It’s been a hell of a week. Since last Tuesday, I’ve become a mother for the third time and this experience has been unlike any other that I’ve experienced. April 21st, 2020 started off like any normal day (well, any normal day in times of Covid). I woke up, had breakfast, got dressed and got tested for Covid-19 in South Miami Hospital. I was due to be induced on Wednesday, April 22nd, and they are currently testing all mothers to make sure they are not Covid Positive. At around 11:30 AM, I convinced my dad to take me to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and off we went.
The contractions started in the car on the way home from picking up lunch. They were not consistent though and to be honest, I wasn’t really sure I was in labor. You see, I’ve always had pretty perfect births and labors. With Santi, my water broke and by the time I started having those real contractions, I was already in the hospital with an epidural. With Joaquin, I was induced, so before they even began my Pitocin and broke my water, I had an epidural. By 3:00 PM, Santiago was rushing me into the car to go get checked. My fear was, since this was my third child, that labor would come in a flash and I’d be stuck giving birth in the closet or my car. So off we went to the hospital and we were greeted by two nurses outside of the Emergency Room who quickly took me to triage. I had to go in alone which scared me, but Santiago wasn’t allowed to join me until I was in my delivery room.
By the way, did I mention that my dad insisted upon driving us to the hospital? Yes, yes he did. My brother came too as if we were on our way to sleep away camp. I want you to picture my dad driving our car, me in the front seat not wanting to talk to anyone because of my contractions and having my dad say things like “well, it’s OVA! Your party is over. Three kids mama…three kids.” Then we have Santiago in the backseat talking super loud on the phone (probably on speaker) explaining to his family that I’m totally in labor. Lastly, we have my brother who is just a spectator, and while he did absolutely nothing to bother me, his presence was enough.
I get to triage and I’m so happy to finally be alone because, well, I had just experienced the car ride from hell. The nurse helping me was actually the nurse who helped me deliver Joaquin, and I got so happy to see her because I didn’t feel alone alone. (Just semi because I was used to doing everything with Santiago.) They checked me and I was 3cm dilated and my contractions were 10 minutes apart. Damn, I wasn’t dilated enough to get placed in a room. I told Laura (the nurse) “I’m literally not going home. I’m going to be a squatter here until you guys let me get into a room.” So, my OBGYN asked me to stay and walk around the third floor for 1 hour to see if that would help. It sounded easy enough (it wasn’t), so off I went walking around the entire third floor for 1 entire hour. Not one minute less. When I came back, I was 5 cm dilated and my contractions were 3 minutes apart. Yay! I was able to get transferred to a delivery room.
Soon, Santiago was able to meet me and I spent the next hour meeting with every nurse on the floor trying to get my IV going. See, here’s the problem. In order to get an epidural, you need an IV and they need to take blood out to verify…something… I don’t know what it is, but apparently it’s super important. Anyways, four nurses later, my IV was finally in. But, they needed a laboratory specialist to take out my blood for epidural, and while she’s a hero in times of Covid, she’s also an idiot. It took her (I swear I’m not exaggerating) about 30 minutes to take out one tube of blood. So, after I made a comment about us finding someone who could take it out in less time and she made a comment about her knowing how to do her job, she left and my epidural was on its way.
Enter Jose–the worst epidural inserter in the history of all time. The epidural never really took. It worked for about an hour and then poof–it disappeared into thin air. What the hell is that? I didn’t even know that was a thing. Well, apparently it is but I blame Jose. Because from the moment he put the epidural in, I didn’t feel right. I kept telling my nurse Leslie and she kept laughing. Now, although she didn’t take me seriously, we really like Leslie because she was super nice and supportive while I was alone and we promised we would be best friends.
It’s now about 7:30 PM and Leslie has to go home to her family and I get a new nurse–Gizelle. She became one of my friends too. We spoke about all the moms on the floor, bet who would give birth first, and I insisted I had to push for 5 minutes or less. I promised her that once I felt better and my epidural was fixed that I’d be a star patient and that my previous deliveries were seamless. Long story short, I spent the next two hours insisting that I didn’t feel good, that the epidural didn’t take and that I needed help (or a c-section).
Fast forward to 9:11 PM. I’m in bed crying in pain and complaining, Santiago is next to me telling me to breath and asking if I want a foot massage (ok–I asked for a foot massage probably every day when I was pregnant and it was. typically met with “Ay Baby I’m tired” or “como jodes” or “no” so offering me one during the most painful experience of my life seems a bit off to me but whatever). Gizelle comes to check me to see how dilated I am and she says “wow you’re 7cm! Let me call the doctor to give you another dose of the epi (that’s their code for epidural) and hopefully you’ll feel better. As she’s calling Jose aka my arch nemesis, she goes “oh no, you’re 9cm dilated…you can’t have anymore epidural I’m sorry mama.” And then literally, like a movie, I felt as though everything around me fell apart and I thought I might actually die. She immediately called my doctor (I’m hyperventilating at this point) and she said she was parking and would be right up. As soon as they hung up, she said “ok, you’re 10 cm dilated!” I went from 7cm to 10 cm in 15 minutes. It happened so fast my body was in shock and the pain was unbearable.
I started insisting that I couldn’t wait for my doctor and I needed to push immediately. I don’t know how to explain it, but once the contractions start at a constant and you’re ready to go, it’s hard to convince your body to not push on its own. They had to call a random doctor from the floor to come in and be there for the delivery. In hindsight, they were just trying to make me feel better while my doctor was on her way. In that moment, I was pissed because everyone was taking forever. Dr. Gonzalez (the doctor from the floor) was taking her sweet time getting her gloves and goggles on. Gizelle wasn’t taking the bed apart and getting it ready for delivery and I was still crying to Santiago telling him I thought I was going to die. All in all, a magical experience.
Once the bed was ready for delivery, I decided on my own I needed to push. No one paid attention to me because, well, the odds of the baby coming out in 1 push were slim to none. And just like that, Dr. Molina, my doctor (I love her) waltzed in and told me to start pushing while she got dressed. Exactly 4 minutes later, Antonio Jose was born. Santiago was crying, Antonio was crying and I was just so relieved that the pain was over that I sat back into bed. As. I’m laying in my bed, panting, waiting for them to give me Antonio, Gizelle whispered in my ear “you gave birth first and you did it in 4 minutes. You won!” And all I could respond was “I can’t believe the epidural didn’t work.”
Thinking back on that day, yes it was painful and traumatic, but damn, I have another son. He’s mine forever and ever and he was totally worth the few hours of pain and much more. He’s only been with me 1 week and I couldn’t imagine my life or family without him.
Happy one week, Antonio. I love you to the moon and back. I’d take no epidural for you any day.