We arrived to the hospital pausing to take a few pictures on the way to the check in desk. I only had to sign two papers and they sent us to triage to be checked. The night nurse who looked extremely tired came in to set up the machines and to see if I was staying. I was dilated to a 3, confirmed that my water had broken and also confirmed that there was meconium in the water. We were there to stay. When we leave the hospital in a few days we will have a baby in our hands! I was not nervous or anxious, but just felt ready. We were moved to our labor and delivery room. Ryan went to the car and got our laboring supplies such as extra pillows with waterproof cases and an exercise ball.
I will do my very best to recount our labor and delivery. Although some of it is a little hazy or Ryan informed me of afterwards.
The nurse told us that she would give us 3 hours before checking me again. If I progressed I could continue laboring naturally. However, if I did not progress I would have to start Pitocin. At this point it was maybe 11pm and I was tired, but I had no time to rest. I needed to get labor started! Since there was meconium in the waters I had to be hooked up to monitors continually. That was the second thing that was not in our plan. The first was labor starting with our water breaking. Even with the monitors I was able to be by the bed on the exercise ball and stand. I switched back and forth between the two for a while. We also tried breast stimulation with a breast pump.
The nurse came back in before my allotted 3 hours and started Pitocin. She also said that baby was showing some stress with the contractions which was not good. She wanted to insert an internal monitor that would help read contractions better. I was asking questions to clarify if it attached to baby’s head (it did not) and if I would have to have it all of labor (I did). She responded with a tone and response that made me know it was serious and I really shouldn’t question her more about it. Again not really according to our plan. She came in upping the Pitocin two more notches every 30 minutes.
During this time my mom, sister, mother-in-law and Ryan were all in the room with me. We were chatting and hanging out. I would stop to get through a contraction, but they weren’t too bad. At about 6:30am a new shift started and we got a new nurse. I am so thankful for this nurse, Julie. She was with us the rest of our labor and delivery. As soon as she came in she put the blood pressure cuff on me which I hadn’t had on all night. She labeling my IV tubes and started typing on the computer. All of which the other nurse didn’t do! At first I didn’t like it because I felt like she was going to be “strict” and was going to be a bad thing, but she turned out being AMAZING! If it wasn’t for her I probably would have ended up with a c-section.
My contractions at this point were only registering about a 5/6 out of 12 on the monitor. Which I didn’t think was that bad, but I wanted to be prepared! I asked Julie if they would get to a 12 and how long in duration they would last. At this point they were still upping the Pitocin. She said it would not be uncommon for them to reach a 10 and come every minute and a half to two minutes. At that point they would turn down the Pitocin because they don’t want to stress the baby out.
Shortly after I started needing to focus more during contractions and noises started irritating me. My family took this as their cue to leave. I am not sure what time it was at this point. Ryan and I continued to labor. I was checked several different times on my request where I was told I was dilated to a 5, a 6, a strong 6 and a 6/7. I just wanted to have made progress. At one point either when she told me I was a strong 6 or a 6/7. I asked her if she was telling the truth. I felt like she was telling me that just to give me hope that we were progressing. I don’t remember her response.
During this time it was the hardest. Not because of pain, but because I was exhausted and making little progress. All I wanted was a break. I needed to rest. But I couldn’t. Time was counting down. I kept telling Ryan I didn’t know if I could do it anymore. I felt bad for telling him it so often. During pregnancy I read that when you hit this point of self-doubt you are most likely in transition and pushing will come soon so don’t give in to pain medication. Ryan and I talked about this beforehand and how he was to encourage me to push through. And he did just that. The thing was this phase was lasting a lot longer than I had anticipated!
Honestly, options were going through my head. 1) Get pain meds. Then I could conk out between contractions. But it could make labor slow down and cause me to have a c-section because I don’t make the 24 hour cut off. 2) Get an epidural. Huge needle in my back. Screw that! 3) Get a c-section. That recovery would suck. Ok fine I guess I will keep doing this! That thought cycle happened a few times.
At some point when Julie checked me she told me that I had a ring of scar tissue from a procedure I had to have years ago. She was surprised by it. She told us that was what was causing the dilation process to go so slow. After not progressing for a while she suggested she start working on that scar tissue. This meant she “massaged” it with her fingers during contractions. She did this in three different settings. The first time was a bit painful, but not too bad and we made some progress. The second time she did it longer and waited for more contractions to come. This time it was pretty painful, but again we made progress to an 8 so it was worth it. The last time she did it was the worst. This by far was the most painful of contractions during the whole process. As I moaned through her “massaging” the scar tissue through another contraction I wondered if people could hear me. It didn’t even matter though because we were dilated to a 9!
After we reached an 8 I had new hope! I had a boost of energy. My words of “I don’t know if I can do this,” to Ryan became “I can do this. We are so close.” Positions that I chose to labor in were the exercise ball, a seated throne (in the bed with feet dropped sitting straight up) and on my knees leaning over the back of the bed that was raised. The seated position gave me a break when my legs were weak. Kneeling facing the back of the bed produced the best contractions. At some point Julie started turning down the Pitocin because of the frequency of my contractions. (People who come in without contractions to get induced receive 20 units. I was receiving 18.) I told her three different times, “I know you are turning it down I can see that, but these contractions are getting stronger!” I knew my body was taking over. I knew this baby was going to be coming soon!
Ryan did awesome through contractions. He would stop talking between them so I could focus. He gave me water after them. Throughout the labor we learned a system that worked for us. My throat was so dry from the deep breathing. I do have to add in here that earlier on when things weren’t so serious Ryan was falling asleep on a bar stool! I told him he better move to the chair or couch because I didn’t want him falling off, breaking his nose and having to leave me to go to the ER! Two different times Julie came in and told me I had to lay in bed on my left side because baby was showing stress. I would stay there until she okayed me to get back up again. Contractions in that position were not the best either.
So there I was at a 9 and my own body taking over. There was hope that the end was coming soon! But of course another twist. Julie comes in and says that I am running a fever of 100.2 likely due to the meconium and waters being broke for so long. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I heard if my temperature gets to 101 you are going to a c-section. She gave me Tylenol to hopefully help the fever and started antibiotics in my IV. She said we really have to get this baby coming. She told me I had a little lip of my cervix in the front that still needed to thin. She then told me what positions would be best to get it thinned out as this is what was causing me not to fully dilate. She told me to put the bed flat and basically do the yoga child’s pose except butt in the air. So on knees and face on bed. Or the other option was sitting on the exercise ball and lean forward over the bed.
I can’t remember in what order this all happened, but something like this. I tried the child’s pose position which produced such strong contractions I could not work through them in that position. I had to come up to hands and knees to get through them. But that was good. I knew strong contractions would make great progress. I knew I was on a tight time frame now with the fever and even told Ryan that. Once I worked through the contraction I would go back down into position to try to bring on another. I would stay there as long as possible then rise to my hands when I couldn’t hold it anymore. I did this several times but my arms were giving out. I remember taking a mental note to do more arm exercises before my next labor.
I needed to go pee and figured pushing was coming soon so I better go now while I had the chance. Ryan helped me to the bathroom. As I am on the toilet I have a contraction (it happened every time I went- it is a good position). But this time my body bared down. I don’t know what I said or did, but suddenly Julie was standing at the bathroom door way. I told her I bared down on that contraction. She simply said “Okay” and walked away. I remember thinking I sure hope she is going to call the doctor because this is getting close!
I decided that I would try to sit on the exercise ball for a bit since my arms were tired from the other position. As I sat on the ball it was very uncomfortable. I felt like I was sitting on my baby’s head! I told them that was not going to work. Julie may have checked me again at this point. I am not for sure. Ryan encouraged me to get back on the bed leaning over the back since it produced good contractions so that is what I did. Within just a few contractions I was baring down again. Two back to back contractions my body took over and bared down. I think we called for Julie when this happened. She put me on my left side and said she was going to notify the doctor. Julie returned to let me know the doctor was on her way and ladies would be coming in to get the room set up. Since there was maconium in my water the NICU doctors would also be there. It was almost time to start pushing! I wondered how far the doctor was and if she would get there in time. I was put on my left side again as the room got prepped for pushing. In my mind I had already accepted the fact that I could be pushing for two hours. Thankfully that was not the case!
Continue reading to find out how our delivery had some unexpected turns.
Until Next Time- Truly Love,