Once we arrived in the L&D triage, the nurse started her initial intake questions. “Why are you here?” “Is this your first baby?” etc. I was very up-front with her and told her that I honestly wasn’t sure if I was in labor or not but my contractions weren’t going away and they seemed to be coming about every 4 minutes which was freaking out my husband so here we are!! Haha! She was very sweet and got me hooked up to the monitor so we could see how the contractions were coming along.
When the on-call OB came in my room, he told me that he wanted to do an internal to see if I was making any changes so they could determine if they were going to admit me.
By that point, I had made up my mind that I was really and truly in labor. My contractions were anywhere from 2-4 minutes apart and were consistently strong enough that I could not talk through them. I’m pretty sure I even shushed the OB when he was trying to explain something to me because I just.couldn’t.focus on what he was saying.
When he did my internal, he told me that I was “almost” 4cm which meant that I was really making some changes (I had been 3cm in the clinic that afternoon) and they were going to let me labor for another hour or so and see how things went. If I continued to make changes, they would admit me. If not, there was some discussion about sending me home. So, for an hour, Greg and I sat in L&D triage and I would have a contraction every 2-4 minutes. I was able to convince the nurse to unhook me from the monitor for about 30 minutes so I could get up out of the hospital bed and move around. It felt so much better to be able to sway or squat or anything else besides lie flat on my back having contractions.
With our first two, my contractions were never this fast or intense without an epidural. I had never gotten to the point where I literally couldn’t focus on anything other than the pain. But here we were. I was having the most painful, intense contractions that I had ever experienced and the OB dared to utter the words, ” . . . might send you home . . .” All I could do was breathe and pray that I was making some progress.
The critical hour passed and the on-call OB attending came back in to re-check me. He told me that I was between 4-5cm dilated and 75% effaced. He told me that I had made enough progress in that hour that they would go ahead and admit me. I told him that was a damn good thing because otherwise, I was going to walk right back into the ER because there was no way in hell I was going home feeling the way that I was. Luckily, he had a sense of humor and laughed at me. I’m fairly certain that I scared the OB resident because, after that, he didn’t say two words to me.
After the OB team left the room and the nurse started to unhook me (again) from the monitors, I asked her to go ahead and page anesthesia to start my epidural. Initially, I had entertained the idea of having a completely un-medicated birth but I knew that if I was having trouble at 4-5cm, there was no way in hell I could handle transition and the Ring of Fire. And I heard Greg breathe a sigh of relief because I had been squeezing his hand so hard I was afraid it was going to break. We left L&D triage and I was wheeled into the room where I would deliver. I met my new nurse, got an IV (and 2 liters of fluids so they could start my epidural) and had some blood drawn. In between contractions, Greg and I were texting our parents, our best friends and my boss to let them know that we were being admitted to the hospital.
I even took a picture of the clock for documentation.
During the admission process, one of my nurse friends that works in postpartum came by to say hello. She told me that she was working that night but doubted that she would get to see me because I probably wouldn’t deliver until after her shift ended at 7am. We hugged and she wished me luck and that was that.
When the anesthesiologist came into the room, Greg left to “get a soda”. He doesn’t do well with the needle for the flu shot much less a spinal needle that they had to put in my back. Once the epidural was in, she told me that she was going to start it low but to let her know if I needed more. Obviously I was her very first patient because the trade-off for having a giant needle jammed in my back is that I get to feel no pain. Clearly they forgot to tell her that in medical school. (This is me making a joke. So please don’t get offended) I continued to labor and the epidural was barely taking the edge off the contractions and I could still barely breathe through them. By that time, Greg had made his way back to my room with the best smelling macaroni and cheese ever. Could I have any?? NO! I was on an ice-chips only diet at that point but didn’t mind all that much because I was hurting so much. I finally called my nurse and (politely) asked her to page anesthesia to increase my epidural. She did and the anesthesiologist came in right away and cranked me up. Within a few minutes I was feeling significantly better so my nurse left the room to let me rest. Not even 5 minutes later, I woke up to my water breaking. I called her in my room to help me get cleaned up. I remember her saying, “Oh girl. It’s . . . it’s just everywhere.” As she was attempting to clean me up (and I was little to no help because I was numb from the waist down), she wanted to put some oxygen on me. The baby’s heart rate was dipping slightly with each contraction and she wanted to “ward off the bad juju”. About that time the OB team came in to re-check my cervix because it had been about an hour since I was moved from triage to L&D and he wanted to see how things were going. With the help of my nurse, I got into position and he checked me. I laughed and told him it was the best internal exam I had had in a month because of the epidural. From the foot of my bed, he looked up at me and said, “How do you feel about pushing?” To which I responded, “Well, it’s not my favorite part of childbirth but it has to be done!” Then he said, “No. I mean now. You’re a 10. It’s time to start pushing.”
I distinctly remember looking at Greg and saying, “What the fuck?!” Which made everybody but me laugh. We left our house at 9:30pm and it was 1am and the OB was telling me that it was time to push? I really wanted my OB to deliver but her call didn’t start for another 6 hours and clearly I couldn’t hold out that much longer.
Within the next 2 minutes, my feet were in stirrups, my bed was raised up in the air and a blinding light was aimed right at my business.
Then I hear, “STOP PUSHING!”
“Um, I’m not pushing yet.”
And after a flurry of activity at the foot of my bed and, when they gave me permission, half a push later, Ryker James Stemme was born. He came flying (literally) into this world at 1:07 am on January 16th, weighed 6lbs, 9oz (my smallest baby yet) and was 19 inches long. The nurse asked if I wanted him skin-to-skin on my chest which I did so they wiped him down and laid him right on my chest. He immediately started to root around and she encouraged me to go ahead and start nursing if I felt like it. He latched on right away and immediately nursed for an hour.
After the OB was done with me, he shook our hands and laughed about how quick the delivery was. I told him that I was glad he checked me when he did, otherwise I might have delivered the baby and not known it. Later that morning, I was moved into a postpartum room where I learned that my friend was going to be our nurse. Yippee!! When my OB made rounds around 7, she came into my room laughing. She said that she was going to make sure to tell the nurse practitioner that she did her job and put me in labor.
Aside from jaundice which resulted in Ryker being treated at home (rather than in the hospital) and a few minor hiccups with breastfeeding (thrush and one helluva clogged milk duct), we are all doing great! The big kids absolutely adore their baby brother and Greg and I are in awe of how sweet they are with him.
At home on the bili-bed for jaundice
Brock and Brock Jr.
Thank you so much to all of our friends and family that have delivered food, brought presents, called, sent texts or came over to hold Ryker so I could take a nap or shower. We are so incredibly blessed to have 3 beautiful, healthy children and to have such a wonderful support group that will help us out in times of trial and triumph. We love you all more than a blog post can say!