I started pushing at 12:47pm.
I asked how long the pushing part lasts. They wouldn't let me go longer than three hours, I was told. I set my sight on the wall clock and thought, okay then.
Pushing must not be that easy because it can take some time to push correctly. Otherwise it's just wasted time and pain.
What? Did I say pain? But what about the epidural? Oh, I still had that in place and was still medicated but you can't NOT feel what's going on. I'll address this again later when I attempt to debunk this notion that women with epidurals don't EXPERIENCE their births. Fuck you, I experienced plenty. But more on that.
For awhile it was just the L&D nurse and my husband, each with one of my legs and pulling. R counted, I pushed, the nurse tried to coach my best pushing.
And on it went.
I exhaled too soon frequently.
I gave up before 10 frequently.
But I kept pushing.
Eventually my OB came in. I don't know what time. She cheered me on some more. I got down to business.
Oh, you do poop. I think everyone does. I don't know how you wouldn't since pushing out a poo is the right kind of pushing to get the baby out too. But why are you hung up on pooping? You poop every day, right? You don't give birth everyday, so eyes back on the ball, please.
At one point, the nurse fixed the pull bar to the bed and looped a towel around it, to give me something to work against. That helped. I tried pushing while laying on my side too, but that didn't jive for long.
At another point, my OB, citing the superstition rampant in her field, said she could step out to the nurses station to hang out for a bit since the doctor always missed the catch. I said "NO" the way I haven't said it since I was about 4 years old and she stayed put. Bless her.
The quarter-hours slipped by. I passed 1:45 and then 2:45. The contractions kept coming, R kept counting to 10, I kept pushing. And pushing. And pushing.
At some point I spiked a fever and was given an oxygen mask to help with that and to keep the baby's heart rate down. To make it easier on both of us I suppose. I couldn't huff and puff with it on, so a contraction would come and I'd slap the thing off my face and then fumble for it again. I hated it.
Anytime we watched a birth scene in a film or on TV growing up, my mom would get ruffled and say that it was NOT all yelling, screaming moms and loud noise.
Turned out, for me, there was, but about hour 2, plenty of loud noise. Sad, sad, scary, loud noise. Crying. All sorts of fun.
By about 3:15, the doctor asked if I wanted to try anything to help out, like a vacuum assist. Somehow, despite being the hell out of it by that point, I asked about the risks. She listed the worst risks as she's required to do and I opted to try another few contractions of pushing. C-section was mentioned but I didn't want to go there - though at the same time I distinctly remember saying "just get it OUT."
By 3:30, there were some good "almost there!" pushes but still nothing. The "that's perfect" push is a blessing and a curse. When you get it right the doc and nurse yell go go go! But then the next push, they are quiet and you think "shit, I'm botching it! I'm blowing this contraction! Dammit."
I said go on the vacuum assist. We were coming up to 3 hours. The magic mark after which they don't let woman continue this bullshit.
The doc grabbed the necessary implements and began to prepare to use the vacuum. I was watching her face not really knowing what was going on down there (side note: at one point I was offered a mirror, an offer I swiftly and decisively refused).
I was watching her face when it changed. Abrubtly. I was watching her face when it clouded and became serious. She looked up at the baby nurse who was now in the room as well, then back at me, and said, "no, no I don't like that. We're done here."
Next: Part V: "We're Crashing 61."