Monday, May 31, 2010
3/26/10 - "Labor & Delivery: Part 5"
Part 5: Delivery
(I forgot to say that although the epidural numbs your lower half, you can still move it. At least that’s Martha Jefferson’s policy. I’m sure it’s possible to have one like my mom describes having where she had to ask my aunt martha to pick her leg up and put it back on the table after it fell off. But! Martha Jefferson wants you to be able to move your legs AND lift your butt up. Ha, I’ll get to the butt lifting. ALSO: for the first time pregnancies that may be following this blog: You may be discouraged at this point because it’s been terrible and is about to get worse, BUT Let me just ad this ironic tid bit. I would and am planning to do this all again - even knowing what I know. I have, by no means, forgotten any of the terror and torture and horribleness, but I promise, it’s just one of many experiences life brings... this one just happens to bring life. Definitely worth it. Please have your baby. It will be alright. (Just get the epidural as soon as possible)).
Ah, delivery! By the time I was fully numb, I got to 10 cm and the doctor said that I was ready to go! All we were waiting on was “the urge to push.” So an hour goes by and I’ve got nothing. Cynthia - My angel of a nurse who although told me things that I thought were dumb (like breathe through the pain - ha!) was the sweetest woman to me. I’ll get to why I love her now.
At that point my doctor was Dr. Wills. But during his rotation at the hospital, he had to do an emergency c-section on someone, so my doctor changed again! This time to Dr. Levit (the one I hadn’t been too fond of during my prenatal days). Rats!
Cynthia, my angel, decided that we could just “try” pushing during the contractions, even though I never got the urge to push. I’ll tell you now, as much as I then learned that we’d just push through the rest of the contractions, I actually never felt the urge to do it. Not that I didn’t WANT to. I was soo done with pregnancy. lol
She asked me if I had done any birthing classes. I gave her the same answer that I’ve given everyone who’s asked. “Nope. I’ve seen it on tv. I can do it.” LOL Talk about some sideways looks. Really though, I don’t think that people telling me how to breathe would really have prepared me anyway. It’s honestly a test that you can’t study for.
Here’s how pushing works: You have two friends hold your legs up - don’t worry, your joints are totally lubricated by this point from pregnancy anyway and you’ll be surprised how close your knees will go to the back of the bed. Then you, depending on how bad you want it, hold your knees or put your hands on the soft parts of your feet and use that as leverage. (I suggest holding your feet - it feels more productive). Then for me, we did 4 pushes at 8 counts each. So the contraction would come - didn’t hurt (sometimes she’d tell me when to start, sometimes I’d feel my belly with my hand and it’d feel like it was getting tighter and we’d push). I say WE because mom was holding her breath and pushing too. At one point during labor, Stephanie told mom she should stop before she bursts something and I started laughing and it totally ruined that push. “Don’t be funny, Steph.” lol Back to business: So pretty much you take a deep breath, pull your feet to your body (like on tv) and put your chin into your chest. You push for 8 seconds 4 times. It goes like this: Big breath in, pull your feet toward you and people count while you push hard 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 exhale quickly, inhale straight away, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, exhale quickly, inhale straight away, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 , exhale quickly, inhale straight away, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. A lot of the time, I was pushing from my face. That means, My face got red, I was holding my breath and i think that’s how people pop blood vessels in their eyes. Cynthia pushed her hand against my perineum (the space between your lady part and your butt part - very PC, lol) and said “Push from here.” So that’s what i started doing. And you can probably figure what happened. I hadn’t actually gone to the bathroom since the catheter and that was just pee. So, as scared as I was in the beginning that I’d poop on the table? Well, I pooped on the table. LOL
BUT hear this, pregnant women: It was perfectly fine. As soon as the poop would start she would flip up the pee pad (exactly the same as a puppy pad that you’ll be really used to sitting on after you check into the hospital because there’s all kinds of stuff that can come out) and as soon as the push was over, she’d clean everything up. She was fast. I couldn’t feel that I was doing it, but I knew she was cleaning me up. The hospital staff are used to this. To be an effective pusher, you have to push. She was so professional about the whole thing - as were my family who when I brought it up later, denied that it had even happened so I wouldn’t be embarrassed. I wasn’t embarrassed in the least. At that point, you’ve had so many people taking a gander at your hoohaa (technical term) and you’re so focused on being a good pusher that it’s really no big deal. Cynthia didn’t seemed phased or put off in the least which made me feel perfectly normal and not embarrassed. Plus she cleaned me up so fast and so often that it’s not like i built up enough to make the room smell. She was effective. One of the reasons I love her.
Anywho, the counts don’t go by fast. They’re slow counts. So you’re pushing for a full 8 seconds. Another thing that no one tells you (and you can’t really gauge from tv, lol) is that there are breaks between pushes. I did not know this. After your 32 seconds of sheer pushing you can stop and breathe and wait until the next contraction comes. (This is where Jim really worked the clutch. He was on the ready with a cold wet rag for my head and an ice water with a straw for my breaks. Yay, Jim!)
What you can practice now - which will sound silly, but what really worked for me is this: Wait, let’s get a little more personal. I’m a good pooper regularly. Forget about the on the table business and focus! I’m an in and out pooper. I go in, I don’t doddle. I poop in less than a minute and I’m out of there wicked fast. It’s one of my attributes! What you can practice now (via your own pooping - and even if you aren’t pregnant, you can gauge if you can do this so you know if you’d be an effective pusher) when you go to poop, push like normal and then continue to breathe while not losing the push. I mean, poop and take a breathe without letting go of that push you just had (i.e. don’t let the poop go back in). What will happen here is this: If you can do this, it will come in really handy when you’re trying to get the baby past your pelvic bone. What happens is that when you’re pushing that baby out, you’ll push and when you’re not pushing, she’ll (or he’ll) scoot back in. It actually works that way post pelvic bone too. Just practice it. Couldn’t hurt, right?
Here’s where the pain starts. Pain, you say? But you had an epidural! I KNOW. Another thing that would have been helpful to know is that there are things the epidural does not cover. Well, maybe it wouldn’t have been helpful to know in advance. Sorry to ruin it for you. Even with the epidural I had pain while she moved down to my pelvic bone. This is the part when your bones shift to allow the head to go through. It feels as good as it sounds. I was so frustrated that the pain came back, but you can kind of work through it with the pushing. Not that the pain is less, but it’s kind of like you’re too busy to focus on the suck so much. Noun, not verb. (Not long before labor, Jim, Mom and I watched Jarhead and during my hospital stay, mom and I kept saying, “Welcome to the suck.” lol)
Anywho, the pain IS dulled a little and I don’t remember it being a dollar. More like 75 cents. Once you’ve had a dollar though, and then had 0 cents, and then go to 75 cents, it’s not too terrible. It’s terrible, but just not TOO terrible. Not like dying.
So, we get her head past and I’m feeling really good about myself. And we’re pushing some more (and holding the push between breaths) and you can see Mo’s head kind of coming. It’s like, your lady parts become a beanie. lol. And from your real lady parts, other people can see her head - WHEN you’re pushing. The baby scoots back in when you aren’t pushing (because she’s a mean mean girl). This is where Holly would make a circle with her finger and her thumb to let Jim know how much of her head you can see. Cynthia was really positive at this point. Another reason why I love her is that she kept calling me ashley and being really positive. You can do it, ashley. Come on, ashley. She was like a calm cheerleader. A calm cheerleader who was off of work at 3. We started pushing at 2pm. I was trying to get Mo out quickly, but mostly trying to do it before Cynthia’s shift ended. And I told Cynthia that a lot. Which I think is why she stayed past her shift (reason 3 for my love for her).
When you get past the pelvic bone at Martha Jefferson, a really cool thing happens. Your bed is actually a transformer and they’re able to rip off the bottom half of the bed, swing those stirrups up, and really get down to business. (Don’t worry, by this time, you’re totally out of poop and it’s not even an issue. Not that it ever was before, but just in case you’re worried.) There’s this cart that Dr. Levit got too that had all these metal tools on it. When they got this cart out, I really felt like something was going to go down. In a good way. Here we go!
So I’m pushing and pushing for a little over an hour and then her head comes out! and Dr. Levit sucks out her mouth and nose and in the next push he PULLED HER OUT. He pulled her out of me. Once her shoulders were out (which ended up being less than an inch bigger in circumference than her head, thank you, Jesus!) I could feel a lot less pressure, and then he pulled the rest of her out and put her on my chest. I’M NOT PREGNANT ANYMORE! It’s over! It’s done! I did it! Hooray! And there she is, this little mess that had reeked havoc on my life for the last few months. And she looked asian. LOL. I was more than excited to have her, but I didn’t get all sentimental. I was just glad it was over. Done. Finished. And I thanked Dr. Levit again and again for pulling her out. He told me that I pushed her out, but I watched him and I don’t need the credit. I was never working toward a medal of honor. He totally pulled her out, regardless of what he says. So I like him now. A lot for that. She came out at 3:01pm and the relief nurse worked with Cynthia (who stayed 15 minutes past her shift to see me through) toweled and off the baby and set stuff up for later to the side. Dr. Levit said I tore and began stitching me up. I’d originally said I wanted an episiotomy, but I had all 4 doctors during my labor so it may have gotten lost. Doesn’t matter too bad I guess. You can’t feel them stitching, btw. AND Dr. Levit waited until the umbilical cord stopped pulsating before he let mom cut it. Jim passes out so we pre-decided he wouldn’t cut it. (Although, he’s now army strong and thinks he can do the next one!) And Tah Dah! I made a baby! A 6 pound 14 ounce baby :) All she had was a bruise on her head. I had bruising all around my bottom, stitches, and that damned hemorrhoid from the previous week(s). The new nurse cleaned me up, which i thought was nice, and not long after baby she had me walk to the bathroom. They’d set me up with pads for the bleeding and I put on my own underwear! Well, Holly’s underwear. I forgot to bring the pregnancy sized underwear in my go-bag. Jim forgot everything in his. lol
(Oh! and Dr. Levit said our family was awesome. He said that usually people lump up in the delivery room eating McDonalds and watching the lady do all the work. ALL of my people were working. Not as hard as me, but still. lol we rock!)
****UPDATE (3/27/10)***** So I forgot to tell you (because I forgot to put it on my outline) that at some point during contractions, post epidural but before any pain was gone (i think), i started throwing up. So add that to your mental picture of the miracle of birth. Luckily, the body adapts and lets you figure out really quickly how to throw up in a bedpan to the side while not ever actually getting up from the writing pain in your back :) (Don't worry, though. They give you something for the puking and it works really well. And the epidural works later, remember?)