I remember telling him that I couldn’t keep going. The pain was constant and it was supposed to come in waves or surges (thanks to having stomach cramps, not just contractions). I didn’t use the safe word we had agreed to. I knew I could keep saying that I wanted to give up everything I had prepared for and wanted so long as I didn’t say “parachute”. Only, I wasn’t doing it because I still wanted to birth naturally. Now, despite the intense pain, I felt like I’d be a quitter if I asked for an epidural. I felt like I’d be doing myself and the baby a disservice if I asked for intervention. And if he was born and wasn’t the picture of health, it’d be my fault. Thing is, come to find out, everyone was wishing I would stop and just ask for pain relief. They were under strict orders from me not to offer them. I would have quickly said yes in that moment. Oh my god would I have.
At 32 hours after my water broke, my favorite midwife (poor woman was pregnant and had stayed with me the whole day and night) came in and offered Fentanyl for pain relief. I asked about side effects. She told me there are issues with babies respiratory systems if they’re delivered an hour after the drug is administered, but she didn’t think I was anywhere near delivering. That’s about the worst thing you can hear in this situation, by the way. So, I accepted. It got me a little bit of much needed sleep. When the drug wore off and I awoke, she checked my cervix again (not fun) and let me know that I had progressed 1 cm. It had been 6 hours since the last time she checked me. This was the most disheartening news yet. Even though I know that dilation doesn’t follow any kind of timeline, I gave up at that point. I was fully expecting to hear I was at 10 cm, but when she said 7 cm, I was done. It was the third day I had been in labor and I hadn’t eaten much more than a few tablespoons of almond butter and half an apple. I had barely slept in the past 48 hours. It was way past the 12 hour limit most doctors will let you be in labor after your water breaks. I knew that if I didn’t deliver soon, they’d cut me open and that was my worst fear.
She gave me three options:
1. I could wait an hour, they could check how far I had progressed, and re-evaluate the situation.
2. I could have a Pitocin drip started to see if stronger contractions would help move things along.
3. I could get an Epidural and a Pitocin drip and see how things went.
She left the room while Jared and I talked it over with Jacie. They really left it up to me and I chose the Epidural. I wanted to go natural, but I had no regrets about taking this path. The only thing I wished was that I knew how labor would progress in the first place and take the epi/pit option sooner. I knew that if my energy flagged too much I wouldn’t be able to push when the time came and then they’d have no choice but to cut me. I knew all the side effects and how epidurals + pitocin often cause fetal distress and might cause the c-section anyway. I was worried about the baby and about getting a year-long head ache or lasting back pain, but I felt this was the best choice. The baby was strong and had been the whole time. They kept referring to him as “such a happy baby”. Lucky for me, I didn’t experience those side effects.
I also worried about not being able to bond with the baby if the Pitocin took the place of my natural oxytocin hormones. I was assured by everyone around me that I had so much oxytocin pumping through my body there was no way I wouldn’t bond. My contractions were incredibly strong and that is caused by oxytocin. I needn’t have worried. We did bond right away. I love the little guy.
Once the decision was made, I wanted the drugs immediately, but I had to be given an IV bag of fluids beforehand. The anesthesiologist came in and I couldn’t help but think about how he probably loved his job. He just takes pain away. Who can hate that? He reminded me of an ice cream man. All smiles and handing out treats. I was pleased to see him and he was super nice. I’ve heard horror stories about epidurals and the only other one I had witnessed left the woman without movement in her legs while it was in effect, but the Good Humor Man was amazing. The needle went in just fine and I continued to feel the contractions, but not as strongly. I could still move my limbs and nothing went numb. I opted for the Foley catheter so I wouldn’t have to be disturbed while I slept. My entire body itched like crazy for about an hour, but that wore off eventually (totally normal). Morning rolled around and we got a new nurse. The cheerleader was gone and I got my favorite nurse so far. An experienced woman with a wonderful attitude. I swear I remember her being there before, but I’ve been told I had 4 nurses and no repeats. Everything is incredibly hazy (that’s nature’s way of tricking us into making this baby siblings).
Okay, that’s the end of Part III. Just one more section to go!
We had a tamer weekend than last week, but still got him out of the house quite a bit. We went to my sister’s house on Saturday to help build her deck, and Gryff came along of course. He got to play with his cousin’s old toys and he had a lot of fun with that. Unfortunately he didn’t get much sleep, so he was a little overtired on Sunday. Sunday is normally our market day but I was doing a highway cleanup with Zombie Squad so we weren’t able to make it. After I got home, I spent most of the rest of the day in the kitchen, making all kinds of food.
We did get to weight him on Saturday, which is his 7-week mark. He came in at 12 lbs, 13 oz or 5.81 kg.
He has his next pediatrician appointment on July 5th, which is his 2-month birthday, and we’ll get a height/length on him there I’m sure. He’s growing so fast, I can’t really believe it. He just doesn’t look like a tiny newborn baby anymore, even though I know he’s still so young. We’re just doing our best to take lots of pictures and videos, so we don’t miss any of these changes.
Now, for more pictures:
Here we are looking at the tree in our yard. He’s still in that phase where he will just stare and stare at anything with high contrast, so the dark green leaves against the clear blue sky definitely appeal to him.
Thanks very much for reading