How I Became a Mommy- Birth Story: Part 2

After a quick drive from the restaurant where I had my last pregnant lady meal, we arrived at the hospital in the rain. J and I grabbed the bags and walked into the main doors of the hospital. On our tour, they told us to come in the emergency entrance and pick up the "Stork Line" phone to call the birthing center and let them know we were there. We weren't sure what to do since it was a planned appointment for induction, so we just went in the emergency room doors and were greeted by a security guard. He showed us the phone and quickly offered me a wheelchair; I don't think he realized I wasn't actually in labor!

After announcing our arrival on the "Stork Line" and making our way through the hospital we arrived in the birthing center at about 5:30 pm. I was late for the 5:00 pm appointment, but figured it didn't really matter because the baby would come out one way or the other even if we were late. We waited for about 15 minutes before being escorted down the hall to Room 9. It was surreal walking in and seeing the little warmer in the corner thinking our little one would be born in this room! We got settled, I changed into my own pajamas to be as comfortable as possible that night, and then we waited for the nurse to come in for the initial exam. She checked me out and confirmed that I was still 0 cm. dilated. Sigh. It was going to be a long night...

The induction got started. I was strapped up to the he monitors and the nurse put the Cervidil in place. The monitors showed that I was having some contractions that I couldn't feel too much, and the nurse said they were about 3 minutes long. Because they were most likely due to mild dehydration, they gave me a bag of IV fluids. At this point there wasn't much to be done since the Cervidil had to stay in place for 12 hours unless active labor came during that timeframe. J hung out with me for awhile, and my parents stopped in for a visit. I ate my little bag of pretzels with peanut butter and sipped on some water. I did not want to have to get up to use the restroom since it meant unhooking the monitors and dragging the IV pole in there with me, so I stayed put and watched some tv before sending J home to get some rest. I'd like to say I slept well that night to save up some rest, but I was much too anxious. I kept listening to the baby's heartbeat on the monitor, the sounds in the corridors, and the thunderstorm outside. Worst of it all was that everytime I rolled over due to a leg or hip cramp, the monitor would move and the nurse would have to come in to readjust the straps. I must have slept about 1.5 hours total in between episodes of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. It all seems a blur now, but it was a very long, tiring night.

The sun came up and my nurse came in to say good morning. After an exam to see if the Cervidil had done it's job, she said "well, you're still at 0 cm." The good news is that I was having regular contractions on the monitor. I still couldn't really feel them but she could tell that something was going on so I was a little hopeful. She gave me exactly 30 minutes to shower, change into a gown and get back in bed before the Pitocin started. I got ready and snuck a granola bar for breakfast. I knew it would be a long day and I didn't think a liquid diet was a huge deal since I was still at 0 and would have plenty of time to digest it. What a rebel, huh? Nurse Lauren wished me luck and introduced Nurse Sarah who would be with me on the day shift, and hopefully for the birth of our baby!

J arrived for the day looking excited and nervous. I filled him in on the lack of activity overnight and we waited for the show to begin. After I got settled they started the Pitocin and explained that they would increase it slowly in increments of two to see how I would respond. We got started at about 7:15 AM, as I sat and waited to feel the contractions come on. Around 8:45 AM my OB arrived, and did another exam. She was excited by the progress on the monitors and said "I think you were ready to go. This baby just needed a little nudge." She told me that I had dilated to about 1.5 cm. and that she was going to break my water to speed things up. It surprised me when she said this and the gravity of the moment didn't really hit me until later. Once she broke my water there was no turning back. I'd be leaving this hospital with my baby in my arms! I remember the gush and looking at J after the doctor left the room. It all seemed so surreal... I got a little nervous because they saw some light meconium staining and at first weren't even sure if that's what it was. The OB said she wouldn't be surprised given that I was a week overdue, but it didn't seem bad. Some more contractions and fluid confirmed it, and I was told that they'd need to carefully suction out the baby's mouth when he/she was born in case of any ingestion. Sarah told me that some babies inhale before that first cry which can make things worse, and in some cases would need to be monitored in the NICU if anything got into the lungs. I hoped for the best and tried not to worry about this. My OB talked to me about pain management and told me to speak up when things got intene, because Pitocin is known to create some aggressive contractions. She left and told me she'd see me later.

Over the next two hours things really picked up. I started to feel the contractions getting stronger and stronger. I was talking with J and watching tv. J called my parents to tell them that the OB had broken my water and that I was having contractions now. I was able to manage them laying in bed for awhile, but was getting uncomfortable. Each contraction would cause another gush of fluid. I remember wondering how much could possibly be left in there and also wondering how some women say they didn't notice their water breaking. To me it is a completely different sensation than peeing your pants and there is no possible way to confuse the two! Soon the contractions became a lot more aggressive. J helped me get out of bed and unhook the monitors for a minute so I could walk around the room a bit dragging my IV pole behind me. The first contraction that hit after I got out of bed showed me that this wasn't going to be easy. I pretty much had to stay at bedside if I didn't want to leave a trail of amniotic fluid all over my hospital room. I made one last attempt at getting into the bathroom when I realized that my mucous plug had come out (ew!). I knew I was dilating even more and that things were working.

Sarah helped me onto the birthing ball after cleaning up the messy trails I was leaving around the room, and I spent the next hour or so rocking and swaying my hips through each contraction. The contractions were becoming stronger to the point that I didn't want to talk very much and just had to focus. J sat in the corner and waited for me to ask him for help. He busied himself by playing on his iPhone and taking pictures on my camera. I hooked up my iPod and started the hypnobabies track and just tried to focus on that instead of the pain. Hypnobabies was like magic; I was able to tune everything out for awhile and really manage the contractions for awhile. And then I felt a sensation I hadn't felt since the first trimester and yelled "hand me that cup!" Enter nausea...

On the birthing ball, puke cup in hand. Glamorous.
Sometime later, I was back in bed trying not to puke. Contractions were coming much stronger and closer now. I really didn't have much time to warm up to this whole labor thing like I pictured. I thought I'd be spending time at home managing the small contractions before it was time to go to the hospital. I had to face them head on in Room 9 at that hospital. It had only been about 2 hours and I went from no pain to very intense pain in that small window of time. My parents arrived and came back to the room to see how things were going.  J and my mom were sitting on one side of the room hanging out, and my dad was in the armchair on the other side of the room. I think my dad was nervous and uncomfortable seeing me in pain, and kept asking questions about the monitors beeping, what the birthing ball was for, etc. I recall that as much as I wanted my parents to be there, I really just wanted everything to be totally quiet and not have to talk to anyone or be distracted. I couldn't really talk much at this point and was trying to get back into my Hypnobabies trance, but was in a lot of pain. I couldn't focus knowing that there were people in the room just staring at me even when I had my eyes closed. J could sense that I was uncomfortable, and was about to speak up when I was able to muster "Mom, I think you guys need to leave." They kissed me and left me to relax.

The nurse came in a little while later to check things out and asked if I had thrown up. I told her I almost did and that had I eaten something probably would have. She said "I'll bet your five. Most women start throwing up around five." They told me that they were going to check things out again, and I remember this exam being verrrrrry uncomfortable. My contractions were about 2 minutes long with maybe 30 seconds between them and I was in pain. She couldn't quite reach my cervix to tell, but thought I was about 5 and 1/2 to 6 cm. I'd gone from 0 to 5 1/2 in just about 3 hours. Because of the intensity of the contractions at that point, they turned off the Pitocin since I was progressing pretty well. She told me to try to relax, but the pain was intense. In my mind, I knew that a natural child birth was out of the question for me once that drip got started due to the instensity of the contractions it is known to cause. I made it a goal to get to 5-6 cm. before getting an epidural, so when I heard her say that I was only at 5 1/2 and not the 8 or 9 that I felt I should be given how strong and fast these contractions were I asked for the epidural. I didn't want to get it any sooner than 5 cm. for risk of stalling labor so to me "almost 6" was good enough. She asked if I was sure and I said yes. I knew without a doubt that there was no way I'd make it to ten cm. without one...

Nurse Sarah went off to order the epi and another nurse that was helping out on the busy floor that day told me they were finishing up one now and then had to do a c-section first, and would come to me as soon as they could.. The next hour or so was a blur of pain. Every second felt like minutes. J didn't know what to do since not much could comfort me, so we just waited there together quietly until the team of anesthesiologists wheeled in the big old epi cart and Sarah asked J to leave the room...    

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