Everything after the birth is mostly a blur for me - between the meds and the exhaustion I don't remember a lot of what happened. Steven cut the umbilical cord and I delivered the placenta shortly afterward.
I feel like the repair was the worst part of the whole thing. Luke came out elbow first, with his arm over his head, and because of this I tore pretty badly - a first degree labial tear and a second degree internal vaginal tear. As Lucy started the stitches I wanted to scream "Stop touching me!" I was so tired of being handled that I could hardly stand it. She got halfway through my repair and decided she needed help, so she paged the OB on call. He re-stitched what she had done and then stitched some more. They were stitching so much it felt like they were doing embroidery down there!
As bad as the needles were, that wasn't the worst part. That whole region was raw, sore and starting to swell. When the dry latex gloves touched my raw skin it felt like sandpaper and I would scream out it pain. Lucy couldn't figure out why I was screaming and Steven was overwhelmed. He never expected the post-birth phase to be so rough. To make matters worse, my leg muscles were shot and I couldn't hold my legs open to allow for the repair. Lucy and a nurse had to hold my legs for me.
I had been holding Luke the whole time, supposedly to distract me from the stitching. It worked up to a point, but nothing is cute enough to keep me from noticing a needle in my lady business. When Lucy was finished the nurse took Luke from me to wipe him off; I immediately started shaking. To clean me off a second nurse poured a tub of cold water over my crotch, which sent the shaking into overdrive. I didn't know what was going on and the harder I shook the more I panicked, which made me hyperventilate. I couldn't breathe and couldn't control the shaking so I thought I was going into shock! I kept telling the nurses I was cold but they said I couldn't have a blanket until they had cleaned me up. The nurse handed Luke back to me and, like magic, the shaking stopped. Only at this point did the nurse tell me that she shaking was normal - my blood and hormone levels were in major flux after delivery.
I want to share with you some questions I have been asked, and my answers.
What does a contraction feel like?
Someone told me a contraction feels like the cramps you get when you have diarrhea. Yeah, it's like that, only imagine someone is stabbing your uterus and giving it an Indian rope burn at the same time. I apologize for the non-PC term, but that's the only name I know for it.
Did you poop when you pushed?
Before I answer, you should know this was one of my worst fears. I am extremely shy when it comes to this particular act and I was not prepared to do it in front of my husband and a room full of strangers. That being said... yes, I pooped on the table and I didn't care in the slightest. BUT, it's not like a normal bowel movement. Only a little bit comes out and the nurse gets rid of it very quickly. I even told Steven that I did it and he said he wasn't even aware that I had. So there. It's not so scary.
Do you think you'll have another baby?
Steven and I both want more kids. The decision to expand our family will be based on our parenting capabilities and financial situation. My experience with pregnancy, labor and birth was not bad enough to make me say "never again." During my discharge exam Lucy told me something encouraging: the reason I was stuck at 5 cm for so long was because Luke was positioned elbow first so his head couldn't apply pressure to my cervix like it was supposed to. Now I know my long, hard labor was not because my body was ill prepared. If I have another baby I am confident my body will handle it well.
Even with all the interventions I had, I am not disappointed with my labor. I never felt pressured and Lucy always seemed concerned but never pushy. I am proud of myself for persevering through Pitocin without an epidural. Even though I accepted pain medication, I am proud of myself for not asking for it sooner. It was recommended to lower my stress and it worked.
If there is a lesson to be learned from my labor, it is that every intervention has a time and place. All of these things are not horrible if administered properly.