The hospital policy on admittance was to do a cervical check and then let you walk for about an hour to see how you progressed before admitting a patient. I was a little disappointed when the initial cervix check came back as 2cm and only 50% effaced. I just wanted to head home and mope. But after they got me on the wireless monitor and I set out walking, I calmed down a bit. I got into a groove of focusing through the contraction pain and I was so soothed having Derek and Rochelle right next to me rather than listening to Derek snore.
About 2 hours later they finally got around to checking me again. 4cm and 80% effaced. Woohoo! The doctor admitted me and we rejoiced in knowing that a baby would be joining our family that day.
My nurse Debbie was amazing. She overlooked me eating jello and popcicles and encouraged me to drink water (all things that anesthesia go crazy over for the “just in case” scenario). She tenderly applied my dreaded hep lock (the one concession I was still pretty hostile over.. and postponed at least 3 times). And when she and Rochelle talked about my crazy focus during contractions and I quoted 2 Corinthians 12:9, Debbie quoted scripture back. I felt very safe with my labor team, even though my least favorite doctor in the practice was the doctor on call.
So the next few hours (8-12ish), I knitted, snacked on some jello, breathed on through the contractions, and got seriously annoyed with all the forms and speeches people had to give me during contractions. Time seemed fluid, measured only in the moments of rest between focused contractions.
At noon, I got out of bed to use the restroom and decided to sit on the couch for a bit and play cards with Derek. Suddenly nurses and nurse coordinators and a few other people swarmed my room. They had seen some apparent decels with the baby’s heart rate. Little one had moved off the monitor and my upright position made is so that the monitors were picking up my heart rate. To the nurses, it looked like the heart rate had dropped from 140 to 63 in the middle of a contraction. They hustled me to the bed, made me lie down on my left side (insert triple the amount of painful contractions!), and hurriedly tried to find his heart tones again. I remember squeezing Rochelle’s hand in terror knowing the baby was okay (I could feel him!) and struggling to cope with the pain lying down. The doctor walked in and I knew this was the defining moment of my VBAC. If he saw this incident as decels… I was going to be wheeled into the OR that instance.
He reviewed my contraction patterns and calmly requested to check my cervix. I was 8cm, fully effaced, 0 station. He shrugged off the ‘crisis’ and wished me luck as I entered transition. Praise God!
Derek left the room to eat, knowing the baby would be here soon and he didn’t need to have low blood sugar. I started to doubt my decision to go all-natural. So far, outside of the crisis, labor had been rather uneventful and not nearly as painful as I had been led to believe. But I knew transition and pushing were ahead of me… I asked Rochelle to describe what was coming up. I knew this was the turning point. If I didn’t get the epidural now… I wouldn’t be able to get it when I was pushing.
Derek came back after having eaten his Hot Pockets and I made him brush his teeth. I was so hungry… I couldn’t handle the thought of food and I knew eating now would probably make me nauseous. The contraction tempo started to change. They were still 3-5 minutes apart but the first one would be pretty easy while the second one would be long and monsterous. Little one was still trying to dodge the heart monitor so every so often we’d have to move that monitor to find him again.
And then came the overwhelming urge to use all my stomache muscles to bear down during a contraction. I triumphantly called out that I had the urge to push! Debbie checked me, called the doctor, and I was given the okay to push.
Pushing was hard. I didn’t want to move from my back. Derek and Rochelle held my legs, but I just couldn’t open up and surrender. My focus on His Grace was being lost. Rochelle held that baby heart monitor in the one place that it would pick up his heartbeat for almost 2 hours as I unsuccessfully pushed in that position. She was amazing. Derek held my hand and told me over and over how proud he was. I was feeling pretty great about what was going on until my sweet nurse Debbie walked in and turned on me (or so I thought).
Debbie stood at the foot of the bed and demanded that I get up and pee to empty my bladder and clear up some room for that baby. I told her I couldn’t. She put her hands firmly on her hips and told me that I would. She said “Honey, if you don’t get out of that bed, change positions, and get serious about pushing that baby out, then, we’ll have to cut it out.” I could have thrown my hospital bed at her I was so ticked. I squared my jaw and waited through two really hard contractions stifling the urge to push before waddling my tail to the bathroom just to defy Debbie.
There was no urine in there. But a monster contraction hit while I sat. Derek squatted in front of me whispering encouragement and I couldn’t help but push hard. Suddenly, my water broke. The relief was immediate. Debbie tried to hustle me back to bed, but I sat and pushed through at least one more contraction.
I crawled up on the bed finally and assumed a sort of crouching lion position, just trying to rest. Another massive contraction began and Debbie went out of the room. I arched my back and pushed hard. I felt the ring of fire; I felt the skin stretch.
“I’m crowning!” I yelled. I’m not even sure the nurses got there to guide baby to the bed as I pushed that baby out below me. Little one plopped down below and I could only see the bottom parts.
“It’s a boy.” I said in quizzical amazement as all contractions subsided. I heard him crying and the commotion of Derek cutting the cord. The doctor finally arrived and they flipped me over and stitched me up as I held Rochelle’s hand and watched Derek and the nurses with my son. Sweet Debbie stood over me and massaged my tummy to respect my request not to have pitocin. I smiled up at her grateful for her tough love c-section speech.
I finally got to hold my strong little boy with his double 9 apgar scores.
Welcome to our home, Sedryn Justice Colton!
Thank you, Lord, for so much of your grace in this process.