I asked for the Epidural at about 11:30pm (very rough estimate, I was a little busy and not really paying attention to the clock) and the nurse ran out to notify the team. I felt disappointed that I hadn’t been able to stick it out, that I gave up so quickly. It had only been two hours and I was already throwing in the towel. But I also felt a tiny bit of relief. Shelby was definitely relieved that I was going to be getting medical assistance with pain and that reset the tone of the room at a notch or two lower. In any case, once I had made the decision, the Epidural guy couldn’t get there fast enough.
They sat me up all hunched over at the side of the bed. The guy started explaining what he was doing, showing me what he was using and then asking me a bunch of questions, inquiring about my sciatica. In regular life, I have sciatica on my left side. It was pretty regular and intrusive until I started Yoga, but then it started up again when I got deep into pregnancy. Then at some point, it switched sides. I had no symptoms on the left side but had pretty significant problems on the right side. I tried explaining this but found it difficult to concentrate on the words and make anything but moans and shrieks come out as I was contracting just about the whole time my back was being prepped.
It took about 20 minutes for the guy to arrive, administer the Epidural and get me lying on my left side. Then everyone but Shelby left the room and my left hip started burning. It scared me. I could still feel contractions in my belly though they weren’t as strong. I freaked out. I started thrashing and screaming that something was wrong with my hip. I was terrified that something went wrong with the epidural, that I had screwed up the explanation about my sciatica and something got nicked. Shelby was trying to calm me, trying to catch everything I was thrashing off the bed, and trying to get the nurses to figure out what went wrong.
Turns out nothing was wrong. In the 20-30 minutes between asking for the epidural and the unspeakable hip pain, I progressed the last 4 cm. I was fully dilated and ready to push. I won’t know if my body did it on it’s own or if the epidural helped me relax enough. Knowing that it could possibly have only been those last 20 minutes and not 4-6 hours makes me feel like an even bigger wuss. I made the best decision I could with the information I had and I try to hold on to that, but I still regret it.
I started pushing at Midnight. Luckily, despite being fully epiduralized I was able to deliver my baby without any other medical intervention. No forceps, no vacuum, no emergency C-Section or medications. I pushed for 1 hour and 24 minutes and delivered Hannah Beatrice (honey bee) at 1:24am.
Shelby followed the baby to the small room in our delivery suite to watch as she was cleaned and weighed. I was stuck in the bed because of the lack of control over my legs. The next few minutes went by so much faster than anything I’ve ever experienced. They collected my cord blood for donation. I had several people talking to me at once, asking me to push the placenta, giving me instructions for skin to skin, providing statistics on the baby, giving me text updates from the family. Those few minutes were more stressful than the whole pregnancy and delivery combined. But then they put my baby in my arms and everything else disappeared.
She just was. She just is. Life has always been this way. Though we are still figuring each other out, still piecing together how our new family works, still learning what cries mean and wondering when the routine will settle in, it just seemed immediately that she has always been a part of us. Adding her to my preparations, to my checklist when leaving the delivery room to head to recovery room, to my thoughts and considerations was seamless.
She drives me bonkers. Our current sleep/feeding schedule is incompatible with returning to work, but I’m trying not to think about that now. I feel useless most of the time. I am usually feeding her on the couch in the living room, holding her sleeping body on my chest after she feeds, gently placing her in her bassinet only to startle her and have her wake either crying or being so ludicrously cute I can’t leave her. Aside from the few short hours each night I spend in the bed or rocker upstairs, I live in this room. It is so against my nature. I am not stay at home material.