Within minutes I was wildly uncomfortable. Contractions went from a 5 on the pain scale (that subjective little sign they hang on the wall) to a 10. Okay, maybe not a 10. But at least a 9. All I could do was breathe. Apparently that wasn’t enough. The nurse came in and said the Baby’s heart was decelerating. (From what I read this is perfectly normal so I wasn’t concerned). But she wanted me on oxygen. So she put a mask on my face. At first I was like, “Cool, I’ve never breathed pure oxygen before.” Yeah, that excitement lasted for a minute. Oddly enough, it felt like I was breathing through a straw, a big straw, but a straw nonetheless. I was pretty annoyed. She also wanted me to turn on my left side, which is a more optimal position for laboring. For some reason this made contractions MUCH worse. So I was in twice the pain and unable to breathe comfortably. Needless to say, Jon’s napping ended right around this time. This is also when he offered to take a picture. I "kindly" declined, thus there are no pictures of my labor this time around, which is fine with me!
Between 6:30 and 7 there was a shift change, I told the new nurse I wanted the oxygen mask off. She’s like, “Sure, Baby looks fine, I’m not sure why you’re wearing that anyway.” Soon after that I started feeling the urge to push with each contraction. And they were quickly becoming unbearable. The nurse offered to check me again and within one hour I had reached 8 centimeters. Not complete, but getting close. I knew transition wasn’t very far off and braced myself for what was to come. Seconds after the nurse and doctor left my left hand started going numb, just like it did with Jack. Then my right, and eventually my whole chest was buzzing with numbness. My body started pushing with each contraction and I couldn’t make it stop. The nurse had just left and I was afraid to call her in again. A few contractions later and my hands locked up, just like they had with Jack.
I was afraid they would make me start pushing before my body was actually ready and I really wanted to avoid that and just let things progress on their own. That theory last about 10 minutes. By then, I was moaning enough with each contraction that she came back to tell me, yet again, how good I was doing and to see if she could do anything. I told her I was trying not to push but I couldn’t help it. And so, less than 20 minutes after she told me I was 8 centimeters, she checked me again and lo and behold I was complete, Baby was ready to arrive!
Within seconds the end of my bed was removed, the stirrups brought out and at least 10 people gathered around the room, mostly residents and interns curious to see the girl “going natural”. The doctor told me to start pushing while Jon and the nurse each grabbed a leg. I didn’t really take her seriously, I thought she wanted me to do a few practice pushes. I didn’t want to force the baby out and risk tearing, on top of that I’m still reeling from each contraction, trying to focus on what’s going on, but everything was happening very fast. Someone was trying to set the mirror up but wasn’t getting it right, so while contracting and half-heartedly pushing I’m trying to explain that I can’t see. Finally (and by finally I mean within a second or two since this whole phase only lasted maybe a minute), they got it right and I quickly realized that Baby’s head was RIGHT THERE. I pushed twice, his head was out, one more push and Jude was on my chest taking his first breath. It literally happened so fast that I feel like I almost missed out on the experience.
I could tell immediately that Jude was significantly smaller than Jack. He also didn’t look anything like him. It sounds horrible, but I looked at him and thought, “This isn’t my baby.” Then he cried and I fell in love all over again. He had the most perfect head of hair and was more adorable than even I had imagined. I got to hold him and cuddle him and then start nursing right there. Jon cut the cord. The nurse said he was incredibly handsome and had great color. His APGARs were 9/10. I don’t normally give that scale much credit, but when your son scores a 10 you just gotta mention it. :)