*Contains a lot of oversharing and graphic descriptions which may not be for everyone. Please read at your own risk*
Bleeding non-stop after Dr. S dilated me (normal) … I really just was not into the “chucks” aka the hospital pads. They were so insanely uncomfortable. They were sweaty, stuck to me and just made everything that much more miserable. I asked the nurse if I could please just use the towels. They were all awesome. They told me if that was the ONLY thing I was complaining about during this entire thing I could SURELY be accommodated. Sweet sweet ladies. I really had the BEST care and support, it was amazing.
It was time to get set up for the epidural. It was around 5pm on Tuesday when we were all set to get this figured out. This experience was one of the worst of my life. Because I wasn’t in level 11 labor pains. I was totally fine - BUT I would be in a lot when they were going to insert the balloon so I knew I had to do this. My epidural experience was of course my own but after everyone, and I quote, saying it was “the best thing ever” I knew it couldn’t be that bad - even maybe a good time. No. No no no. Again, perhaps in a different circumstance - if I was in excruciating pain and about to give birth to my child that was going to live a long life, be alive and crying then yes I think it wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar but because those things weren’t in play, because it was in/on my lower back, because I was in zero pain at the time and because just the entire thought of it skeeves me out - it was fucking terrible. I’m not going to go into crazy detail (ok there was a sterile field set up, I had to squeeze the nurses hand, I was literally terrified and tears were quietly streaming down my face) but I made it out alive and it appeared *somewhat* successful. I personally felt it was a bit un-symmetrical but listen, I’ll take any good fortune I can get at this point. I’m just glad everything seemed “normal”.
Well let me tell you. If you’ve ever wondered what it might feel like to be paralyzed you should inquire about trying out an epidural. I’m not sure if I was giving an insanely strong dosage (as I learned later it was totally NOT necessary the amount I had initially been set up with) but I could not move a single thing from the waist down. One half of my lower half (my left leg) felt like 200 degrees to the touch, was tingling, and I was literally UNABLE to lift it AT ALL. I couldn’t even take my hands and lift it up. I had to have Devin and my mother periodically move my leg up and down and both of them had to shift and move me around in the bed every once in a while because I was so incapacitated. My right leg wasn’t blow up, normal temp, still completely numb and unable to move but a totally different temperature than my left. Listen I’m not a complainer but this was next level. I had a catheter in me to urinate, a balloon in my cervix, a deceased baby in my uterus, an IV in my arm, a blood pressure cuff on my right, a belt to measure my contractions that were going on, a pitocin IV pumping in, and all the while casually bleeding all over the hospital bed I was laying in. It was really hard to imagine a worse scenario. But there I was.
A few hours later into the night my bag started beeping (air in the line) so I had a nurse get the anesthesiologist. I explained to him the craziness that was going on (numb, one leg is hot, is this normal?) … it was a different guy on call so he decided he’d take it WAY back for me and put more in my button. I thought that sounded great because I couldn’t even IMAGINE anyone in their right mind needing to press the button for more pain medication - you’d literally get sent to the moon. You’d be so far gone it would seem. I couldn’t even comprehend the pain that you’d need to be in to need that much medication. Anyways a few hours later after it settled down and ironed itself out - I could MOVE my knees, I could adjust myself on my bloody towels, scratch an itch if I needed, and simply just get some blood flow back into my lower half. I still couldn’t feel any pain mind you, but at this point who knows what my pain tolerance is. Starting to think I have a high one.
Early Wednesday morning Dr. S came in and told me her shift was ending (although she promised me she’d deliver Dylan) and she’d have to pass the baton over to Dr. A … BUT thank goodness Dr. A was my doctor. The doctor I was seeing during my entire pregnancy and also since I was 16 years old. Praise be. Someone I knew (that knew me) would deliver my stillborn son, that was really all I could ask for at this point.
They checked me … I was doing good. The doctor and nurse kept telling me if I feel A LOT of pressure, to let them know. The hospital started to get really busy!! Must be the place on a Wednesday. Not quite sure of what to expect … and getting used to my new normal, I settled in. Didn’t really wanna bother anyone since I was here for the long haul. I also felt like I’d KNOW when something warranted someone to come see me. I started to feel kinda uncomfortable (but I mean … I still had my “button”) and even though I could totally have handled the pain / pressure I felt I was in enough pain and suffering in this horrible situation why even feel anything at all. So around 10am I pressed the button. No more pressure. After all, to me it wasn’t a LOT anyway. I mean … I guess my “a lot” vs. someone else’s “ a lot” is a lot different. Haha.
I told myself I’d call them in 1 hour since I was due for my medicine anyway. 11am came. Pressure again but this time I didn’t want to press the button. I wanted to feel it and I wanted to tell them I felt pressure but I was very unsure if it was this “a lot” they spoke of. So I called them in. Dr. A checked me and I was at 6cm (and although Dr. S said that’s pretty much all I would need to be … we still weren’t sure). I she think she wanted to play it safe since not much was happening quite yet. She went to go get my next dose of Cytotec for me. My nurse was checking my IV and other vitals and I felt a super small gush (didn’t quite feel like blood though) and I turned to her and said, “I THINK something is happening …” so she sensed I had a good intuition and went to go get Dr. A. My mom and Devin were still in the room and that’s when I felt Dylan’s legs popped out. All on their own! That’s when I exclaimed, super nervously cause I still wasn’t 99% sure (I mean who is when you’ve never birthed before), “Ok, something IS happening. Definitely happening.” My mom bolted out the door to go get the nurse + the doctor. HA! Devin and I were alone. Then either Dylans shoulders or head came next and I was pretty scared at this point. I turned to my husband and half jokingly said, “Well, you might have to actually deliver this baby.” Since he was apparently waiting for nobody.
The nurses and doctors and everyone piled into the room at that point and started setting up. Dr. A checked and confirmed he was here - and she could handle the rest. She asked me for a small push and WOOSH - I created a blood and fluid water park in the hospital room. I literally sprayed everything and everyone up to their shoulders. I had NO CLUE what was going on and my immediate response was, “OMG I’m so SORRY!”. No one seemed to phased at this point and I was told it was all part of the job. Janet handed me Dylan really quick and I said hi to my son for the first time - then she took him back to clean and measure him. One final push to birth the placenta and that was it.
I flood of relief hit me. That these past few days of hell were finally over. That we reached the top of this mountain and were about to start our decent. That it wasn’t as scary as I imagined. That he was here and I just gave birth to him. He was perfect, he was ours. That’s when the chills started. All normal I was told. They cleaned me up, unhooked me from everything, monitored me, gave me some things to help with healing and then I got to hold my son. The doctor checked Dylan for any visual abnormalities as well as my cord and placenta and she reported back that he looked fine and there were no visual abnormalities that she could see. So far still unexplained. We confirmed we would be doing the genetic testing and autopsy (all signed and taken care of beforehand as a formality) so other than that we still have no reason why our baby died. And we might never know.
After Devin and I had some time, our family was invited in to see him and hold him, take pictures, look at his perfect little hands and feet. How he looked exactly like his daddy and mommy. His button nose and tiny ears (that were exactly like mine), to his little lips. Lots of tears but also a weird sense of happiness. After all … he was so very cute and so very much there in our arms - just still sleeping.