Right as the anesthesiologist came in, the first words out of my mouth were, you are my favorite person in this hospital right now. I then proceeded to tell him that there was no way that I was going to be able to hold still through a contraction that was definitely going to happen while he was administering the epidural. He told me not to worry about it, that I could do jumping jacks while he gave it to me and it wouldn't affect anything. I was happy that they didn't go through the list of possible side effects with me before administering it. I thought I would be nervous about getting it but I was in so much pain that I didn't feel worried or concerned about the epidural/needle/side effects. The only painful part of the epidural was the burning sensation that radiated across my back. But that feeling didn't last more than a few seconds and it was nothing compared to the pain of contractions! It was around 10:30 a.m. at this time so I settled into bed and the nurses came in to sit with me and monitor the baby. I'm not sure how much time passed but suddenly the nurse made me turn onto my side, and a whole team of people rushed in. I heard the phrase, "we have a baby in the 80's" and then the oxygen mask was put on my face. I had no idea what was going on. As I was laying there trying to figure it out, I heard a code blue being called on the intercom of the hospital. I began to panic at this point and looked up at my husband to see that he looked calm and was even smiling. I realized then that the code blue had nothing to do with me or the baby and a few minutes later everything was back to normal. They said that the epidural caused my blood pressure to drop (which is normal) and my drop in blood pressure caused Emerie's heartbeat to drop as well. So they had me on my side and put something in my IV (I think) to bring things back up. That was a scary moment but the nurses were fantastic. They never left my side all day and even though we rotated through six or seven different nurses that day, they were all equally fantastic. I laid around in bed the rest of the day and chatted with the nurses, played cards with hubs, called my mom and dad a few times to update them, and tried to rest even though I knew I wouldn't be able to fall asleep. I was checked periodically to see if I was still progressing and though it took awhile, I was still making progress (without the help of any drugs like pitocin). I was thankful that my doctor wasn't a fan of catheters so twice the nurses inserted an in and out catheter to empty my bladder and that was it. Hubs was by my side the whole time (minus a time or two when he went to update everyone in the waiting room and grab something to eat).
As the baby progressed further and further into the birth canal and my contractions held steady at 2 to 3 minutes apart, her heart rate kept dropping. The nurses kept turning me from side to side to get her heart rate back up and after each contraction, she seemed to recover nicely. Finally around 10 p.m. my doctor came in and checked me and told me that it was time to push. She expressed concern that perhaps Emerie's umbilical cord was wrapped and that was what was causing her heart rate to drop during my contractions. She got me started on pushing and then let the nurses take over. I was surprised that she didn't stay through all of the pushing but I later realized that some women push for hours before the baby is born so I guess that's why she didn't stay in the room the whole time. After pushing for an hour, my doctor came back in and told me that she didn't like that the baby's heart rate was dropping much lower than before and said that we really needed to work to get her out. Everyone could see the top of her head but she hadn't cleared my pubic bone. Hubs was great through all of this. He held one leg while the nurse held the other and they all coached me through pushing. It took some time to get the hang of exactly how they wanted me to push. Finally my doctor said, okay we need to try to use the vacuum to assist or we need to do a c-section. Her heart rate is getting low and we need to get her out of there. She asked me which I wanted to do and I told her I had no idea, I just wanted what was best for the baby. She told me that if we used the vacuum and it didn't work or if it slipped off more than three times, we had to stop and proceed with a c-section. She also said a c-section after using the vacuum was more dangerous. I had no idea what to do at this point and my doctor quickly made the decision to use the vacuum. She said that Emerie was far enough down that she thought we could get her out if I could push as hard as possible through a contraction. I will add that everyone kept letting me tell them when I had a contraction and needed to push and it was hard to distinguish when I had contractions because all I could feel was some pressure. The doctor told me to let her know when I felt one and they quickly broke the bed down and got the vacuum ready. I told her I felt the need to push and I pushed with everything that I had in me because I knew that if I didn't get Emerie out, things might become more dangerous and more complicated. The contraction ended up being a long one, and I was able to push for 4 counts of ten in a row. With the assistance of the vacuum and my pushing, Emerie's head and neck came out.
The past two and half weeks have been wonderful and I can't wait to share her pictures and progress with you!