Go with the flow

Well it was a long and drawn out thing. I don’t think I could have expected any of it. We went in to the hospital Tuesday at 8pm. Cindy had been having contractions since Monday night at 10pm or so. By Wed at 1am the contractions were so strong and so regular that they just didn’t seem to stop at all, and Cindy was unable to deal with it. But she wasn’t really progressing. So they gave her a sedative so she could get some sleep, since she had already been awake for 24+ hours.

Wed morning, she started having irregular contractions again, but had not progressed while sleeping (which apparently happens a lot), so they started her on Pitosin to induce contractions at 10am. By 3pm, the pain was so bad again that she asked for pain relief. We had planned on her getting an injection in the hip as a last resort. But the baby at that point was asleep, and not doing any “accelerations” – in other words, she wasn’t kicking or moving about. So they could not give her an injection.

By 4pm she was screaming through the contractions and I was just about ready to lose it myself. The back labor was so intense that I was having to push both hands into her hips and back while she was standing, and doing the primal scream thing through each contraction. I have NEVER heard anything like that in my life. I was crying, she was screaming, the nurses were paging the stupid anethesiologist every 60 seconds, and it took him forever to show up and get an epidural started.

Fortunately that got her calmed down.

However, after that, during each contraction, the baby’s heart rate would drop, and then go back to normal after the contraction. And Cindy was not as far progressed as she should have been, only about 6cm. By 6pm the contractions were causing her pain again, the baby was still under stress, and so the doctor shut off the Pitosin and scheduled a c-section for 6:30.

While she was getting prepped in the OR, I was in the scrub room changing. When I got into the OR to hold her hand and talk to her, she was amazingly calm. They had put in a spinal block and all the pain was gone (and the feeling too)… but guess what? In the OR they found that the epidural needle had COME OUT DURING LABOR!!! So for probably an hour she had pain relief, and then it was gone again.

I did not watch the surgery, although I was invited to if I wanted. I could see the heads of the doctors behind the screen they put up. Once they got to the baby, I started to see our OB’s head and torso twisting back and forth. Little Lillian was apparently tightly wedged into Cindy’s pelvis. So tight, in fact, than she had a bruise on her forehead when she finally came out.

That was a pretty surreal experience. The baby was out and they took her immediately to the baby station with the heat lamps and the monitors, and I could see a vaugely red and squalling object. They had to give her some fluids because she looked dehydrated, but after that she was just fine.

However, at this point Cindy started to seriously get the shakes, which is apparently normal after a c-section birth, and it really started to freak us both out. She just got panicked and the anesthieologist had to give her some Demerol. We finally got to see and hold Lillian, and then I got to take her and walk down the hall to the nursery followed by the nurse with the baby station on wheels.

So I’m in the nursery, Lillian is back in the baby station getting her vitals measured, and I’m taking pictures and still not really comprehending what is going on. I think I must have been in shock, or perhaps the adrenalin of the last 8 hours had just worn off. The baby was crying but I wasn’t really able to process that.

The nurses wiped her off some more, got her weighed, and then brought a big fluffy bath towel from the towel warmer. They wrapped her up, she stopped crying in about 2 seconds, and 2 more later she was fast asleep. That’s when I got the pictures of her in a beige towel.

They handed her back to me and suddenly I was in a rocking chair, holding my sleeping daughter! That was the moment that I knew, when it all just came flooding in – this is my girl. We did this. This is what it’s all about.

Probably the best moment in the hospital is this picture, with Cindy and Lillian just a few minutes later.

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