By about 11pm on Sunday night - 30 hours into my hospital stay and about 25 since I started having contractions - it stopped being fun.
Okay, it wasn't fun before, but it really stopped being fun around then.
There was much gripping of the bed rail - which was far too shaky - and breathing through was cutting it anymore. I wanted some relief but was waiting for the magic 4cm mark. I was effaced, but still no-cm wide. I hoped the uptick in pain meant things were moving but a check from a phenomenally awesome nurse confirmed: no dice.
The on-call doctor recommended another round of whatever pain meds I'd had the night before. Those gave me about an hour of strange, confusing dozing.
Between the checking and the meds, it was now approaching 1am and I was done. D.O.N.E. I don't think I was crying because I couldn't get past the pain to do so. I was still 0cm but I didn't care anymore. And Awesome Nurse said "as soon as you get that epidural, I'll get you to 2."
Enter anesthesiologist. There was a last, difficult walk to the restroom and back to bed. Then I had to - haha - hunch over a pillow and hold still - hold still?- DURING contractions while they administered the epidural.
It didn't hurt. Maybe it did, but contractions hurt wayyyy the fuck more, y'all.
I asked how long it would take to feel any relief and was told 10-15 min max. Okay, I can do that. They cleared the room, the lights went down and R went back to his sleeper chair.
Twenty minutes later I was wimpering and scared to hell that I was the one person an epidrual wouldn't work on because nothing was any less contracty.
I pressed the call button feverishly and eventually back came the nurse and anesthesiologist.
"Do you have scoliosis? Any back injuries?" asked the anesthesiologist. No! Do it again!
And so she did it again. And I had to hold still again. And . . . .
Immediate relief. Swift, fabulous relief. It's weird as hell to have numb legs, but I felt nothing but bliss when I saw 3 huge peaks on the monitors but didn't feel them in my body.
Sleep came quickly.
I started waking again around 8am. It was quiet in the room and the light was gray-ish blue.
I recalled my friend's advice to keep on top of the epidural medication levels and ask for a top-off as soon as a hint of pain returned, so I called for a booster.
I woke up, so did R. True to her word, the nurse had manually popped things open below so we knew there was at least SOME cm down there. The morning felt different. I felt different.
At some point, maybe that morning, it's fuzzy now, they started a Pitocin drip but stopped it after 10 minutes when the baby didn't seem to tolerate it well.
My parents arrived back at the hospital with bagels for themselves and R. I knew things were progressing when I wanted to leap out of bed and beat them senseless for letting the bagel wrappers crinkle. I could. not. take. sound. It was too much.
The white board in my room listed the on-call doctor from my OB practice as the ONLY one I did not like - the only male doc in the pratice and kind of a jerk at that. I called the nurse and said, call my OB. She said, but Dr. X is on call today. Don't care, call my OB! She said! Call her call her! Next thing I remember, Dr. X was standing at my bedside saying, your doc should be here soon, and then he left. Phew.
My doc arrived and checked me - 5 cm. Only 5? Ugh.
Some more time passed - I didn't realize how fuzzy and compressed this was until I started to write this - and soon it was close to noon. There was an intense pressure building in my body. It wasn't pain, exactly, but it wasn't anything I'd felt before.
My parents were then out of the room somewhere and I called R over and told him he had to tell them they couldn't come back in. I knew it was almost time.
He went to look for them and somehow they missed each other in the hallway and my parents came back in first. You have to go, I said, feeling guilty about kicking them out but not so guilty that I'd let them stay.
"Where are we supposed to go?" asked my dad, plainly surprised to be getting the boot. That was the second time that day faces could've been punched. My mom grabbed him and said, "okay!" and out they went.
R came back and I asked him to bring me my toothbrush and a cup of water because, ick, I didn't want to pant and push with morning breath. All the while, the pressure was continuing to build.
I called the nurse and said I thought I was going to need to push soon.
Next: Part IV: People Normally Push For How Long?