I usually wouldn't do this (and trust me, Liz gave her consent; her dopey, drugged, exhausted consent, but it was a consent no less) but I was gasping and laughing so hard during her labor and delivery story that this is just a tale that needs to be told. And it has a happy ending, which is the best news ever.
Okay, as I mentioned yesterday, I saw on Facebook that Liz had had her baby in the morning. This surprised me since we had just been texting the day before and she absolutely did not mention anything about feeling like she was going to give birth anytime soon. And, she wasn't due until November 4 (and Wes was 10 days overdue) so I don't think any of us were expecting her to pop out a kid so quickly.
And then, amid the congratulating comments on her wall, her sister mentioned something about doing it with no drugs. That surprised me. After all, she hadn't mentioned anything about wanting to do natural and it didn't really fit her personality...so I was confused. But then again, she was very passionate about breastfeeding and held on for a full year, so maybe this was the next likely step? Childbirth with no meds? Okay, whatever floats your boat.
And then she called me in the afternoon and I got the real scoop. (Again, how do I have these friends who are capable of speech hours after labor and delivery? I don't remember talking in complete sentences for weeks afterward.) Turns out things were very scary and very hectic -- starting with her water breaking at 2:40am. And, per Liz, her water didn't actually break until she reached the bathroom, but some kind of internal, universal Mothering signal caused her to wake up and race out of the bedroom. Gotta love instincts. (Brian and I were just arguing last weekend about a mother's sixth sense, and this story just puts one more piece of evidence in my column. I think he's just jealous that he doesn't possess that sense.)
Anyways, after securing childcare for 2-year old Wes, they raced to the hospital and were admitted around 4am. With her blood pressure too high and protein in her urine, the nurses decided to run some additional labs to check for that all-too-scary condition: pre-eclampsia. While they waited, Liz said she became increasing uncomfortable and pestered the nurse with questions of when she was going to get her epidural. Per the nurse: not until your labs come back. If you do have pre-e, there is a chance you could bleed out as they administer the epi. (Don't you just love nurses? Seriously, they should ban the term "bleed out" when dealing with mothers).
So Lizzie languished in the bed for another few hours. At 6:40, four very quick hours after her water breaking, the nurse declared her to be 5cm. Liz continued to ask for drugs. The nurse declined; the labs were still not back. Liz told her that every time she had a contraction, she was going to scream at the top of her lungs, "I WANT AN EPIDURAL!" until she received some relief from this constant pain.
And she did.
According to Liz, her screaming varied from "I WANT AN EPIDURAL!" to "I WANT A F*&KING EPIDURAL" to "SWEET JESUS GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL!"
Okay, that sounds a lot more like the Liz I know.
By 7:15, Liz begged the nurse to please check her since the need to push was overwhelming. The nurse, per Liz, kind of snorted at her and continued reading the labs. Again, with Liz screaming at the nurse, the woman finally consented and found Liz to be at 10cm and the baby's head crowning.
And with that, the nurse hit the panic button.
Liz said she remembers about 11 people running into the room, none of which were her doctor (who missed the birth completely) and then blacking out from the pain. She recalls a woman telling her "One more push and the shoulders will be out!" while thinking to herself, "The head is out?" And then, little baby Whitney emerged into this world, weighing a delicate 5lbs, 13oz and stretched out to 19 inches long.
At the time I spoke with Liz, there was no middle name yet. (I had my fingers crossed for Kimberly or maybe Emma). And again, in typical Liz fashion, she told me, "I thought I still had two more weeks...we barely had a girl's name picked out. No middle name yet." When I asked about Kurt, her husband, she said, "Are you kidding me? After he watched me go through all of that, he was like, 'You can name her whatever you want. You've earned it.'" Ah, good man.
As it turns out, Liz did have pre-eclampsia. She has to stay in bed for a full 24-hours and is taking magnesium to prevent further complications. She said she winced when the nurse (a different one from the morning) told her she needed a catheter...as CatheterGate popped into mind. (Jen also told me she told her nurse about my situation and CatheterGate; clearly, this story has legs). Let's hope her bladder didn't decide to take a vacation for 16 days.
Despite all of the drama and complications (and incompetent nurses), Liz sounded remarkably good and pleased as pudding when discussing little Whitney. I am so happy things turned out as well as they did, and am wishing her a speedy recovering. Congrats!!