Camilla's Labor & Delivery Story
(or as Kody would say: Camilla's Labour & Delivery Story)
Week of March 8:
All week long, Kody kept saying, "I hope she comes this week, I hope she comes soon!" And I kept saying, "No! She is not allowed to because we are moving this weekend!" So he says, "Fine, than since we are moving on Saturday (3/13) she can come that night!" And I said, "I don't even think so! She is not allowed to come until AT LEAST..Monday..NO...Tuesday!"
Well folks, apparently my baby was listening to me already. ;-) We did not move on Saturday, we ended up moving with an hours notice on Friday night because of the forecast for torrential rains on Saturday - which in deed, they were. We spent all weekend setting up our new apartment as much as possible. Monday came and I decided to wash clothes instead of go grocery shopping. Then we went to sleep.
Tuesday, March 16, 3am
I woke up to slight cramping and then find myself "peeing" my pants and somehow unable to stop the fluid. Finally, I woke up Kody who happily declared, "I think your water just broke!" Oh no.
We called the doctor who said not to come in until my contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart consistently. Okay - we got some serious time because I hadn't even had another contraction at this point. So we decided to go back to bed. At around 3:20 am, I had another contraction. Then another one at 3:35 am, 3:45 am, 3:52 am, 3:57 am - they continued being around 4 - 5 minutes apart for awhile. So we decided to get up and get ready.
I hadn't even packed our bag for the hospital yet! I had to pick out clothes for her to wear home (I ended up using an outfit that Tasha - Thanks!) We wanted to use the one from Grandma Johnson - but it was way too big, as you can see from the picture!
Kody showered and then I showered. I did my hair, painted my toe nails (just with clear polish), and by the time I got around to putting on makeup - Kody was getting antsy and telling me to hurry up since we were now around 3 - 4 minutes apart and had been for some time.
We got to the hospital around 7:30 am and spent the next 6 1/2 hours trying to get me to dilate past 3 cm. We walked around in the atrium of the hospital for 4 of those hours until I could not possible walk any farther. Well, I probably could have, I just didn't think I could at the time. At 2 pm, the doctor suggested that they give me a little bit of pitocin (a drug that will induce labor - painfully) to help speed things along since I was "starting to get tired". Are you kidding? I was SO tired at that point. I had been having contractions for 11 hours at that point, at least 6 of those hours had been fairly heavy contractions. ;-)
To help with the pain I was about to experience from the pitocin, he also gave me another drug that would help "take the edge off", but not to worry - I would still feel every contraction. ;-) He also said that I was not relaxing enough in-between contractions, so he wanted to give me some Benadryl. They asked me how I felt about all these drugs - up to that point, I didn't want any drugs, I wanted to do it naturally. By then though, whatever - do whatever you want to me. I was too tired to care or make any real decisions. ;-) He assured me that the pitocin was only a small amount to help me move past 3 cm and that the pain medication would only be temporary and would only last for the next 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
They gave me the Benadryl first and I pretty much don't remember anything else past that. Apparently Benadryl really works well on me - the nurse kept calling me a "cheap date" because it lasted for so long too. How nice, huh? I basically fell asleep in-between each contraction for the next 2 hours. I would fall asleep for a minute or so and wake up to intense pain and then pass out again when it finished. I could hear them talking to me and asking me questions but I seriously could not pull myself out of my drug-induced state enough to answer them. They kept asking me if I was going to want to get an epidural.
I didn't want to get an epidural because so many women before me had done it without one - my mom, my sister Malia, etc. I should be able to handle this, right? My sister had called me earlier in the morning when she found out I was in the hospital. We cried together on the phone and she encouraged me, saying she knew I was scared but that she knew I could do this and that I was strong. So those were the words that I kept hearing over and over again. You are strong, you can do this.
I didn't want to let anyone down by getting the drugs - mostly myself. So I just ignored their questions and kept going back to sleep.
At 4pm, the doctor came in to check on me and see if I had gone any farther. The last 2 hours had been extremely painful. I would hold onto the bed rails and clutch them as the contractions passed. Then I would promptly fall back asleep once they were finished. The doctor happily and excitedly announced that I had move 2 cm. That, apparently, was right on track - about 2 cm every hour.
Are you kidding me???
And the question again - do I want an epidural? Oh blah, I just didn't know what to do. I decided, yet again, to ignore the question and see how far I could go. I was now at 5 cm. I have 5 more to go - so 5 more hours. Then I had about 1 1/2 - 2 hours of pushing. I thought that maybe I could do it. What I had forgotten though was that the pain medication they had given me was now gone and so the next 45 minutes were extremely painful. Kody said I didn't even let go of the bed rails in-between the contractions. He had to tell me to remember to breath, just breath in general. Not one of the special breathing methods - just normal in-take of air because I would just hold my breathe through the contraction. I remember him telling me to let go of the bed railings but I couldn't. He said my arms were just shaking. Poor Kody - he couldn't help me much since I was so drugged that I couldn't respond to him.
Finally - at 4:45pm, I had a small revelation. I had a thought in my head: We live in an age of MODERN medicine - USE IT! Yes, all those pioneer women did it without drugs - but they didn't have an option! Perhaps they would have chosen drugs if they did have the option! I am never going to want to give birth again if I have to do this for another 4 hours plus 2 hours of pushing.
So, I made my decision. I want that epidural. But I just couldn't say it yet. So I decided to have them check me again. And they would say, "Oh yeah! You've gone another cm! Only 4 more to go!" And then I would say, "Forget it. Give me an epidural!" I forced myself to open my eyes and get the nurse's attention (Christy is her name). I asked her to be checked and she went to find the doctor. Only a few more minutes and I would have relief on the way! She came back and told me the doctor was actually delivering another baby and would come as soon as he could. I was like, "NOOOO!" I seriously could not wait any longer. I had made my decision and I wanted my relief! A friend of mine had just had a baby and she told me how great it was after she got the epidural and I wanted that!
After I yelled at her, Christy was like, "Um, well, I could check you or I could get a resident to check you...". To which I responded, "I don't care who checks, someone just needs to check me!" So, Christy checked me and then excitedly said, "Well, good news, in the last 45 minutes, you've gone from a 5 to a 10! You are ready to push!"
I was like, "NOOOOOO! No I'm not! I'm not ready! I wanted an epidural!" Apparently, it was too late for that! They didn't even have time to break out the stirrups. Next thing I know, the Christy is telling the other nurses that they need to get the doctor in the room, Kody is being instructed on how to hold my left leg while Christy holds my right leg, I'm being told how the counting and pushing will go, and a med student named Mike is standing at the top of my bed, holding my head and counting to ten. I just kept saying, "I don't want to do this! I can't do this." To which Christy responded, "You have to do it, you are the only one who can!"
So, we went through 10 pushes total. Around push number 2 or 3, Christy said to me, "You are such a good pusher! Keep pushing!" To which I responded, "No I'm not!" I could feel the baby's head moving forward and then moving back. So I felt like all my work was in vain. All she was doing was going back and forth - I was seriously going to be at this forever.
Then around push 5 or 6 she said, "I can see the baby's head, just keep going!" I looked over at Kody at this point - to see his facial reaction. I wanted to see if he could see the head too, then I would believe her. Unfortunately, Christy is more trained than Kody and he couldn't see what she was seeing. So his face showed no excitement, just confusion. So, to her encouraging words, I yelled back, "No you can't!"
Then she started saying, "You're almost done, just keep pushing!" Well, in my videos, they said that pushing was supposed to be about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I didn't really know how long it had been but it only felt like a couple minutes - so I totally didn't believe her and said, "No I'm not!" I didn't want her telling me I was almost finished when I still had 90 minutes of this left!
At push 9, the doctor finally came in. He was trying to get his coat on when he looked over at me and said something like, "Whoa, keep the baby in there - don't let it come out. Just blow it away, blow it away."
To which I said, "I CAN'T BLOW IT AWAY!!!" At that point, I pushed, the doctor threw the gloves he was desperately trying to get out of the package onto the floor and caught the baby with his bare hands.
10 pushes total - about 10 minutes of pushing. Yeah, it was quite fast. But boy am I glad! A few seconds or so after she was born, I fell asleep - thanks to our little medication friend, Benadryl. How awful is that! It was definitely an amazing experience. Kody, my medically-minded-man, was just in awe of everything. He'll have to tell you his view of our experience in another post.
To my slight credit, I only yelled four times - my last 2 contractions before pushing and my last 2 pushes - I guess more than four times if you count all the "rebuttals" to Christy and my "declaration" to the doctor at the end. ;-)
Who "blows away" pushes? Honestly?
P.S. The best part of this whole story - I talked to my sister later that night and told her she was my inspiration. That I did it naturally because I wanted to be like her and just kept hearing her voice in my head. To this she responds, "Um, Connie, just to set the record straight, I had epidurals with both my children...I don't know why you thought I didn't." WHAT??? Are you kidding? How did I not know that!?! I just endured 14 hours of labor for NOTHING?!
At least I know I can do it now, I guess. ;-)