Part 1

The Epidural
The placement was quick, but definitely hurt a lot more than I remembered. I said "ow!" several times as I felt pressure along one side of my spine, and stinging and numbness. During the placement, the resident anesthesiologist said at one point that they had "inadvertently" gone past the epidural space into the dural space in the spine, and this really scared both Wagon Sr. and me. They said once the placement was finished, they'd explain everything.

Once the catheter was in and I was all taped up, I immediately began feeling tingling in my legs and relief from pain, and they explained what had happened. It was an inadvertent dural puncture, so the catheter was in the dural space in my spine, which is one layer deeper than an epidural. They explained that this placement is effective just like an epidural, and sometimes even more effective, but not usually done because of a slightly raised chance of a headache as a side effect. I actually was optimistic about this since epidurals hadn't worked on me in the past, but about 15 minutes later, I began to feel my contractions again. The anesthesiologist increased the medication, but as my pitocin went back up (they had turned it off during the placement since I was in so much pain), I began to feel the contractions once again.

I started to really panic because hello, this was exactly what had happened with my last delivery. TWICE. The anesthesiologists came back in and discussed the possibility of re-placing the catheter, and I began to cry. It was all just too familiar and I could not believe this was happening to me yet again, and this time in an even more risky place in my spine. I begged them to do whatever they could to get this placement to work, and after a quick adjustment and another boost in medication, I immediately began to feel relief from my pain again. They continued to increase my pitocin and the pain relief also increased, so we knew the catheter was now working, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

The anesthesiologists assured me that as long as the catheter stayed in place, it should take me all the way to delivery, and they would stay very nearby. A sign was placed on our door that said "Caution: spinal catheter." A foley catheter was placed, as well as an internal fetal monitor since they were having trouble keeping the external heart monitor on the baby. At this point it was 6:30pm, and I took a quick nap during this blessed pain-free time.


Labor tip: nap while you can!!!

There was a shift change and the doctor on call for the night came in to greet me. And it was MY OBGYN! After everything that had happened, it turns out that my doctor (who I love, love, love) would be the one to deliver the baby, and I was beyond thrilled. Things were finally going my way and I couldn't have been happier. Just half an hour later, a little past 7:00pm, she checked my cervix and said "you're ready!" I could not believe my ears. I actually asked, "how many centimeters?" because it didn't occur to me that I was actually fully dilated that soon. She said, "10!" I had gone from 6 to 10 in less than 3 hours during the time of all the spinal catheter drama, I was feeling absolutely no pain, and I was ready to push my daughter out. I did a few practice pushes with the nurse (on my side, not my back) and every single push was perfect and productive, so she quickly called my doctor back in and everyone rushed to get ready for delivery.


Excited to start pushing... while totally pain-free!

Delivery
At 7:30pm I pushed through 3 contractions with 3 pushes each, all the while feeling absolutely nothing. With every push, the doctor and nurse told me I was making great progress. I couldn't believe it because I couldn't even feel anything and didn't even know if I was really pushing or not! With the 4th contraction they put me onto my back and with the 3rd push the baby's head was out. My doctor told me to keep pushing. 2 pushes later, the baby slipped out and they put her onto my chest. She immediately cried a very loud cry and was completely covered in white, cheesy goo and not bloody at all!


Oh boy, she's a screamer.

I could not believe I had just pushed out my baby (I was still feeling nothing!) and marveled at the sight of my baby as the doctor delivered my placenta (a few more small pushes) and stitched me up (one small stitch for a first degree tear, I didn't even notice her stitching me!).

Lil Miss Wagon was screaming her head off but looked great and scored a 5 out of 5 on her Agpar, and Wagon Sr. got to cut the cord.

The injustice!

She was born with a head full of thick, long, black hair and long fingernails, which shocked me since we induced a week early!!

Still screaming!

She was screaming full strength off and on and nothing soothed her -- we tried everything from nursing to swaddling to skin-to-skin, and nothing worked until we offered her some formula. She sucked down 1.5 ounces and immediately passed out.


Wagon Sr, our amazing OBGYN Dr Kolbas, a still SCREAMING Lil Miss Wagon, and Me!

So in summary, I was in labor for about 8 hours from the start of my induction, got my epidural at 6 cm about 7 hours into labor, and I pushed for 15 minutes. Compared to my first delivery, this time around was very quick and easy!


Welcome Jodie!


Blissful baby and Mommy time


Not so screamy anymore

Recovery after this delivery was also much easier, with the exception of one pretty serious complication. I'll blog about that in an upcoming post, so consider this to be continued...