An epidural is a wonderful thing. As much as I fought against it, cried about it, and felt like a failure, it at least allowed me to relax and get some sleep. I’m fairly sure this is all that saved my pregnancy from turning into a c-section. Even though I thought I was relaxed, I was not. With all the Pitocin they had me hopped up on, the stress of my family awaiting their grandchild, and my husband’s anxiety that I knew was growing, I was harboring a lot of angst and that kept the process creeping along the way. Looking back, I know that now. And the epidural bought us some time to relax.
An epidural is an interesting procedure. It was not nearly as painful as I imagined it would be. (I say that after days of grueling labor though, so it may be insanely painful and I was just past the point of no return for pain.) It starts to work within minutes. You can feel your body start to tingle and go numb. I’m sure in my 20’s, when I was down to experiment with different mind/body altering things, this would have been fun. But, at 35, this was an uncomfortable experience for me. I don’t like to give up control over my body, and this completely takes over. You can not move your legs, or even feel your legs. It’s incredibly effective pain medication, and it’s incredibly eery at the same time.
I slept….we all slept. And when I awoke, I was told I had not dilated any further because the nurse forgot to turn the Pitocin back on. You want to see an upset female? Let her go thru days of labor and then find out someone didn’t do their job to push the process along. In all my numbness, I could have gotten up off that bed and kicked that nurse in the teeth. I could see the frustration in Erich’s, my midwife, and my doulas eyes. This just meant more time. And, I was running out of it. The Pitocin was restarted, I was measuring 8cm, and I was told I had 2 hours left before it was definitely c-section time. I was far over the 24 hour mark and that guaranteed an extra day in the hospital at this point.
The midwife told Erich, it would be several more hours, and our families should just leave. After they had been in the waiting room 24 hours, they should just go and regroup. So, he went to deliver the news that there was no baby coming any time soon and they should leave for a while to rest, shower, and eat. He would call them, but it would be several more hours. I wasn’t there for the delivery of this news, but I could feel the frustration and sadness from all the way down the hall. I knew everyone was disappointed as they walked out of the hospital. I didn’t even get to tell them thanks for coming, or good-bye. That was about 1:30pm.
At 2:00pm I got incredibly nauseous. I was going to puke. And I did, much to Erich’s dismay. He is a strong man, but he hates body fluids, so he did not enjoy the vomitting. By 2:15 I puked again, and starting violently shivering. This was it. I was dying. I had gone too long, infection must have set in, and I was slowly dying. I was freezing cold, puking, shivering, and no one was trying to save me. Why did no one care I was spiraling to my death? In fact, I heard a nurse say how great this was. I hated that nurse.
At 2:30 my midwife came back in, checked me, and said, let’s try pushing. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My doula grabbed a leg. Erich grabbed a leg. My midwife threw down some towels and told me what to do. Within 5 pushes, I was told to open my eyes. And when I did I saw the most beautiful creature I have ever seen. I pulled my baby girl the rest of the way out of me, and up to my chest. There she was, covered in some of the grossest body fluids I have ever seen, incredibly tan, with a head full of hair, and crying the most amazing cry I have ever heard. I did it. She was here. She was perfect.
Emma Brent Smith came crashing into this world after 78+hours of labor at 2:43pm on 2/3/16. Suddenly, all the disappointment over my perfectly planned pregnancy faded away. Because I had the most gorgeous, healthy, little girl in my arms.
And my life would never be the same.