***the longest and last part of the story, also, the most graphic Sam****
As they set up for delivery, everyone kept reassuring me that it was almost over. At this point, contractions were looooooong and I was getting barely any break in between. I was feeling the need to push, but also didn't want to just let go and do it. I have no idea why, because obviously to get her out there was going to have to be some pushing involved, and I wanted her out as quickly as possible, but I just didn't want to commit to the pushing.
Instead, I preferred to writhe in pain and yell out whatever came to mind. A few examples are "Please kill me, please." "I can't do this!" (which met replies each time of "are you kidding? you ARE doing this!"). To SB "Why the hell did we ever think this was a good idea?" To the nurse who wanted to check my blood pressure and baby's heart rate in the middle of a pretty nasty contraction "are you fucking kidding me? You need to do this now?"
By 9am they were all set up and ready to get me pushing. Dr. Duh had been replaced by a really great female intern, Dr. L. Dr. K started things off by saying "Ok, we're ready to push now. If you push really well, you will have your baby in one hour." His sing-songy accent was mocking me now. I took this as a challenge to get her out in half that.
Nurse P was a rock star at this point. As she was helping me get into a comfy pushing position, she was already coaching. She began her preamble with "Now, to get this baby out we have to do this methodically" and after that Nice Nurse P turned into Drill Sergeant Nurse P and that's just what I needed. With SB on one side, my doula on the other (both being super encouraging), and Nurse P barking orders from the periphery, I felt like I had a dreamteam.
Pushing was actually a relief compared to the pain of transition. In transition I felt like my entire body was trying to curl around my uterus while my uterus was trying to explode out, while already on fire. The cliche about pushing is true, it does feel like taking a number 2 the size of a turkey, so the pain is more localized, and is a sharp burning. If all had been normal, I totally would have rocked pushing that baby out.
As it were, pushing was harder than it should have been. It seemed like she crowned really quickly, and then just sat there. It's normal that you will push a little, then baby will recede back in a tiny bit, sort of a two steps forward one step back kind of thing. But I would push, and she would head right back to where she was before the push. I started to get annoyed, and the doctors started to be concerned. After half an hour of pushing, I began to demand exact numbers like "how long will this take now?" "how many more pushes until I get her out?" and things like that. Obviously they couldn't tell me exact numbers, and that annoyed me more.
I'm not sure if the length of time she was crowning had anything to do with it, but I started to tear, and they decided to cut an episiotomy. I was pretty upset, but I knew that if Dr. K thought it was needed, AND my doula thought it was a good idea, then things were probably not looking good there. Which I wouldn't know anything about, because I was NOT stealing a peek. Really. They offered a mirror several times and seemed perplexed that I had no interest. I think Dr. K thought it would give me some incentive if I could see the progress, but nope, I wanted none of it. And at that point I think he was a little scared of me since I kept yelling things like "Motherfucker".
Nurse K checked the fetal monitor, and saw that the baby's heart rate was getting a bit sketchy. This terrified me, because after all my research (ie, watching episodes of A Baby Story) I knew that low heart rate meant signs baby was in distress, which the hospital tends to interpret as "Baby's dying, quick, to the OR!" And of everything I knew I didn't want, C-section was at the top of my list. So I got serious, and finally pushed her head out.
Within the split second that her head came out, Dr. K said "Okay, no more pushing. Stop pushing." He said this because he could see that the cord was wrapped around her neck (twice!), which is why she wouldn't come out. I would push and push, and the cord would draw her back in. Upon seeing this, he wanted to try to unwrap it before trying to push the rest of her out. But baby was not having any of that. She was just annoyed as me at that point, I think, because I swear I didn't push, but hell if that baby didn't kick herself the rest of the way out. She was born at 10:04 am, an hour and 4 minutes after I started pushing.
Dr. K officially cut the cord (because of the whole double wrap thing), then SB got to trim it back. He said it was cool. Then Dr. K said "Alright, now that the Cirque du Soleil show is over, we wait for the placenta."
They put her on my chest where she wriggled for a second, but because of the craziness of getting her out and her low heart rate they took her pretty quickly to check her out. I watched them rub her skin and suction her mouth and nose. It was the nurse and a specialist from pediatrics working with her, and that had me a little concerned. So while Dr. K and L were shooting me with stuff to clot my blood because they found I was bleeding too much, I just kept watching the baby. I could see her wriggling and squirming, but there was no crying. After what seemed like forever, they concluded that she was fine, that we had produced a baby who just didn't feel like crying. Magical! (and totally not true.)
The rest is just medical non-baby related stuff. Placentas and stitches and more swearing. I found that Dr. K was a bit rough with me, and when I said so to SB after the fact he said "well, you did call him a Motherfucker quite a few times." Which I totally didn't. I was just exclaiming it. In general. To no one in particular.