Pretty soon after the shift for the nurses changed, my contractions picked up a ton. The IV meds they had put me on earlier were not doing anything for the pain so I was only relying on breathing exercises. Ann was coaching me through each contraction with the “he he ho” technique. It worked for a while but then some of the contractions just put me completely over the edge and I would end up screaming in the middle of them. I would try to find something to focus on depending upon what position I was in – I remember staring at a tiny blue sticker on the wall behind the bed when I was kneeling on the bed with my arms propped over the top. I said “I can’t do this!!!!!” at least twenty times during the transition stage. At one point I remember Hubby getting in my face and reminding me I didn’t want a c-section and that I was doing this and had to keep going. I don’t know how delivery nurses put up with all the screaming and frustration. I really hope that the walls in all the labor rooms are sound-proof because I was very, very loud during the last couple hours before I started pushing.
Right before 9AM, I felt like I needed to pee which was beyond annoying because it was a serious hassle to move around at that point. I waddled over to the bathroom with Hubby on one side and Karen on the other and tried to squat over the toilet. Also in that moment I felt like I was going to throw up, and if you know me personally, you know how much I absolutely hate getting sick. Luckily I didn’t, but as soon as I was about to sit down, I felt the incredible urge to push and let everyone in the room know – “I need to pushhhhhhhhhhhh!” I don’t think they really thought I was ready yet since a couple hours ago I was about 7cm along. They rushed me back over to the bed and the doctor said excitedly “you are fully dilated!”
They wanted me to get in the position with my hands holding up my legs, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that for very long as I was already exhausted and I was also worried about putting pressure on my back by lying down. They decided to bring over the squatting bar and then wrapped a sheet around it with the ends hanging down. They instructed me to pull on the sheet and bring myself upwards when I was having a contraction and to push for ten seconds at least two separate times. Hubby and Karen held my legs up for me. It took a few tries to get the pushing technique down, especially when all I wanted to do was scream during each one. They told me I would push much more effectively if I held in the scream and used that energy to push more instead. It was so hard to hold it in. I can only imagine how red and horrible my face must have looked while I pushed.
I don’t remember the contractions actually hurting while I was pushing. I felt them come on and knew when to grab the sheet and start pushing, but the sensation was much different compared to the transition stage. It was such a relief to finally do something besides just moan and bend over in pain. Once I got into the groove with pushing, I wanted a progress report after I was done with each set. Even though everyone was telling me I was doing a great job and that they could start to see the head, I didn’t really feel like I was doing much. I would ask how many more pushes I would need to do, because I was so tired and couldn’t imagine going much longer. Early on in the pushing stage, someone had asked if I wanted to feel the top of his head and I said no, but then they asked me again later on and I agreed – it was strange feeling it but it did give motivation to keep going. Ann told me that I would know when it was really time to deliver because everyone would get dressed quickly in surgical gowns. Sure enough, after about 45 minutes of pushing, I finally saw everyone getting dressed and I knew the end was oh so close. I’ve been asked what pushing feels like as some people have heard it’s like taking the biggest poop of your life. I guess that’s somewhat close of a comparison, but you’re using different muscles, so it’s not completely similar.
The details about the actual delivery are fuzzy, though I do distinctly remember the extreme weird sensation of when Toby actually came out of me. I felt his head come out and then the rest of his body shoot out in one fluid motion. The feeling is indescribable. Hubby said nothing could prepare him for seeing the baby come out and then the immense amount of fluid that exited my body right after. The movies don’t really show all the gross stuff :) I heard Ann say “9:43” as the time he was born. As soon as Toby was delivered, I felt so much relief. I was beyond sore, but my body relaxed immediately. It turns out that Hubby told me they injected something into my IV as soon as Toby was born, so I’m assuming that’s what actually relaxed me. I found out after that my heart rate started to go up rapidly towards the end and Toby’s was dropping but luckily we were both okay.
Because I had the IV meds, a few doctors from NICU had to take Toby right away to check his breathing and possibly give him medicine to reverse any side effects that the Fentanyl may have had on him. I wasn’t able to hold him right away, so the doctors worked on delivering my placenta (they pushed on my belly for a bit and apparently it came right out, I didn’t even feel it), and then they stitched me up as I had torn and they also cut me a little. I felt some stinging while they did the stitches but they gave me a local anesthetic so the pain was not bad at all.
While all of this was going on, Hubby was over with Toby. Once the NICU cleared him, the delivery nurses weighed him, did his fooptrints, took the rest of his vitals and cleaned him up. It was probably about 10 minutes later that one of the nurses finally got to bring him over to me. I started crying again, but like the nurse said “finally some tears of joy!” We did some skin to skin contact but he wasn’t ready to eat yet since he was still sleepy as that was a side effect from the meds. I couldn’t get over how little he was! The nurse told me he weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and I was amazed that I had a baby under 8 pounds. He had the cutest little mouth, just like Hubby’s, and his nose reminded me of my “pug” nose. He had a small amount of dark hair so he wasn’t completely bald. All of the nurses kept telling me how cute he was, and I know I’m biased, but Toby is damn cute for a newborn. Like Hubby said a week after he was born as we were finally falling asleep one night – “we made a beautiful baby.”
If you asked me the day after Toby was born if I would do a vaginal birth with just IV meds again, I would have probably said no. But now that I look back at the entire experience, I would definitely do it again, mostly based on my recovery time. We were moved over to the postpartum room about an hour after he was born. A nurse helped me to go to the bathroom twice and then after that I was cleared to get up on my own as long as I didn’t feel dizzy when I stood up. So about 3 hours or so after delivery, I was up and walking short distances by myself. We were in the hospital from Friday night until Monday at noon, and while I was anxious to get home, it was the perfect amount of time to stay. I was very sore for the first week and a half, but as I got closer to two weeks postpartum, I started to feel much better and was almost in no pain. I was allowed to take Motrin, but I think I only took some for the first few days when I was home.
Overall, labor and delivery was a crazy experience that was well worth all the pain and frustration. I look at Toby now and it’s very hard to remember the contractions and the pushing process – it’s like your body mentally blocks all of it for you! And even though it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, I did end up with a pretty cute baby at the end :)