Monday, December 10, 2007

The one where I throw a bed pan

Part 3 of the 4-part birth story series (you can read the first two here and here):

My third child was due on December 18, 2002, but that day came and went with just some nightly contractions that subsided around 2:00am. Like in my second pregnancy, I had a couple nights of this, but finally, on December 19th, they did not subside. In anticipation of the birth, my mother had arrived on either the 18th or the 19th, at this point I don't recall exactly, but she was there to keep the other two when we went to the hospital. We arrived at the hospital around 4:00am, the morning of December 20th.

I wasn't quite dilated enough to move into a labor room, so the nurses had me walk the hallways for a while. It didn't take long, and we were ready to go. I had asked my OB/GYN several months previously if I could ask to NOT have a particular anesthesiologist (the one I had the last time). He had informed me that I didn't have to worry, as that one had retired. Instead I got one with an unconventional method of having the patient lie on her side in the fetal position rather than sitting up hunched over a pillow, as most of them do. He complained that I had extremely small spinal spaces, and he had a difficult time getting the epidural in. At one point, he got it in the wrong spot and caused my heart to race and me to get all lightheaded. He finally did get it in right (or at least he thought he did) and left.

A little while later, I noticed that while the contractions weren't horribly painful, I could still feel them and they WERE somewhat painful. So I asked a nurse about it, and she paged anesthesiology to have someone come and take a look. Dr. M, the chief anesthesiologist, or whatever you call the one in charge of the others, was on call at this point, so he came up. He was a very grumpy guy, obviously not thrilled about having to come correct someone's screw-up. He said to whoever (whomever?) was listening, "See how there's blood in the line, this shouldn't be there. It was put in wrong." I told him that the other anesthesiologist had said I had small spinal spaces, to which he replied, "Well, he was sure right about that." Despite his grouchiness, he was amazingly skilled, and it only took him one shot to get the epidural in properly.

When I had first arrived at the hospital, my OB/GYN that had delivered my second daughter had been on shift, but at this point another doctor had come on. I had seen her a couple of times in the office, and she had been the one to perform my D&C after a miscarriage that I had had the previous February. She was really nice and would have been my next choice anyway, so I was happy. She checked in when I was 6-7 cm dilated and told the nurses to give her a call when I had dilated more. My husband went to rest in the armchair that was about 15 feet from the labor and delivery bed, and immediately fell asleep.

Around 8:20 or so, one of the nurses decided that I needed to have my bladder emptied. She told me that she was going to straight cath (catheterize - if you don't know what it is, you don't want to, but at least you can't feel it when you have an epidural) me, and to let her know if I felt any pressure, because sometimes a full bladder is in the way, and once it's emptied things kick into gear.

She was OH SO RIGHT. Before she got back from emptying the bedpan that she had filled with my urine (aren't you all so glad to be reading this?), I yelled at her, "Pressure! A LOT of pressure!" She came running out of the bathroom, checked my cervix, yelled to another nurse, "She's crowning! Get Dr. J in here, STAT!" All this yelling, and my husband was snoring away, 15 feet from the commotion. So I was yelling at him to wake up, the nurse was yelling at him to wake up and telling me not to push, and he continued to be dead to the world. Finally I picked up a bedpan (empty, and PLASTIC, not metal), and flung it at him. He did wake up when it bounced off his head. Meanwhile, I forgot about his lazy ass, as another nurse and I had this conversation (at very high volume):

Nurse: Don't push!

Me: I HAVE TO PUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nurse: Don't push!

Me (holding the rails and kind of flailing my head and shoulders around with the effort of NOT pushing): I HAVE TO PUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nurse: Don't push!

Me (still flailing): I HAVE TO PUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nurse: Don't push!

Me (pushing anyway): I HAVE TO PUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!

The doctor literally came skidding through the door on her little blue hospital booties as the baby's head emerged after only two pushes. One more push and my third daughter was born around 8:30am on December 20th. She had an Apgar score of 10 at the moment of birth and barely any cone head at all, due to her freight-train-like trip through the birth canal. She weighed exactly 8lbs. Now she's a tiny little thing, weighing in at only about 33lbs, even though she'll be five in ten days. But she still lives life like a freight train. See how red her nose is in the picture? It was a birthmark down the length of her nose (which faded after a few weeks). We called it her skid mark because of her speedy entrance into the world.

And because it's a much cuter picture than me with my pudgy pregnancy face:

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