Final stop in Laborland

Here we are epidural was placed and I was watching the clock for 11:00pm to hit because BYE AWFUL NURSE….

I should have on an epidural high once that thing was in. Ha! By this point my hormones had taken over completely and I was shaking uncontrollably. My teeth were chattering and my bones were trembling. The epidural was horrible. I was ready to kick my nurse in her teeth… or, well, just out of the room.

Before I had the chance to completely lose it with my nurse, it was shift change. Guess who walked in? ASHLEY!!!!! I could have wrapped my arms around her and cried I was so excited to see her. The excitement of seeing Ashley made all the drama with my nurse go away. We chatted about the wedding she went to and I complimented her on her adorable wedding hair style. I kept telling her how sorry I was and how exhausted she must be. She finally told me that she was pregnant too and we bonded even more about her pregnancy. I asked her a million questions about her experience, her hopes and fears, and her plans for delivery. It took my mind off of the chaos that happened earlier that night. Ashley was back and that’s what mattered.

All night long I was having a really hard time. My anesthesiologist came back in because I was complaining about the epidural. When my midwife came in a few minutes later she basically laid into the anesthesiologist for not giving me more medicine. Apparently she gave me the lowest dose and my midwife was not happy. My cervix and uterus were still on two different planets and the baby was still very high (station -3). I was required to “labor down” all night. They put me in a variety of funky positions including stuffing a peanut ball between my legs. At this point I HAD IT. I was SO done. My patience was gone. I was in pain. I was exhausted. And I was trembling uncontrollably and I was absolutely terrified. The medical team was attributing the shaking to hormones but they kept taking my temperature to make sure I wasn’t getting an infection.

I made them get rid of the peanut ball and let me use pillows and stirrups instead. This was not at all the experience I had prepared for in my mind and everything seemed so overwhelming. I also expected once I had the epidural that I would just “go to sleep” as so many women told me happened to them once they got the epidural. This was not the case. I had been awake (with the exception of a few short naps sponsored by morphine) since Friday early morning when I stated work. I was so frustrated and beyond freaked out. I was asking a million questions and worried that things were starting to go haywire. I simply couldn’t relax. I wanted to get up out of bed but they wouldn’t let me. I was only “numb” (eye roll) from the bottom of my rib cage to the top of my hip bone. I could have easily walked. I had a catheter inserted and winced the entire time they inserted it even though they said I wouldn’t feel it. Ashley finally removed it because I had full bladder control. I let her know when I need to pee and in goes the catheter again. Each time they told me to get in a new position I flipped myself over in bed before they had a chance to help me. That epidural experience everyone told me about…. not my experience!

My midwife finally ordered more medicine and I was pushing the epidural button as often as I could. Bring on the saline. Bring on all of the things. I felt like a lab rat…

My memories of Saturday night are so blurry. My doulas notes go like this:

-1:54am 7cm

-4:02am 8cm 100% effaced and between station -1 and-2

Sometime around 5:00am I had the urge (doesn’t even seem like strong enough word) to push. IT WAS SO STRONG. And so primal. I literally couldn’t stop it. The only thing I can compare it to was needing to vomit. It is that uncontrollable. I begged my medical staff to let me push. They explained to me that I couldn’t because I wasn’t dilated enough and the baby’s head would swell my cervix.

THIS WAS HORRIBLE. I couldn’t help myself and every time the contraction came I begged, cried, pleaded… PLEASE let me push. Check me! I have to be far enough! LET ME PUSH.

Eventually the pushing feeling passed (more drugs for the lab rat) and I went to sleep. Not real sleep, I was listening to my doula and Michael chat about ministry, about our journey, about all we’ve been through in the past few years, how we met, and about our daughter. They shared stories of childhood and bonded over our common beliefs around parenting and our faith. It was so awesome to listen to their conversation. At one point I told them I was listening. It was such a beautiful intimate conversation I felt creepy if I didn’t announce my presence. I finally felt peaceful. And relaxed. And although I was contorted around the bed stirrups with my legs going in opposite directions and hoping for that baby to drop lower… I felt at peace.

At 7:00am I was sleeping and Ashley came in. She told me she was leaving and introduced me to my new nurse Erin. I nodded to let her know I understood and she said, “Megan, do you understand? I want you to wake up and listen to me… I’m leaving. you’re going to love Erin. But I’m leaving You’ll be ok!” She knew I had a special bond with her especially after that horrible night I experienced in her care. When I eventually woke up I was so glad that she took extra time to make sure I knew she wasn’t going to be there for delivery.

Turns out I loved Erin just as much as I loved Ashley. She was amazing.. but I’m more on that to come!

My midwife came in and told me I would start pushing at 8. It wasn’t until closer to 9am that I started pushing.

Before I started pushing I asked michael to pray for us. He held back tears (all of us did) as he said the sweetest prayer thanking God for getting us this far, for safety, and for our beautiful girl. It was one of the most special moments of my life.

Pushing was the weirdest thing. I did not have the urge to push. My midwife came in and we causally chatted and she said “okay Megan lets have a baby!”… ummmm, what? Just like that… push her out? I don’t have to push. I begged you for 2 and a half hours to let me push.. and now you’re just like.. push? WHAT?

Okay. So they prepped the room up. Turned the lights on full blast and rolled in a cart of medical supplies. My midwife was dressed in her delivery gear. Michael was on my right and my doula was on my left. Erin, my midwife, and my doula explained to me how to push. And there I went… pushing this baby out. I took off my sports bra because I wanted to be ready to nurse when Maryn came.

Pushing was HARD. HARD HARD HARD. I did not expect it to be so hard. I stared pushing her out from station -1 or -2. I had to rely on the monitor to show me when the contraction was strong enough to push because my epidural was whack.

About an hour into pushing somebody came in the room and pulled my midwife aside. I could hear the conversation They said that another one of her patience had arrived and was ready to deliver. She was 10cm and the baby was crowning. HOLY. CRAP. My midwife ripped her gloves off, left the room, and Erin coached me through pushing. I made the most progress under Erin’s coaching. She let me steer the ship and listened to me as I explained to her what my body was telling me. I finally got in tune with what my body was doing and was able to get the baby farther down.

My epidural was wearing off and I could feel contractions again.

I was also in a lot of pain as she made her way down lower into the birth canal. I was still only numb from my ribs to my hips.

A few minutes later my midwife came back in. WHAT THE WHAT?!? I was so annoyed that that woman had her baby so fast… ugh! Haha…

I kept using the sheet to wipe sweat from my neck…. oh was I sweaty! My midwife kept telling me to get the sheet away from my face. I told her I needed it to wipe the sweat away. I was so far in Laborland that I needed everyone to stop talking so I could focus. I remember being so annoyed each time somebody said something but the only person I said “shh” to was Michael. I wanted so badly to “shh” everyone else but I knew better than to be rude to the people who were providing me with medical attention.

At one point my midwife asked for a hook. She had to break my bag of waters. I was so weirded out by this because my water already broke! She explained that there are two bags and often they both break but the position baby was in I had to have the other one broken for me. Crazy!

It was finally happening. I could feel the baby coming out. My midwife said, “Megan, listen to me very carefully… this is a big baby. When her head comes out you need to keep pushing. It’s going to be hard Megan do you understand that?” I vigorously shook my head to indicate YES I GET IT. ILL DO IT! I GOT IT! “Megan when I tell you to push you DON’T STOP!!! You need to get her head and shoulders out in one push do you get it?” YES LET’S GO! She explained Maryn would get stuck if I didn’t do what she said. I was confident I could do it. Everyone was doubting that Maryn girl was big. We were all talking about how big we thought she would be. My midwife said 9lbs, I said no bigger than 7.5 and Erin my nurse said about 7 as well. “Look at her she’s still tiny.. where would a 9lb baby be?” She said. My doula agreed. Michael kept his mouth shut because he has already been told to be quiet. (Sorry M!)

It’s important to understand the chaos that happened a few weeks before my due date. My midwife was worried about Maryns size and the age of my placenta. A few weeks before I was due, I ended up in the hospital to have an ultrasound. I wasn’t gaining lots of weight (23 lbs total by birth) and my placenta was showing signs of age. They were worried about her size and my fluid levels. My belly was messing 2 weeks behind my whole pregnancy. When I got the results back from he ultrasound everyone was shocked. Maryn girl was estimated to be 8.5lbs and my fluid levels were a 12 (5 is considered a good amount with the weeks calculation I was). My weight gain was all baby (and lost muscle that changed into baby weight). I was skeptical with their calculations and still thought I would have a 7lb (max) girl.

By the time I felt her coming out my midwife gave me a cut off of 3 more pushes before I was going to the OR. They called NICU and in they came. I had Maryn girl out in 5 HARD AS HECK pushes including her head and shoulders all in one. It was the coolest feeling to have her head and shoulders come out. Her head, hurt SO BAS but once her shoulders came out it was an awesome feeling. I saw my belly completely deflate like a balloon. I will never forget that feeling or the way my belly looked as soon as she came out.

10:57am my lady was born!

When she finally came EVERYONE in the room was shocked at how big she was. I heard a cry. And my heart dropped. I knew what that cry meant.

Michael was incredibly emotional and rubbed my head and gave me a kiss and told me how proud he was. He was so supportive during the entire process and told me over and over again what a great job I did.

They handed her to NICU and they started working on her right away. There was tons of commotion in the room as people were working on her, my midwife was telling Michael to cut the cord, and my doula was telling me to talk to Maryn. “She knows your voice Megan, talk to her!” I could barely talk but the first thing I said was, “Thank you Jesus!” and, “Holy crap that was AWFUL!” I also asked if she was a girl because I had a dream that she was a boy. Everyone in the room started cracking up. “YES SHES A GIRL” they all chimed in.

I wanted to see Maryn so badly but I didn’t want her to be away from NICU. I knew they were the best ones to have her at the time. I knew she needed to be under their care. I still thought they would hand her to me in a few minutes. While NICU was working on her in the room everyone kept telling me how beautiful she is. Michael took some pictures of her and showed me. I kept asking them to tell me what she was doing. They told me she had a CPap machine on her and explained that they wouldn’t give her oxygen because it would hurt her. My midwife told me to push out my placenta and as weird as this might seem it was such a soothing feeling on my lady parts. My doula called the placenta lady to come pick it up for encapsulation. It was probably 20 minutes that the NICU team was working on Maryn in the room when finally a nurse came over to talk to me. She explained that they were going to let me hold her, but that they had to take her to the NICU to monitor her lungs and do few other things. It was very scary to hear. Everyone assured me that it seemed NICU was just being overly cautious because her coloring looked beautiful and she was responding really well. The only concern I had was that Michael got to go with her. “ABSOLUTELY!” They assured me, and that was all that mattered.

One of the nurses brought Maryn over to me and I was able to look into her eyes for the first time. What a beautiful little lady she is. Michael hugged us and kissed me and I told them to take her. I knew the longer I held her the longer it would be until she was back in my arms for good. I knew that the longer I held her the more at risk her lungs were. “Please fix her and being her back to me”, I said.

Off they went.

There I was… in a quiet room with my doula and my nurse Erin.

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