So we’re all checked in. We’re hanging out in our room, doot-de-doo, while we wait for the nurse to come in and get this show on the road. She arrives and informs me that the IV she’s about to put in my hand is “the worst part.” A) Awesome. B) I’m a first-time child-bearer and a needle-phobe, but I’m pretty sure that the IV is not the WORST PART OF GIVING BIRTH. The hits keep on coming with this nurse, who later informs me that the woman in labor a few rooms down “sounds like she’s dying.”
They hook me up to the IV and the monitoring dealies, and they have a look with the ultrasound to make sure he’s not in a weird position. They are as convinced as I am that there must be some REASON he hasn’t even attempted to get out. But his head is down and in position. My body, it seems, is just being a bitch. They give me a pill that’s supposed to make me efface and tell me the process will take eight hours, so I should sleep. Right. Because I’m feeling nice and relaxed and not at all nervous on the eve of bringing a human out of my body and into the world, and then having to take him home and raise him. My mom sleeps, C sleeps, and I try not to puke from nerves and restlessness.
In the morning two things happen. First, the nurse shift changes and Regina comes into our lives. Regina, whose name and awesomeness I will never forget, and to whom I will someday dedicate an entire post. Second, the doctor checks my progress and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. We’re on to plan b, which involves a drug-on-a-string (really) that is supposed to go in there and tell my cervix to get its shit together. This will also take eight hours. Sigh. A few hours in, this one seems to be working. Here’s how I know: BECAUSE OW. Cramps. Big, bad, cramps. They get worse as time goes on, just like they are supposed to, and it hurts–but in a recognizable way. They are the worst period cramps I can imagine, but it’s a pain for which I have some frame of reference. I’m ok.
Nighttime again, and the doctor comes back. Hallelujah! It’s go time. Time to start Pitocin. This is the big one, the one I’ve been warned about, and I’m scared. Particularly since the pain has already been, you know, painful, and I haven’t even started the real part yet. In an effort to plan ahead, I declare it epidural time. Given that I am more scared of that goddamn needle than I am of squeezing out a baby, I am surprised by how not a big deal it is. There is a moment when I feel the catheter wiggle around, and I remember thinking that stuff should NOT be squirming around in my spine, but whatever. The effects, however, I do not like. My legs feel like they are covered in Saran wrap, and I have some MAJOR shakes. Unpleasant for sure, and since I haven’t been in unbearable pain, it’s not like it’s this HUGE relief. I’m sure if I had been in full-on labor when I got it, I would have been too relieved to notice some pesky tremors.
The shaking wears off a bit, and they start the Pitocin. Regina comes in after a while to tell me I’m having some solid, bad-ass contractions (which I cannot feel AT ALL), and we might be on our way. She says we should try to sleep, since I’ve been at this for 24 hours now and I’m going to need my strength. We turn the lights out; my mom is on the plastic couch, C is in the hospital rocking chair, and I am propped onto my side, waiting in the dark. I listen to the machines beep, watch C slip in and out sleep, try to stay calm. But when Regina comes in a couple of hours later and puts an oxygen mask over my face, I know the plan is about to change again.