Olivia arrived around 11:15am, just as Anna and the nurses were helping me back into the bed. I asked again about the epidural, and Olivia told me that I needed to have some blood work done before it could be started. She assured me that if the anesthesiologist arrived before the results were back they could try and get things started anyway. To help me in the interim, she also brought me a tank of laughing gas to help me cope with the contractions until the epidural kicked in.
Olivia went to work trying to start an IV when the Hubster made it back to our room. She tried to start it twice on one hand, but a combination of my veins collapsing and my being unable to stay still through constant contractions made it very difficult. They were finally able to run one on my other hand and I was given the laughing gas mask while we waited.
In the meantime, the nurses were busy hooking me up to a fetal monitor and continuously checking my blood pressure. After a few moments of waiting, I had another surge of contractions that left me feeling like I needed to push. I communicated this to Olivia, and she went over to check the fetal monitor.The laughing gas was helping to take a bit of the edge off the contractions, but I began to worry that the anesthesiologist wouldn’t make it in time.
After watching the monitor for a moment, Olivia came back to my side–all business. I felt her lower the head of my bed, and she told me she wanted to do a second check on the progression of my labor. Her eyes widened, and she gave me a smile and told me that I had fully dilated to 10 centimeters.
…in less than 15 minutes.
She became serious, came to my side and said,
“Shop Girl, your baby needs to come right now. We don’t have time to wait for the epidural, and I’m going to need you to push as hard as you can. We can do this.”
Shortly after 11:30am, Anna helped me into position and my room filled with nurses. I didn’t know why at the time, but a nurse took position on either side of me, in addition to Olivia and Anna who were in position to deliver the baby. The Hubster came by my side, and in a matter of seconds I went from waiting for my epidural to being prepped to have my baby–au natural.
There wasn’t time to doubt myself or be afraid; something inside me knew that I had to get this baby out and there weren’t any other options. My anxieties about his size flashed through my mind for one second, then Olivia urged me to push as hard as I possibly could.
It’s pretty amazing what the human body is capable of. My eyes closed and I’m pretty sure my mind went to a different place as I started to push. I knew the Hubster was beside me, but I also knew that I had to do this on my own. One of my hands gripped the mattress behind my head, and the other grasped the guard rail for dear life. Olivia urged me to push as hard as I possibly could with each contraction, and as time passed I realized that she began urging me to keep pushing, even when I wasn’t having contractions.
I pushed with every ounce of strength I had, and then dug deeper for more. My eyes were still squeezed shut, and I could hear Anna and the Hubster urging me to continue as the baby was almost there.
Suddenly it felt like the mood shifted in the room. Without any real warning, one of the nurses who had been perched by my side jumped up on the bed with me and began pushing down on my stomach. As I took a second to cope with this this new pain, Olivia shouted at me to push as hard as I possibly could.
With one final push, he arrived at 11:46am… after just thirteen minutes. They laid him on my chest for one second, then as they whisked him off to the warmer I realized that I hadn’t heard him cry. His skin was a bluish colour, and I tried to peer through the team of nurses surrounding him as they cleared his airways and rubbed his arms and legs to stimulate them.
Finally, after what seemed like forever (and was probably only a matter of seconds), our little boy let out a huge holler. Olivia came over to give me a big hug, and told me that he was finally here–all 9lbs 8oz of him. She promised to “debrief” me on what had happened during the delivery when things settled down a little, and told me that I had had some tearing that she and Anna needed to tend to.
I looked over at our baby and caught the Hubster’s eye as he smiled at me. Our (not-so) little boy was turning a lovely shade of pink while he continued to holler and tell the world he had arrived. I closed my eyes while I waited to hold my son and find out exactly what had happened during his arrival.