December 3, 2009 in South Boston, MA. What should be a brisk late-fall day is actually a balmy spring-like day in the mid 70s. I am 35 weeks and 5 days pregnant, out walking (waddling is more like it) the dog as I had every day for the last 3 and a half years. At approximately 8:30 AM, and at least a mile away from my home, I bend over to pick up my dogs poo and I instantly feel like I peed my pants.
HOLY SHIT INDEED.
I waddled as fast as I could back to our condo, with the liquid continuously dripping between my legs. As soon as I got in the door I called my doctor's office and told them what happened. The doctor told me to get my butt to the hospital ASAP. It was go time. I immediately called my husband at work and told him that today was the day, and I would be there to pick him up shortly...after I packed our bags and got ready. Somehow I managed to throw some clothes together for my husband and myself and off I went.
The drive to the hospital is a blur, but shortly after we were checking in at the Labor Triage at Brigham & Women's hospital. We were then escorted up to Labor & Delivery where we were told to wait in a waiting room. What? Wait? My pants are soaked through and you want me to sit in the waiting room? I obviously didn't want to sit, and couldn't sit still so I paced back and forth while talking to family members on the phone (my parents flew up from Florida that afternoon God bless them). About 15 minutes later I was called by a nurse who took me back to this giant room and told me to get settled and wait for the doctor.
The doctor came in sometime after we got settled and did an exam. I was not dilated at all, nor had the baby moved down, but my water had obviously broken. It was Pitocin time. Along with the labor inducing drug, they put me on antibiotics because I had yet to get the necessary internal exam at my 36 week appointment. And then the waiting began.
I laid in the bed and watched television for the next few hours and occasionally the nurse would come in and say "oh you had a contraction" as she looked at the monitor. What? I didn't feel anything? This is a piece of cake!! I sent play by play texts to my girlfriends saying how I must be Superwoman because I apparently was having contractions and not feeling them. Little did I know what I was in for.
It wasn't until about 6 PM that I started feeling the pain. And damn was it starting to get painful. I walked the halls like you always hear about, but just felt stupid. I bounced on the balls, got on my hands and knees, did the breathing I learned in class, but nothing was helping - the pain was getting worse, so I asked for drugs...lots of them.
In came the anesthesiology team (a med student and doctor) to give me my epidural. Now, I had actually come into the hospital the day before to have a consultation with an anesthesiologist because I have a herniated disk (between L4 & L5) and both of those disks have stress fractures in them from a previous injury. They were prepared and knew my medical history and I was told that no matter what, they would relieve the pain.
10 minutes after they left I was numb...on just my left side. We waited a little longer and I flipped over onto my right side to see if that helped, but no, the pain was still insane on my right side, and my left side was numb. Back came the anesthesiologist to "fix" the problem. They ended up giving me some magic drug that numbed my entire body for a short period of time (so much so that I was slurring my words-but hell it was a welcomed relief) after adjusting the tube that was in my back because they thought the first insertion might have gone more towards my left side, as opposed to straight as it should have been. Awesome.
An hour later, after returning from happy no-pain land, I was still numb...on my right side this time. The contractions had become unbearable at this point, and I could feel the full force of them on my left side. The pain was so bad I was in a fetal position on my left side, gripping the side of the bed with one hand, and crushing my husbands hand with my other as I did my best yoga breathing I knew how. Back came the anesthesiologist.
By this time it is after midnight, now Friday the 4th, and I am having my third epidural (the last one they started from scratch in a different location on my back). I have been in labor technically since 8:30 the day before, and feeling contractions for about 8 hours - the last 3 being the worst pain of my life. After the final insertion of the epidural they again gave me the magic drugs (I want to say litocain) and I was feeling great...and feeling like I had to poop.
The doctor (who had been in and out a few times during the ordeal) came back around 1 AM and the nurse told him that I was feeling pressure. He told me that it would be a few more hours probably, but after checking me, I was at 10 centimeters and this baby was coming.
Let me tell you about this pushing thing - in order to push correctly they tell you to push like you are pooping. How do you not poop on the table? I don't know for sure, but I saw a few quick swipes by the nurse down there, but holy hell I didn't (and don't) care one slightest bit. My lady parts were out in the open for all to see and I wasn't bothered in the least.
At 2:14 AM Marlo Ada was born: 5 pounds 11 ounces and 18 inches long...and 4 weeks early. She spent about 2 hours in the NICU where they monitored her breathing because she was having trouble clearing her lungs, but after that she was all ours.
By 10 AM I was showered, in my Adidas pants and sweatshirt and ready for visitors. Despite some swelling and bleeding in my lady land (they had to stitch me up a little) I felt great. Of course I was tired, and my back hurt (thankfully I was given some nice pain medication) but the next 2 days were just great.
When we left the hospital on Sunday the 6th, there was 6 inches of snow on the ground. Gotta love New England weather.