OK, So I am now positive that I am in labor. I had been trying to convince myself that was not having this baby a month early. I was relieved that my husband was no longer in New York, but I was fairly stressed that he was still three hours away. Evidently, I was pretty certain that I was in labor during the dinner with my parents. My dad later reminded me that I came back from the restroom and said, “I think I’m in labor”. The funny thing is that I don’t remember saying it. I only remember spending every extra minute staring at my watch and trying to find some consistency to the back pain. I finally found that if I completely ignored the trembling in my legs, I could basically time the pain. I was no longer in denial about being in labor, but I remained horrified that my water broke and did not come out. I worried about my little girl and wondered why she just would not move.
Well, it was now a little after 11:00 pm and my back labor was in full swing. I had only been in labor about 8 hours and the average (duration of labor) for the women in my family was around 20 hours; I still had a long way to go and it really hurt! When the contractions would hit, I could not breathe and the trembling in my legs only got worse. I was shaking so hard that the sheets were just jumping on my legs. The nurse came in because some alarm was going off. She looked at the machine and then looked at me shaking and said that she was calling the doctor. I was very scared but extremely calm. My dad popped his head in at midnight and said, “Well baby, this is it! I have to get up at 5:00 am, so I am going to go home and get some sleep. Call me if you need me. Good Luck!” A tear slid down my face when he left. This was all getting very real!
At 12:30 a.m. a doctor, whom I knew from Dr. D’s office, walked in my room. He said that I was still not very dilated, but that I should call my husband. He was looking at my monitor and he was not smiling. The fetal monitor kept going off, but no one was telling me anything. My mom picked up the phone and called my husband, who was sound asleep. She said, “Well son, it looks like this is happening. The doctor wants you to come now!” Mom handed me the phone and I said, “I know you are sleep deprived and jet lagged; please be careful! Oh, and I need you to bring the suitcase that is sitting in my closet. Oh, wait! Don’t forget to bring the car seat!” He then says, “OK, I just need to take a quick shower. I need to wake up, and then I’m on my way!” We hang up and I tell mom that I am very worried about him driving. “He is so sleepy and it is raining! I need him alive! I can do this without him. I don’t need the additional stress of worrying about him right now!” My mom said, “Honey, he will be fine! He needs to be here!” I said “You know that I want him here, but things have a tendency of not working out the way I planned. I already know I could have this baby before he gets here!”
A nurse walked in and said that the doctor ordered some pain medicine for me, but I refused to take it. I told her that I wanted to be completely alert since my husband was not here. I remembered our friend telling us that the pain meds knocked her out while giving birth. She and her husband said that the nurses would have to wake her up to push and then she would literally pass back out. That was my worst nightmare right now. I needed to know what was going on! My mom tried to help by saying, “you can easily have this baby without drugs. Look how far you’ve already come. I’m impressed!” But all I could say was “This sucks!”
My pain was becoming more constant. There was very little break between the agonizing back pain and the shaking in my legs, so I assumed that the contractions were getting closer. They had the fetal monitor turned so that I could not see it, but it kept going off. The alarm would ring and a nurse would come in and say “Where is dad? Is he here yet?” I would say no. My husband called at 3:00 am and said that he was still about 45 minutes away. He said it was pouring rain and he was driving as fast as he could, but the storm was terrible. I thought, “Great! Could this get any worse?”
The nurses are running in every few minutes to stop the alarm. My doctor is standing in my room around 4:00 am. I see his face and I know that there is a problem. He has already told me that I was not dilating and I knew that I was having a C-section. He then says, “Look Jennifer, we can’t wait much longer. The longer we wait, there is more risk to you and the baby. I am sending in the anesthesiologist to talk to you.” The anesthesiologist asks me some questions that I now can’t remember. It was all turning into one big blur. The anesthesiologist walks out of the room, and my husband walks in. I let out a sigh of relief and said “Glad you made it!” The nurse runs in and says “Is this dad?” I nodded, and she told him that they are moving me to the operating room. She brought in some weird paper jumpsuit for him to put on. She said “You are pretty big. This is the biggest one I could find”. He put it over his clothes and it ripped in three places. He looked very funny, but my sense of humor was now gone. They wheeled me past him. I looked back. I tried to smile and then said, “Here we go!”
They took me in the OR for the epidural. Now my entire body was shaking, probably from pain, fear, and exhaustion. I looked over and saw my doctor sitting on a chair. He was bent down and breathing deeply. He was concentrating so hard, you could almost see the thoughts running through his head. My husband was a former athlete, so I recognized this. He was “getting in the zone” and I was happy to see that he was taking this seriously. Go doctor, Go!
Things were staring to move very quickly. The nurses were talking to me, but I hardly noticed what they were saying. I only noticed that they had looks of sympathy on their faces. I even heard one say, “Poor thing” while she shook her head. I did not know if they were saying this because of how hard my legs were shaking, or because I had been waiting for my husband to arrive. I hoped they were not saying this because they knew that my baby was in trouble. I was now officially scared, and just wanted to have this baby.
Having a C-section is definitely not pretty. They lay you on the table, completely exposed for the world to see. I remember my husband’s face when he walked in and saw me lying on the table. I was just lying there, basically nude and really shaking, while the anesthesiologist hooked me up. My husband tried to smile at me, but I could tell that he was a little worried too. They barely put up a barrier before the surgery started. I could see everything, but my actual belly. My husband could see everything that they were doing; he could even see them cut my stomach. Things seemed to be rushed and the pain medicine had not really taken effect, because the surgery was pretty painful. My husband said that when the doctor made the cut and was reaching for the baby, there was a huge gush of fluid that shot up and out. Then, immediately after the fluid, he saw a baby’s hand sticking out of my stomach. The doctor reached for the baby and then said, “Did you guys just see that? That baby is trying to get away from me!” My baby was trying to wiggle away from the doctor. I could feel all of this weird pressure and movement in my stomach and I just wanted it to stop. I kept thinking, “Just get the baby out – Please!”
Finally the doctor said, “I got her!” My husband smiled at me and said, “There she is!” “Is she OK? Is she OK?” I kept asking. I wanted to hear my baby scream, but there was a long pause followed by a tiny little cry. Very soon, a nurse took her to a table beside us. I could see four nurses surrounding her, but that was it. My doctor kept looking back over his shoulder at the table. He asked the nurse the baby’s gestational age and a few other questions. My baby made a few more sounds. The nurses brought her over so that I could kiss her head and they said they were taking her to the nursery.
They took me to recovery, and my husband was right beside me. I was exhausted from being up all night and worrying about the arrival of the baby (and my husband). The only thing separating the beds (in the recovery room) were long curtains. From the next bed over, all you could hear was crying and yelling. It sounded like a very young girl and she just kept screaming “It hurts!” Her mom was talking loudly into her cell phone and informing the family that her daughter and the baby were fine. Finally a nurse went over there and told the girl that she had to stop screaming. The nurse said, “Honey, you are just fine! The other women in here went through the same thing. You and your baby are fine! You really need to quiet down so people can rest!” Evidently the girls’ screaming was wearing on everyone, even the nurses.
I was in there for about an hour before the nurse told me that my daughter was stable, but was in the neonatal intensive care unit. I had a feeling that something had been wrong, but it was horrible actually hearing those words. They said that she was currently doing well, but had turned blue and stopped breathing. They told me that when I was well enough to go to my room, they would wheel me through the NICU to see her. They told me I could leave recovery, only when I could move my legs and wiggle my toes. I tried so hard to move them. I kept asking my husband if they were moving, but it took a while. I kept telling him to leave me there and go check on our daughter, but he would not leave me. He kept telling me to focus on moving my legs. “You can do it”, he kept saying.
Finally I had some movement in my legs and toes. They left me on the bed and wheeled the entire thing out of recovery and onto an elevator. We finally reached the NICU and I got my first good look at my baby girl. She was hooked up to these tiny little electrodes and IV’s. Her monitor was making these awful noises and it was buzzing. The nurse said, “Don’t watch the monitor; only watch your baby!” I asked if she was OK and the nurse nodded. She wheeled us back out and told my husband how to get back down to the NICU since my room was not in the maternity area, but on a surgical floor. We got to my hospital room and my mom was waiting to hear the news, but I just burst into tears. The birth of our daughter did not go quite as planned, but we were still very lucky. My little girl has been a fighter from the moment she was born and, it is obvious now that, she always will be! P.S. Back Labor REALLY Sucks!