I could only make unintelligible noises. I sat in the triage waiting room for what seemed like an eternity (Ryan managed to get back downstairs, park the car, and get to the waiting room before the nurse came and got me). The first thing she made me do was give a urine sample. I think I gave her two drops. As I walked to the bed, I managed to utter, “I’m going to need some pain meds now.” She politely informed me that she would have to admit me before she could give me meds. Not what I wanted to hear. When she checked me, I was dilated 3 cm, and 50% effaced. I’m not terribly sure how long I lay there having contractions, but it felt like forever before a nurse finally got an IV started and pulled the blood the lab needed to run before I could have an epidural. When the anesthesiologist came, I could barely squeak out answers. I was in a world of pain. Again, I asked for pain meds, but the new nurse (they had a shift change in the middle of all of this) informed me that she wanted to wait until I was in L&D before she gave any meds. I’m pretty sure I called her an unpleasant dirty word in my head.
Finally, they wheeled me back to my room in labor and delivery. When they made me move to the new bed, I was shocked to see how much blood I had been laying in. I had felt warm fluids gushing out, but I figured it was all clear amniotic fluid. Turns out labor is messy business (I knew this beforehand, but it’s a little different when it’s yours). The L&D nurse checked me as I got settled in. This time I was 6 cm, 90% effaced, and I was more than ready for a little pain relief. She assumed lab would be finished with my blood work quickly, so she told me that she wasn’t going to give me narcotics so that I would avoid being loopy in addition to the numbing epidural. I wanted the narcotics.
Meanwhile, Ryan’s just standing beside the bed holding my hand, not sure what he was supposed to do. Note to self: hire a labor coach for next pregnancy. I’m gripping the bedrail with my other hand, and I’m pretty sure I left an imprint on the hard plastic. I tried to employ the lamaze breathing techniques I had practiced, but I couldn’t focus on anything but the pain. By this time, there was no longer a break in between contractions. They were coming in a continuous wave, and all I could wish is that I would pass out.
A short time later, the nurse came back to check me again. This time, I was 8 cm, 100% effaced, and I will never forget the image of her face hovering above mine with a very serious look as she said, “honey, I’m sorry, but your labs haven’t come back, and there is a very real chance you are going to do this without an epidural.” She might as well have told me my entire family had just been killed in a horrific accident–the pain of hearing that phrase was that bad. I moaned, “no no no no no no no no nooooo…” to no avail. It was at this time she finally administered the narcotics cocktail. That took some of the edge off, and the phenergen make me sleepy enough that I contemplated attempting to sleep through the contractions, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have worked. By this time I was audibly crying loud enough to be heard down the hall. She had another nurse check my cervix to confirm, because she was about to give the go ahead to call the doctor to get the show on the road, convinced I was out of time for an epidural. However, the other nurse (God bless her), said, “she’s still got a little shelf when she’s not contracting. 10 centimeters during contractions. Are her labs back yet?” As my nurse called the doctor, she checked on the labs again. No luck. As the doctor came in and heard my wailing, he ordered more narcotics, and asked why I hadn’t had an epidural. It was at that moment, the front desk called and said my bloodwork had come back. The doctor said, “get the anesthesiologist in here NOW, and get her an epidural.” Amazingly, the anesthesiologist was next door, and I managed to get my epidural as I was somewhere between 9 and 10 cm dilated, ready to push. He wasn’t sure it would have enough time to kick in, but right as I got the urge to push, the relief came. Suddenly, labor was easy. The nurse told me to start pushing with the urges, and I gave it everything I had. I pushed like it was an Olympic event. Seven minutes later, the doctor said, “Congratulations, it’s a boy!” The four most beautiful words I had ever heard in my life. I was so out of it from the narcotics combination (which, by the way, was not in my original birth plan), that I barely recognized Ryan getting to cut the cord. Hearing Carson cry for the first time, though, will always be imprinted in my memory. Even the drugs can’t erase that, or the first time they put him on my chest, and I looked at his face. It can only be described as amazing. As the nurses took Carson to get Apgar scores, print his feet, and take measurements, I started making phone calls again. In my drugged state, I don’t remember who I called, or what I said, though.
To be continued…