At 12:45 PM, the Stadol started wearing off and contractions were getting harder again. I woke up and told Drew they were getting harder. Right after telling him this, my nurse came back with the anesthesiologist and the epidural kit. She assisted me into a sitting position at the side of the bed. She told the doctor my labs, and I responded, "Oh, that's good. The platelets are a little on the low side, but it should still be fine having the epidural." (I have no recollection of the platelet count.) I heard Carrie tell the anesthesiologist, "She's a nurse and has worked in critical care." The epidural went in quickly and without difficulty. Contractions became less difficult. I could still feel them, but the intensity was decreased. Around 2:30 PM, I could NOT get comfortable-contractions were horrible. My back was killing me. I asked Drew to apply pressure to my lower back, which he did, but at 2:45 PM, I rolled on to my back and started crying, "My back hurts. It hurts. I want the pain to stop. I don't like labor. I feel like I need to push." (Yes, I fell very much like I'm a baby when I'm in labor.) The nurse came in, checked me, and called Dr. S. to let her know we were ready to push. Carrie started getting my bed ready so I could push.
I starting pushing around 3:00 PM. I as not thrilled to find out, I was NOT numb and definitely felt the ring of fire. I definitely cried out, "Ow! Ow! I can't do this! It burns! Help me God!"-a handful of times. I definitely have the same sentiments as Lorelei Girlmore in "Rory's Birthday Parties":
And while some have called it the most meaningful experience of your life, to me it was something more akin to doing the splits on a crate of dynamite.
Thankfully, my doctor, nurse, and Drew were supportive and encouraging. At one point, I remember the nurse telling Dr. S. that the baby's heart rate was dropping as I pushed and the NICU team was called. I thought back to Charis's birth and remembered that I did not want an episiotomy, so the next contraction, I pushed as hard as I could with everything I had and Justin was born at 3:33 PM. The first words out of my mouth, "How much does he weigh?" There were a few laughs and someone replied, "We haven't weighed him yet." The doctor handed Justin to me, and I kissed him.
Unfortunately, I was feeling weak and stated, "I feel like I'm going to pass out." My head was lowered, and Justin was taken away from me and given to Drew. The nurse and doctor were looking at my placenta, but the doctor stated that it did not come out intact. She inserted her hand into my vagina and compressed my lower abdomen. This was done for at least 10 minutes. When she was finally satisfied, she started stitching me (I had a small tear; thank God it was not an episiotomy). I remember feeling like I was so cold; I kept shaking and asked for warm blankets to be put on me. It wasn't until Drew was listening to a Psalm (I forget which one) that the shaking stopped.
I slowly felt like my strength was returning and asked for food. Labor makes me HUNGRY. Carrie said she called the kitchen for a tray, and it would be up soon. Justin was given back to me, and I breastfed him.
Part 4 to be continued tomorrow.