I shared the first half of this story a couple days ago (you can read that part here) and I didn't intend on stopping in the middle, but it was turning too long as I relived every moment of that day! So...after my parents trying to gently advise me to go on into the hospital, and our blizzardy contraction-filled drive with me shouting hilarious-to-me-now things at my husband:
We arrive at the hospital and I waddle as best I can into the entrance, and rapidly start having another contraction. They're about 2 or 3 minutes apart at this point, and so unbelievably painful...they say with each child the contractions are worse, and man, did I believe it at this point. They bundle me into a wheelchair and push me quickly down the hall and into the elevator, with M running to throw the car keys at the maternity valet (such an amazing amenity!) and quickly reach us in time to scoot into the same elevator. We are wheeled onto the maternity ward and I'm sat in a little temporary bay with a curtain pulled for privacy (because that's going to keep the sounds of my hollering in, of course..) and a lovely nurse arrives and starts asking me admitting questions. M has to take over at this point because by the time she finishes a question and needs an answer, I'm in the throes of another contraction and cannot speak coherently. Another nurse arrives and tries to insert an IV cannula into my left forearm and as I contract in the middle of it, I jerk and the needle collapses my vein...! (I'd say it hurt but I wasn't really thinking of it at the time. It was one of the most painful parts of my recovery though...I had a huuuuge swollen purple bruise of all the released blood under the skin of my forearm and it took ages for it to go away. OUCH.) Now they are wrapping my belly in tapes to measure the contractions on a machine, and the baby's heart rate (all of these are new things as I had a completely natural, largely unmonitored, birth the first time) and then the quick exam to check out the dilation story.
The on-call doc from my OB practice arrives all calm and cool in the middle of this, introduces himself and very nonchalantly asks how things are going. We try to have a conversation, and they advise him that I'm ONLY THREE CM DILATED. ??????!!!! I want so badly to just kick the nurse who said that...stopped only by my inability to control my body parts because of the contractions and pain. When I was in labor with Bug for what felt like months, every time they checked me, I was 3 cm and it never progressed - not until they finally broke my waters. I say this to the Dr and he says that technically I'm not 39 weeks yet and until that point (tomorrow) they can't "interfere" aka break my waters for me. He says it seems clear that I'm fully in labor as my contractions are so frequent and given that it's 6:30pm, they might as well admit me and monitor my contractions; if midnight rolls around and nothing has happened on its own, they can step in and try to help things along. The nurse asks me for the 2nd time if I want an epidural or any kind of pain relief. She is quick to say that I don't have to, it's up to me, but if I want it to, be sure to let them know as it can take time to organize and get relief from. The whole time we were driving to the hospital and going through the admittance process I was having the stupid debate in my head and trying to ask M what I should do - I didn't have it with Bug and I kind of preferred not to have it again, but I could not bear the thought of another 20 hours of this unbearable pain every 2 or 3 minutes. (Still absolutely convinced it would happen exactly like the 1st time!) So I finally said, yes, please, I'd really like an epidural. Please. Now. Like NOW. It's roughly 6:50pm at this point.
I'm rolled along on the gurney with M walking beside me and we're placed in a nice, albeit very bright and medical-looking, room. It's a private room, thankfully, but that's such a misnomer because there are 2 or 3 nurses in with us, arranging the bed and shifting equipment out of the way or closer to me, checking the belly tapes, asking a question here or there. I'm in agony and asking how long til the epidural person comes. M is trying to help me breathe through the contractions and I'm useless - for some reason these ones seem so much more intense and all-encompassing than the ones I had with Bug. I am outright screaming through these, and squeezing all of the bones out of poor M's hand. At one point I hear him saying shhhhh to me and I snap at him not to tell me to shush! And as the nurses try to hide their grins he tries to explain he wasn't saying shush he was just trying to coach me to breathe properly (oops).
A young man arrives and tells me he's there to place the epidural and I think, oh thank GOD. He spends some time setting up his tools and things on a tray next to the bed and chatting away - I'm basically ignoring him as I suffer through these awful pains - and a cheery nurse who has been also coaching me to breathe through the contractions helps me sit up and drop my feet over the side of the hospital bed. The anesthesiologist tells me all of the steps he needs to take and what each step will entail and I'm just begging him in my head to just flippin' DO it already, I don't need the play-by-play, I don't WANT to know when the needle will be going into my spine, just GIVE ME SOME RELIEF. They ask me to curl my spine, basically hunching over my knees, and push my back into the needle (yep, that seems possible during all this). I feel crazy, crazy pressure in my abdomen. He told me I'd feel a bit of pressure but this seems like way too much so I start to say something and then all of a sudden I feel like I absolutely must go to the bathroom. Like, NOW. I try to hold it because he's still puttering around behind me and I know I can't get into the loo right now and I'm having all these panicked and utterly insane thoughts, like how can I go to the bathroom when I'm in the middle of labor, what if the baby pops out too...!?
An older, calmer man wanders into my room - apparently to check on the young anesthesiologist. I finally say something to the nurse - I tell her I feel like I need to go to the bathroom really, really badly, and she stops and blinks at me, and says that they ought to check my cervix. She calls another nurse into the room, the anesthesiologist stops what he's doing behind me and I'm laid back on the bed for a quick check - she surprisedly says well you're definitely 10cm now and you can push any time you want to. Do you want to? I say that I don't know, should I?? Is the epidural done?? The older Dr tells the younger Dr that he needs to finish it, he can't leave a cannula in my back without placing the final line (the one that offers all the relief!) and that I need to push so he has to do it quickly. Young doc looks a bit panicked and I am definitely not relishing catching that sight when I'm turned to the side again and told to hold very still. I honestly have no idea if the pressure I'm feeling is from what he's doing, or from the baby trying to get out, but all I want to do is push at this point. He finally says he's finished, tapes up my back, exits the room with a huge look of relief on his face (thanks, guy), and I'm placed back on the bed with the back sat way up. The Dr arrives and checks on things, they tell him I'm ready to push, and they tell me to go ahead....I've got M to the left of me by my side, the male Dr and two female nurses down by my nether region, and another nurse off to the right fiddling with equipment and reading things. I start pushing - and screaming my head off, because OW. The three down below are super helpful, telling me when to give big pushes and telling me to stop, don't push now, ok if you can do teeny tiny pushes do a couple of those (nothing ever felt more complicated in my life, trying not to push when all your body wants to do is push, and then, holding tight and just pushing a tiny bit for one second then stopping again...). All of a sudden, my water breaks, and I am mortified as liquid seems to fly everywhere in the room - including on M and his brand new jumper, and I'm looking at him trying to figure out how to get anything out of that material and is he going to be super grossed out by that - then I'm rapidly pulled back into the moment of pushing and shrieking, and then, without hardly any duration of time going by, that amazing moment of bodily RELIEF....the baby is out!!!! M looks at me with big eyes and smile and tells me it's another girl!! He cuts the cord, she cries, they wipe her down quickly and hand her to me right away. She's on my chest and we're both looking down at her in disbelief, and the 3 down below are still poking away at me, and they tell me it's 7:45pm. I'VE ONLY BEEN AT THE HOSPITAL FOR ABOUT AN HOUR....!!
I'll gloss over all the postnatal bits and bobs, suffice it to say that there's plenty more to happen afterwards but I was too busy enjoying the afterglow to really care - and despite all of the monitoring and people in the room and medical staff staring at my bits during it, they did brilliantly at making sure I didn't need any stitches afterwards.
About 15 minutes after Peanut arrived, all of a sudden my legs went numb. Yeah. The epidural finally kicked in...AFTER she was born. HA! Turns out, the insane amount of pain I was feeling with the contractions was because I didn't have that long, slow burn build-up that I had with Bug. I had 24 hours of contraction build-up with her, so my body had time to get used to the increasing intensity and frequency. This time I didn't start having contractions until after 2:30 and Peanut was born 5 hours later - I had no time to adjust. (I still think it's horrible that I had to pay for that epidural seeing as I didn't get it in time, but whatever. I'll get over it. Someday.) ;)
So Peanut arrived on Bug's birthday - the 12th of February - what are the odds? And with the time difference between EST & GMT, their arrival times were within an hour of each other on that date, two years apart. CRAZY. And amazing. :) An auspicious day for the rest of our lives!