Okay, let’s see how much of this I can remember clearly. So when I left you last, I had received my first bit of gel to start getting my body ready for labor and we were waiting to see what happened. I was miserable, crampy, and starting to get scared.
The rest of Sunday night, nothing happened. About eight hours after the insertion of the gel, it wore off and so did my pain. It was about 4am and I got a few hours of sleep. The next morning, (so we’re on Monday the 18th now) the hospital called me much earlier than they had on Sunday. They told me to come in and we’d check things out.
I headed in to the hospital and, well, nothing was happening. They gave me a second gel insertion and sent me home again. This time things seemed to move along a little nicer. I was having contractions semi-regularly, but they weren’t very strong. Enough to make me uncomfortable, but nothing to take my breath away or to make me think that I was progressing AT ALL. I had been told by the hospital to come back at 5pm and they’d do the third and final batch of gel.
I went back at 5. I sat in an assessment room for three hours. I was hooked up to the fetal monitoring machine the whole time so I had limited mobility and the contractions that had never gotten worse were now also getting fewer and further between. The gel was wearing off again.
Finally the doctor showed up and took a look. I was barely dilated. Even worse? They weren’t going to do any more inductions that night. The reason? There were no more beds in the maternity ward. If I went into full labor on my own, I’d show up at the hospital and they would transport me via ambulance to another hospital, but they weren’t going to induce me without a room to put me in. I tried so hard not to cry in front of the doctor that instead I ended up giving myself an almost panic attack. I was hiccuping sobbing and couldn’t look him in the face. I was beyond frustrated. Here I’d been, having contractions all day – that they started – and now they were telling me that they wouldn’t finish because they ran out of room.
i finally calmed down a bit and stood up to get dressed. Except that when I stood up, my water broke. Derek called the doctor back in and guess what? They still sent me home. They said there was a good chance that I’d go into labor on my own overnight, reviewed what I had to have going on before I came back in, and said that I’d be back on the induction list for the next day and I’d get a call to come in. I was also told that since my water was now broken, something would happen within 18 hours because they didn’t want me going that long without a baby and no water – the risk for infection is too high.
Nothing happened all night. Nada. It was beyond frustrating.
The next morning I had breakfast with my parents and then I had to give them a hug and a kiss goodbye as they had to go back to Idaho. Yup, they missed the birth of my daughter. Their granddaughter. Stupid work obligations. My sister stayed behind to be with me through the day and after breakfast she came with Derek and I to look for a bassinet. We were just paying for one when the hospital called and told me to come on in. It was time to get this party started. It was just after noon on Tuesday, 16 hours after my water broke.
Back to the hospital, back to the assessment room, back to the monitors. Wheeee. The doctor showed up pretty quickly this time and checked me out. Guess what? Nothing. I was only 1 cm dilated. This baby did NOT want to come out. The nurse started getting the third gel ready but the doctor, bless him, said no. We were going straight to the IV of Oxytocin and we were getting this show on the road. Well, as soon as they could find a bed for me…
I sat in the assessment room for about two hours. At about 3pm I was given my room- the last available room in the maternity ward. Another woman had her water break at the exact same time as me, but I lucked out and got the room instead because my diabetes gave me priority.
We sat in the room (my sister, my best friend Jacquee, Derek and I) for another few hours. Then the nurse came in and hooked me up to all the fetal monitoring machines yet again. I had to stay on them throughout my entire labor so anytime I moved positions, they had to be readjusted and using the shower wasn’t an option. She went to go hook up my IV and blew a vein in my left hand. Then she blew up the one in my right hand. Then she called in another nurse to give it a try and the other nurse refused to because of how badly bruised my hands were already. They called in the IV team and I finally was hooked up.
At 5:30, the Oxytocin was started and we were under way. By 8:30, I’d moved to the rocking chair and the contractions were regularly 5 minutes apart and starting to get more painful. The doctor laughed at me because I was still smiling. He said he’d know it was time when I wasn’t smiling anymore.
At 10:00 things started to get a bit gnarly. I was getting contractions every minute and a half to two minutes and they were getting bad. I caved and asked for the gas. I was frustrated because I’d done so good for so long without drugs, but yikes, I was starting to hurt and the breaks in between weren’t lasting long enough to let me catch me breath.
At 11:30, I made them take the gas away because I was starting to feel completely out of control and loopy and I cannot stand feeling like that. I’d rather deal with the pain then loss of control. The nurse reviewed with me my other pain options. I could try the Fentanyl – up to six doses allowed – or I could see where I was at dilation-wise and opt for an epidural. I decided to see where I was at and see about the epidural.
They did a check and god. I was only 2 cm dilated. The nurse told me later that she didn’t want to tell me- that she felt so bad. I was contracting like crazy, but nothing was happening as far as getting this baby out. She said that 2 cm is normally a bit early for an epidural, but based on my contractions and the fact that I probably had another good 7 or 8 hours of labor to go (the general rule is an hour per cm), the epidural would be my best option. The Fentanyl would only last so long and it would only take the edge off.
I agreed and the anesthesiologist came in. A normal epidural takes about ten minutes to put in. After twenty minutes, when the anesthesiologist was asking me if I’d had any back injuries as a child or if I had any known back problems, I began to get concerned. And I was contracting this whole time, of course. And sitting on my ass hunched over and not really allowed to move because I’m being stabbed in the back repeatedly. Derek swears he counted twenty-six attempts before he finally stopped hitting bone and got a soft spot he could insert whatever he needed to insert. It took an hour.
Once it started to kick in, at about 12:45, they had me lie on my back slightly angled to the side using a wedge pillow so the block could settle and I’d be numb evenly. They use ice packs and they run them down your body and ask you to tell them when it stops being cold. Except that it was cold all the way down each time they did it. I could tell that it was kinda working because the contractions were uncomfortable, but didn’t have me saying, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this.”
At this point, Jacquee and my sister had to head home. They’d been hoping to meet the baby, but had to be at home in the morning so they were heading out. It was 12:55. Derek walked them downstairs.
While Derek was gone, I was severely uncomfortable. I had all this pressure on my tailbone, like if you’ve been sitting on a hard surface for way too long and I had this incredible need to be OFF my back. I kept asking if I could roll over, practically begging the nurse, but she kept saying I had to stay there or the block wouldn’t settle evenly. They tried the ice again, but I could still feel it all the way down.
At this point, the head nurse came in – she floats from room to room and checks on things and sees how people are doing – and she asked me to show her where I was hurting. I rolled onto my side and showed her and she said that maybe they should do another check to see where I was at. She checked and looked up at me and says, “Honey, you’re having a baby. Are you ready to push?” Then she turned to the other nurse and said that I was fully dilated and we were getting this show on the road.
You should have SEEN the commotion. The room was nowhere near ready for pushing and for actually delivering the baby. Fortunately, most first babies require an hour to an hour and a half of pushing. Unfortunately for the nurses, my baby wasn’t feeling like taking her time. The nurses were running around like crazy trying to get the table into position and all the gear needed to take care of baby once she was out. I was panicking because Derek wasn’t back yet and he was going to miss the birth of his own baby! He was walking down the hallway to come back and he heard me say, “He’s going to miss it!” He ran in and found the room all in a flurry. He called my sister and Jacquee to turn around and come back because it was time, but only managed to get ahold of Jacquee.
I pushed for a few minutes and the nurse told me that she thought with my next push that my child would be born. The doctor was called in and barely made it in time to play catch. Just seven minutes-ish of pushing and at 1:10, my daughter was born.
She stunned us all with her decision to quit stalling and to get the hell out of dodge, but she made it easy on me, that’s for sure. I really can’t complain about my labor experience. Another nurse later told me that if and when I have another child, that if I have just one contraction, I need to get to the hospital. I went from barely in labor to contracting hard and then to delivering in three hours. From the time they put me on the IV to the time I delivered, was just under eight hours.
It was crazy, it was intense, it hurt like hell and it was totally totally worth it.