Where was I? Ready to go to the hospital?
After hours and hours of inconsistency, labor had suddenly reached an entirely new level. I wandered around my living room while Phillip sat glued to his computer trying to finish up some work stuff. I felt like a freight train was slamming into me every couple of minutes, and I was STILL nervous that I might be sent home. And I was so tired. SO UNBELIEVABLY TIRED. I told myself to snap out of it, because I hadn't been laboring nearly as long as I had with Jack, and I had I been exhausted then? Not like this! I seriously just wanted to lie down on the hardwood floor and go to sleep. And that's what finally sent me to the hospital- maybe I could rest.
I said Hail Marys all the way there. I said them over and over and at lightning speed. I think Phillip was a little weirded out.
"Are you all right?"
"...fullofgracetheLordiswiththee I NEED TO FOCUS!"
"...holyMarymotherofGodprayforussinners THIS HELPS ME FOCUS!"
I was just afraid of having contractions in the car. Not only are you being hit by a freight train, you are trapped inside a tin can with nowhere to go. I only had three or four contractions in the car (we live very close to the hospital) and after each one I would congratulate myself on not dying.
Phillip helped me hobble from the parking garage to the maternity floor and the nurses are sitting at the nurses station looking at me like, "What are you here for?" and I am looking at them like, "WHERE THE %&$# ARE MY DRUGS?" and finally one of them shows us into a room.
And this is the part where I am in complete and total sympathy with all my yay natural birth friends who scrunch up their noses and go, "I just HATE hospitals."
You are already in pain (see: freight train) and not wanting to be confined to one place, but you are told to put on a very attractive backless gown, get into a most uncomfortable bed and wait patiently while a nurse takes her sweet sweet time strapping monitors around your middle and clucking about paperwork. GAH.
Then finally- FINALLY!- she checked me and said, "Oh, you're at six!" and I exclaimed, a little louder than I usually am in front of strangers, "THANK YOU JESUS." Oh yes I did. Because you know who was not going to have to go home? ME.
Around this time the nurse who'd seen me the night before waltzed into the room all, "I was expecting to see you earlier!" and she should be thankful I didn't bite her face off.
They asked me if I wanted an epidural and I was all, "Yes please," so then they started the hunt for the Elusive Vein In My Tender Little Left Arm to plug in the IV. I really try to be a Big Girl about these things, but I am totally neurotic about needles. While the nurses worked on finding a vein I gripped Phillip's wrist with my other hand, shut my eyes and started saying Hail Marys again. The whole experience is just horrible- the cutting off of your circulation with the rubber band, the conversation about where to stick it in, the sound of the needle packages being opened- UGH! But you know what's worse? When the nurses can't find an acceptable vein and end up sticking you four separate times, and, coincidentally, right when you are having a contraction. Two weeks later I STILL have bruises on my wrist.
But it gets better!
THEN the epidural lady arrived and hey! It's the same lady who yelled at me LAST time! Whee!
Everything was so much more intense. SO MUCH MORE. With Jack I'd had a few really bad contractions in the hospital and had a hard time with the epidural (see: threats from the anesthesiologist), but it went so fast and wasn't TOO scary. I now know that this time went quickly as well, but I was really scared the whole time. I wasn't getting much of a break in between contractions, I was already sort of traumatized from the IV thing and now the epidural lady was going to yell at me again.
I had Phillip holding one hand and a nurse holding my other hand. She was telling me how to sit and focus and breathe and relax and can I just say how completely pointless it is telling me to relax? But she let me hold a pillow, she told me I didn't have to sit completely still- I could move my feet (this actually helped!)- and when I decided to repeat, over and over, "I can do this, I can do this," she said it with me and talked me through the entire thing.
Which was good because the epidural lady DID yell at me again, DID ask me if I knew what a spinal headache felt like, and DID call me Margaret over and over in a stern headmistressy sort of way that scared the absolute BEJESUS out of me. Knowing a giant needle is being inserted into my back causes some involuntary FLINCHING. I'm SORRY. Oh, and while I'm concentrating on not flinching? The epidural lady was all, "Are you SURE she's at six? She seems farther along to ME." The nurses assured her I was at six when I arrived, that I was an excellent epidural candidate, blah blah blah and the epidural lady kept saying, "ARE YOU SURE?" and I kept thinking, "Oh my GOD if she doesn't give me the freaking epidural I am QUITTING."
But then? She placed the epidural and things slowly and gradually began to calm down. Ten minutes later I remembered why I think the hospital is the bee's knees, why I subjected myself to the mean anesthesiologist a second time: GOD BLESS THE EPIDURAL.
And here you are thinking, "DUDE, my hair is now gray, how much longer does this go on?" and this is where I say, "Oh! But now? NOTHING HAPPENS."
I really wanted to sleep. REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to sleep. But due to the blood pressure cuff and the still-painful IV and the constant in and out of the nurses (who kept telling me to sleep) and my husband and sister and sister's boyfriend who decided to eat dinner in front of me even though I was starving
sleep was impossible. Also? They checked me after all the epidural drama and I was at 8. "You'll probably have this baby by midnight!" the nurses chirped. "Labor Day baby! HA HA!"
Would you believe that I did not want to have the baby that soon? They said this and I could only think, "But this is the first time in WEEKS that I can just lie here and REST! I WANT MORE!"
The next time they checked me I was at 10. The on call doctor (who I liked very much) moseyed into the room and had a very difficult to decipher conversation with the nurse regarding the monitor readouts. It sounded like things weren't matching up right (heart rates? I don't know.) But no one seemed particularly worried and my epidural was going full blast so I wasn't worried either. (Quick Review! With Jack they were VERY worried and insisted I stop upping the epidural medicine and let's just say I was NOT INTERESTED IN DOING THAT AGAIN.)
The doctor sat down next to me to remind me how to push. I wanted to say, "Lady, I REMEMBER," but I didn't, because I am nice, and because I'd been complimented on still having a sense of humor and, you know, maybe it was going to be totally different this time with a still working epidural.
But I definitely knew when to do what, only this time I wasn't thinking that the watermelon jammed inside my pelvis was going to split me in two. After my first push the doctor said to the nurse, "Well! This won't take long!" and everyone started bustling around getting things ready while I am all, "HELLO, I WOULD LIKE TO GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME, COULDN'T YOU HAVE DONE THIS EARLIER?"
I pushed through two more contractions and she was out. They put my shrieky slimy baby on my chest and it was amazing.
I don't remember that part with Jack. I was so worried about just getting him out (for my benefit as well as his!) and I know they handed him to me and it was wonderful, but it wasn't like this. This was calm and sweet and relaxed and easy. I know it's not really supposed to be easy, but wow. With Jack I felt like a superhero who had just won a gold medal, fought a war and cured cancer all at the same time. With Molly I just felt happy.
Our hospital stay was just as uneventful, since "SECOND TIME MOTHER" must have been stamped at the top of my file. No one was busting in every two minutes to contradict the previous nurse about breastfeeding, or show me how to use the pump, or how to change a diaper, or what to do about this and that. It was quiet and boring and we were dying to get home and spend some time with our other baby.
***There ends the longest post EVER. Come back tomorrow for our regularly scheduled complaining about The Whiniest Boy and intermittent raves about his sister, the Champion Eater.***