The unabridged birth story, Part 2

We arrived at the American Fork Hospital and found that I was only dilated to a 3, but I had a Golden "Mah Waters Done Broke" Ticket so they moved us up to our labor & delivery room, which had a lovely view of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple.

We got settled and a nurse asked to put in a heplock, which I agreed to. But first I froke her out by mentioning my fear of needles. (In my defense, I tell all needle-wielders about my fear of needles, and I'm just asking that they warn me when I'm going to feel the pinch so that I don't jump 6 feet in the air at things like the alcohol swipe. And everybody else has kept their crap together. I'm just saying.) This nurse did something wacky and got blood everywhere. I was fine because I kept my head turned in the other direction and my eyes clamped shut while sending hypno-anesthesia to my arm (totally worked), but GH said that by the time she was finished it looked like a scene from Kill Bill in there.

Soon after, the on-call midwife (Midwife B) showed up and checked in with us. Now, a note about Midwife B. In the few times I'd seen her during my prenatal care, she was always professional, friendly, and treated me very well. But for some reason I never really clicked with her, so I was not thrilled that she was the one on call. I told myself though that this could be a good thing though because she was really familiar with Hypnobabies.

And speaking of Hypnobabies, I was listening to different tracks and keeping myself relaxed and using my hypnosis cues and just generally rocking that stuff. I wasn't feeling any pain, just pressure during the contractions. I spent a while on the birth ball, then hung out in the room's rocking chair, with GH next to me holding my hand. Midwife B came back to see how things were going.

Me: Great!

Midwife B: Yeah . . . that's kind of the problem.

She said that she would like to see my contractions picking up and becoming more regular. So she suggested a slight "whiff" of Pitocin to see if that would get things going, while reiterating that it would be a very, very small dose. I said okay, figuring that I could always tell them to turn it off if I hated it, and they got that set up. (Now I'm wondering why she didn't suggest that I walk around to see if I could get things moving. I of course didn't think of it myself, but wouldn't that have been an easy thing to try first?)

The contractions did start coming closer together and were stronger, but they were still ok and didn't seem like the scary "Pitocin contractions" I'd heard horror stories about. Around 6pm she checked me and announced that I was dilated to 8cm. GH and I gave each other a high-five. We are awesome at this! We but mostly me! I shall be ordering my post-birth dinner before the kitchens close! She stopped the Pitocin and said to let her know when I started feeling "pushy."

Except . . . the pushy feelings didn't come. Other, less encouraging feelings did. I hoped that all the pressure in my bottom and lower back meant something good, but I think it actually may have meant "Hey, this is the part where your baby decided to spin around and stick the back of his head into your spine, not that anyone is ever going to tell you that." I started mumbling things like "I can't do this anymore" and "I need something." Except they say that when you're in transition that's when you say stuff like that, right? This is just transition and it will all be over soon, right?

At some point in there the midwife checked me and I was still at an 8. She got the Pitocin running again because she said we needed to go ahead and get this done before I got too tired to push. You know, since I was actively trying to prolong the fun. She may have been right, but I still wanted to kick her in the face.

For a while I was lying on my side in bed while GH stroked my arm. He had been texting updates to our family, who were under strict orders not to call us. I could hear him texting during a strong contraction and the clicking sound sent me over the edge. In the voice of a fanged cobra, I hissed for him to stop it. He took that to mean "Stop. Texting. Forever." So for the next several hours of radio silence our family thought something terrible must have happened, but knew they weren't allowed to call to find out what it was. The midwife showed GH where to apply counter-pressure, and helped me get into a couple of different positions (including the one that caused me to say something I shall not repeat here but which gained me admission into my sister Jenny's "I Say [This Word] When I'm in Labor" Club). She also tried to re-adjust my fetal monitor during a contraction, at which point I may or may not have thrown an elbow at her stomach. I told you I didn't like her. GH said I was getting pretty mean by this point.

(Note here about Hypnobabies: I think it was helping me. It still felt like somebody was trying to drive a truck through my pelvis, but there was a BIG difference in how the contractions felt when I was under self-hypnosis and how they felt during the times when my concentration slipped and I started tensing up. Another benefit of it was that the time seemed to go by really quickly--I spent at least 4 hours doing the 8cm thing, but it didn't feel anywhere near that long.)

Then the midwife said we needed to talk. She said she was concerned because I was getting tired and we really needed to get this baby out.

Me: (No, let's keep him IN. Stupid.)

Midwife: "I'd like to talk about some possible options. One option would be what is called a therapeutic epidural."

(Oh well, if it's therapeutic . . . )

I opened my mouth to ask how a therapeutic epidural is different from a regular one, and she quickly asked, "Would you rather I not bring this up? I won't bring it up if you don't want me to." (In my birth preferences I asked that people not offer me pain medication unless I ask for it.)

Me: No no . . . you can talk about it. (Only polite to hear her out . . . )

She explained that she worried about how tired I was, and that an epidural would help me rest and get some strength back before the Time of Pushing.

Me: Okay fine.

Her: You're sure that's what you want?

Me: Oh yeah.

I don't know when/if I ever would have asked for something myself, but somehow her offering it felt like permission, and I took that to mean I'd done enough. Or, you know, maybe she was just tired of getting elbowed and hissed at. She went off to call the anesthesiologist, and I had GH read me the "Change of Plan" script. When he was finished, he got up to leave the room.

Me: Wait, where are you going?

GH: I need to go get some food and I need to call our families. They've been sitting at home for hours not knowing what's going on.

Me: Why don't they know what's going on?

GH: You told me to stop texting!

Me: I told you to stop texting during that contraction, not to stop texting all together!

GH: Well, they need an update and I need food. I'm starving.

Me: Um, people are about to put huge needles in my back, could you please just wait and help me until the epidural's done?

(Note: GH gets cranky when he's too hungry. And I get cranky when I'm in too much labor.) He sent our families an update and held my hand while the anesthesiologist placed the epidural. I looked down at his watch then and saw that it was almost 10:30pm. I couldn't believe it was really that late. No wonder he was starving.

Once the epidural took effect, they tucked me in so that I could rest for a little while. Before GH left to go find some food, I whispered "This epidural is the best thing ever." I was supposed to go to sleep, but I was so high on NotContractions that I called my mom and my sister to say hi. Then I rested.

Stay tuned for the third and final segment!


Janssen said... [reply]

I was dilated to a nine/ten when I got to the hospital, but they didn't check me until after they gave me the epidural (at which point I was a ten). I am so terrified that next time I won't have the epidural option.

Rachael said... [reply]

The phrase "froke her out" is my new favorite. Well done.

Bridget said... [reply]

I'm really impressed with how well and how long you were able to keep it together before the epidural. Well done.

Kimi said... [reply]

I love the "Mah water done broke" card.

Am I allowed to say that this is the most entertaining birth story I've ever read? Your descriptions are spot-on. (NotContractions:best new in labor term.)

Can't wait for the final segment!

Jenny said... [reply]

Welcome to my club. You are in Fantastic company

Coolmo said... [reply]

I'm on pins and needdles waiting for the post where I show up for Post Partum Fun. We could make a whole mini series out of this.

Maggie said... [reply]

I loved the NotContractions too. Everyone kept telling me to sleep, but there was too much relief.

Kara said... [reply]

Who knew someone else's pain could be so funny?
Makes me glad I didn't hold out very long before I got my epidural.

Elsha said... [reply]

After getting sent home at midnight for not being in "active labor" I went back at 2 am with the "mah water done broke" card. Only the b*tchy nurse didn't BELIEVE me. She only finally believed it when my OB checked me FOUR HOURS later and said something like, "oh yeah, definitely broken."

Can't wait to read the end!

Kristi said... [reply]

We have similar stories here. My admitting nurse made a mess of a blood draw (to the point where they changed me and the sheets), I stayed calm until I stalled at a 7 for hours and we discovered baby was posterior, at which point I asked for an epidural so I could take a nap. Only then I couldn't because I was so high on adrenaline. Good times, good times.

MJ said... [reply]

Can't wait!!!

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