My Worst Period Cramps Ever
In Luca's birth story, I referenced my worst period cramps ever as a benchmark for labor pain. Probably about 8 years ago. My coworker looked up at me and asked if I was ok. My face was pale and turning green. I was literally holding onto my cubicle desk as the waves hit me. I was breaking out into sweats. I rarely take painkillers and hadn't thought to go buy some from the corner store. I also rarely had period cramps at all so this was a surprise. She asked if I wanted her to go find a pill for me and I nodded weakly. She came back with a giant pill wrapped in a tissue. She began to explain what the pill was, in an effort to convince me it would be a good idea to take it. I didn't care. I took that pill and thank god. I don't even know what it was. But it muted the pain significantly. I think I would have passed out if I hadn't.
Things They Don't Tell You
Oh, right, you need a catheter
The thing no one tells you about getting an epidural is that you also need to get a catheter. This may seem obvious to some but I didn't know. I just never thought about it. Of course you would need a catheter if you can't feel your lower body. Now I know.
The thing about a catheter...
The other thing no one tells you is that if you get a catheter, the time immediately following its removal is (to me) one of the most traumatic and scary parts of the entire experience. For some reason, the body "forgets" how to relax enough to pee naturally. Not being able to go when you really have to go is really scary. In fact, they put a measurement cup in the toilet to see how much pee you're able to get out and if you don't meet certain levels, they will reinsert a catheter to relieve your bladder for you. They had to do that to me once. I think I might have cried. Could have been the hormones I guess. But damn it was scary.
Ice is nice. So, so, so nice.
And another thing they don't tell you (thank god our doula prepped us), you basically wear a giant ice pack stuffed into hospital issued bandage/gauze underpants while in recovery to help soothe the pain. In fact, you are incredibly thankful there is such a thing as ice.
BEEP BEEP BEEP
Also, last thing I'll gripe about: sleeping in the hospital after a new baby = not sleeping at all. And it's not really the baby who keeps you up (although, he certainly did his fair share of that). It's all the machines and alarms beeping and then the nurses coming in to turn off the alarms and then to check whatever thing that alarm was set to remind them to do. And of course, NONE of the alarms are synched so when the alarm goes off for my BP to be checked, the baby wakes up. And then, 30 mins later, the alarm goes off for the baby's BP to be checked. And then some other alarm. Oh, and then the IV drip is empty so, you know, the alarm goes off. And then somehow the IV needle slipped out of my arm and is dripping all over me and the floor. And gosh, can they turn on the light just for a second, they can't read the machine in the dark? Oh, did that light wake the baby up who we just got to fall asleep? Gosh darned. This goes on ALL NIGHT. And it's like some sort of sweet, polite torture that every nurse who comes in inevitably tells us we need to get some sleep.
Our Doula: Carmen Bornn
Her life's work has been and continues to be helping families bring lives into the world. She is a truly incredible person who lives her life with such gratitude. And I could not have done it without Carmen, at least not on my terms. I'm fairly certain I would have had the baby more quickly if I didn't have her because I would have gotten the epidural earlier. BUT, my heart was set on experiencing the birth naturally. This is a highly personal choice for every mom-to-be and I'm lucky that I have a choice at all. She helped me try my absolute best and made sure I felt safe. And, she did say that if we were to have another baby, I wouldn't need the epidural. That "lip" is now gone, torn forever. In fact, she joked that if we decide for a second child, we better get on our roller skates the moment I start having contractions and get to the hospital because I would progress even quicker than the first time.
Our Doctor: Dr. Wu
This guy is the rockstar OB at Glendale Adventist. I can honestly say that part of my consideration for another child is if we do want another, we better decide soon before Dr. Wu retires. We would not want to be in anyone else's care. I wanted a doctor who held similar philosophical beliefs we did regarding childbirth. Honestly, I was really considering home birth at one point. But we found Dr. Wu and trusted him completely. This story from Los Angeles Magazine pretty much sums up why we think he's the bees knees. I fully support necessary Cesarean section births. I do also think there are many performed unnecessarily. I didn't want to become a statistic in the latter and I felt he was the right doctor for us.