My BFF Claudia assured me that the antedote to slowing things down with the epidural was Pitocin, so I was golden and should in no way feel bad about getting it. At that point, I wondered if it would be an inappropriate time to ask for her hand in marriage. When Adam was in the bathroom or something, of course.
At noon on Thursday, a doctor from my OB's practice came in and declared me "wonderful" and the progress I was making too. I learned a couple of things (mostly through flattery). She confided after I buttered her up telling her how highly recommended she came and mentioning some people we know in common, that my OB was so shook up by the state of my amniotic fluid/placenta that she was considering giving standard ultrasounds at 40 weeks to avoid this kind of thing. That sorta freaked me out - and I realized that my doctor did a really good job of NOT overinforming for once in our dr/patient relationship. So there's that!
This doctor also broke my bag of waters to encourage forward progress. Nothing came out. Doctor went back in a couple times to make sure it was actually broken, and she said "Well, it must be because I feel hair." Adam and I looked at each other like, "Hair? Maybe there IS a human in there somewhere..."
And progress and progress... I'll try to shorten this story up.
A couple of times the baby ended up laying on its umbilical cord, and we had to switch position quickly and I had to suck on an oxygen mask. All of this had the potential to be terrifying, but Claudia was awesome and I was hardly even stressed out about it.
And evidently, I have a real propensity to put everyone else at ease in a stressful situation. (Mike, I write this purely for your edification) I kept asking my Bubba how he was feeling and how he was doing and if he needed anything. A couple of times a contraction was starting when he offered me some ice and I said "no" and after the minute of contraction I followed up with "no, thank you." Bubba said, "You can say 'no' to me, Lizzie. You need to concentrate on yourself right now." But it happened over and over - and the teacher's pet syndrome kicked in with Claudia too. I kept suggesting how I could make things easier for her. Could I change position? Could I hold this IV tube?
At last I was fully effaced and fully dilated and Claudia suggested we start some practice pushing so I could learn how to do it effectively. Thanks to yoga, I was able to bring my feet up to my chest and my head down in kind of a butterfly stretch, and we did that with almost every contraction.
Finally the doctor came back after I had been pushing for a good two to two and a half hours. I was pretty fried by that point. Lucy was having a heck of a time "getting around the bend" and it didn't seem much to me that we were getting anywhere fast. The doctor said "sorry, I would have been here sooner, but I got caught in another delivery. This woman was in labor for 40 minutes and the baby was out in two pushes!" I'm sorry, what? I actually said out loud "Who the hell invited you to this party?" And Claudia assured me that it was probably the woman's sixth child.
At this point, Claudia's shift was over, but she stayed with me through the delivery. I definitively wanted to take her home with me by then. Because Young Nighttime Nurse came back and changed my pushing technique effectively saying "You're doing it wrong" with her attitude. I turned to Bubba and said "I didn't like that very much."
The only time I snapped at the Bubba was when we started pushing with my knees up instead of my ankles. He would grab my neck with one hand and my leg with the other and help me curl. Well, the first time, he ended up grabbing the IV in my arm while he squeezed me. I screamed his name, and he jumped back! I said "Maybe next time, you could hold my foot instead?" He and Claudia thought it was hilarious that I was so polite.
During the 3rd and 4th to last pushing contractions (according to the Bubba - God knows I wasn't that with it at that point!) Claudia said even though the baby's head kept slipping back up the birth canal after my pushes, that we were giving the baby a good head start. I asked her if she intended the pun - she was so surprised that after 3 hours of pushing that I could still quip like that. Yeah, anything to make everyone else comfortable!
Then there was the Great Meconium Scare of 8/7/08. The doctor thought maybe Lucy passed meconium in utero so I had quite a crowd of people witness her birth! It sure was a party. I don't even know at that point how many people were in the room, only that it was a little bit obnoxious with people talking and Young Nighttime Nurse yelling "Push! Harder! More, moremoremoremore!" And me hating the Young Nighttime Nurse and the doctor for my 3+ hours of pushing like it was their fault.
Nevertheless, my baby was born, I saw the doctor hold her by the neck and suction her mouth - there didn't end up being meconium, so the NICU people cleared out directly after her birth.
The Bubba has since said that seeing the doctor pull the baby out by the back of her neck was like when you catch that big walleye, hook it by the gills and drag it onto the boat. I love it.
She was deposited on my stomach, the Bubba cut the cord, and we all three of us cried.
And this is what she's doing right now: