See Part 1 here.
Dr. P gets into her scrubs while W instructs me on how to push. I was to wait until I'm at the peak of my contraction, hold my breath, curl over my stomach, and push into my bottom like I'm about to poo. I would push for 10 seconds, take a breath, and do it again 3 times for each contraction. The next contraction comes and I go to push. I pushed so hard I started shaking. The nurses told me to hold my breath and go again. I would get 2 good pushes, but the third was too exhausting for me to give my full strength.
Pushing wasn't relieving or felt like it was going anywhere. Dr. P checked me in between contractions and she had a look on her face that I knew wasn't good. "Listen, sweetheart, if you want to get this baby out, you're going to be pushing for a long time. I'm just warning you. She's still really high." Her words were discouraging, but they didn't stop me. I kept pushing as hard as I could. All the nurses were really encouraging and kept telling me how good I was doing, but Dr. P's face remained cold. She checked me again and told me that baby was sunny side up and still really high. (Note: A sunny side up baby is really difficult to push out because a baby's spine naturally curves into a C-shape while in utero. So a baby facing up is coming from the back part of the vagina and against gravity. It's like trying to take a poop upside down.) She said if I had had an epidural that she might have been able to turn her. Go figure, my plan to avoid pain meds to keep the labor progressing backfired on me.
I tried a few more pushes, but still nothing was happening. Dr. P got really serious with me. "I know I'm not your doctor, so it won't hurt my feelings if you want to wait. But I'm telling you now, it's looking futile for the baby to come out this way." She asked what I wanted to do. I looked at Trey and he said, "Do you want to go in and get her?" I shook my head and said I wanted to wait on my doctor. Dr. P went to go call my doctor on her cell phone, but as soon as she hit send, he comes through the door. Everyone let out a "Hey!" because it surprised all of us. Dr. P caught him up about my sunny side up baby and the fact that I had been pushing for 1.5 hours and the baby wasn't moving. My doctor let me try a few pushes with him there, and he agreed. With the greatest sincerity, he looked at me and said, "You can keep pushing if you want. Baby's heart rate is fine at this point, but it's unlikely that pushing would change her position. Or you would push just enough that she could get stuck, then it becomes an emergency situation. If you were my wife, I would tell you it would be best for both of you if I go in and get her."
I turned to my left and looked at my husband. "I can't make this decision by myself. What should I do?" Stroking my hair, "I want both of you out of here in one piece. Let's go get her!" I turned back to my doctor. "Is that what you think I should do?" "I do, sweetheart. Let's get her now while she is still in good shape." At this point, all eyes are on me. It didn't matter what my doctor thought, my husband thought, or what the janitor thought. I was the one who needed to make this decision. The silent pause was deafening. I closed my eyes and said, "OK, let's go get her."
Everyone started moving. One of the nurses gave Trey some scrubs to put over his clothes. I leaned over in the bed, still trying to get through the contractions I was feeling. But without the pressure to push, I just clenched up and tried to get through the pain. Before the nurses took me out, my doctor leaned over the bed, put his hand on my head, and whispered, "I'm so sorry. I know this wasn't what you wanted. But I promise it will be fine." I shook my head in agreement. "I know."
The doors opened and I was wheeled into the bright lights of the hallway down to the operating room. A contraction hit right as I was wheeled into the room. So the anesthesiologist had to wait to administer the spinal until it was over. An older nurse, who I never got her name but I affectionately referred to as "Madge", helped me sit up and let me hug her while the contraction had me writhing in pain. Once the contraction was over, the anesthesiologist gave me a shot of morphin to calm me, then the spinal. As soon the spinal took effect, my legs immediately felt like jello and the relief was overwhelming. I was feeling GOOOOOOD! All the pain was gone, and I was calm enough to take in what was happening. I kept asking where Trey was, and the nurse said he's right outside. (I would later learn that he and my doctor were outside talking together, and they were discussing how I much I had made the right decision. But more on that in a later post.)
My doctor comes in and asks me if I could feel the pinch he just gave me. I couldn't feel anything past my chest. I joked that I would pinch him later. I could hear him laugh underneath his mask. In the pain-free state I was in, I got the courage to thank him for everything he had done for me since day one of my pregnancy. "My pleasure," he said. Finally, Trey comes in, scrubs and hairnet attire, and takes a seat at my head. He kissed me on the forehead and told me he loved me and how proud he was of me. Not sure if kissing was allowed in the operating room, but we stole one as our daughter was being born.
Not 5 minutes later, one of the nurses asked if Dad had brought a camera. In the chaos from the labor and delivery room to the OR, no one thought to grab our camera. I remember I said that it was OK, that I didn't want my baby's first pictures to be from a surgery room. A few seconds later, I hear this gurgling sound followed by a baby crying. My baby was crying! Trey stood up and looked over the curtain to see. I started crying and listening to the sounds of her strong lungs. Trey got up and went with the nurse to wrap her up. They brought her over to me and showed me her head full of hair and all her fingers and toes. "Give her a kiss, Momma. She's going to go with Dad to be checked out." I gave her a kiss on her temple. Her skin was so soft and warm. "Hi there! I'll see you later, OK?" And my daughter left in my husband's arms to the nursery.
My doctor stitched me up. I remember at one point that one of the nurses asked "Staples or sutures?" "Staples, she's diabetic." I was so tired. I kept looking at the ceiling and coming down from the high of the pain and the few seconds that just happened. I almost fell asleep right there. After I was put back together, I was wheeled into the short-term recovery room.
In the recovery room, my first nurse K was there and going over my vitals. She said I would be here roughly an hour. Trey walked in, no scrubs but still with a hairnet, holding our daughter in a burrito swaddle. "You wanna hold her?" I only had enough strength to nod my head. Because I was still so out of it from the surgery, Trey helped me put her on my chest. I kept staring at her. She looked like my dad. All the grandparents came in one-by-one to check on me and to take another peek at our little girl. We both just laid there and I took in the moment that I was holding my daughter. I didn't want to be anywhere else in the world at that moment.