Nurse Jennifer came in and checked on me several times throughout the night. She checked my blood pressure and temperature. I assumed it was always normal because she never really said much. Or I just don’t remember cause I was drugged up.
At 7 she came in and was more direct than she was the night before. Her shift was about over. She took out the Cervidil, said I could get up, take a shower, whatever, and my doctor would be in around 8 to get the pitocin going.
My new nurse arrived—Elizabeth. She had a personality I meshed with more. She was friendly, respectful and took time to answer all of my questions. I trusted her. Since I figured she’d be the nurse I’d spend a majority of my laboring with I decided I should give my basket of goodies with my birth wishes inside to her. She immediately read them and talked them over with me and the other nurses. She came back and told me she’d never seen a such a nice birth plan, and they all appreciated it.I had amended it from my original one since I was being induced, but most of my wishes remained the same.
My bishiop score was higher than before, and I was dilated to 2.5cm and almost completely effaced so we started pitocin at about 8:30.
People had told me contractions were stronger and more painful when you’re on pitocin, but since I had never really experienced real contractions anyway, I don’t think I know the difference.
I got out of bed and tried to work through the contractions alone. I turned on my upbeat, gangsta rap playlist, closed my eyes, and bounced and rolled on my birthing ball. All of my moving kept moving the monitors on my stomach so I turned and faced the monitors and watched my baby’s heartbeat.
In my Lamaze class they suggested finding a focal point. I didn’t realize it then but her heartbeat was mine. I just kept watching it and seeing that she was doing fine made me relax and push through each contraction.
Every half hour or so my pitocin was turned up a little bit, while they tried to find an amount that gave me contractions strong enough every 3-5 minutes.
Finally the pain was starting to get intolerable. Each contraction felt like my entire body was tensing up and getting SO TIGHT. I knew it was mostly my uterus tensing and that I needed to relax but it was hard to do.
Between contractions I felt completely fine, and I joked with my husband who was in the middle of a good book. Yea, so much for being my doulo!
I didn’t really want his help though. I mean, I knew he was there to support me but I felt better being in my own little zone with my music blaring in my headphones, rolling on my birthing ball, closing my eyes and breathing through my contractions like I learned in class… Breathing in for four seconds and out for eight seconds. I took a deep breath on each end of the contraction. It seemed so simple but it actually worked.
My OB came in to check on me. She knew I wanted to go as long as possible without pain medication so she asked me how I was doing and asked if I wanted to get checked and see how far dilated I was or if I wanted her to come back in a couple of hours. I knew if I was checked and only 3 or 4 cm dilated I’d be pissed, so I opted out of checking right then.
As stated in my birth wishes I wanted to wait until I was at least 5 or 6cm dilated before getting an epidural, and I’d seen and read enough birth stories to know how much it sucks when you get checked and aren’t as far along as you’d hoped.
The contractions continued to come stronger and stronger and more frequent. I thought I’d try listening to my birthing hypnosis since it put me to sleep so well in the months before labor. I must have started it too late in the day because by the time I turned it on I was beyond the point of consoling and about threw my iPod across the room. That’s when I started to loose focus, and I started to cry.
I didn’t cry hysterically or anything, I just shed some tears, which was my husbands cue to come over and try to somehow help with the pain.
Whenever I have a stomachache, or I’m battling period pains all I want to do is go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet. It’s a strange means of coping but it usually helps. So when my contractions began to become unbearable I unplugged myself from the monitors and went and sat on the throne. I knew it would only be a matter of time before the nurses came and checked on me and checked to make sure my baby’s heartbeat was still doing ok with the pitocin. The door to our room opened and I heard a familiar voice. But it wasn’t the nurses, it was my mom.
I knew she was coming. She had left the night before, driving from Georgia with my two little sisters ages 5 and 13.
My first reaction was “oh no.”
I didn’t want my family to see me like this. In pain, crying. Unsure of what I was doing. But I was so uncomfortable I didn’t care. I was thinking of asking them to leave but my mom turned out to be the best help. She had been where I was 24 years earlier giving birth to me, with pitocin to help with contractions, and no pain medication. If she could do it, I could do it. Or at least stand it for a little longer.
Elizabeth turned up my pitocin again. Each time she pushed the button to increase the amount translated in my mind as an additional twist to the rack torture machine, slowly pulling my limbs from my body. I asked how much more they’d have to turn it up, and how much more it was going to hurt before they stopped she in turn asked me if I felt like it was strong enough.
“Yes,” I replied honestly. And 12mU is where were stopped the pitocin.
Another nurse asked me if I could lie down so they could put the monitors back on, but I told her it hurt too much to lie, and compromised in a sort of sitting/squat position on the edge of the bed, which felt the best to me since all I wanted to do was sit on the toilet. The nurse asked me if I felt the urge to push, and I didn’t, I just felt like curling up on the potty until the pain passed.
My mom rubbed my back, legs, and feet. She helped sooth me through each contraction, and helped my husband help me too. I was happy to have her there, and surprised by that. The rubs weren’t making the pain go away but the were giving me something else to focus on.
Elizabeth and the other nurse assistants knew not to offer me pain medications but my mom hadn’t read my birth wishes. Between contractions she asked me if I wanted to get an epidural. I enlightened her to my plan. I DID want an epidural, but I didn’t want to get one until I had progressed to at least 5cm. That way I’d be about 2/3rds of the way there and hopefully I wouldn’t slow down too much.
She heard me but seeing me writhing in pain must have been hard for her because she was still suggesting pain meds. She and one of the nurses offered a different kind of drug to put through my IV to take the edge off. Just a half dose to help. I agreed.
My mom called it Demerol, I guess that’s what she had back in the day, but that’s not what they gave me. I can’t remember the name. It didn’t do much to take away the pain. Actually it didn’t do anything but make me feel a little woozy, and make it so I could relax a little bit more during contractions.
I laid down for a few moments and breathed through my contractions. It was almost time for my OB to come back and check me. Elizabeth said she could check me first if I wanted. She said having contractions for as long as I was having them, and as strong as they were I had to have made some progress.
“How long have my contractions been like this?” I asked her in my dazed state. I had completely lost track of time as I was just trying to focus on each contraction as it came. She told me it had been a few hours. Still worried I’d hear a number I didn’t like, I decided to wait for my doctor.
At about 11:30, I was lying on my left side and breathing through a contraction when I all of a sudden felt a POP and a gush of fluids from below.
“I think my water just broke,” I announced to the room. “Either that or I just peed myself.” I surprisingly still had a small sense of humor through my pain. I was excited because I knew I had made progress.
I had asked that we wait until my water break on its own in my birth wishes and I was happy that it had cooperated. I also figure that meant I had made some progress and perhaps I was more than 3cm dilated. I knew that my contractions were going to begin to feel more intense and decided that I had “earned” my epidural, so I made my request.
Right after, my OB came in to check me. She noticed there was meconium in my fluid and lots of it. When I sat fluid kept gushing out of me and all over the place. Who knew there was all that water in me? And no wonder my cankles absorbed so much!
In case she hadn’t heard, I told my doctor I wanted an epidural, the nurses said they had already called the anesthesiologist. She checked my cervix and I was 5cm dilated. Awesome. I made it to 5cm, my water broke—Perfect timing for some drugs.
Just then the most handsome man I had ever seen walked into the room. Perhaps that’s how I remember him now, but I distinctly remember thinking, Everyone was right… The epidural guy IS hot.
I vaguely remember him telling me my last rights, or something like that. Risks, side effects, possibilities, yada yada, yea yea, GIVE ME THE DRUGS.
Luckily, I had read all of the risks and side effects before making my way to the hospital. I can’t imagine having been in the state of mind to really absorb much of what he was saying in that moment.
As I curled up on the side of the bed waiting for the alleged giant needle to be stuck through my back, I remember more warm fluid coming out of me, lots of it. It was the first time I had noticed the color and I honestly thought I was peeing all over the place, but I couldn’t stop it. I just kept saying I was sorry as a pool of water ran from my bed.
The epidural man told me step by step what he was doing. I am not a huge fan of needles, but I was less of a fan of the contractions, so I took the puncture like a champ.
He told me it would take about ten minutes to take full effect. I thanked him then said, “I hope this works.” I’d heard so many horror stories from people now advocating for a natural birth: “Oh it didn’t work for me” “it was horrible, I had the shakes” “it only worked on one side.”