I really should have known (or at least checked) to see that it was a full moon. However, the rest of the regular ER was empty. Weird.
So we got transported (immediately) up to Labor and Delivery Triage, where I was to be examined to determine if I was in real labor or not. I still wasn’t convinced of anything. In fact, I was certain that because my upper abdomen wasn’t at all contracting, we would be sent home.
I saw a nurse in triage — one I had seen during a previous visit when I was there for high blood pressure — and I wasn’t too keen with our first interaction. From my previous experience with her, and the beginning of this one, she was short and curt. Not the most friendly bedside manner, but I knew she was just getting me ‘checked in’ anyways.
Of course, when I got to the exam room, my contractions were spaced out about 10 minutes. But they put me on the monitor, to catch contractions and to monitor Baby Girl. I started having contractions again, but I was still able to answer most of the nurses questions in between the contractions.
The resident came in to do a check for dilation and, of course, I was having a contraction. To my surprise, when she checked me I was 3cm. The nurse came back and decided that they needed to monitor Baby Girl just a little bit more because they weren’t picking up many of her movements. So they strapped me to the monitor and I started having even more contractions. [PS. not ONE of my contractions was ever picked up on the doppler monitors because they were all too low — I NEVER had an upper abdomen contraction. Not even one.]
About 15 minutes later, I had a hep-lock put in (instead of an IV). Just as she was putting in the hep-lock, I had a mega contraction. I started to feel incredibly nauseous. I asked for a barf bag and began vomiting uncontrollably. Then another doctor came in to check on me and see my progress. He/she (is it sad that I don’t remember this part) checked to see how dilated I was. And it turns out I had progressed from 3 to 5cm in just 15 short minutes. Right then, Baby Girls heart rate dropped significantly. The nurse ordered me to flip over to all-fours to try and get her heart rate back up, which I did. The nurse made sure her heart rate was back up before I flipped back over for another exam.
I was already at 6cm. Up a centimeter from the last check. The nurse started to freak out because I was dilating so quickly (especially after hearing that I stayed at 3cm with Ari until the last hour — and then in just 60 minutes I had dilated to 10cm with him). She said they didn’t want to wait for a wheelchair; she wanted to just wheel the whole bed down to my labor and delivery room.
[Funny side story: On my way to my room, I asked why the hall was SO quiet, considering there were about 6 people in labor. The nurse laughed and said “they all chose to have an epidural!” PS. Thanks to me, it didn’t stay quiet!]
The nurse told us she would be with me for the duration. They were super backed up — my doctor, alone, had 2 other women in active labor at the hospital). At this point my contractions were coming and going, lasting only about 45-60 seconds each [so, so, much different than with Ari!]. I was still able to talk between my contractions, which made things easier. In fact, I was even laughing a little bit!
My doctor arrived and let me know that he had another patient ready to push, so he would come back when she was done and break my water. He’s thought [and the nurses thought] behind doing this was that it would speed things up and I would deliver in no-time at all.
I, on the other hand, wasn’t convinced. I knew that breaking my water would cause the contractions to become even more intense. And while, yes, it could help progress labor, it may also stall it. I was nervous, but Chad and I decided that we trusted these people who were already helping so much!
Through each contraction, my nurse and Chad both helped coach me… to continue breathing, to relax, and to just keep breathing. I remembered thinking “each contraction is bringing me closer.”
Because of the heavy meconium levels, the NICU team was prepped and ready for delivery. But right after the doctor broke my water, he left the room to check on another patient. And I had an incredibly strong contraction. I told the nurse, “I need to poop!” It was the strongest feeling I had had, yet. She called the Resident in because she wanted her to check me, again — already.
The nurse advised me not to push yet… so I just held to the side of the bed and screamed in agony. The Resident checked me right afterward and said I was still just 7cm. Another strong contraction came on and I screamed “I NEED TO PUSH NOW!” and so the nurse & resident told me to push as hard as I could, while simultaneously they yelled “DR. H! GET IN HERE NOW! — NICU TEAM, NOW!” and I pushed but nothing was happening.
I looked at my nurse and screamed and cried and yelled “I CAN’T DO THIS!” She yelled back at me to breathe and to calm down and to just keep breathing… She assured me I could do this.
Before I knew it there was a whole team of doctors in my room. I couldn’t open my eyes, though, so I can’t remember who they were. I yelled, again, “I HAVE TO PUSH!” and even though I was only 7cm, the doctors & nurse yelled at me to push as hard as I could. I was still laying on my side and my nurse told me I needed to lay on my back (because I was literally closing myself off by laying on my side in a fetal position). I screamed “I CAN’T!” and she yelled back “YES YOU CAN!”
As she was screaming at me, someone (I’m honestly not sure who — Chad? A doctor? Another nurse? No clue.) pulled me onto my back and held my leg down and my shoulder down. And they all screamed at me to PUSH!
So I did. As hard as I possibly could. Meanwhile, my doctor and the resident were both physically helping to open up my cervix — which hurt. A LOT. So my physical response? Was to kick at them. Because that s*** hurt. Still the same contraction, I pushed again. And screamed a lot. And they continued to work on my cervix. And then one last HUGE push…
And in that one push her head and shoulders came out and my doctor pulled her out.
And they all told me to look down at her, but my eyes were squeezed so tightly closed that I couldn’t see anything when I opened them.
As soon as she came out, a HUGE, I mean HUGE, gush of fluid/water came out of me. ALL of the pain I had from pregnancy was explained in that one huge gush… I had an excess of fluid in me; specifically in my upper abdomen (where I’d been so uncomfortable all along).
With the excess fluid came even more meconium than the doctors had anticipated. She was whisked away to be checked by the NICU team. During the ten minutes that separated me and Remy, Chad kept a close eye on her and I delivered my placenta… which had so much meconium it was green on the inside. Super scary!
She was cleared by NICU and weighed at 6lbs 15oz, 20 inches long! Chad snapped this picture while we were waiting for the all-clear:
My labor and delivery were not at all as I anticipated. I didn’t actually think I could do it all-natural and drug-free. In fact, looking back, I’m not certain I would ever, ever, make that choice again. But I did it. I can’t believe I did it.
And the nurse that I thought, upon admission, was salty?? I honestly could not have done it without her. She got in my face and screamed at me when I needed it (in the most loving way possible). And my husband helped me through contractions with helping my nausea disappear (thanks, essential oils!).
And I only threw up once! Hooray! Much, much different than my experience with Ari.
Once we made it up to our Mother/Baby room, I was able to get up and walk around with seriously no pain (except for an aching back from intense back labor). It’s amazing how quickly my body has been able to ‘jump back,’ which I totally credit to a short/natural labor.
Extra bonus? Remy Bea’s head is super round — almost like a c-section baby! — because she spent literally like 30 seconds in my birth canal. LOL!
So to the doctors, the nurses, and the entire staff at Summa Akron City Hospital, I thank you for your love, support and guidance throughout my labor!
PS. I asked Chad to get a vasectomy before I even met Remy Bea. Ha! Yep, natural labor sucked.