And so it was go time. Note that I will leave very little to the imagination, so if you haven't had a baby yourself, turn back now.
Around 9 am, my doctor -- the best doctor in the history of doctors -- came in with something behind his back and declared it was time to break my water. I was already dilated 4 inches and ready to roll. He told me to lie back, so I never actually saw the thing behind his back, but Aaron did and described it as a 14-inch letter opener. Also, Aaron has never been the same. Anyway. Something hurt a lot, a balloon popped inside my body and then a rush of water came out and I thought wow! I'm so glad that didn't happen at work or the grocery store or at Houston's last night! And then the gushing didn't stop. Like all day long. Water coming and coming. Gross. That was the worst.
Nah, just kidding. The worst was yet to come.
The nurse (who, by the way, was an actual angel sent from above, as were all the nurses in that hospital) started the Pitocin. I think I got like two drops the whole day because my labor was FAST. As soon as my water broke, this baby was like hi, hello, you rang? The Pitocin was turned off promptly.
I sat there and watched the Rio Olympics with Aaron for a few hours as contractions went from cute little cramps to something less manageable. OH MY GOD HAVE I MENTIONED I WAS SO FUCKING HUNGRY? I got a popsicle at some point and it was sensational. Aaron ordered pancakes and ate them in front of me, and had I not been hours away from having our baby, 'beloved husband until he ate pancakes in front of his wife while she was in labor' would have been the words on his gravestone.
By 2 pm, I was super dilated and HURTING. I tried to hold off demanding drugs until the contractions were unbearable (not for any noble reasons; just that I once heard a horror story about getting the drugs too early and then they wore off before push time), and I believe I succeeded. Every contraction felt like going to the top of a roller coaster where my uterus was tied to the roller coaster car and I was dragging it upward, and then going over a peak. It was heinous. Bring all the drugs.
As the anesthesiologist marched in, Aaron -- who fainted on the ground at the Costco when we got our TDap shots -- made his graceful exit, and my mom tagged in.
"Do you have scoliosis?" they asked. "YES, YES SHE DOES," my mother hollered from the other side of the room. I wasn't going to tell them. It's an old lady disease and who needs to know?
TURNS OUT THEY DO. THEY NEED TO KNOW.
Here is where I learned that an epidural isn't like a little prick in your back; it is an EVENT. And when you're in epic pain, that event feels like it never ends. So after 20 minutes of misery, the epidural was in and I looked forward to bliss. The dude left and I lay there for an hour thinking, "man, these people really hyped up this epidural thing. This isn't that great." I could still feel all the contractions. I felt super drunkers, that was for sure, but I also felt contractions.
Sidenote, what I didn't feel was how many times I peed into this little bag hanging next to my bed, much to the delight of my husband and I both. He'd say, "you're peeing!" And I'd say, "NO WAY!" This was really a special memory. I'm glad we shared it, and that I could share it here.
Finally, after an hour, I told the nurse that maybe the epidural guy missed or something? She tapped my knee and asked if I could feel it. I kicked my leg out and told her yes. "You're not really supposed to be able to move your legs," she said. Hmm, yeah. Fix it though?
The man came back; the event happened again; the epidural took. The next hour was bliss.
And then it was time to push! To check in here, I had been in labor for about 7 hours at this point. Which is a dream situation, especially for an induction. Good job, baby; thanks for behaving on that one day even though you have behaved not one single day since. The nurse checked my cerv one last time, and she could SEE THE BABY'S HEAD which is fully the weirdest thing. We asked her if she saw red hair and she said it was covered in stuff so she couldn't really tell (ew), but the real issue was that he was dabbing: he had an arm up by his head, so she was touching his dumb little fingers also.
This was of very little concern, apparently, because when my doctor arrived for the big finish, he reached up and pushed his little arm back where it was supposed to go and it was go time.
Allow me to pause for a moment to remember what my friend Kelly said to me: she warned that I needed to check all my dignity at the door and to be prepared to sit there with business out and up "in front of God and everyone." I could hear her voice in my head as I assumed the birthing position and grabbed the back of my knees. I put my hair in a ponytail at this point because it was bidness time.
Casey's heart rate was dropping a smidge, which caused me to panic more than a smidge -- which meant I needed an oxygen mask to keep everyone under control. That was all fine, but when you're lying there in a mask with your vagine out and 3 people staring down at you and shouting things, it's not really the moment you'd envisioned. I yelled at Aaron only once because he kept repeating some stupid and unhelpful direction over and over. I was advised to 'bear down,' but I couldn't feel a single thing so I very well could have been shitting on the table. I was told I did not, but I also have a particularly kind husband who may have wanted to spare me from the humiliation so who knows.
3 big pushes and he made his debut. As he came out, everyone was shouting, "Look down! Look down!" And excuse me, I had not one ounce of core strength to do any sort of maneuver that would allow me to look down. I did catch a tiny glimpse of a squirming red creature just before the nurse said, "Do you want to hold him, or do you want us to clean him up first?"
Here are the first words my son heard his mother say as he entered the world: "Um, clean him up. I don't even know how to hold a baby." Like why didn't they call CPS?
They did what they promised and cleaned him up and handed him to me. He was so tiny and magical and perfect I could not even believe it. It was the most surreal moment of my whole life. He was 7 lbs even, 19.75 inches long, and a real, real nice baby. We spent a while staring at each other and time stopped.
Time resumed when I looked up and caught a glimpse of my doctor sitting by my nether regions and pulling a needle with a 2-foot long thread above his head. I knew I wasn't supposed to care about that, but some significant damage was done and I'm now the proud new owner of something that looks like the monster from Stranger Things.
Anyway. As a tiny baby squirmed on me and the doctor did his thing, the nurse, blessed angel, turned to my husband and ordered him to get me some food. He did. Andthat 6:30 pm bacon and cheese omelette was the best food I have ever eaten in my life.
The next two nights in the hospital were dreamy and surreal and glorious. People brought me food; entered the room constantly to bring me drugs and help me go pee; came in to reassure me that my baby was healthy and perfect and did not have a stupid name; took the baby away and brought him back circumcised (and pissed); helped him latch; took him away one night so we could sleep, and wheeled him back in when it was time to feed. I laid on a bed and we ate steak and lobster. It was heavenly and simple and terrific. Being parents was great!
And then we left.