oh yes, it was saturday morning and i was in the early stages of labor, apparently. i continued having contractions throughout the day, but they didn't seem to have a strong, consistent pattern. so i held out.
brian took oliver to the little gym and i vacuumed the floor for some reason. and spent so much time on the couch, i was starting to be able to recognize my feet again.
the intensity started increasing late afternoon and, after timing the frequency at 6-10 minutes for a couple of hours, i started believing i might just be in labor. then i got some nastier ones and brian went into a frenzy grabbing bags and telling oliver to put on shoes. i don't know if i mentioned this already, but all of my family just happened to be in the dallas area this weekend for other things. which is good because my nightmare of going to the hospital right at oliver's bedtime was coming true. but now, i actually had people within 20 minutes who could come over to stay with him so i wouldn't have to birth a baby by myself.
i first called my sister and she had walked from guitar center to whole foods in arlington. she said they'd come right over. okay, i was still a little in denial and had images of being sent home with braxton hicks, so i told her to take her time. even if brian was about to start throwing things into the car. i guess i kind of regretted telling her that because then i was on the phone to my mother to see what they were doing. they had just been served dinner in a restaurant in richardson. my denial told them to enjoy their dinner first. i'm pretty sure they scarfed it down. which is good because after they were able to eat and drive down here, i called my sister to let her know and my sister said they were still at the guitar center in arlington waiting for my nephew to come out. holy cow.
somewhere in there, i called the paging service at the OB's office and learned dr clark was on call. she's the one i saw about a lingering cold and discovered that she's the type that has difficulty looking you in the eye. fortunately, what i needed didn't require much eye contact. she called back and sounded like she was at dinner and asked me to repeat and again i said "i'm wondering if i'm in labor and need to go to the hospital" and she said "how many children do you have?" and i said "this is my second" and she said "you need to go to the hospital and goodbye" and i was all "huh... that was really weird... i could've answered that question the same way three months ago, but i certainly didn't need to go to the hospital." but lord knows i knew deep down at this point that i needed to go to the hospital.
while i was dressing, i was in enough pain that i was starting to worry violet might fall out on the floor. tears were starting to come with the contractions, but little did i know that these were still emanating from the easy zone.
my parents showed up with mara and donnie, their dining companions. since my father is none too fond of hospitals and silly things like birthing, he was the perfect choice for staying with oliver. we later learned he's a bit of a sucker as oliver convinced him to read books for an hour and somehow, there was also a walk outside included with grandpa carrying oliver. SUCKER!
fortunately, at the very last minute, i remembered we now have two carseats in the back of brian's car and had no way to get my mother to the hospital with us. mara and donnie were nice enough to drive her up there and help us schlep all our stuffs. i had a contraction trying to get down the stairs to the entrance and another at the check in desk where i learned i was having difficulty remembering my name, weight, and height for this little piece of paper they were having me fill out.
as brian and the nurse were walking me back to the delivery room, i felt my legs turning to jell-o and thought i was going to collapse. but i didn't. but i could've again when brian went with me into the bathroom to pee in a cup (i guess they wanted to make sure i really was pregnant) and i discovered they had done absolutely nothing in my absence to update the birthing wardrobe they find joy in making you wear. really. could they even find a way to make those things more unflattering for one of the biggest days of your life? i wonder if they would've let me birth naked. as if that would've looked better!
i also decided it would be one of the best ideas ever if they would serve those ice chips with your choice of sno-cone syrup. i really wanted a lime sno-cone at that point. i was about to send brian to the zoo to find me one.
i struck L&D nurse gold once again and her name was suann. oh thank god for excellent L&D nurses. she was a couple of years older and was even from east texas. she was remarkably patient and kind throughout all my bad patient moments. she tried to do a cervical check and i lost my shit. i don't know why those things were killing me with such swiftness. she wasn't even able to get a read. only that the cervix was still way up there. brian claimed she had her whole hand up there, but i'm pretty sure that was an untruth.
and, much like dr culpepper's exam, this seemed to have launched me into a new category of contractions.
OH MY GOD.
i was dying. they were hitting me so low, it felt like they were happening on the outside. i let the obscenities and expletives fly along the lines of "oh my god oh my god you've got to be kidding me jesus christ fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck" or something like that.
suann worked with my extreme hesitation about the insertion of the IV, which was running into contractions which were something crazy like two minutes apart. my way of coping once it was finally underway was to walk my right hand from brian's grasp and up his chest like it was a spider and then try to scratch the bejeezus out of his sternum. i suppose i thought it might make me feel better. and it did. gave me something else to focus on. :D
so my resolve to be as natural as possible was getting wiped out pretty quickly by all these crazy contractions and i was offered just a dash of ativan in my IV. you know, just to take the edge off my upcoming epidural. i asked brian if he minded and accepted the offer. i don't know why. i had two doses of that stuff last time around and it did absolutely nothing for me. the only thing i noticed was that i thought i might have been a hair dizzy for a split second. i think i was getting up to go to the bathroom. did i do that? why don't i remember? i think i remember trying to get the IV in there with us. so blurry.
in the meantime, we've watched the tammy faye documentary and learned she was addicted to ativan. i'll let you draw your own conclusions.
the phlebotomist showed up and she was a pretty decent character, unlike the oliver phlebotomist who was obviusly a dim-witted masochist. she was totally dreamy with how she handled a blood draw. five vials. no problem. maybe that's why i was dizzy.
the anesthesiologist wasted no time showing up. it was with great hesitation that they got me scooted to the middle of the bed and sitting indian style. suann was pushing me down by the neck to keep me in a "bad posture" which i've learned is difficult to keep when you're in the mood for being really tense. they let brian participate in the fun this time and i know he was sitting in a chair in front of me, but i'm none too sure what it was he was in charge of restraining. my arms, i suppose. i'm pretty sure i whimpered and yelped with the local and it felt like the needle was going farther than it needed. i think i remember the stinging of the meds. or was that the IV, because i know that one was creepy.
and then he started with the fun part. i remember him saying i would feel some "popping". brian and i later both agreed that was a super poor choice of words. even if i did describe my first epidural as reminding me of nerf finger pops for some reason.
i have to say, for those of you out there who might ever need one, getting an epidural really isn't all that bad. i freak out just because of my fear of needles and medical business, so don't take my overreaction as proof that epidurals are something to be completely terrified of.
before the epidural, brian told me that the contractions i was having registered at an 8 (units of what, i don't know). after the epidural, they were hitting a 12. i cannot for the life of me imagine how anyone could handle something like that. i have an ever increasing amount of awe for women who survive natural childbirth without spontaneously combusting. i know i was super worried about missing out on a primal experience like natural childbirth, but it turned out i got just enough of a taste of it to feel fine and dandy stopping where i did. holy holy shit.
the epidural worked much more quickly than i had realized it would. there was this weird little egg-shaped patch on the right side of my abdomen which could feel a little something and i said "hmm... that's strange... i can feel something over there" and brian told me i'd just had some gigantic contraction. crazy.
this time, it was my left leg that was taking the hit of the meds and it felt like this big, creepy, hunk of dead flesh every time i touched it. i touched it on accident a couple of times and recoiled a quarter of a second later when i realized it was my own leg i'd touched and not someone else's. shudders.
once they had me all dead from the waist down, they got their beloved cervical check. after an entire day of laboring and then feeling like i might explode, i was only at 5cm. FIVE CENTIMETERS. that's just one more than where i had been for days. i had been convinced violet must be crowning.
my mother and sister and niece where there off and on, whenever there wasn't some kind of lady-parts checking going on. then, what felt like barely any time later, she did another check and i was at 10cm. TEN CENTIMETERS. THAT'S BIRTHING TIME.
and much like when i had oliver, i was completely surprised and a little flummoxed that they were ushering everyone back out because it was TIME TO MAKE A BABY COME OUT.
i suppose dr clark had been in the room at some point prior and i have no idea why i'm so fuzzy on everything considering i wasn't jacked up on stadol this time around. stirrups came flying out and the foot of the bed dropped away and a light descended from the ceiling and it was like i was on an alien spacecraft. i have no clue how long i pushed, but i'm guessing it was in the neighborhood of 30 minutes. we kept checking the clock because it was coming up on midnight and we were curious if she was going to be a 6/20 or a 6/21 and would i be off the hook for a father's day present.
i asked early on if i was able to see myself in the mirror across the room and, all of a sudden, this nurse was wheeling out a mirror on a stand and i said "whoa whoa whoa! not too close!"
to be continued. because i'm getting nowhere fast with anything these days.
ps: brian was trimming his hairs that morning and his guard fell off when he was going across the back. there was this big, vertical stripe in the bottom of his hairline, so he had to erase the whole kit and kaboodle.