My view, just after the epidural
I was at the hospital, 5cm dilated. I wanted an epidural, after so many days of pelvis burning contractions, but I had to get through half a bag of IV drip antibiotics first, as I was GBS+. I had a great nurse though, and the second I was halfway through the bag, the anesthesiologist was in my room! I was in a very happy place very quickly after that.
For about an hour.
Then, I watched Nate take a bite of banana and suddenly felt so, so awful. I needed to throw up. I hate throwing up, so this was bad. Nate hurried to call the nurse, who came running with a whole team. I think they saw my bp and Paul's heart rate plummet on their computers, but I'm not sure. I do know that Paul's heart rate went from a healthy 130 to a terrifying 70.
I was halfway to the OR before I realized, oh my god, they think I need this baby out NOW! My doctor met us in the OR and calmly took over. She asked if we felt ok with waiting on the c-section to see if our vitals could even out with oxygen. We agreed, and the vitals did indeed get better. She checked me again and I was dilated to 9cm, so she asked if I'd like to try pushing.
I pushed for 45 exhausting minutes. The epidural was a little less strong with each push (which was helpful for me), but I was exhausted. Paul was exhausted. He wasn't coming down, and he had heart decelerations followed by tachycardia (fast heart) with each push. My doctor tried to see if pitocin would help move Paul further down, but that didn't work. I pushed one more time, but to no avail. Every push, Paul would move a little then bounce right back up. Plus, there was meconium in my (finally) broken water, and we were all just done. Nate, the doctor and I agreed to have the c-section.
But remember the failing epidural? It seems that during all the drama and pushing, the line had become displaced. So even though the anesthesiologist was pumping in tons of medicine, I could still feel every test pinch on my tummy. They couldn't re-place the epidural, so I had to have a spinal tap.
Wow, that sucked. The spinal tap itself was incredibly painful and scary. Then, the morphine kicked in and was so strong I couldn't even turn my head. I was hallucinating and rambling and confused... And terrified.
I remember, throughout the ordeal, wanting to cry but being afraid my crying would hurt Paul's heart rate again. I asked permission to cry on several occasions (always granted). Nate was so sweet, holding my hand every time I needed to cry. Once the morphine kicked in, I was past crying. Since I wasn't really aware anymore anyway...
I do remember the NICU team being so incredibly helpful and clear. Since there was meconium, I might not see Paul right away. If he cried immediately, they'd show him to me. If he didn't cry, I wouldn't see him till they had a chance to take care of him. My expectations, even high on morphine, were realistic thanks to their words. I remember the doctor saying "okay, the baby is out and he's not crying; he's going with the NICU team now."
I scary minute later, he was crying with healthy gusto and Nate asked me if I could spare his hand to see the baby (permission granted). They called out his birth weight, and I was astounded! 8 pounds, 15 ounces. Almost 9 pounds, and 21.75 inches long! And when I finally saw him, I laughed at Paul's big, silly nose.
It turns out that Paul's umbilical cord was wrapped around his shoulder. So Paul was basically bungee jumping with each push. Plus, the cord was squashed with every contraction, causing all the distress. A vaginal delivery would have been incredibly difficult and dangerous for both of us... The c-section was definitely the right move for us. Not a fun decision, but the right one.
I keep thinking of the adage about the month of March: in like a lion, out like a lamb. Paul's birth was scary and dramatic and not at all what I envisioned. But he has been such a sweet, alert baby since we got home! He eats like a champ, and was already 9 pounds 2 ounces at his 5-day check-up! He loves watching his big brother and sister. He loves being snuggled in blankies. Really, the only times he cries are when he has a dirty diaper... or is getting a diaper changed!
We are all so happy he's here. Laura and Gavin have both been very sweet older siblings. Gavin needs a few more hugs, Laura needs a few more stories... But I'm happy to give as many hugs and stories as needed!