I have no excuse for not sleeping right now, except that I can't. Tech Support and Big Sis are out running errands. I have an hour and a half before Snort should be fed again and he's sleeping fairly peacefully right now. But as I couldn't sleep I thought I'd share some observations of the birth and the newborn.
Our appointment for inducing was set for 7:15 A.M. Thursday before last. Grandma arrived the night before. I made a check list of things to do and pack that night and got everything marked off. Eleven o'clock bedtime and I thought I'd never fall asleep. But sleep I did until at 5, the phone rang; it was a nurse from the labor and delivery department telling me not to come in, that they'd had a busy night and to call her at 8. "Great," I was completely deflated. Then she called back at 7, and said space had opened up, please come in. We were there by 7:30. That's a record for only-child Tech Support, who had not showered the night before.
I was about 2 1/2 inches dilated and 50 per cent effaced. They hook me up to the fetal monitor, and an IV. Round about 8:30, my doctor comes in, decides that Snort is not responsive enough to use Cytotec and opts for a Pitocin drip through the IV, which gives her more control of my contractions. Huh, think I. Tech Support notes that Big Sis was not very responsive just prior to her delivery either. But I think it's because Snort was jolted awake by the 5 A.M. phone call and stayed awake until 7 when we got up. Not his usual routine.
The contractions start mildly and I dutifully begin panting six gasps with each and then blowing. The focus I'd practiced in yoga helped immensely as the pain progressed. I sent my husband off to get breakfast and coffee for himself, as it was likely to be a long day for him. I kept thinking I should be thinking about the little bundle soon to be in my arms, but not having eaten since 6 the night before, I kept fantasizing about cheeseburgers.
A nurse anesthetist came in to have me fill out paperwork. Life was in slow motion and I was in a haze, but by about 12:30, when my pain was about a 4 on a scale of 1-10, she doped me up with the epidural. I asked her to tell me her title again. "Why?" she wanted to know. Well, said I, I don't go to hospitals very often, and I'm curious. She explained the difference between an anesthesiologist and a nurse anesthetist--money, and the great battle for monetary equality.
Really? Gasp, gasp, gasp, gasp, gasp, gasp; blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow. That's fascinating. She was a goodlooking woman, whom I decided was from Boston, not for her accent, but for her small-bonedness, pretty eyes, and defensiveness about her position, the I'm-a-very-smart-woman-and-could-have-been-a-doctor way she carried herself. I don't know why I associate those qualities with Boston--seems unfair to Bostonites--but there you are.
As was last time, Tech Support spent way too much time playing with the fetal monitor, making me nervous, like they'd kick us out if he touched too many of the knobs.
I had questions for my nurse Meghan almost every time she came in. I tried to ask them nonchalantly, but like our friend from Boston, she gave me the why-do-you-want-to-know look once or twice and said it aloud at least once.
Which brings me to a broader subject: if the doctor wants to know, then so do I. Why for instance, do the nurses take my blood pressure on every pre-natal visit? If they want to know what it is, then so do I. If during this pitocin drip, she wants to keep records of my blood pressure, then why is it so surprising that the patient also wants to know what it is?
But I digress. I was not progressing at a convenient rate, though my contractions were harder after each examination, so at each examination, they stretched me out a bit to help me along. Finally, they broke my water. Having been given the epidural, things went a bit more rapidly, and oddly enough, painfully.
The contractions were hurting more and more, at first just above the belly button. Well, the epidural is mostly for everything below the belly button, said the nurse. This, I did not know, as my first baby came after such a long wait for an epidural that I was in the help!-somebody-help-me! stage when the anesthesiologist--late, no doubt because he was plotting ways to keep his wages high above nurse anethetists--finally arrived at the hospital, about two hours before my delivery, four hours after I'd arrived, and after 24 hours of labor.
But I digress again. The pain started ratcheting up the one-to-ten scale to about a 5.5, and moving down below my belly button and spreading to my lower back, while our friend from Boston was helping with a C-section across the hall. She arrived soon and gave me a jumpstart, which seemed not to help. At this point I was in tears, but still not crying out when Meghan came out of the c-section to give another pelvic exam, and called for the doctor immediately. She put me in position to push, which I then started doing. "No, no! Keep panting, but don't push." She repeated that a couple of times before I cooperated.
Here's where I'm a bit foggy. Somehow I got another dose from our lady of Boston just before the doctor arrived. The doctor, Meghan had told me eariler,after I asked
, was sure to give me an episiotomy. I said, if I need one that's fine. So when she arrived, Meghan told her I didn't want an episiotomy, unless absolutely necessary. Doctor tells me to push, then says it's absolutely necessary. I say fine, she puts the sharp objects to task, I push about two more times, really hard. Really
. I even make those pushing noises made famous on television, and out comes Snort!
He is the funniest looking little man I have ever seen. Blue, like his sister was a birth, he pinked up quickly. His ears are smashed, his mouth and lips are clown-like big, and according to the nurses, he is a candidate for clown shoes. They hand him to me, and he immediately falls asleep. The love affair begins.
He's pretty much been asleep ever since, though I haven't. Maybe I'll try now and write more later. Thanks for checking in on us. Posted MAY 10 2004, 1:32 PM CDT (link here)