Being transferred from the recovery room to the L&D room was like going from coach to first class. The L&D rooms are so nice and spacious, and you really feel like you might be the only people in the whole hospital; it’s that quiet.
As soon as I was in the room, they started my IV and got me all hooked up to their machines. After the final adjustments were made, I was embarrassed to have to ask if I could get up to use the restroom! I felt like a kid who had just been fully dressed for playtime in the snow and then realizes they have to pee…thankfully it only required unplugging a few things and dragging my IV into the bathroom…and no one was too upset about it. When I came out, my doctor did his exam to see how dilated I was (still 5-6) and asked me if I planned to have an epidural. I told him of course I wanted one, so he told me he’d be sure to get the anesthesiologist in to see me.
Awhile later the doctor came in to let me know that my contractions seemed to be quite irregular (something I already knew, of course) and recheck my progress. By then I had progressed to about a 7, and the epidural had been put in place. (The thought of epidurals is always so much scarier than the actual thing! I’m always surprised how little it hurts…no more than any other shot really…and the pain it takes away is totally worth it!) After the epidural I was able to rest a little bit more and I think I may have even drifted to sleep for a few minutes…
I’m not sure about exact times here, but I’m guessing it was sometime between 9:45 and 10pm when I told the nurse that I felt like I needed to push. At that point, I remember her relaying that to the doctor and him coming over to break my water, and the actual business of having a baby started to take place. In all, there was my doctor, a nurse and Tony there to help me. I don’t think it was after the first couple pushes that I felt like something wasn’t right, but probably after about 10 minutes of unsuccessful progress, I started to suspect that something might be wrong. The nurse or doctor would say, “Oh, you’ve almost got it, I can see hair” and then nothing would happen. And, then they’d say something like that again, yet no crowning would actually happen.
This is the point in which things seem a little muddy for me. I know I was pushing and then all of a sudden I was feeling more pain than I thought even possible. Another nurse joined in helping me to hold my legs and coach me while Tony took a step back to catch his breath. I know it was at this stage that I looked down at my doctor and saw concern on his face, and also the point in which I began to lose control. I noticed that Tony wasn’t in my line of sight anymore and that although I could hear him occasionally talking to me, I couldn’t find his face. (He was at my side most of the time, but he said he was starting to feel like he was going to pass out because of all the stress in the room and he knew the amount of pain I was in was tremendous. When I could hear him and not see him he was talking to one of the nurses from the nearby couch.)
After a few more excruciating attempts to push Dakota out, they said that my cervix was still around part of her head and that in order for her to be able to get past that, the doc was going to have to reach in and push the cervix back as I pushed her out. I remember asking him if it was going to hurt much more than it already did, and he told me it was. I didn’t feel like there was another option though, so I bore down as much as I could and experienced a new kind of pain that I can’t begin to explain. The next thing I remember is a strange vacuuming sensation and the realization that they were trying to help her out via vacuum. That was also entirely unpleasant and all I can remember is screaming and screaming. Uncontrollably and completely crazy. Everyone kept telling me to calm down and that the screaming wasn’t helping, but I was in no mood to listen at that point. I just wanted the pain to end and for them to tell me she was ok.
Unfortunately, none of the things they were trying was working and they were noticing that she was having a sharp drop in heart rate. As soon as they noticed that, all hell broke loose. No one actually said to me that we were about to be running down the hall to have an emergency c-section, and I wasn’t really in the best conditions to be thinking rationally, so when they started unplugging everything around me and shouting and wheeling me out of the room, I was terrified. Tony was nowhere to be found and everyone around me was yelling one thing or another. I saw the c-section sign on the wall on the way to the room and that’s when it hit me what was happening.
Once in the operating room, I mostly just remember the anesthesiologist asking me if I could feel my legs or any pain. I kept telling him I could feel my legs just fine as well as a lot of pain from the waist down and finally he told me he was just going to put me all the way to sleep so that they could hurry and get the baby out. I also remember him telling me I was ok, and that the baby was going to be ok too. I told him I was scared to death and he promised not to let anything happen to us. It was what I grasped to as I felt everything around me was so out of control and chaotic. At last a mask was put over my face, I was told to breathe in and out, and that’s all I remember until I woke up a few hours later and saw Tony standing next to me with a teeny tiny little baby wrapped in a blanket.