Doubling over and attempting my best to "blow off the contraction" the nurse found me a wheel chair and ushered us out of the birthing center to weather out more of my labor at home. I begged Shawn to walk faster and faster before the next contraction would come so I didn't make a scene in the hospital. The contractions were bad enough where I was grabbing my belling and beginning to moan during them. It was quite a scene.
Finally we made it to the exit where Shawn left me to retrieve the car while I sat alone in the lobby having contractions. I ditched the wheel chair the moment I saw the car pull up and waddled to the passenger seat. If you've never been in labor there is something about the passenger seat of a car that is the most uncomfortable place to be when you're having contractions. Trust me. I looked at the clock and knew that it would be at least a fifteen minute drive home. After doing the math I knew that meant at least five contractions.
Drive. I demanded.
When we reached home I naturally had to wait to get out of the car until another contraction passed. At this point I was starting to yell during them despite the yelling not doing a darn bit of difference in taking the edge off. At that point in my mind I was wondering who the heck said all that Lamaze crap worked and how in the world did women have more than one child? Who would go through this more than once?
The midwife had told me to go home and eat and get a shower. She insisted I would need the calories to get through the night ahead. At that point I had zero appetite. The thought of food made me want to vomit, but since I hadn't eaten since lunch time and it was approaching 10pm I knew that she was right. I crammed in a bowl of cereal and then headed to the shower, which she rumored would make me feel so much better.
After about five minutes in the shower it was very clear it was not going to make me feel better in the least. Who was she kidding? I was crying and yelling. Nothing was making it better and it felt like the contractions were right on top of each other, maybe two minutes between them at most.
Wiping the tears from my eyes I came out of the bathroom room and slowly made my way to the couch where Shawn had motioned for me to lay down next to him. In my mind I was turning over how the heck I could make it any further. Then, as soon as I put my head on his lap, my water broke.
And I thought the contractions hurt before.
Shawn immediately got up and called the hospital. I immediately began yelling at the top of my lungs from the contraction. How was it possible something hurt so strongly? All drive to breath and not sound like a mad woman was gone. In fact, at this point parts of my memory get fuzzy... every single bit of my mind was centered on the horrid contractions.
During the drive I remember telling Shawn to drive faster between yelling. At one point he left the blinker on too long and it started dinging as a reminder it was still on. I began yelling at him and yelling through a contraction simultaneously to turn the damn thing off. He replied with the worst possible sentence a man could ever utter to a woman in labor.
My reply to that was to yell louder, and direct it at him. Poor guy.
Finally we made it back to the hospital. This time we parked at a much closer entrance, the ER entrance, and next to an older couple who were getting out of their car. True to good timing just as Shawn opened the door and walked off to get a wheel chair I began to have another contraction. I sat in the front seat yelling as the woman we parked next to looked in horror. My screams caused enough alarm that she ran into the ER and began to shout "Baby!" at the top of her lungs, referring to me laboring in the front seat.
When Shawn rolled me in through the ER door moments later every doctor and nurse on shift poked their head around corners to see who this woman having a baby was. It felt like a movie scene. Shawn quickly rolling me through as I clutched my belly and panted. Staff scooted out of our way and ushered us upstairs to the birthing pavilion where I met the nurses I saw no less than an hour before.
Now get me an epidural.
It seriously went like that and in what felt like forever I finally had an anesthetist prodding my back to place the catheter. As I eagerly waiting for pain relief I realized only one side of me was going numb. Great. I was going to be in the small percent where their epidurals are misplaced, but after the student was replaced by an already graduated and well practiced anesthetist I began to lose the feeling in my other side. Finally, a few moments of relief.
I stress a few moments.
After a little bit of calm conversation and listening to Emily's heart beat on the fetal monitor I began to start having pain in my left side. Then the pain began to increase. Before I knew it my entire left side was no longer numb and I was feeling every. little. thing.
And it was worse than before. If that was even possible....
The student anesthetist appeared in the room again with a smile and said he would give me a bolus of medication and increase the amount of medication flowing through the catheter. He insisted it would work. I believed him. But after another few minutes of waiting for the medication to kick in I knew it wasn't going to work.
At that point my midwife had disappeared. Unbeknownst to me there was a woman laboring right next door and in the same stage of labor at the same time. We were neck and neck and she couldn't be in the same place at the same time. So, a student and a chief resident appeared to check on how I was doing.
Lets do an experiment, she said. Lets try pushing, you're really close.
I demanded my epidural work. How could I push in this much pain? She insisted it would make me feel better and being that I didn't think anything could feel worse I trusted her. She was right. It felt better and once she asked me to start pushing I wasn't going to stop.
Nothing at that point mattered. I concentrated on pushing and could feel that Emily was literally on the doorstep of the world while the doctors sat at the end of the bed seeing how the experiment with pushing was going. As I pushed I yelled out I feel everything! and She is right here! None of it phased the doctors. Shawn, the medic and firefighter that he is, was glued to some location around my head and determined not to be involved with anything going on at the other end of the bed.
Suddenly the eyes of the student doctor became huge. He called for a million people and materials. At some point he told me not to push as he tried to put on a new pair of gloves and ready materials. He was calling for the chief doctor to arrive. While Shawn worried what the heck was going on and if the baby was in trouble I was in my own world where the only thing that mattered was pushing.
Two pushes later she was in the world, the cord slipped from around her neck, and placed on my chest. It was also the most excruciating pain I've ever felt the moment she was born since my epidural had completely worn off, but none of that mattered. She was here and crying and healthy.
I had pushed for a grand total of 13 minutes after being in active labor for less than eight hours. For a first time mom that is outstanding since labor usually lasts an average of 14 hours and pushing lasts for around two.
Once I sat up in bed, ready to be handed back Emily who was being cleaned and swaddled, I discovered why I had felt everything at the end of my labor. The epidural catheter had come disconnected and the student anesthetist hadn't checked the connection before giving me more medication when I complained of the pain returning. All the medication had gone into the bed rather than my back.
So, I labored naturally at home, had an epidural while I went through the last stage of labor, and finally pushed and had a natural birth with all the feeling and determination that comes with it. Not many get to say they were both medicated and did it naturally during the same birthing process, but I can.
In all the pain and horror that labor can be none of it matters, because I have my Emily.