MacKenzie’s Birth Story – Part 4 (6 months later…)

Well hello!

I really hope I remember as many details as I thought I would.  Clearly, I never have time to blog, let alone do my hair or makeup anymore.  I’m happy to report my showering has become more consistent, so that’s cool.  I always told myself before that I would never let my appearance go down the tubes when I had a baby.  I thought it was a lame excuse to be lazy.  I WAS WRONG.  Now that I am back to work full-time, it’s a wonder how I am able to pack her up, drop her at the babysitter’s house, and get to work by 9.  You should see me packing up the car in the morning – it’s much like a circus act.  I’m glad our garage is in the alley so I only have to walk through our backyard.  The neighbors would get a show every single morning.  As long as my daughter is fed, clean, and dressed for the weather that day, it no longer matters if I am wearing a shirt that hasn’t been washed in a week, if there is crusty spit-up somewhere on me, or if my hair is in the same bun from the night before.  I’ve come to terms with it, and I am okay with it.  I think it will eventually get better.

Alright.  Onto the 4th installation of the birth story of Miss Mack:

Epidural was a success.  The scariest part was officially over (although at the time, I thought that the pushing part would be the scariest because I thought they let your epidural wear off).

So, it was about midnight or a little after.  The nurse suggested that I needed my rest and to try to sleep before the big morning ahead.  I decided to watch the Food Network for a little while (we love Chopped and pretty much anything on the channel).  I couldn’t concentrate, of course.

I was suddenly very thirsty.  Still no food – only ice chips.   The nurse came in to check the monitors a little while after they completed the epidural.  I asked in my nicest, kindest voice for a sprite or something bubbly.  She said, “Sure!  I think I can manage that for you” – and off she went.  She came back with a tiny Styrofoam cup of Sierra Mist with one of those bendy straws (good thing they were a Pepsi account).  I could not have been more excited.

Cut to 3 a.m. – Mike was working on his laptop while laying on the couch, and we had the lights dimmed so I could relax.  So I took a few sips of Sierra Mist and sat back to relax.  Ten minutes later, I started to feel nauseous FAST.  I look over at Mike who had fallen asleep on the couch that seemed like a mile away from my bed.  I start saying, “Babe” to try to get his attention.  “MICHAEL!” – still no response.  I know how tired he must have been.  Things weren’t getting any better, and I knew I was going to throw up.  So, I pressed my trusty “PAIN” button which alerted the nurse that I needed her ASAP.  She was probably like, “WTF, this girl is on an epidural – she feels nothing!”

Thankfully, they move incredibly fast at Community Hospital.  That, and there was only one other lady in labor on the floor.

She swooped in and I said, “I’m going to be sick – I can’t reach anything and I don’t want to puke on the floor!”  By then, trusty husband was awake.  “I told you they shouldn’t have given you the pop to drink!  Why did you insist on asking for pop?”  Hahaha, always my fault.  Oh well, it tasted great for those few sips.  And then I puked.  Good to know for next time:  Nothing after epidural.  Stuff face before going to hospital and hide cheeseburgers within reach.  Easy peasy.

After the pop debacle, I was able to sleep for a few hours, on and off.  The nurses were pretty kind to me and didn’t bother me too many times, since the baby monitors were all wireless (they have the monitor transferred to a big screen at the nurses station so they can constantly monitor baby and contractions).

I woke up at around 6 a.m. to get “checked” again.  This wasn’t as bad since I couldn’t feel anything.  I think I was 3 centimeters.  Nothing crazy.  Still feeling good from the epidural.  By then, our moms had called to say they were taking the day off and heading over to hang out – time kind of started to fly by at this point.

At some point, like 8 a.m. maybe, the nurse decided that I should put the giant “peanut” pillow between my legs to soften my cervix – or whatever.  It didn’t hurt or anything, just super awkward trying to talk to everyone, because they had to keep switching sides, so when I was on my left side, I was facing the other wall and talking over my shoulder to them.

My mom, brother, and Mike’s mom popped in and out, giving us our privacy.

My doctor stopped in again to check me – still around 8 a.m.  I asked how would I know when it was ready to push?!  And I said, “please don’t stop the epidural, I don’t want to feel anything!”  Luckily, it was on a drip, so it’s not like they would have to give me another one or it would randomly stop working if I had to push for too long.

My doctor’s famous words:  “When you feel like you have to poop – that’s when you’re ready to push!  I think you’ll have your baby in your arms by 11 a.m.”

At some point, I started to feel a little bit a pressure, but nothing that hurt at all.  Still hanging out with the moms and Mike.  I was starting to get anxious/ excited/ nervous since I still couldn’t believe I was about to become a mother – a whole month earlier than planned.

At about 10 a.m., I started to feel the urge – and it was getting closer and closer together – which I’m sure were the contractions.  I didn’t want to exclaim to the room that I really felt like I needed to poop, but the nurse happened to pop in to check on me.  I said, “Um, Dr. Uppulurri told me to let her know when I felt like I needed to go, so could you tell her please?”   She came into the room just a few minutes later, checked me, and said, “Whoa – you are completely ready to go, we are ready to push!”

That was the cue for the moms and my brother to hit the bricks.  They headed out to the labor and delivery lounge – seriously the fanciest lounge I have ever seen in a hospital.  Labor and Delivery is on the top floor of the hospital, so the lounge had one entire wall that were windows – so you could see the Chicago skyline while helping yourself to coffee or Pepsi.  They even had a tray of donuts/ danishes that were brought in daily.

After my doctor told me it was go-time, she must have put a call out to the entire hospital, because about 10 nurses/ doctors filed into the room and started opening cabinets that I didn’t even know existed and transforming the room for delivery.  She also told me that the NICU team would be there to make sure that her lungs were developed enough – that was her only real concern since she was 36 weeks.  That scared me a little, but for some reason, I had a good feeling that she was going to be okay.

So they turn on this super bright light above me, even though it was a sunny morning.  This light was TERRIBLE – it was the same one they turned on when I got my epidural.  When we were ready to go, I asked my doctor, “Um, would it be okay if we turned off the heating lamp above me?”  I’m sure she needs to see and everything, but I didn’t feel bad asking since she wasn’t about the stick a needle in my back.  My doctor said, “Of course!”  And she instructed one of the 10 nurses to turn it off.

Then she explained how we were going to approach the pushing.  She told me that the pressure I was feeling every 30 seconds or so were indeed contractions.  So when I start to feel the beginning of one, that is when I want to start pushing.  She said I could either determine it and say, “Okay!  I feel one coming on!” or I could ask them to tell me when to push.  Since I could feel the pressure so well, I told her I would make the call.  Then she explained the best positioning – i.e. where the best place was to put my hands to make sure I was getting the biggest bang for my buck when pushing (which was basically grabbing behind my knees and pulling towards me).

Then one of the nurses said, “Oh!  We forgot to bring the mirror down from the ceiling so you can see your baby being born!”  And I quickly stopped them and said, “NO NO NO, I don’t want to see, no mirrors, NO NO NO”  and we all had a good laugh.  I think people are nuts who want to see their baby coming out of their business.  To each her own, though.  I told Mike he wasn’t invited to see that either.  He was okay with that.

And then we were ready!  Mike was by my side.  Couldn’t hold his hand since I had them on my legs, but that was fine.  He was really supportive.  It was kind of funny to me.  I mean, you see these TV shows and movies with women giving birth and what you see there is really NOTHING like what actually goes on (in my situation, at least).  I know TV and movies are fake, but sometimes, that’s all you have to compare it to if you haven’t actually been present when someone else has given birth.  And those “real” movies we watched during birthing class were TERRIBLE – especially those who didn’t want the drugs.

First contraction started – and I said, “Okay, I think I feel one – can I push?” and she checked the monitor and confirmed that it was indeed a contraction, and then told me to go for it.  So I pushed for the duration of the contraction – maybe like 20 seconds?  Nothing crazy.  And then it was like I was in an alternate universe because in between contractions, everyone went back to chit-chatting.  My doctor and the other nurse were talking about some other lady who delivered the other day and didn’t want the drugs and was like a drill sergeant.  The other nurses were talking amongst themselves, and Mike and I were just making small talk.  Weirdest thing ever!  I thought once you started pushing, that was all that you did!  I only had a few short minutes between contractions, but it was still so weird.

I wasn’t dripping with sweat like I thought I would be, I wasn’t crying or screaming…which made me think that maybe it would be a long while before baby girl was ready.  WRONG.

MacKenzie’s Birth Story – Part 3 (Epidural Story Included)

So, I’m walking around all classy, leaking fluids, etc.  Oh, and by this time, Mike’s parents arrived to hang out.  Since I wasn’t having contractions, I didn’t really care who was in there – as long as they left the room when I had to get up to pee or be “checked” by the nurses or doctor for dilation.

Prior to arriving at the hospital to hang with us, my in-laws were drinking margaritas after a very stressful day of getting ready for and throwing my sister-in-law’s bridal shower.  They were celebrating that it was over.  And then Mike called them.  “Yeah, we’re at the hospital right now, Melissa’s water broke at Kim’s shower.”   And they promptly paid the bill and headed to the hospital.  Like they needed the extra stress a month early!  They walked in and I just started crying like a baby.  “It’s too early!  I’m so sorry!” – such a loser.  They are seriously the nicest people ever – I am so lucky to have married into their family.  I don’t hate them, like most people hate their in-laws.  We were all talking about food and  the fact that I couldn’t eat.  I sent Mike down with his dad so that he could eat without feeling bad sitting in front of me.  He was nice once he got back, saying that the food sucked.

Then I sent him home to get my toothbrush and face wash.  I also had big plans for him to pick me up some Italian Ice from Jodi’s.  He kept saying, “the nurses said no food!  only ice chips!”  So I fought him tooth and nail and even had his parents on my side.  End result:  I got Jodi’s Italian Ice.  The best lemon Italian Ice I have ever had.  It had pieces of lemon zest in it.  AMAZING.  By this point, I still had no drugs or anything because I still wasn’t feeling any contractions, even though they kept pushing the pitocin (and in larger quantities as it got later).  It was to the point where I was worried that they would have to do a C-section if things didn’t start progressing.  Well, things started to progress.  I’d like to blame the Italian ice instead of crediting the pitocin.

The in-laws stayed until about 7 p.m., when things started to get real.  I finally started to feel these mild “contractions” that everyone was speaking of.  It’s hard to explain what they felt like.  Not like a stabbing pain, but more of a slow dull pain that progressively got stronger.  Like bad menstrual cramps that would come in waves.   When they started to annoy me, I suggested walking around the floor, because I had heard good things about people “walking off” the labor pains.  Those people lied.  I got around the circle once and paused in front of my room.  Mike laughed as he said, “We’re done?!” so I humored him and walked around one more time.  After that, all bets were off.

At my last doctor’s appointment, which was the week before, I had asked how my doctor felt about epidurals.  She told me she was all for them, but that she warns all of her patients not to try to be rock-stars when it came to having it administered.  As in, don’t wait until the pain is absolutely unbearable if you plan to have the epidural, because it takes a full hour to prep your body for the procedure (they have to push a certain amount of fluids into your body before they can even start the procedure and schedule the anesthesiologist).  She certainly didn’t need to worry about me being a rock star.  Not even remotely interested.

At about 10 p.m., I was not happy with how the contractions were feeling and I was just plain tired.  No way was I going to go through another 12 hours of this bullshit as it got progressively worse.  Time to call in the druggie doctor.  I decided to prompt the nurse and hit the “pain” button on the little remote I had.  I knew they were about to have a shift change, and I didn’t want to mess around with updating the new nurse on anything.  “Yeahhhh, let’s go ahead and order the epidural, please”.  So she hooked up my IV with the special fluids and away we went.  It was a long hour, but contractions were not unbearable.  They were getting there, and I could imagine how terrible it would have been without pain meds.  No thanks!

Once all the fluids were in me (about an hour later), they started lighting up the room like Christmas.  It’s seriously amazing what they are able to hide in those rooms behind those cabinet doors.  Super bright light above my bed was turned on, and then they started opening all these secret compartments in the room with different tools and such for the epidural.  Right before midnight, low and behold, Dr. Brody comes in and introduces himself as the anesthesiologist.  The only reason I remember his name is because of Adam Brody and how intricate the show The OC was to my late teens/ early 20s.  Dude looked nothing like Adam Brody, though his voice was monotone/ nerdy to an extent.  The nurse asked me to sit up and turn to one side and drape my feet over the side of the bed.  At this point, I was visibly shaking.  I was terrified of getting stuck in the spine.  Plus, we just had birthing class the day before, and they explained how sometimes to epidurals don’t always work if they don’t stick you properly and then you end up feeling EVERYTHING, or they are a little off and only half of your body goes numb while the other half feels EVERYTHING.  So many things could go wrong.  Aside from possibly being paralyzed, you know.  So I was visibly shaking, and that is what Mike said freaked him out the most about the whole situation.  He was holding one of my hands, while the nurse was holding my other hand and talking me through what was happening.

The anesthesiologist started to make conversation, which I hate.  I know it’s fake, and they’re only doing it to try to “calm you” or whatever.  He said, “So, where are you from?” – when I responded with my hometown, he responded with, “that’s where my wife is originally from” and blurted out the actual address from memory.  Small world!  I still didn’t care – I was just thinking about how he was about to literally stab me in the back.  He explained each part of the process as he was about to complete it.  First, he washed my back down with a sponge.  Then, he said he was going to place some glue on my back to hold up the dressing thing that squared off where he would be putting in the catheter.  All fine things, but let’s get to the point.  It was about another 10 minutes of nonsense before he said, “Okay, I need you to push out your lower back, like you have really bad posture, and then you will feel a small sting from the needle”  Well, first off, I like to pride myself on my posture.  Second of all, bad posture is easiest to achieve in the top portion of your back.  Especially when you have a giant belly on the lower portion of your other side.  So it was hard for me to do, and I was getting frustrated.

The first try, I felt the needle and held still.  I felt the sting and still held still – thought that was it!  YAY!  Wrong.  I must not have been sticking out my lower back enough, because it didn’t work.  Tried again, visibly shaking more now!   Second prick.  Oh hey – bigger sting!  I jumped a little – more shifted.  The nurse scolded me in a nice way, “you have to be still” – well no shit, thanks for the update….have YOU been stuck in the spine before?  You look like you’re 16, so I’m going to guess no.  The doctor was pretty cool about it and didn’t seems frustrated with me.  Third time was a charm.  I still don’t know if the procedure requires them to stick you in several different places in your lower back or if he just had to do that because I wasn’t sitting right the first two times.  I didn’t care, because I started feeling the lovely sensation of drugs.  And everything was balanced, meaning I couldn’t feel BOTH of my feet by the time the doctor left the room.  The nurse had to help me get my feet back up on the bed.  AWESOME!!!   THIS IS WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR.  And then I was able to relax and enjoy the show, so to speak…