Week 39, Day 5
So, when last I posted before Thomas’s birth, I was anticipating The Way Things Would Go. And then Things Went The Way They Actually Went. The midnight procedure was apparently less uncomfortable than the 8:30 one, since I don’t remember it very well, and those two procedures combined not just to get things started, but to trigger a rapid labor. I woke up weeping in pain from very strong contractions that were not far enough apart, gritted my teeth, and said “EPIDURAL” to the nurse. I wasn’t actually able to speak much; it took everything I had just to breathe through the contractions. I didn’t want Michael’s help, I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I just wanted to get through it.
It took two hours for them to give me enough fluids for the epidural, and then they had to call the anesthesiologist twice. While we were waiting, I was practicing getting through the contractions without flinching or moving, since I would have to do that as they did the epidural, and when Dr. Epidural finally arrived, I was able to do it. “Here’s one,” I’d say, just in warning, and he’d keep working and I’d keep focusing on long breaths, and then it was in, and then pain relief started to kick in. This was around 6 a.m., and I was at 3 centimeters. My OB, the wonderful Dr. Oliver, came in sometime between 7 and 8 (I had stopped clock-watching and in fact was sort of in and out of sleep) and I was at 7 centimeters. By 10 a.m., I was at 10 centimeters and ready for pushing. Dr. Oliver was back at her practice across the street, having given instructions to be called when it was close to time to deliver.
We had a rock-star OB nurse, Karen, who took care of me during the pushing session. She and Michael and I were the only ones in the room; she and Michael were my medical crew. Basically, thanks to the epidural, pushing consisted of “There’s a contraction,” and then three pushes that seemed, in my relatively pain-free yet exhausted state, more like crunches than anything else. Karen called Dr. Oliver as instructed, and then realized that Thomas was arriving sooner than expected, so in the middle of a set of crunches, instead of “Third push,” I heard “DON’T push.” And Dr. Oliver came in, and there were two quick sets of pushes, and there was Thomas, all lungs and legs and squishy potato head.
And we held him, and he got cleaned up, and Michael took some pictures, and the nurses took some pictures, and all my medical stuff got wrapped up and Dr. Oliver hugged me and whispered a fairly intense “You rock” into my ear, and in the space of just a few hours plus 38 weeks and 4 days, we had become parents.