So, we (finally) arrived at the hospital. Despite what I figured would happen, we did not in fact deliver the baby in the back of the van on the highway. That’s a good thing! I totally scored once we arrived & I learned that the CNM I had been seeing (in case we needed to transfer to a hospital) was on-call that day. Now, I had my husband (aka ROCK), doula, 3 midwives and the midwife on at the hospital! In addition, our nurse was hilariously sarcastic (which was perfect for me), so I was having a blast joking with all of these women. Labor or not, I’ve always got time for jokes!
Sadly, I’d been pushing hard for about 6 hours at this point, and if I was going to get this baby (who’d been in the birth canal for 4 of those hours) out of my body, I needed rest. This is where my plan fell apart. I was about to get an epidural to slow the contractions for a while. They wanted me to get an hour of rest. The problem was, I don’t listen to instructions very well and I continued to joke around with people instead of resting. I mean really, my body was still contracting; there was no way I was going to sleep. (If you’re a man or if you’ve never had contractions, imagine your absolute WORST case of vomiting when you’re actually just dry heaving…now multiply it by 100…that’s about what it’s like to have contractions.) After about an hour, they then informed me it was time for…(dun dun duuun) pitocin. UGH! I worked so hard at preparing for a natural home birth. Now I’m getting slammed with an epidural AND pitocin? I would have said no, but let’s face it, my baby was stuck in the birth canal and he needed to be out! Fine, give me the awful pitocin. Now I can have twice the contractions (because it’s not like they stopped, they just lessened some). This was in the best interest for the baby, so of course I did what needed to be done.
Back to pushing, pushing, pushing. I had someone holding every limb, making jokes to keep my spirits up, trying to help me focus on the baby not the pain. In all honesty, I had one heck of a pit crew! The OB on call came in & threatened to get out the vacuum. My midwife put him in his place, telling him I could do it. I pushed for a total of THIRTEEN HOURS. Yes, that’s right. No, I’m not confused. I was in labor for 18 hours, I pushed for 13. If one more person tells me I must have that wrong, I’ll be forced to publish my medical records! At the 13th hour of pushing, the OB returned & asked the nurse to get out the forceps. By the grace of God that word must have done something in me & my baby because FINALLY he came out! I couldn’t believe it. I was finally holding my baby boy, in my arms, on my chest, right away. This was the moment I’d dreamed about for so long. There was no anesthesia preventing me from holding him, there was no operating table for me to be strapped to. There was me, my husband, and our perfect second baby boy. Just when we thought our hearts couldn’t possibly hold more love, they flooded some more. We held him until the cord stopped pulsing (which I highly recommend, by the way) and they cleaned him up quickly & we held him some more. We’d soon learn that the reason he was stuck in the birth canal for so long is because my pelvis is android (heart) shaped. That’s not exactly conducive to delivering a baby.
Now, it needs to be said that the entire time I was home & at the hospital, I still hadn’t voided my bladder. I had a fourth degree tear (yup, fantastic) that required quite a lot of stitching. It was then that I learned what happened to my body. My body had suffered significant trauma. I had pushed so hard and for so long, that my body parts were no longer recognizable. Literally. Please, lift me up in spirit. I am breaking once again sharing these details. It’s like a horror story I relive every time I tell the story I’ve only just begun to tell. The intimate details I’m about to share are embarrassing, to say the least. But ya know what? They’re my story. They’re my reality. They’re not my fault. They’re the reason I’m even stronger today. I had about 40 different people looking at my lady parts over the next 5 months. Do you have any idea how much pride that strips from a person? Just about all of it. Really.
So, I’d tell my nurses, one after another, that I still couldn’t void. “Oh, that’s normal after having a baby.” Finally, we demanded a Foley catheter. The nurses tried and tried (sure no big deal, it’s not excruciatingly painful or anything!) but because I was so swollen, they couldn’t insert the catheter into my urethra. A doc finally came and inserted it. Let me just tell you, having a catheter inserted is incredibly painful to a urethra that’s been abused by previous attempts at insertion. As a woman who just pushed a big ‘ol baby out, yes, a catheter is extremely painful. The nurses had me remove it later (also painful, but not nearly as painful as insertion). Guess what?! I still couldn’t void. I was told not to worry, though. “It’s normal to not be able to pee after having a baby”. Well, considering my previous delivery was via cesarean, what did I know? They’re the medical professionals, right? Every time I’d try to go to the bathroom, all I could void was a drop or two. Imagine, if you will, having a bladder that’s incredibly full, and only being able to get one single drop out.
So, I continue this nonsense and then was released. My husband & I told EVERY SINGLE NURSE that came into our room that I couldn’t void. We’d later learn it was never documented. Awesome, eh? So, we finally get home with our new little bundle and our family of four could be together at home at last. My parents (who’d been watching Brayden while we were at the hospital) brought Brayden to our house and our family was HOME! Later that night, however, the nightmare began.