So yes. The epidural man came, and I was happy. See? I am reading on my Kindle, during labor.
Getting the actual epidural wasn’t bad. The worst part was having contractions while they were doing it and trying to hold still. One of my greatest fears about an epidural was that I would be totally numb, and that wasn’t the case at all. The pain was gone, but I still had enough sensation to be able to move myself around in bed a bit and, later on, feel the contractions gearing up to time my pushes. I am also glad that I timed the epidural the way I did–I got the experience of unmedicated labor for awhile, but I got the epidural early enough that I was able to save my strength for pushing, which I needed. (Spoiler alert!)
My notes from this point of labor read: “1:30 epidural. 2:00 AWESOME.”’
From this point on, I was able to rest. I could still feel the pressure and belly hardening of contractions, but not the intense pain and nausea. I kept getting repositioned due to slight heart rate decelerations from the baby.
At 2:30, they checked me and I was 7 cm and 90% effaced. Fabulous!
From 2:30-4:15, I rested and chatted with Tim about how awesome the epidural was and how it was totally the right decision.
Around 4:15, I started feeling increased pressure with each contraction, and then there was another big gush of…something…which I was later informed was mass quantities of “bloody show.” Cool! Because of this, they checked me again, and bam, fully dilated and effaced and ready to push. They left to go get ready and Tim and I took a “ready to push!” face photo. See? That’s my pushing practice face.
We mean business, people.
While we were waiting the 15 or so minutes for them to set everything up to start pushing, I started shaking uncontrollably. The nurses said this was probably transition.
Because it must be noted, here was my view during labor and delivery. The facilities here really are lovely and I enjoyed not staring at a wall while pushing.
So, at 4:45 or so, we were ready to go, and I started to push. It was just me and Tim, and the nurses Amelia and Leslie in the room. My feet went up in stirrups, and every time I would feel the pressure of a contraction coming on, I would pull up, curl over my belly, and give 3-4 10 second long pushes.
In the beginning, I remember saying, “this is fun!” and…it actually was. I know how strong my body is from CrossFitting, so I was really able to push effectively. It was kind of like a tabata WOD—continuous work/rest intervals. The nurses were so fabulous and gave me lots of good advice, and Tim was extremely awesome as well. He’d always half-joked about staying up near my head during labor and not looking down, but he got really into it, which surprised me! After I’d been pushing about an hour, he suggested one of the nurses get a mirror so I could see what was going on. At first, I resisted, but he told me that it was really cool to watch and that I would like it. So, I took his advice and we got the mirror and whoa, that was cool to see the head coming down. Like, coolest thing ever.
(Oh, and as a side note, I pooped pretty much the entire time I was on the table, too. Nothing huge, but with every push…out came some poop. It was more effective that way. I did not care one bit.)
The pushing got more and more intense as the baby descended. I was deemed a very awesome pusher, but progress was slow. As we reached the end of the second hour, my epidural was mostly worn off, and even though I could SEE his head right there, it just wouldn’t quite crown no matter how hard I pushed. The nurses changed shifts at 6 pm, but they kept sticking around for “just one more push, because that’s it!” except it never was. Bless their hearts—they ended up staying closer to 7 just because they wanted to end the shift with a birth. Sorry, ladies.
(Another side note: I pushed so hard I broke a bunch of blood vessels in my face. I feel really hardcore about that.)
The new nurse came on at 6, and by 7, I was beginning to wear down. I felt like I was losing energy and getting nowhere. One of the nurses suggested that the baby might be coming out face-up, rather than the normal face-down, which would make getting through my pelvis pretty difficult. They then began mentally preparing me for a coneheaded, bruised baby (ha!) and called in the doctor, who arrived around 7.
The doctor came in and confirmed, in his calm-but-awesome way, that the baby was most likely sunny-side up and would probably need to be manipulated out. We also discussed tearing versus an episiotomy, and while everyone would have preferred I tear, it looked like a small episiotomy might be in order.
(Another side note: I wore the Moving Comfort Fiona bra for labor and delivery and highly recommend it. It’s sporty enough to withstand the athletic nature of labor, but I was able to whip the front down quickly for skin-to-skin and breastfeeding.)
So I pushed, and I pushed, and now the doctor had his hands up there trying to spin the baby into a better position, and everyone was telling me what a good pusher I was while I told them to “SHUT UP IF I WAS A GOOD PUSHER I WOULD HAVE HAD THIS BABY TWO HOURS AGO,” or “STOP TOUCHING ME EVERYONE, NO REALLY.” I was not prepared for the mental panic that this part of labor would bring—I was giving everything left in my body and it was not enough. I could see the reflection of his head practically halfway out of me but not quite there and wanted to give up. My hips and legs ached, my teeth hurt from gritting them, I was lightheaded and sweating like mad but he was just…stuck. And there was no end in sight because the nurses and doctor and Tim were all dirty liars who kept saying, “this push is it!” and then it WASN’T. Not that I’m mad about that or anything.
Also, I asked the super sweet OB if he could just use a vacuum or forceps or something, and he looked at me like the Ryan Gosling meme he is and said (I am not kidding), “Girl, you know I could use those things but they would put your baby at risk, and I know you are strong enough to do this!” Can I just put him in my pocket and carry him around with me?
But anyway. My point is that I pushed until I literally thought they would have to shove the baby back in and cut him out. The pain was incredible and I could literally see my nether regions exploding before my eyes. But I finally just decided to nut up and push until I passed out or died, and gave it everything I had, and…out he came. I felt immense relief when the head came out—they twisted his shoulders a bit and everything else just kind of slithered out behind it. Grand total: 3.5 hours of pushing. I remember a huge gush of fluid, and someone saying, “he’s peeing!”
“OMG my baby! Give me my baby!”
And Dr. Ryan Gosling suctioned him out super quick and Tim cut the cord and they sort of splashed his gooey wiggling self on me and it was pretty much the most awesome thing ever. And we totally didn’t know where the camera was in all the 3.5 hour pushing marathon craziness so all these are from Tim’s iPhone.
And then after awhile they weighed him and I delivered the placenta (okay, it kind of just fell out) and they stitched me up (final tally: one small episiotomy, numerous stitches from a natural tear on one side, zero hemorrhoids) and I called my mom and Tim called his parents.
And all was right with the world again now that sweet Charlie was in our arms.
September 25, 2012
9 pounds, 5 ounces
21 inches long