Me in the prep room doing some reading
I got admitted, got all changed into the sexy hospital garb and got checked.
I was completely effaced and about five centimeters dilated.
We sat for a bit and watched "Say Yes to the Dress" while the nurse did some busy work.
Then she said she wanted me to get up and walk around, which I did for an hour. As I walked, alternating between my mom and Jeff as walking partners, the contractions started to come much stronger until it got to the point where I couldn't talk during them. I drank tons of water and did the labor dance with Jeff- you know the one where it looks like you are slow dancing.
After an hour, the nurse checked me and found that Gabriel had dropped down further so that he was right where he needed to be and I was at a six.
They admitted me and moved me into my room.
I got unpacked between contractions and then hopped into the giant jacuzzi tub in my room.
This definitely helped, but man those contractions were so much stronger than I remembered them being with Caderyn! I floated around in the gigantic tub. I put the jets on my back and hips or I would flip over on to my knees.
I just remember there was so much pressure and pain, but the warm tub and the floating helped take my mind off of the pain.
After about 45-minutes I got out of the tub and hopped into the bed to get checked again. My nurse found that something had happened when I was in the tub and Gabriel was sitting awkwardly on my pelvis so the nurse had me lay on my left side with pillows propped between my legs. This only made the contractions stronger.
At this point it was 3:00 a.m. I was bloodly tired and cranky and I decided I wanted the epidural so I could sleep.
With Caderyn, the anesthesiologist was there within about 15-20 minutes of the request. But, something didn't quite work with that epidural and it ended up not working right at the very end of Caderyn's birth. Lots of pain that I don't remember.
Gabriel's anesthesiologist took his dang good time in getting to me. I labored for an hour and a half before he finally got there.
While I waited for the sweet spinal tap I also got stabbed about 15 times in my veins by nurses who couldn't get into my redheaded veins properly (apparently red heads have silly veins). At one point, mid contraction with the nurse stabbing my arm I looked down to see my sheets completely covered in blood.
"What is that from? Is that from the baby or my arm?" I asked.
It was from my arm.
Finally, the nurse had to go and get another nurse to help her. They were eventually able to tap a vein in my hand. I remember thinking to myself that having the nurses dig around in my arm for a half hour was almost as bad as the stinkin' contractions.
Did I mention I had back labor?
Didn't have that with Caderyn.
SO MUCH MORE PAINFUL.
This might be TMI and oh well, if you've read this far already you're invested in hearing the whole birth story, but my back labor involved me feeling everything in my back and pelvic region moving. Not joking. With every contraction I could feel my pelvis spreading. Oh Lord how it hurt!
I was that lady in labor trying not to scream. I kept having to turn into the pillow to muffle my shouts.
My mom was a great help during this time; she rubbed my feet, she rubbed my back, she rubbed my arms, she rubbed my head. At one point I asked her where Jeff was and he had fallen asleep on the fold out bed they have for Dad's in the hospital.
"If I'm not sleeping, he's not sleeping. Wake him up." I told my mom.
So she woke him up and hurried out to tell the nurse again that I needed the epidural.
Bless that nurse's heart I think she was on the phone every ten minutes trying to get that guy up to my room.
I didn't really reach the point of extreme pain with Caderyn where there was nothing but the pain. His contractions were all located mostly up front and were only uncomfortable to me. I got the epidural with Caderyn out of annoyance because I was tired and couldn't sleep with the pressure from the contractions. It wasn't until his delivery that things got intense and dramatic and painful.
With Gabriel, all I could focus on was the pain. It consumed me and made me cringe and squirm and cry out. When I was having a contraction, nothing helped, nothing mattered except getting through it.
I think I muttered quite a few cuss words during this time that would have put a sailor to shame.
Once the nurses got all of their bloodwork done, got me started on an IV and went through all of my health history between contractions, the anesthesiologist showed up.
The first thing he did was send my mom and Jeff out of the room. This was different than my last epidural because the other guy had Jeff stay in the room with me to support my body so I wouldn't move. He had me leaning forward on to Jeff and Jeff cradled my body and basically the guy told me to contract on to Jeff. That sounds funny but every time I contracted I squeezed Jeff.
But this guy didn't want anyone in the room because he was worried they would pass out.
No matter how much I pleaded and explained that I needed someone there for support, this guy wouldn't hear it. I was worried because while you're getting the epidural you're really not supposed to move at all because you can damage nerves. The contractions I was having were causing me to arch my back in pain and squirm whether I wanted to or not, so I was panicked that I was going to screw the whole thing up.
I think my nurse sensed the panic and told everyone she would stay to help me contract. She stood in front of me and let me crush her hands and she talked to me about her family and asked me questions. She also kept reminding me not to move while he put in the spinal tap. Just the knowledge that the sweet relief was coming helped keep me still through the next couple of contractions that came my way.
Finally at about 5:15 a.m. I felt NOTHING.
It was beautiful. I was deliriously happy and exhausted.
Both the nurse and my doctor came in to check me and I was at an 8.
"Good thing you got that epidural when you did, Any more and you wouldn't have been able to get it," my doctor told me.
Then she broke my water with something that looked like a drumstick and I fell asleep within 15 minutes and felt absolutely no pain.
Everyone in the room fell asleep (except for the nurse of course).
At one point I woke up feeling horribly nauseous. This had happened with Caderyn during transition. On my birth plan I actually have: I threw up A LOT during my transition. Just a warning.
Sidenote: My birth plan was a hit with the entire OB unit. It was about four pages long and had serious stuff like: I would choose the vacuum over forceps and a C-Section and I would rather have a C-section than the forceps. But then it also had some not so serious stuff like: Absolutely no Food Network will be on while I'm laboring (this was a big deal with Caderyn's delivery because I was starving and all they would put on was the Food Network).
So my nurse was ready to go when I woke up and told her I was really nauseous. She quickly gave me some medication that took the icky feeling away and I went right back to sleep.
I would also like to point out that I didn't need any pitocin to help the labor progress. That was something I really, really wanted to try and do without during my labor.
My doctor woke me up at 7:00 a.m. and said, "Are you ready to have a baby?"
To which I replied, "What?"
This epidural was the best I'd ever had. I felt absolutely nothing and my body didn't recognize that I was fully dilated.
So we got all ready to start puushing and I just kept laughing because I couldn't feel anything.
My mom was in shock I think because I kept laughing and chatting with everyone.
"You don't feel anything?" she asked me.
"Not a dang thing. This is awesome," I replied.
So we started pushing and I felt nothing except for a little bit of pressure and some stretching (again, maybe TMI, but if you've read this far you're already invested in hearing the whole thing).
I kept laughing the whole time and commenting on how awesome this whole experience was. I was present (I kept passing out during contractions with Caderyn toward the end), I was in a great mood and the whole birth experience went EXACTLY as I'd hoped it would.
The room was quiet and calm. There was minimal cheering. Everything felt very in control and relaxed.
It was perfect.
Gabriel came out at 8:08 a.m. after pushing for only 40 minutes and absolutely no pain.
It was my best birth experience yet.
The second I saw Gabriel's face, all squishy and alert, time just stopped.
He got put on my chest right away and I immediately felt that surge of love and desire to protect that mothers talk about.
We didn't get that with Caderyn because they took him away right away due to complications, and I really felt like I missed out on that moment with my oldest son.
I bonded with Gabriel immediately and was overcome with so much love and pride in those minutes that I got to hold him.
He did swallow some fluid so he was a bit gurgly and they had to take him to suction it out, but he was right back in my arms shorly after.
It was an amazing birtth experience. The second Gabriel was here, it felt like he was the missing piece. That the one thing that had been missing from our lives was him. With him in my arms, my life felt so complete and more enriched than ever before.