Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Dr. Holden suggested we check into the hospital on Tuesday morning (June 19th) to be induced if I didn't go into labor naturally.
On Tuesday morning, Michael and I used a car service to get to the hospital in Manhattan with our hospital bags packed. I cried on the way -- had hoped to go into labor naturally and felt bad we would be induced. It felt like I had failed us physically in some way.
We checked in and were given a room in Triage by 9 a.m. A nurse did a sonogram to check fluid levels in the placenta, and I was started on an IV (fluid to keep hydrated). Two monitors were strapped to my belly: one monitored the Bean's heart rate; the other monitored my contractions. Around 10:30 a.m. we were moved to a Labor & Delivery room.
Although the monitor showed I had small contractions, I couldn't feel them and wasn't dilating beyond 2 centimeters.
The L&D room was big. Had its own bathroom, a guest bed/couch, a TV, and a hospital bed for me. The nurse who helped us throughout the day was Simone. There was enough room for my mother, father and Michael to visit at the same time with space to spare.
My parents arrived at the hospital around 11 a.m. or noon, and kept us company until about 5 pm that day.
At noon, Simone started giving me Pitocin to induce labor. It was great to have my parents and Michael in the room with me throughout the day. My mother massaged my swollen feet and ankles; Michael gave me water/ice, reading material, and told me stories to take my mind off waves of contractions. My father looked anxious and paced a lot.
At around 2:30 pm, Dr. Holden visited and elected to break my water. It was uncomfortable after than when contractions came -- I'd gush warm fluid during contractions, which felt like I was peeing on the bed.
By about 4:30 pm the contractions were big, hugely painful and lasting between 1-2 minutes, several minutes apart. Best way to describe it is severe pressure on pelvic bones. I was allowed to get up and wheel my IV bag wth me to go to the bathroom, and when I came out of the bathroom, a contraction hit, and I got on my hands and knees and crawled on the floor to the edge of the bed. I stayed on the floor; it was less painful to be on my knees during contractions, but my rear end was hanging out for all to see because the hospital gown was open in the back. I was beyond caring!! The stories people tell about dignity going out the window during labor are true. The pain is so significant that all modesty gets shelved as you try to get through it. Simone came in the room, saw my bare backside, gave me an extra gown to cover up and pressed on my lower back (counter pressure) until the bout of contractions passed. I got back into bed about 15 minutes later.
At 5 pm, I had an epidural, which hurt during the insertion of the catheter, but gave immediate relief.
At 10:30 pm, Dr. Holden checked back in. The contractions were as painful again (with the epidural) as they'd been at 4:30 pm without pain relief. The good news was I was 8 centimeters dilated.
At 11:20, Dr. Holden checked came back and confirmed I could start pushing. There were 4 of us in the room: Dr. Holden, Melissa (night nurse), Michael and me, and the room was dark except for a light over my bed, and a light over the table with some of the equipment that Dr. Holden and Melissa were using. Although I had envisioned my mother or parents being there, in the end this felt right. It was very quiet and there were just four of us in a dark room and it felt peaceful. I think it turned out for the best. The TV was on in the background and the Jon Steward Show and the Colbert Report were on during delivery.
We pushed at regular intervals; Michael helped hold my leg on one side during pushes, and the night nurse (also named Melissa), helped me on the other. It was a struggle to hold my legs up; if Michael and the nurse hadn't been there, I couldn't have done it on my own. The epidural had worn partially off; I could feel my left side (pelvis) completely; the right was partially numb. When I pushed, I could tell that I was also going to poop, which was embarrassing, but there was no way to stop it from coming out while pushing, and the nurse said it happens often during deliveries. Emma told me she hadn't felt anything during the pushing phase, so I think a large part of the epidural may have worn off when the time came to push.
At about 12:15 a.m., during one pushing session, the nurse asked Michael to look "down there" so he could see the baby's head, which was starting to crown. At 12:21, the baby came out and Dr. Holden held it up: "It's a girl!" She was crying already and waving her arms.
We had been expecting a boy because so many friends and strangers had been predicting a boy based on my size, shape, their 'gut', etc. but I had hoped we would have a girl. When he held her up and showed her to me, I felt a huge wave of love for her. He put her on my stomach. I was pretty feeble at this point, so I think Holden or Melissa ended up holding her in place on my stomach since I was struggling to move my arms and lift my head.
Dr. Holden helped Michael cut the umbilical cord.
Melissa carried her to a table with a heat lamp to clean her up, weigh her, etc. and Michael went with her. Dr. Holden then worked on me for a few minutes and said "now the placenta is out". Melissa suggested Michael take a picture, which he did. It looked like a large, semi-deflated gray rubber ball (with a lot of veins running through it) in a tray with several pints of blood.
I tore during the delivery, so Dr. Holden spent some time stitching me up, Melissa removed the epidural catheter in my back, and we also arranged to store stem cells from the umbilical cord, so Dr. Holden extracted cells from the umbilical cord (after it had been cut) and Melissa took some vials of blood from me to send along with the stem cells.
At about 2:30, Dr. Holden was done putting me back together and the nurse brought Ella to me and we tried breastfeeding her. At first we tried the cradle position, and she cried, so then the nurse helped me with the 'football' position, and she latched on.
Her name is Ella Jean Payne. She weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces at birth, and she was born at 12:21 a.m. on June 20th.
I went to a shared room at 3:30 a.m. and Michael came with, though he wasn't allowed to stay overnight with me because the room wasn't private. At 4 a.m., the nurse brought Ella to me in a plastic bassinet with wheels, and I tried to feed her and then put her back in the bassinet, but I didn't have the arm strength to lift her into the bassinet and my legs were still numb from the epidural, so the nurse came to help me.
They took Ella back to the nursery so I could sleep, and brought her back at 7. Michael arrived around 7 or 8 after spending a few hours at home sleeping.
We were given a private room later in the day on Wednesday, so that meant Michael could sleep with Ella and me overnight until we discharged on Friday morning.
Here are pictures!: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hartley/sets/72157600454987295/