I asked what she meant by oh, and she nonchalantly said "Well no wonder you were bleeding honey! Having sex when you're dilated to 6 will do that to you." This is when my husbands' jaw drops down to the floor...the first floor that is, and we were on the third. I started crying immediately, because I knew what that meant.
At 12:00 am as the 1st of December gave way to the 2nd day of the last month of the year I was told that I would be moved to a room. No, not just a room but the room where I would stay until I gave birth to my son. The room where my son would begin his life. That was going to be the room where I officially became a Mother. I thought it a momentous change when I was married, my maiden name wasn't cast aside but it bore a hyphen after it and nestled on the right hand side of that hyphen is my husbands last name. The name change that would occur in the room I was about to enter made the changing of names because you have switched roles from girlfriend to fiance and finally to wife seem rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things. There would be a shift in the gravity of my life, a shift in who I was inside that room, and I was about to enter that room as Ashlee, and I knew that when I left that room I wouldn't be the same girl. Hell, I wouldn't be a girl at all anymore, I would be a woman and more than that I would finally feel like a woman. I would be walking out of that room, with my husband and my newborn son in tow as a Mother. That's quite a lot to take in for a 21 year old who felt more like she was still 17 than anything. I stood in the doorway contemplating these thoughts for a minute before I could finally make myself take that next step into my new self, because I knew if I didn't take the step willingly that I would be pushed by the child inside me who was ready to be born.
They had me lay down on the bed and hooked me up to the machine that was going to monitor the contractions that I didn't feel yet. I was laying there looking at my husband, trying to see something on his face or in his eyes that would give me some idea of the thoughts that were surely running through his head. Eventually I gave up looking for reassuring glances, or signs that he was confident everything would be okay because I decided that underneath his look of bewilderment that he was just as fearful as I was. I laid there for a good long while getting stabbed with needles so many times that I ended up looking like a heroin addict while a badly trained supposed professional tried to get the needle to go in correctly so that she could drain me of 6 tubes worth of my blood.
Around this time I had asked the nurse if my husband's Mother and his Cousin Jen could come into the room. She told me they could and offered to go get them for me, but my Husband wanted to go get a drink and so he offered to send them in to sit with me on his way to the vending machines. Serena, my Husband's Mother and his cousin Jen came into my room, followed by the youngest of his two older Sisters, Tara. I was surprised because I didn't know that she had made her way to the hospital yet. I wasn't sure she was coming because the midwife had told me that it could be days before my baby made his arrival, even though I had a feeling that it wouldn't be that long at all. My Husband entered the room with his drink just in time to witness them putting in an IV to give me a bag of fluid that they wanted me to have. I was told that I needed the fluid before I had an epidural and they wanted to go ahead and get it in me, since I was also informed that I had a very small window of opportunity in which I could receive an epidural this made sense.
Yet another nurse came into my room wheeling her computer cart ahead of her, and she informed me that she would be asking me around 15,000 questions that I had probably already answered at my OBGYN's office. She told me that after this I would officially be checked into the hospital and I would get my bracelets. I tried to concentrate on answering her questions if hopes of ignoring the fear that was bubbling under the calm, sarcastic, joke cracking exterior that I was working overtime to maintain. The nurse was joking back with me and giggling at sardonic remarks I made to my husband, she seemed genuinely surprised when she learned I was dilated to 6 centimeters and was in the mood I was in. She told me that when she was at 6 with her children she was in horrid pain and begging for an epidural. Thanks lady, that's reassuring!
By the time I had answered all the questions it was 1:00 am, and Justin, Serena, Tara and I were sitting around my life altering room watching the peaks and valleys that were my contractions on the screen. They would hit the top line, the line which indicated that it was such a strong contraction that it should indicate sever pain, the pain everyone had described to me as suicidal thought inducing, bone crushing, and as miserable and agonizing as pain can be. I still felt nothing though, nothing aside from my little darling kicking around inside of me at random times.
It was around 1:30 am when Serena had told Justin that it looked like we would be here for the long haul, and told him that he might want to go get my bags from the car. So my Husband left to go get my bags, and he sent Jen into my room in his place. The nurse had made one of the 4 members of my entourage leave the room because hospital policy stated that I could only have 3 visitors at a time while in my labor and delivery room. They had a ton of questions for me, but by this point I was exhausted and much too nervous to care too much about making small talk. They wanted to know how I was feeling, if I had felt a contraction yet, if I planned to get an epidural, if I had brought the outfit that Serena had bought for the baby to come home in so that she could announce to everyone that she had bought her first grand baby his coming home outfit. There were about 30 other questions. Justin finally got back with my bags and his Mother left the room to go smoke, and his sister went with him. Jen said her goodbyes after they left because she had to get back to her house too.
It felt like forever since my Husband and I had been alone. I just wanted him to hold me and come cuddle up in the bed beside me. Tara and Serena got back and I looked up to see that they were carrying paper bags from McDonalds and drinks for everyone. Everyone except me that is, because I was not allowed to eat because I was in labor. I was really upset about this, because I was hungry by this time and I would have killed for a breakfast burrito! My tears probably had more to do with my fear that my baby would have to be on oxygen and his lungs wouldn't be mature enough to allow him to breath on his own and just the stress of the whole situation than the fact that I couldn't have McDonalds breakfast, but either way the release that the tears provided me was wonderful and made me feel a lot better!
As if she could read my mind my nurse entered the room at 2:00 am and told my Mother-in-Law and Tara that they might want to go home because I would need to get some rest before my labor began. She said that Justin would need to get some sleep as well, and so Serena and Tara got their things and left us. Serena told me she would be staying at Tara's until I had the baby, so she would just be a few minutes away if I went into labor tonight. They left and Justin and I were finally alone, and we talked for a minute. The nurse came back into the room and told me that since I hadn't been checked for group B strep that they had to treat me as if I was positive. Which meant that I would have to get an antibiotic in my IV.
A few moments after the antibiotic started it's slow drip into my veins I was on fire. My veins were burning, from the inside. It was as if they were filled with gasoline and someone had lit a match inside my body. It was this horrid burning that went from the point of entry and shot up through my entire arm as the poison spread. Have you read Twilight? You know when James bites Bella and she talks about the burning pain going through her veins? Yeah, I can totally feel her on that, and upon reading it the memory of my own brush with a burning pain in my own veins came flooding back to me so strong that it made me cringe. I cried. I literally cried out in pain, and then felt tears rolling down my face from the pain this caused me. My husband ran out to the nurses station to get one of them, the saint of a man that he is, because he really can't stand to see me experience pain like that. The nurse came in, put a damp cloth on my arm and slowed the drip. Which actually did help the burning.
She decided that it would be a good time to offer me some pain medication. I decided to take it, because she told me it would help me to sleep. Stadol is like liquid bliss. She told me that I needed to close my eyes and just go with it. I thought she sounded like an old hippie trying to guide me through my first trial of acid without a bad trip, but I did what she told me. I was out before she left the room. I had just enough time right after I closed my eyes to mutter a slurred I love you to my husband, and then I was out. I slept so well that night, I didn't wake once.
At exactly 6:00 am I shot upright in my bed, I awoke to the most curious popping sound I had ever heard. I knew exactly what it was, because you can ponder where the noise came from when you want to be in denial, but you can not argue with or ignore the gush of fluid that follows the sound. My water had broken. I yelled for Justin, and for the second time in only a few hours he made a mad dash for the nurses station to get a nurse. He ran back into the room, and the nurse followed just a bit behind him. She checked me and informed Justin and I that I was at 6.5 and that I should consider pain management now. My better judgement had told me my entire pregnancy that I should not get the epidural. I was scared of the epidural, after having heard of people getting spinal headaches or having back pain for years. Despite my fear of the epidural I gave into a far greater fear in that monumental room where I would start my journey as a Mother, and I ordered the epidural.
They gave me another bag of fluid and then Justin and I were left alone again. We called his Mom and told her to get back to the hospital. Then I had Justin call my Daddy, and let him know what was going on. By the time the clock hit 6:20 am I was having this horrible pain in my back. My back was breaking in half every single time I felt these pains, at least I thought it was anyway. It was horrible, but I still couldn't feel my contractions, or at least I thought I couldn't. I hadn't read much about back labor, which was a shame because that's what I was experiencing. I called for the nurse and asked her when my epidural would be administered. She told me that my baby boy picked a very busy day to come, because they were completely full up on the labor and delivery floor, and that it would take a little while because a few others women ordered theirs ahead of me. The nurse said the midwife would be coming in to check me shortly. I waited for her as the pain in my back intensified.
10 minutes, what felt like 10 years, later the midwife entered the room and asked how I was doing. She began to check me again, because they needed to know if I was progressing because of my small window of opportunity to get an epidural. She told me very matter of factly that I wouldn't be getting an epidural today, because I was dilated to 10 centimeters. I asked her if I was to begin pushing, and told her that I wanted to wait on my Mother-in-Law to get back before I started pushing. As if I had any say in the matter, I couldn't very well tell my little man to sit tight in the birth canal because we have to wait on his Nana because she's always late. I couldn't begin pushing anyway, I was told, because my baby boy was still sitting pretty at a station -2. Which means that thought I was dilated to a 10 and my cervix was completely thinned out he was still way too far up for me to push. My body was ready, but my baby was delaying. It's like he sensed my fear and knew that I wanted my Mother-in-Law there with me.
I asked my midwife what I could do about pain relief then, because my back was breaking in half ever minute or so. My husbands hands were cramping up because of my constant demand for an extremely hard massage in the small of my back. She told me it was too late, I couldn't have anything. I asked if I could have more Stadol. I was told that it would affect the baby and I couldn't have any of it because it was too late for that too. I asked about the epidural again, and she told me once more that it was too late for that as well. I told her how scared I was of pushing, I explained to her that the "ring of fire" I had heard about was scaring me to death. The nurse who was in the room spoke up just then and said to the midwife that I could get a saddle block if I really wanted one, and the midwife agreed. So I asked about that, and was told that it was a spinal block, like a spinal epidural. I told them that I would take it if it was my only option. Right around that time Serena walked through the door.
Justin and his Mother took turns getting me cool wash cloths and holding my hands. Justin did more back massaging than anything though. We waited for the man to come through the door and offer me sweet relief. When he finally got there it was somewhere between 7:00 and 7:10 am and I was very happy to see him. They send my Mother-in-Law out of the room and I had to sign some papers. He was ready to get started about 5 minutes after he got there. I sat up on my bed, Indian style with my husband in front of me holding my hands, and I tried to concentrate on arching my back correctly. Which is no easy task when you've got a big pregnant belly in the way. They numbed me first, and then get stuck the needle in my back, trying to guide it into my spine. Strike one! He tried 2 more times and didn't get it in, but he did hit a nerve in my back. Then he tried another 2 times, and those attempts failed as well. He had used all his needles, so he sent out for more. After he got them, he tried twice more, hitting my nerve again on one of the tries. Then he tried 3 more times. For the past half hour or so I had been feeling this really strange sensation, and I was fighting against it. It had gotten stronger as I was sitting up in that position, and the last time he tried it was unbearable, that combined with the fact that he hit a nerve again and it sent what felt like a bolt of lighting shooting from my collar bone to the tips of my toes, which caused me to sit upright and clamp the needle down between my bones. After that I was done!
At 7:45 am He informed me that my bones were very close together, which in a normal situation would be a very good thing, although he didn't know how I would feel about that at this moment. I felt relief that I didn't get the saddle block at that point, because of the electric shock that I felt running through my body. There was nothing left to do but wait it out, and I was okay with that. Even though my back was hurting, no not hurting it was breaking. That's truly how it felt. My nurse, the one who was with me in triage, came in to check on me and let me know she was leaving because her shift was over. She held my hand and saw the fear on my face, or maybe it was the agony that she saw. The agony of me fighting what my body was telling me I needed to do. I was fighting with everything in me to not push, because they told me I couldn't push yet. They said it would just tire me out and wouldn't help get my baby out. My body was screaming at me to push. I needed to push, and I knew I was fighting a losing battle, because I didn't know how much longer I could fight. She saw something on my face though, or maybe in my eyes, because I saw her face change. She wanted to know if she could go get someone, maybe my Mother, for me.
I lost my mind somewhere in the fear, sadness, happiness and pain right then. I asked her to get my Mom, I begged her to go get my Mommy and bring her to me. She asked where my Mother was. That's when reality slapped me in the face, I realized my Mom had passed away and that no one could go get her. I told her that, and you could see that she was hurting for me, and I asked for my Mother-in-Law. She left to get her. But when Serena entered the room my nurse came in behind her. She came to stay with me and to help me through my labor, even though she had been working all night long and was surely tired. She held my hand and she showed me how to breathe through my contractions. I found the strength to fight against my body for a short while longer. At 8:10 am I told my nurse, even though she was no longer on duty that I could not fight my body any longer. I told her that it was making me tired, and that the urge to push was too strong for me to argue with. She went and got the midwife for me, and at 8:15 am I was checked and my baby had made his way down the birth canal to where he needed to be. I was pleasantly surprised to see my midwife enter the room, she had just come on shift and I had been seeing her through my pregnancy. I adored her, and she knew what I wanted from my birth.
They started breaking my bed down. Getting everything ready. Unfortunately for them they waited too long, because my baby was ready right then. I was ready right then, because I was so tired from exerting all that energy and literally forcing myself not to push. She said I could push, and I grabbed Justin's hand and Serena's hand and raised up and pushed with everything I had in me. With one push my baby crowned, and Patricia, my midwife, told me to rest while she did some sort of massage so that I wouldn't tear. She told me that my baby boy had hair. I asked what color, but she just said push and you'll find out, cause I'm not telling. I repeated my performance from the first push and my little man's head was out. At 8:26 am I gave one more small push, without being told to and Patricia pulled my baby out. They did his APGAR test, and then he was handed to me.
|Aiden at 8 weeks, in his coming home outfit!|
I got up and went to the bathroom, cleaned myself up, and went outside to smoke. I ate breakfast before they had me switch to my recovery room and then I drifted to sleep thinking of when I would get my perfect little man back. I woke up at noon, and he wasn't back yet. I was alone in my new room. I broke down in tears because I woke up in the hospital alone. I sat there crying alone until a nurse came in. Justin came back in,and I went with them to see my baby in the nursery. Then Justin sent his sister to Burger King to get me a tea, since I felt like I hadn't drank anything in days, and Justin came and sat in the bathroom with me while I showered. That was the best shower of my life. My Daddy came, Jen and her daughter Andrea came, around 6 of my friends came and my best friend called me from Guam where her husband was stationed. Justin and I spent that night talking about how amazing it was that we made this beautiful little man. How he was the best parts of both of us all rolled into one very amazing, very handsome, very adorable little man who captured our harts forever in just an instant.
It was truly one of the most magical days of my entire life!
|Aiden - 6 months!|