(Read Part 1 here)
… and the story continues!
At this point, my contractions were absolutely horrible. I was making it, but they hurt. I remember at one point before this realizing how I felt when I was in labor with Knox when I had asked for that epidural. The sensation triggered that memory, but I kept going, not asking for anything, instead refocusing and repositioning. I was fine, and I was going to do this!
About 1:20 the delivering doctor came back in to check me. Trevor was convinced I’d be at a 7 or higher, and I told him there was no way, I was probably at a 5. After the most painful cervical check ever, she said I was at 4. FOUR. I was so disappointed, I was in pain and I felt very helpless. At this point, she increased my Pitocin again, which was now at 16. This was the beginning of the end. My regular doctor told me the next day that the delivering doctor was certain I hated her by this point, which of course wasn’t true, I actually really like her a lot, but I was pretty distraught at this stage of the game!
It was the absolute worst pain I’ve ever experienced. Nothing even compares. The intensity was so great that there was nothing I could do to get away from it. All of my positions, breathing, relaxation, etc. were failing miserably up against these Pitocin contractions. And now they were a minute apart. There was no break, and I felt like my entire abdomen would burst open at any moment. I cried. Trevor walked in at this moment, he had left the room when the doctor arrived to scarf down a sandwich that my family brought for him and was gone maybe five minutes. He said he had just been talking to my family, who were asking about my decision for no epidural. He told them “she’s doing great, I think she’s going to do it.” Then he walks into the disaster that was level 16 of Pitocin. The only thing I could do during the contractions was take a cool washcloth and nearly scrub the skin off of my face with it. I needed to feel some sensation other than the one that was certainly about to kill me. I just said over and over again “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” and prayed out loud for God to please help me. I figured this was where I’d die, in this bed, when my body exploded.
Finally, I pushed the button. The nurse responded over the speaker, and I said “I need an epidural right now.” Trevor said with relief in his voice, “if you hadn’t pushed it, I would have.” He said he either needed the anesthesiologist or some back up! So then, my dear, chipper nurse comes in and tells me I need another full bag of fluid before the epidural can be started. It would take 30 minutes. I literally do not know how I lived for those 30 minutes. Trevor later told me he was furious at that sweet nurse every time she’d come in and give an update on how much longer I had “just 15 minutes longer!” She might as well have told me I’d never have any relief, that’s how long 15 minutes felt in that moment. I did tell her emphatically at one point “please turn off that Pitocin, right now, until I get my epidural” and she did. Of course, at that point, it wasn’t going to be out of my system that fast, so it didn’t do any good, just like she told me it wouldn’t.
At 2 p.m. the hero of the day, the anesthesiologist, arrived. God bless that precious man. I continued to have the same intensely awful contractions while he did the procedure. I barely felt the initial numbing injection- it didn’t even remotely compare to the pain of the contractions I was having, it may as well have been someone poking me with their finger in the back. My sweet nurse stood there while I cried and hugged her for dear life. The intensity started to subside before I was even taped up. By the time Trevor came back in, I was a different person.
Within 40 minutes, I was at 7 cm. My body needed to relax so badly, I swear that’s why it happened so fast. Pitocin contractions do not feel natural, and they do not allow for a natural flow of labor, at least not for me. I really believe that I could have continued on without an epidural if I hadn’t had Pitocin, but I don’t regret the decision to get the epidural. The situation called for it, and my delivery was a great one. My delivering doctor came in afterwards and told me that I did an absolutely amazing job lasting so long on the Pitocin without the epidural, and that it was incredibly hard to do. By 3:15, I was feeling some downward pressure and was at 8 cm. I also developed a hot spot in my right lower back area where I was feeling everything. I was just dealing with it because it was so minor compared to how I felt before, but then I thought, I have the epidural in, it may as well work for me! They had me push the button to increase it and that spot went away. Of course, it was replaced by another one over my right ovary, so I had to do one last bolus to take care of that one. By that point, it was 4:30 and I was at 9.
The doctor came back in at 4:50 and I was complete and ready to push. I did some practice pushing with the nurse first, and his head was immediately visible- they told me he had lots of dark hair. Pushing took longer with Ford than with either of my other kids (Knox took 28 minutes and Brody took 8)- I attribute this to the fact that I did those two extra bolus (boli?) of the epidural meds, and my left leg was totally dead- I could still move my right one around.
At 5:26 p.m., Bradford Aubart entered the world and was placed on my chest. We waited a few minutes for the cord to stop pulsating before it was clamped and cut by Trevor. I just cried my eyes out as I looked at him for the first time.
The nurses were trying to get him to pink up, because he was pretty purple and his arms didn’t have much tone at first. They took him from me and headed to the warmer and within a minute he was yelping and flailing around. I thought he looked just like Knox here!
He weighed 7 pounds and 2 ounces, our lightest baby, and was 20.25 inches long. I felt like they’d never bring him back over, it felt like an eternity! Since Knox had to go to the NICU, Trevor and I were both hyper aware of how long it was taking- thankfully, Ford looked just fine. His first Apgar was 6, then 9. I got my hands back on him and started nursing right away. He was fairly lazy with it, so we didn’t accomplish much.
Trevor held him for the first time, and was immediately head over heels.
After about 45 minutes, we started getting impatient text messages from my family who had been in the waiting room since 7, so we brought them back to see him. While my brother and sister were holding Ford, the nurse suggested I get up to go to the bathroom. Two nurses helped me up, and I made my way to the bathroom. The second I sat down, I started to feel sick. I told them I needed to lay back down right away. They asked if I felt faint, I said yes, and said I needed some juice or soda immediately. Trevor went out to find some juice, and the next thing I knew, all of these women were fluttering around me asking if I was okay. Someone shoved ammonia under my nose, and I jerked back in repulsion. Trevor arrived with my apple juice, and the nurse took it away after one sip telling me not to drink too much. I gave Trevor a look that said “I need that back ASAP,” and he retrieved it for me like the awesome husband he is. I needed that sugar badly! Nothing like passing out on the toilet to shake things up a bit!
After I was coherent again, I held Ford for a little longer, then he went to the nursery with Trevor following behind. I got checked into our postpartum room while Ford got cleaned up and warm (he spent a good hour under the warmer before and after his bath).
We spent two uneventful nights, thank you God, in the hospital with Ford rooming-in with us before being discharged on Wednesday. We are feeling incredibly blessed to be the parents of three precious boys. God is good, and life is beautiful.