Today is Rollie’s 7 week birthday and I finally have some time (thanks to Colin) to catch up on some blogging! This blog is about Rollie’s birth, and is more for me to remember it – so reader beware!
Because of my wonderful blood-clot disorder, Dr. Plotnick scheduled me to be induced on my due date, June 16. We had to check-in to the hospital the night before at 5pm. In an attempt to get things started, David and I stopped for a spicy Mexican dinner at Casa Alvarez on our way!
Once we were checked-in they started the process right away. I was given a ‘pill’ to start dilating my cervix. They said it usually takes about 2 hours for it to start working, but mild contractions started within a half-hour. I was hooked up to a monitor for the contractions and the baby’s heart-rate. It was actually a pretty fun evening. Bonnie and Jen (the doulas) stopped in to check on us and my parents came over to watch The Bachelorette since it was a Monday night! They gave me some Ambien so I’d be able to get some sleep for the night, then hopefully in the morning I’d be a little dilated and have some stronger contractions and things would move right along. The best-case-scenario is to have the dilation from the pill trigger contractions strong enough that I wouldn’t need to really be induced with Pitocin, which can be pretty brutal for labor.
Lucky me – I woke up from the contractions at 3am and was able to snooze off and on until 5am. By then the contractions were so strong that I couldn’t sleep anymore. This was just early labor, a regular person wouldn’t even be in the hospital yet, so I just tried to relax, read some magazines in the jetted tub (yes, Foothills is a badass hospital with jetted tubs and flatscreen TVs), and waited for David to wake up and for more contractions to come!
At 9am Dr. Plotnick arrived to break my water. This can sometimes trigger stronger contractions, but doesn’t usually work right away. They said if I didn’t have some stronger contractions in a few hours, they’d give me Pitocin. To break my water, they used some kind of crochet needle type thing that I didn’t want to see. Bonnie and Jen came to help me through it. I don’t remember that hurting too much, but it was just a scary thing. The L&D nurse, Cathy, had a student with her, at this point I wanted no extra people around, so she was outta there (randomly the L&D nurse had a student, Plotnick had a student, and Bonnie had Jen, her apprentice – so it was like a party in there). When my water broke, there was meconium in it, so they just needed to monitor me a little extra and make sure it didn’t hurt the bambino. And after that gush of fluids — not to worry, within 5 minutes I was in full-blown-active-labor with serious contractions. Ouch – really? This was some major pain. The Doulas stayed by my side (so did my hubby of course) and helped me breath through the contractions and helped me try different things to alleviate the pain. We tried walking laps around the hospital floor – no good, my legs wanted to buckle at each contraction. So, then we tried to soaking in the tub – no good, I made them get me out after sitting through one in the water (when I say they had to get me out of the tub, I mean it, I couldn’t move much by myself at this point, they literally lowered me in the tub and hoisted me out).
The pain was definitely more than anything I’ve ever experienced. The contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart. To make it through, I was doing some super-low-breathing-moany-sound. I felt like I was not myself, I was some weird animal-person or something. My parents came in to visit for a few minutes and I barely remember it because I was in some bizarro state-of-being. At some point they gave me Fentanyl, which is a narcotic 100 times more potent than Morphine. It was supposed to “take the edge off” but it just made me a little drunkish and have a hard time keeping my eyes open. It didn’t actually do much for the pain. Finally at about noon, I begged for an Epidural.
I was at 4cm dilated when I asked for the Epidural. They said it would take 15 minutes for the Epidural guy to get there. OMG – that was like a 3 more contractions, I honestly didn’t know how I would survive 15 more minutes of this. When he got there, the doulas had to hold me still because they contractions were coming and he couldn’t get the Epidural in if I moved at all. Once it was in, it starting working really fast. Oh sweet relief. The Epidural changed my life. I can’t imagine not having had it. Immediately I felt like myself again and could carry a conversation. I asked if I could take a nap and then basically passed out for 2 hours (while I napped David got some lunch and napped too). It was the difference between night and day when I got the Epidural. I can’t believe some people choose to endure that kind of pain, when you can take a nap instead. And YES, my teddy bear, Bernie, did come to the hospital with us!
I woke from my nap and the nurse was worried that the Epidural might have slowed down the labor because the monitor showed my contractions had gotten slower. So, they checked me and surprise, surprise – I was 9cm dilated. I had just slept through the hardest part of active labor. I went from 4cm to 9cm in 2 hours while I slept. They all said I was lucky I got the Epidural when I did because that would have been an excruciating 2 hours. Then they told me I’d be ready to push in one hour. Holy shit, one more hour and I was ready to push my baby out?!?! Scary and exciting.
During that one hour, the Epidural started to wear off on one side. I could feel my right side but not my left, so they let me ‘push the button’ and get another dose. That new dose only made my left side more numb but I could still feel my right side. They wouldn’t let me have any more and said it would be good to have some feeling so I could know when to push through the contractions. So, I went in to the push only half-numbed.
Push it, push it good. Push it, push it real good. It was time to push. It all seemed so civilized the doulas and L&D nurse were holding my legs up and helping me know when to push based on the monitor and my half-numb feelings. David was by my head – right where we both wanted him to be. Within a half-hour they saw the head and let me feel it and I was all excited that the baby would be out soon. I was pushing like crazy and they shifted me around in different positions trying to get things going faster. After about another 1.5 hours of pushing, I was starting to lose it. But again, they said they could see the head and asked if I wanted to touch it. But, WTF!?!! That meant nothing of progress to me since I already felt it 1.5 hours ago! I started getting worried that it had been 2 hours and I was still pushing with all my might, and totally exhausted, and in complete agony because the effects of the Epidural were long gone. This is when I started screaming for Dr. Plotnick and asking why wasn’t he there to check on me after 2 hours of pushing? Finally, they got him to come (I guess the doc only comes for the last 10 minutes, but I didn’t know that then!) and he suggested a new leg position and then we pushed some more. David was feeding me ice-chips in-between contractions. They were now 5-6 minutes apart which was awful because I just had to sit there in pain between them and wait for more pain to push through. Finally, they rolled in the cart. David knew this and I didn’t — he said when they roll in the cart with all the medical equipment, you know you are almost done. I was literally screaming in pain and begging them to find a way to “JUST GET THE BABY OUT” (like – don’t they have suction cups or forceps or something?). They reminded me that they couldn’t do it for me, I just had to keep pushing. I think I dropped my first F-bomb towards the end when a contraction was coming at the same time that the stupid blood-pressure monitor was squeezing my arm and I screamed at the top of my lungs “GET THIS FUCKING THING OFF ME!!!!!” and David ripped it off my arm and flung it out of the way. I think I even started hyper-ventilating a little — freaking out that it was never going to end. Bonnie had to keep telling me to stop looking at the clock. I was really at the end of my rope! It had been just too much for too long.
Finally, Dr. Plotnick offered me a way out. He said I could have an Episiotomy and probably get the baby out at the next push or push through a couple more contractions and see how it goes. HELL YES, I’ll take it. And ta-da, the next push, there he was. It was 6:32pm on Tuesday, June 16th and Robert Oliver was born. I was so exhausted. I was in active labor from 9am to 6:32pm. When he came out, they put him up on my chest but he was upside-down so the first thing I saw of my beautiful baby boy was his cute little bottom. Then they turned him around and there he was – little baby Rollie staring up at me.
David was amazing through the entire labor. He rubbed my back, my head, fed me ice chips, encouraged me, loved me, and kept me sane (well, as sane as I could be at the time). I could not have done this without him. We made a pretty awesome team. Go Team Cohen!
And he is already getting so big! Here he is at 8 days and then more recently, 6 weeks old!