Olivia’s Grand Entrance
I will give a note of warning at the beginning of this tale. There is pain and bodily functions involved. If you are currently pregnant and don’t want to hear about someone else’s labor and delivery please stop reading now. I also will say this is in NO way a horror story and I definitely had fun writing about Olivia’s entrance into the world. It was truly an amazing and beautiful thing.
It all started the morning of Tuesday September 9th, 2008. I woke up at 4:11 a.m. with a contraction. This was most definitely not out of the ordinary for me, as I’d been having contractions for weeks. Normally if I got up and moved around or drank a large glass of water the contractions would go away. That morning I laid in bed for about an hour, timing the contractions and waiting for them to stop as they always had. My childbirth educator stressed three things regarding contractions when I was pregnant with Aiden. I would know they were the real thing if they got longer, stronger, and closer together. Thus far I had not had that happen with either pregnancy but I was watching and waiting. While I was laying in bed the contractions were about 10 minutes apart but nothing I couldn’t handle and they didn’t seem to be getting stronger at that point. When they didn’t stop I decided it would be good to get up and move around to see if they would stop and let me get some more sleep.
I got up and packed a bag for Aiden (the one bag I hadn’t yet packed) and went downstairs to piddle around. There were some dishes in the sink so I thought I would throw them in the dishwasher. While putting the dishes in the dishwasher I had a few contractions that I had to stop and breathe through. When I got done I realized my contractions were now about 8 minutes apart. I still didn’t think 100% that this was the real thing so I thought I would take a shower. At this point it was approx 5:45 a.m.
I got in the shower thinking that the warm water would relax me and the contractions would go away. I only took about a 10 min shower but had to stop twice to breathe through contractions. When I got out of the shower I got dried off and told G that I thought I was in labor and the contractions were now approx 6 minutes apart. He hopped up and we both got dressed while trying to keep Aiden under control (he was awake at this point, I think from all the commotion and being able to tell that something wasn’t quite right with mom). I called the midwife and of course the on-call service told me that we would be called back as soon as they got a hold of her. By that point I was dropping to my hands and knees with each contraction and trying to tell Aiden that his mom was just fine while I tried to breathe through them. G called my grandmother (she’s the one that takes care of Aiden while I work) to let her know that we were on the way a bit early this morning.
We all got in the car and headed to my grandmother’s. Luckily she lives two blocks from the hospital. On the way to my grandmother’s the midwife called G’s cell phone back and said that she would let the hospital know that I was on the way. Of course I had contractions on the way to my grandmother’s house and she only lives about 7 minutes away from me. Contractions while sitting in a car SUCK, let me just tell you. Anyway, we got to my grandma’s and G ran Aiden to the door and ran right back to the car to get us to the hospital. When we got there I had to stop outside the ER entrance to have another contraction. G called his mom and our pastor at that point to let them know that we were at the hospital and that Olivia was coming.
When we got to the second floor labor and delivery unit I had a contraction right in front of the welcome desk. At that point, just like at home, the most comfortable (if you can use that word) position for me to be in during contractions was on my hands and knees. I fell to my hands and knees right there in front of two strangers sitting at the desk. When the contraction was over I got up and the two women, who I’m sure had seen worse just looked at me and said “wow, that was a long one”, to which I smiled and said “yep”.
I made it to the nurse’s station, which is where you have to go to “check-in”. I was able to get there attention long enough before I had another contraction. They were now coming about every 2-3 minutes and were much stronger and longer than they had been when I woke up. The nurse said they were expecting me and I was able to sign a few papers between contractions. I later found out our official check-in time was 6:45 a.m. I got changed into the ever lovely hospital gown and got in to my preferred hands and knees position on the bed. At that point I was asked if I wanted an epidural and I said ABSOLUTELY. I am all about natural childbirth, let me assure you, but with the contractions I was having at the frequency I was having them I was ready for some relief. A nurse came in and checked me and I was 5 cm. They said they would call Liz (the midwife) to let her know where I was and that the epidural had been ordered.
At that time all I could think was that I needed that epidural now. I just kept thinking back to Aiden’s birth and how I was 4-5 cm when I got to the hospital with him and he didn’t come for another 16 hours. That seemed so much more overwhelming than I can even explain. The nurses started prepping me for the epidural and that includes an IV. I hate needles and was having a really hard time being on my side or on my back in the bed while they tried to get the IV started. I finally was able to control myself long enough to get the IV in and then they had to hold it because they couldn’t seem to get it taped down. Finally they got it taped to my arm and I was able to get back on my hands and knees, which really did seem to be the only way I got any relief during contractions and did seem completely normal for my body to just get in that position.
A few minutes passed as they were still asking me some check-in questions and going through the motions of getting me ready for the epidural when the nurse thought that with the way my contractions were coming as close together as they were that she should check me again. I don’t remember this happening at all but apparently when she checked me I was still about 5 cm but my water broke. Again, I have no recollection of my water breaking but G says that it happened then. We had been there about 20 minutes and since I was still at 5 cm they called Liz to let her know what was going on. I was asking when the anesthesiologist was going to get there because the contractions were on top of each other and I was having a hard time controlling it.
Here’s where the gross, bodily functions come in. I was on my hands and knees and had an extremely hard contraction. That’s when my bodily functions lost control and I peed and pooped on myself. Yes, it’s disgusting but it happens. I was SO worried about it with Aiden and to be honest I have no idea if I did that with him or not because I had the epidural. This time I didn’t even really care, I was more concentrated on dealing with the pain than the fact that I had just pooped on the bed. I did look at G and say something like “I’m pooping” but that was about it. The nurses had to get me cleaned up and G and I are both still asking if the epidural is on the way. I even finally said “could I get something before the epidural?” and the nurse said that it was on the way and that it would be better. And that’s about the point that I pooped on myself again. Yep, did it twice. I have no pride left – he he.
As I got farther up the bed (I had been near the foot of the bed and the nurses were afraid I was going to fall off so they asked me to go to the head of the bed). I had the most intense contraction yet and my body started to completely push down. The nurses all said for me to stop pushing, that it was too soon. I told them that I wasn’t doing it on purpose and they tried to help me to breathe with a “he, he, he” motion to keep from pushing before I was fully dilated. That’s when Dr. W came in, the same one that ended up using the vacuum on Aiden. She wanted to check on me before she headed to the practice, as Liz hadn’t arrived yet and she wanted to make sure I was doing okay. Since she saw me push down she decided to check me one more time. Please keep in mind I had only been at the hospital approx 40 minutes and only 20 minutes earlier had been 5 cm. I can remember as soon as she started checking me I heard her say “there’s the head” and a lot of things started happening.
The nurses got the stirrups set up and were helping me not to push right away because I didn’t really have an “urge to push” it was more like an overwhelming need for my body to do it with every contraction. The bad part was that I was still trying to wrap my mind around giving birth in the next few minutes. As I pushed once I immediately started feeling the “ring of fire” and pretty much freaked out a little. I was not in a great sitting position, a little farther back than I would have liked, and because of that when my body tried to push I starting arching my back. Anyone who’s given birth knows this is the opposite of what you want to be doing, which is to curl around your stomach to get the baby to come under the pelvic bone. The “ring of fire” is a crazy thing and made me freak out to where Dr. W and G had to get me to concentrate and focus on controlled, easy pushing that would get this baby out with as little tearing as possible.
I will never forget G standing over me, encouraging me and telling me how strong I was. He said “Brandy you are the strongest person I know, you can do this” and because he believed it, I knew I could do it. The pushing was also different than with Aiden. Since I had the epidural with him there was a lot of counting to 10 and doing 3 pushes a contraction. This time they just told me to push when I had a contraction and that’s what I did. Apparently I was pushing so well there was no need for counting or anything of that nature. Dr. W had me push maybe 5 more times and Olivia came into this world at 7:31 a.m. – 7 minutes after I started pushing, 46 minutes after arriving at the hospital, and 3 hours and 20 minutes after labor started.
About 30 minutes after Olivia was born Liz arrived at the hospital. I think she was just as disappointed that she didn’t get to be there as I was not having her there with us. Her words were “I’m so sorry I wasn’t here, but of course for completely selfish reasons”. She hoped my labor would be quicker this time around than it was for Aiden but no one could have predicted the way it turned out. One major difference from Aiden to Olivia was the after aspect. With him I had the epidural and no real after pain, not until that started wearing off but I was already taking Darvocet per Liz. This time around I didn’t have any pain meds in my system so when my girly parts started screaming out in pain I was blessed to have Liz there to order some IV Nubain and a Darvocet to get the pain under control. That did it right away and within an hour I was feeling great and eating breakfast. Oh and because of Dr. W’s great assistant, perineal support, and my controlled pushing I didn’t even have to have any stitches this time. I had a few “skid marks” and that was all, which when it comes to healing that makes a HUGE difference.
Olivia’s entrance into the world was so different than Aiden’s and it’s difficult to express all of the emotions involved. It was so fast and felt so out of control at times. Liz even said the next day that many woman who have labors as fast as mine tend to have a bit of PTSD including flashbacks of events and memories of things coming back that you don’t recall at the time but that will come back to you later on. I have found that to be true, in some of the things I didn’t recall right away but as time has gone on my memories of that time have become clearer and I am able to recall a lot more about what happened.
I am thankful that Olivia came in her time and in her way, although a little pain medicine wouldn’t have been too much to ask for right?