I felt mostly relief at the thought of being hospitalized for an induction (that was before I knew how incredibly fun that process was). By my timeline since insemination, we were at exactly 40 weeks (280 days) on Wednesday. The doctor sent us home and told us to report back to the hospital at 12:30 am.
At home, we packed a bag and called my mom, telling her that the next day was it. She said she would come first thing in the morning, driving from Idaho by herself to meet us at the hospital. (This was years before we got our first cell phone, so our communication was limited.) I knew from past experience, that if she left her house by six-thirty and only stopped for gas, she would be at the hospital by 5 pm or so. At about midnight, J and I left for the hospital, starting to come to the realization that we wouldn't be returning as just the two of us.
We should have brought food. Really. Or had friends who were lined up to deliver food. Or arranged to have some type of feeder hand us food on a long stick. It would be an issue later.
Check in went as you would expect and it was almost 2:30 before we were in the hospital room. The hospital was really full, so all J had to sleep in was a recliner (and a ghastly uncomfortable one at that). For me, they administered a suppository to soften the cervix, then put a monitor on to track T's heartbeat. The rest of the night went like this: I would get comfortable and just fall asleep and the nurse would come in to adjust the monitor, because every time she left T would move. You would think from the way they acted, that something grave would happen if they couldn't hear the heartbeat. They would adjust, they would leave, I would just fall asleep and the nurse would be back messing with the monitor. It left both J and I extremely exhausted by 6 am, when they administered the next suppository. Within 30 minutes, my water had broken and I was starting labor.
We walked the hallways and looked at the premmie pictures they had on the walls. I hoped that the labor would intensify, but by 10 am we were sure it wasn't progressing. Hospitals can't have that so I was taken in, hooked to an IV, and pitosin was administered.
I went from small, infrequent contractions, to contractions that were off the monitor, within half an hour. They kept turning up the pitosin amount every 30 minutes, which never really allowed me to catch my breath or figure out how to get outside the pain. By 1 pm, I was sitting on the edge of the bed, in more pain than I can coherently communicate, holding J's biceps. Every time I contracted I clenched her arms. She had bruises for a week afterward. I would tilt my head forward and rest against her shoulder in between contractions. The nurse came in to check on me and I told J that if I wasn't at least dilated to 3, we were unhooking me and going home. He could just stay there.
I was at four.
I was in tears. I told J I didn't think I could keep going without an epidural. We (I) had really wanted to do labor without an epidural, just because I didn't want to aggravate my back pain, but it was too much. I couldn't find my way in the sea of pain. J heard me out and agreed we should do whatever would make me the most comfortable. She left to tell the nurse. I think she was very relieved and although I felt like a failure, that only really lasted until the next contraction, which was about 30 seconds. It was the best decision of my life.
It took awhile, but once the epidural was in, I was euphoric. Partly due to the lack of pain and mostly due to my very strange reaction to painkillers. My cheeks were numb. I was laughing hysterically at the fact that my right leg would not obey my mind. I could feel nothing below my shoulders. They tucked me into bed and covered me with blankets (I was suddenly cold). Sometime around then, my mom showed up. She and J conferred while the nurses checked me.
I was fully effaced and dilated to 10.
It happens that way sometimes. The epidural will allow the muscles to relax and labor progresses much quicker than expected. They smiled proudly at my progress and told me it would be an hour or so before we would push. J and mom asked it they had time to run to the cafeteria for food. The nurse said yes. They left to get food and I wallowed in the feeling of no more pain. And the euphoria of the epidural block effecting my entire body. Mom and J, neither of which had eaten all day, came back and settled into chairs to eat their sandwiches.
Just as J took her first bite the nurse rushed back in the room and asked them what they were doing, we needed to push. I swear the look J gave her could have taken paint off the walls. J said, "You told us we could eat." Her voice was deadly. My mom mirrored the look, only more hungry than angry. The nurse said, "Fine. Eat. You have 10 minutes." They ate quickly and were almost done when the nurse was back in the room. She told us the baby was coming and we couldn't wait any longer. They put down the last of their sandwiches and came to help me.
The head of the bed was raised. The end of the bed was removed. I put my feet in stirrups with J on one side and Mom on the other. I was given oxygen and the nurse positioned herself. By this time it was about 5:20 pm. The nurse told me to push. I closed my eyes, focused my will and bore down. One time. Then the nurse told me to not push any more, to lay back and breathe. I thought J was about to take her head off. The nurse looked up at her and said, "I need to call the doctor. She needs to stop pushing unless you want me to deliver this baby."
The doctor was there about twenty minutes later. I pushed. Mom and J watched in amazement and a bit of horror, at the pin-sized head I was pushing out. They were both afraid he was deformed. The doctor ended up giving me an episiotomy and then told me to sit up and look down. His head came free and the doctor rotated his head, which finally made what I was seeing make sense to all three of us. He suctioned the mouth and nose, then I pushed to free the shoulders and he was out.
I have tears in my eyes reliving that moment.
They laid him on my belly, skin to skin, and then covered him with a blanket. Looking down into that little face was a defining moment of my life. I was given the opportunity and the gift of being able to know someone from the moment of their birth until my death. My heart was filled with joy and love and overwhelming terror. I looked up to see J crying with me, her soft voice welcoming our son.