First thing Dr. Extraordinaire Shaban did was check my progress. 5 cm. Woop, half way there! He chit chatted for a few minutes, and then scurried away (to watch my monitor from the nurses station as I would later find out). All the while, Awesome Nurse Pam is coming in and out, checking on me, the monitors, my fluids, my pain level, etc. On a side note: IV fluids suck. As if I wasn't swollen enough from pregnancy, add three or four bags of IV fluid to the mix. I was a WHALE. It took over a week for me to see my ankles again.
Shortly after Dr. Extraordinaire Shaban leaves, Awesome Nurse Pam comes in to discuss an epidural. She asks if I'm ready for it (I'm 6 cm at this point), and I decline. The pain is manageable, and I'm not ready to be confined to the bed. I suggest that she come back in an hour and ask again. Hopefully I would by 7 cm and, and ready for the epi. At this point she informs me that the anesthesiologist is about to go into surgery so it's now or never. By the time he would get out of surgery, I would probably be in transition and it would be too late.
It was a no-brainer to accept the epidural at that point. The thought of transition and pushing without an epidural terrified me. So enter Caterpillar Eyebrows Anesthesiologist (I don't know his real name). When I was pregnant, I thought I would be nervous about the pain involved with an epidural. When you're experiencing contractions every 30 to 90 seconds, the last thing you care about is the pain of getting an epidural. You welcome it to ease the other pain. I sat indian-style in the middle of the bed and leaned against Husband. I couldn't get my back into the correct position, so Caterpillar Eyebrows Anesthesiologist had to try THREE times. That's six needle sticks - three local and three epi tries. To be honest, I don't even remember the pain involved, so it must not have been too bad. Just some burning. Blood makes Husband queasy, so when he saw blood on the anesthesiologist's gloves, it was either sit down or hurl. I remember him starting to lean oddly, and I said something to Awesome Nurse Pam about Husband needing to sit down. So I spent the third and final epi try leaning against ANP.
With the epidural in, Awesome Nurse Pam got me re-situated in bed. Within 15 minutes, I couldn't feel or move anything below my chest. You get a heavy dose in the beginning, but thankfully that wears off. After an hour or so, I could move my legs on my own. Before that, if my legs slid off the pillow ANP had wedged between my legs, I had to ask Husband to move it back. And let me tell you - a limp leg is WAY heavier than you'd think. Personally, I hated the epidural sensation (more on that in a different post). However, I was pain free so that was nice.
At 9:15 am, Dr. Extraordinaire Shaban broke my water. Since I was epiduraled, I didn't feel anything associated with my water being broken. Not even a gush or wetness on the puppy pads I was laying on. I am hoping that with the second one I get to experience my water breaking on its own. Or at least get to feel it when the Doc does it.
Between my water breaking and pushing (heck, even pushing is a little blurry) everything is a blur. Roughly three hours passed in what seemed like seconds. At 10:00 am, I was 8 cm, but could be stretched to 9 cm. At 10:40 am, I was 9 cm. And then I got stuck at 9 cm for over an hour. Twice Awesome Nurse Pam tried to push the remaining lip of my cervix back. If I hadn't been numb, I bet that would have HURT. She was successful the second time. At 8 cm, I started to feel pressure in my pelvis. At first I thought I was feeling pain, so I clicked the epidural button a few times for an extra dose. Within 15 minutes, I was SUPER numb again and really annoyed with myself. Once I realized I was feeling pressure, I made Husband take the button away from me because I WANTED to feel the pressure. I knew the pressure would make me want to push more and harder when the time came. The pressure didn't hurt, but it was definitely uncomfortable. It also didn't make me feel an urgency to push like I had hoped it would.
What I DO remember over the three hours is Dr. Extraordinaire Shaban coming in and out of my room checking on my progress. He wanted to check my cervix every 30 minutes, ANP kept quipping at him to be patient. Him and Awesome Nurse Pam (who had obviously worked together a lot before) kept bickering back and forth. It was seriously entertaining. Every time Liam's heart rate dropped, ANP keep saying he was "trying to show off for us again." I think that was her way of trying to not alarm me. But it was pretty obvious from the unspoken words exchanged between ANP and DES that the situation could turn bad quickly.
Also, my mom came to the hospital to hang out in the room around 10 am. I talked to her on the phone, and I was obvious that she wanted so badly to be there. She didn't want to impose, but I could tell that she NEEDED to be with her daughter. And to be honest, it was so nice having her there. We chit chatted on and off, she talked with DES (he's a family friend), and knitted nervously. Husband and I actually invited her to stay for pushing, but she respectfully declined. She said that Liam's actual birth needed to be a moment between just Husband and me. In hindsight, that was an incredibly unselfish move. I KNOW she would have loved to experience that with us, but she knew how important that moment would be.
When it was time to push, it was clear that DES wanted Liam out NOW. I didn't realize until my head was clear just how close he was to being a c-section baby. At 11:58 pm, the bed was set-up to start pushing and ANP started prepped the room for Liam's arrival.
P.S. Sorry about the five parts. There's just too many details, and Part IV would have been way too long.