Ellery's Birth Story
Oh, and just as a precursor so you understand my foul mood - after being called in to be "induced" on Sunday, the gel didn't have any effect, and even though they promised I would be called in on the Monday to have the other gel, they bumped me. So no thanks to the hospital, my labour started naturally.
It had been raining all day on Monday (May 12th), just adding to my depressed mood. Finally, after finding me bawling for about the fourth time that day, husband said we should go for a walk in the rain, just to get out of the house, and maybe it would get contractions going. Never in a million years did we actually think that would work.
But sure enough, part way through our walk, I had a contraction. I wasn't too excited about it, because I'd been having them on and off for the past couple weeks. When we got home, husband decided he would write down what time it was at, and said we should keep track of them just in case.
Throughout that evening I had a couple more, and when husband went to bed I was having them every 30 minutes or so...again, nothing to get excited about. When they moved up to 25 minutes apart I barely noticed, but I kept writing them down. That lasted for about two contractions, then they were at 20 minutes apart. But still, I just kept waiting for them to stop.
They hurt pretty bad though, so I decided that I would just stay in the living room that night, instead of waking husband up each time I had one.
So I laid on the air mattress we still had blown up from one of husband's snoring nights, and I put the tv on, and dozed between each contraction, which by 1am were 15 minutes apart - but then they stayed there, till at 4 am I finally crawled into bed, because they hurt too bad.
Husband, observant man that he is, never even noticed my groans of pain until just before 7am, when he rolled over while I was in the middle of a contraction and said "Hey! Are you still having contractions?" And I grimaced yes, and then he sat up and said "WHAT!?!" And I told him they had been 15 minutes apart all night, but that the last one had only been seven.
That's when his eyes opened really wide, and I said "but I'm not really convinced I'm in labour." Then he looked at me like I had horns growing out of my head, and said that yes, he was pretty sure I was in labour, and that we should get ready to go to the hospital. He told me to let him know when I was having a contraction so he could write it down, then he ran to have a shower. When I yelled at him a few moments later, he stuck his head out of the bathroom and said, "Uh, that was only 6 minutes!"
I decided that there was only one person I would believe to tell me if I really was in labour or not, so just before 7 am, I called my mom. I told her I'd been having contractions all night, and that now they were 6 minutes apart, and was I really in labour?
She calmly said that yes, I most definitely was in labour, and that I should quit trying to talk myself out of it, and let Chris drive me to the hospital. I kept asking her if she was sure, and she said that contractions that far apart aren't false labour. So I said fine, and that I would keep her posted, then went for a quick shower, grabbed my bag, and we were on our way.
By the time we drove the 15 minutes to the hospital my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart, and I was surprisingly calm. But get this - after the triage nurse checked me out, she said that she might send me home! She said I was only 1-2 centimeters dilated, so she wanted me to come back when the contractions were worse! Um, hello? My contractions are 3 minutes apart, they hurt like a son of a bitch, and you want to send me home? I don't think so! So she made me get up and walk around the halls for an hour, and thank God, by the time she checked me again I was 3 centimeters dilated.
So, this went on for hours, my contractions staying 3 minutes apart, except that they were getting stronger and stronger - my doctors sending me to high risk (which is where I was supposed to go), then no, to regular labour and delivery, then no, back to high risk. And finally, finally getting me in to high risk at some point in the early evening...I think.
Once I got in a delivery room everything seemed to go very fast - I was dilating quickly, my water broke, and I finally asked for some morphine for the pain - which did absolutely nothing by the way. I was having very intense back labour. The only thing it did do was make me so groggy that I kept falling asleep and forgetting to breathe, so the husband kept hearing my heart rate monitor go off, and he would have to wake me and tell me to breathe!
Since the morphine didn't do much for my pain, I decided to do sterile water injections in my back. It's a procedure where they stick your low back with 4 needles, and inject sterile water under your skin. It's a way to avoid drugs, and it does something to the nerves in your back to lessen back labour.
That procedure hurts let me tell you - the pain of the needles was almost worse than the labour! And, all it resulted in was a half hour of me being acutely aware of the contractions in my abdomen. Geez.
I must say, I think I handled the contractions pretty well - I kind of pictured myself being like the crazy women on tv that are screaming at everyone. But with every one I would grab the husband's hand, squeeze really tight, close my eyes, and breathe. Besides the occasional swear I was quiet for the most part - focusing on the husband telling me to slow my breathing, and counting down for me.
By eight centimeters dilated I was feeling so nauseous from the pain of the contractions that I was dry heaving between them, occasionally throwing up. So I would just finish heaving and then I'd start another contraction - so not fun.
I think the husband was feeling a little helpless, because that's about the time he started telling me that maybe I should just get an epidural. I kept telling him I didn't want one, because man, I had made it this far and I really didn't want to have to do it. But after him repeatedly asking me, and the doctor and my nurse telling me that there was no point being a martyr, and after throwing up again, I just decided to do it.
After it was administered, and I felt a little better, the nurse and doctor came in at about 9:30pm and asked if I was feeling any pressure, and I said a little, but not like I had to push. At 9:45 I asked the husband to go call our parents to let them know we were just waiting till it was time to push now, and we'd let them know when they were grandparents.
Just as he left the room, the nurse came in to check my monitors, told me she'd be back to check on me, and I drifted off to a doze. Even in that drugged state, I suddenly became aware of the baby's heart rate monitor. I remember thinking, "hmm, that beep sounds kind of slow" so I peeled open my eyes and looked at the screen, and it said her heart rate was 76. I closed my eyes again for a second, and then opened my eyes again when I was like "Hang on - isn't it supposed to be somewhere around 140?" So I rolled on my back, and pushed on my belly, thinking maybe she had fallen asleep in there, then realized that it was slowing down more.
Suddenly my eyes were wide open, and I was clawing for the call button, and I remember the "oh my God" factor clicking in. One nurse walked in, took one look at the monitor, and started yelling for the doctor.
About 10 seconds later there were doctors and nurses running all over my room, I was on my back, the doctor looked and said "Alison, you have to push right now, the baby is right here!" and I was like "What!?!" I hadn't felt the urge to push at all - stupid epidural.
So about 1 minute later, the husband walked in to all that, me with my legs up, doctors yelling, and the nurse that was was holding my left leg, yelling at him to grab my other leg. I'm sure he almost had a heart attack walking in on that.
From the moment I pressed the call button, to the second Ellery made her appearance into the world took 6 minutes. At one point the husband looked at her heart rate monitor and it was down to 12, and I am so grateful I didn't see that. When she came out her cord was around her neck, and she was a scary shade of grey, but after a couple moments with the doctor, she let out a tiny squeak and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Six minutes of pushing resulted in this beautiful, perfect little creature, that has made my life more emotional and meaningful than anything else ever will.