of epidurals, birthing and donuts

Ok, the epidural. I have a very vivid imagination, and I was 'concerned' that I would be imagining horrible things going on back there. Uh yeah, I wasn't counting on the contractions taking up my every thought. Well, maybe there was a little bit of space left to think about the shakes I had. Wow, you would have thought I was *freezing* with all the shaking and chills I had. They got my feet all the way up to my teeth. I couldn't stop them, even if I tried tensing up, they still came. And even after the epidural they still came. My legs didn't shake, but I'm sure they would have if they could.

So the epidural was a welcome relief. 18 hours of labor and no sleep since Thursday night. You can bet I fell asleep. It wasn't really a deep sleep, so I could hear them talking about me. Saying things like, wow, she's sleeping through a contraction. Um, I think that's the point of it.

Some time after that, the nurse came in to hang pitocin since the contractions were quickly leaving. She asked me to lean to the left (nurses like PG women on the left side, supposedly gets more blood/oxygen to baby). As soon as I did, she left. But she came in like 30 seconds later, not panicked, but more purposeful and focused. I heard the monitor dinging, but it did that a lot. She had me roll on my back, checked me (now I know she was making sure no cord was hanging out), and stuck an oxygen mask on my face. I don't remember if she went out and got Lois before having me flip over to my hands and knees or after. But I did. I was scared, I'll admit it. I glanced up at the monitor as I was moving-which was surprisingly easy even with the epidural. My heart jumped and I got really worried. Brendon's heart rate as in the 50's. Mine was in the 90's. Normal heart rate for an newborn/unborn is from about 150-110. They like it to stay above 100, love it to be above 120. So 50 caused some excitement. I started to cry and told someone, anyone, "Go find Mark, please!"

I made him go get something to eat. The poor guy hadn't eaten practically anything since a bowl of cereal since before we left for the hospital. Maybe he had one or two munchies, but he was hungry. Lois came in and put a scalp electrode in Brendon's scalp. It's two thin wires twisted together with a small sharp cork-screw on the end that basically, screws into his head. It only goes under the top layer of skin, much like putting a safety pin in your finger. It did leave a bruise, but I guess that's a small price to pay to be able to ensure his heart rate was being followed.

After all that excitement, they had me laying on my right side. If a PG woman lays on her back, there's a chance of the huge uterus compressing the major blood vessels and preventing adequate blood/oxygen from getting to mom and baby. Side is better than back. Anyways, you know how gravity works? Well, not only does it work to pull all the blood to your head when you're standing on it, but it also works to pull all the fentanyl in my epidural space to one side when I'm laying on it. I could still feel the contractions, as a pressure, but then I started feeling stuff in my back, but just in my left hip area. For a while, someone pressing on it really helped. Then it started following the contraction patterns. Oh my goodness, did it hurt! I think the drastic difference in that one spot, about the size of MCM's fist, and the rest of my lower body was just astounding. Then my toes stopped tingling. That's when I realized "hmm, I bet my epidural is flowing down to my right side." I called my nurse in, and she got the anesthesiologist to come and give me an extra boost. I really just wanted to be able to move a bit.

We tried going back to the left side, to even things out, but his heart rate dropped again, so that was out of the question. We guess that he has his cord on that side and would compress it with some body part. I did lay on my (shh) back to get things straightened out. And it worked. And so did that extra boost. I was completely numb from my belly button to my toes. I could only wiggle the toes on my left foot. Talk about weird.

I think about 6ish I was dilated to 10 cm. That's when things picked up. My nurse was very thorough, she did a lot of stuff. Can you tell I don't remember much? Lack of sleep will do that to you. She pulled the stirrups up and MCM and Mom were given the jobs of holding my legs and only that. Mom tried to text people, but I set her straight :) Like I said, my legs were completely numb. MCM got the picture and held my leg good, but Mom...she had some learning difficulties. LOL, I think she let go of it once and it just flopped. Then she got on the bandwagon and held it good. I had no sensation of where or when to push, but my nurse helped with that. She cheered me on, she counted to 10, she watched for contractions. She did a good job!

As the pushing went on, we talked-well, my family talked, I was given the task of breathing slow and deep with the oxygen mask-about what time he'd be born. Some guessed 615, some 630. My brother, Marine (he called to talk to us) guessed 730. Hang on, it was not even 5 when he said that, but I wasn't pushing yet, because I remember being devastated that someone would even *think* it'd last that much longer. But anyways, I breathed and pushed and rested and breathed and pushed and rested. For about an hour and 15 minutes I pushed.

Mom and Bekah watched his head start to crown. They brought in a mirror so I could see the fruits of my labor (LOL pun totally intended!!) As he was crowning (meaning head coming out) they told me to touch him. I was a little hesitant, but Lois was instant. She knew it would be good for me. She said, "Mom, that's your baby, touch him" she wasn't mean, just knew it would help me push better. I touched his head. It was covered in dark hair. It felt kinda mushy, but, oh, so soft! In between pushing, when his head was right there in the middle of it, Lois commented, "I wonder what's going through his head right about now." That made me laugh, still does.

Finally his head popped out, they suctioned it, and another contraction and another push, and his shoulder was out. Lois said, "Bring your hands down here, reach down and catch your baby, mom." I did. I grabbed his shoulders and with little effort pulled him from my body and brought him on to my stomach. WOW. I still cry then I think about it. It was amazing. A true miracle from God. The nurses rubbed his body with the blankets and he cried. It was so...there are no words, just amazement. MCM was offered to cut the cord, he declined, so Mom did it. He told me later that he was a bit dazed by it all.

Brendon Archer McMillen. 8 pounds, 4 ounces. 19 3/4 inches long. His head measured 13 1/2 inches. Born July 18, 2009 at 7:33 pm.

I got stitched up, he got wrapped up, and everyone else took pictures. Brendon stayed awake for a long while, probably about 45 mins. I could be off, but it seemed like a long time. MCM followed Brendon and his nurse to the nursery. My mom and sisters made the appropriate phone calls. I got my donut that I had been fantasizing over since early that morning.

Imagine the hardest thing you ever accomplished. Well, I totally outdid you. It didn't "go" as I planned out in my head, but now, looking back at it all, I don't think I would have changed anything. It was my birth experience, and I'm glad at how it turned out.

Since this is already plenty long, I'll do a different post with pictures.


  1. Amazing, Krys! Did they have to do an episiotomy, or did they let you tear naturally? I love it that you got to pull the baby up to your self!

  2. hey mary,
    I got the "pleasure" of having both....She cut the episiotomy to try to avoid him tearing me so bad, but he was just such a big baby that I tore. I'm not sure I can tell you if one part of it hurts more (the whole natural vs artificial thing) but since I had the epidural, I wasn't in more pain. One thing I did notice, was that Lois injected some lidocaine into the area, even though I had the epidural, so that when the epidural was turned off after delivery, I'd still be numb enough for her to stitch me up.

  3. *eyebrow raise* when number eight comes along, then you have out done me ;-D love ya, Nina

  4. I did not mean that my birthing experience was better than yours-mom. I was speaking more to the general Internet, mainly for those who haven't had a child. Don't get all whatever you got that you had 7 okay? It's ok, I won't be taking that status from you. Ever.