I'll spare you most of the gory details of the birth and try to hit only the high points--of which there were at least 7.
That night I was to be induced was hella boring. I was like, why not just induce me and then send me home? But apparently, any second a drug is introduced, the fetal monitors are attached. Argh! Would I have agreed to this had I known? I don't know. I hate being tied down to the bed. I did tell them that I have to pee every 9 minutes so not to panic when I unplug myself from the computers. They seemed OK with that. The hep-lock (an IV ready for anything!) hurt like they always do. I'm allergic to metal. I imagine my veins getting itchy from the inside. But really, it just makes me sore. Erik brought his computer and we watched Man versus Wild until midnight. They gave me an Ambien. 10 mgs. Now I know why Ambien hasn't worked for me in the past. I've only taken 5 borrowed milligrams before. I slept and slept. Poor Erik slept on one of those horrible fold out beds. This one came separate planes--one for each vertebrae. Erik though was born with Ambien-like substance in his veins that he just turns on at night and sleeps for 8 hours no matter what.
In the morning, induction part 2. Same goal, different, stronger induction drugs. This is all an attempt to do things gently so things don't get overwhelming and I end up needing a c-section. I sense some contractions building but nothing so different from what I'd been experiencing for the past month or so. Same with the second dose.
But then they hit me with the third dose and that was too much. Contractions one on top of the other and no space to rest. Nurse Nikki/Ratchet and Erik's job was to yell at me and to tell me not to push. I explained to them that I was not the one in fact pushing. My uterus was pushing all by itself. Nurse Nikki was the same ill-serving nurse who had earlier said, when I said, "it hurts," "that's why they call it labor." I, in great restraint, did not punch her. She explained that pushing too early can cause the cervix to swell. The swelling then means it can't dilate and thereby blocks any baby-removal activity. It was very important not to push. I somehow managed to wrap my brain around my uterus (that's how I imagined it) and, whilst calling for the epidural, was able to convince my body not to push.
I had already asked for Fentynal which Nurse Mean said they don't offer there. Oh, sorry. I mean narcotics. Give me some. She said, Nubain. OK. They gave me some. It did nothing. Zero. Like less than an aspirin.
So, the epidural. I had no further questions about whether or not I wanted one. But then, the anesthesiologist wanted new labs! Why? They took labs last night. That's one of the reasons for the hep-lock I'd been wearing for almost 24 hours now.
But no, so more blood is drawn from the other arm because the Nubain was busy doing nothing in my left arm where now I sport a delicious looking bruise. Then, an hour for the labs to come back. And hour of contraction upon contraction, of uterus pushing, of talking body into not doing what the body wanted naturally to do, of Erik and Nurse Mean saying in unison "don't push," while I sang some I'm going to die songs with my breath that tried to do what they said.
Dr. Toi, the anesthesiologist, finally arrived. According to Erik, Nurse Nikki have a deep and troubled history. Dr. Toi asked for the stickers on my chart. She said the computers were down. He said, other nurses were able to get the stickers. She said, the stickers are right next to you. Get them yourself. Then, he complained about the computers being down and she said, I guess we should shut the hospital then. I heard none of this because I'm humming the I'm going to die song.
Finally, Dr. Toi explains the pros and cons of the epidural. The epidural goes in below the end of your spinal cord--you can't get paralyzed from an epidural! I don't know if I knew that or not and that's not why I wanted to resist one (I wanted to resist because I'm an idiot and thought that would make a "better" (read: me look tough) birth. In retrospect, living through it/not wanting to die made the birth better. He said one of the cons was that I might get a headache. I was born with a headache. Living with headaches didn't make my life any better either.
Somehow, I managed not to move while he inserted the needle and then, gradually, the pain subsided. I fell asleep.
So did the labor.
A little pitocin added to the IV fluids (thank god for the hep-lock!)
And then a little more pitocin.
And finally, at 10:00 p.m. (25 hours since we'd checked in) time to push.
Analogies to my strategy that the doctor liked:
Squeezing the baby out like toothpaste through a tube.
Keeping the baby's head from slipping backwards in a kegel-lock.
Analogy the doctor did not like:
Imagining the baby's head collapsing like a mouse's as he squeezes under a tightly-shut door. She tried to convince me to substitute the word "molded." Either way, it was important for me, knowing that this baby's head was already measuring off the charts, that heads are indeed malleable.
40 minutes of analogies, metaphors and pushing later, Max was born!
I find out later that the doctors have a theory for the number of pounds of baby a woman can reasonably give birth to. They think that the shoe size of a woman corresponds to those pounds. All along, I'd been imagining my mother-in-law who gave birth to a 10 pound baby. Based on that success, I can do a big baby, I always thought. But then, if you think of her and know her shoe size, the doctor's theory is confirmed. My MIL wears size ten shoes.
I wear a size 6.
Max was 8.6 pounds.
Still. He's out. I'm sore in every muscle. My diaphragm seems to be broken. I forgot how much breastfeeding hurts at first. But overall, things are pretty freaking happy around here. Zoe, who has many emotions, still seems to like him. She wants him to sit on her lap nonstop. She was a little mad when she woke up last night and saw he was still up (he was sleeping on my lap). We'll make sure tonight we put him, the little brother, in his crib before she goes to bed.