By the end of my 2 hour “nap” I was feeling pelvic pressure with my contractions. No pain, but I knew when they were happening.
Dr. Herman came in to check and gave me the best news I’d had so far: She was fully engaged and I was 8 cm dilated.
And then angels filled the room and sang the Hallelujah chorus.
Angie and I stayed up and talked for the next little while, but Steve slept through our excitement. In fact, when Dr. Herman came back to check again and put in a pressure catheter to monitor contractions Angie had to push his bed out of the way. It hit the wall with a loud thump. He didn’t even stir. He had been working really hard all day. Not as hard as me, but hard enough to be exhausted.
By 2:45 I was feeling the urge to push, and Dr. Herman let me. Everyone was back in the room now, including my dad, who stood behind the curtain the whole rest of the time. I kept thinking someone should have gotten him a chair. At some point we had even managed to wake up Steve and let him know what was going on.
They aren’t kidding when they tell you that the urge to push feels like the urge to poop. Exactly the same sensation. With my very first push I was told I had apparently read and heard the right things, because I knew how to do it with out being told. That made me happy, because I was determined to get it over with as soon as possible.
I literally pushed with everything I had. Steve held my leg and the hand that didn’t have an IV, and Angie held my other leg. When it was time to push, I pushed against them, in a laying down squatting position. I used every muscle I could. Angie warned me at the beginning not to push with my face muscles, but I felt like I had to. The next morning I realized I’d popped dozens of blood vessels in my face and had to black eyes. Gorgeous.
Oh, and this is what else happened to my eyes (picture taken 5 days later).
3 weeks later as I write this, I still have bruising on the bottom of my feet from pushing against Steve and Angie. I found out later that because I was pushing against her watch, Angie had blood blisters on her wrist. Liz took a turn at my side but shortly thereafter asked Angie to take her place. I later learned that she thought I had broken her wrist.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before my contractions slowed down. Even more unfortunate, my urge to push did not. The pressure catheter came out with one of my first pushes, and the external monitor wasn’t working. Christie had to continually push on my abdomen to feel if the muscles were contracting in order to tell me when to push. I didn’t like that one bit. Every time she touched me it increased the sensation that I needed to push and it was extremely uncomfortable. I kept asking if I could push and being told not to.
And the heat! I mentioned Liz with the washcloths earlier- it became ridiculous how often she was refreshing them. She and Steve were giving me sips of ice water between each push, as well. At one point it all became too much for me and I ripped my hospital gown off and flung it across the room.
I may have been a bit overwhelmed.
Pushing was the hardest, most physically demanding thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t call it the most painful. I’ve had back pain that was worse. They brought a mirror over so I could see her be born, but mostly it just frustrated me because I could see nothing, and I was SO ready to see my baby. And when it came down to it, I needed to keep my eyes closed in order to push very hard, so it became a frustrating distraction.
I felt liked I pushed forever. The previous morning my brother had jokingly told me to try and have the baby by 3:12 that afternoon because his birthday is March 12th. We made jokes as everyone’s “birthday minutes” came and went, including my brother’s, 12 hours later. As morning approached I was worried that Dr. Herman would have to leave and I’d have a stranger called in to deliver my baby. He had told me before that he needed to leave town by 7 am in order to catch his flight, and his wife called several times as I was pushing to make sure he was going to make it.
Another thing about the mirror being there was that I could see what Dr. Herman was doing. I had asked him not to give me an episiotomy, and told him that I would rather tear if need be. I think he forgot. I watched him try and stretch me open, and then I saw him filling a syringe. I knew what he was doing and decided at that point that I’d like all the help I could get so I didn’t say anything. Poor Liz, however, didn’t do well. She had to take a moment and sit down. She took a seat again when he cut me the second time.
Early on, perhaps around 3:30 or 4:00, Angie told me to reach down and see if I could feel her head, which I did! That excitement of knowing she was close made me think that every push was likely to be the last one. I think that saved me and helped me to keep pushing.
Around 6:00 the air was thinning. You have to hold your breath while you are pushing, and I would take a deep breath, push, and repeat twice with every contraction. Everyone kept telling me to push through the “burn” and just accept it, because I had to in order for her to come. The problem was that I wasn’t feeling the “burn,” my pushing was getting weaker because I couldn’t hold my breath anymore! I was so frustrated.
And then it happened. I was ready to be done, and even though I had already pushed 3 times with the contraction and it had ended, I took a deep breath and pushed again. And when I looked in the mirror, I could see Dr. Herman holding her head! Steve was telling me that she had dark hair, and I could see it! Babies don’t normally all come out in one push, however, so that meant I had to keep going. It was so incredibly hard to get her shoulders out, and I didn’t have the force of the uterine contractions helping me, but Dr. Herman was pulling on poor little Evelyn as much as he could, and eventually we managed!
At 6:06 a.m. on Wednesday, August 25, 2010, Evelyn Louise Flynn joined us in this mortal probation.
And her parents couldn’t be happier.