When beginning this birth story post I didn’t realize it would turn into a project. To keep the story as accurate as possible (for my own purposes) I have been checking dates and racking my brain to remember all the details. I want to be able to refer to this for the details surrounding such a beautiful day. And of course since I started writing this it only seemed appropriate to pull out her baby book and reminisce. Anyways I suppose I’ll pick up where I left off…
I had read in several books that after a woman’s water breaks the contractions become more consistent and intensive. And let me tell ya, the books were so right. It only took about 15 minutes for strong surges to begin rocking my body. The first couple times it surprised me so much that it took my breath away. My dear sister was respectful and quiet, rubbing my back or offering a hand for me to hold and nearly crush. There aren’t words to express how much her very presence meant to me. It didn’t take long before no swaying, back-rubbing, or hand-holding could help me through the pain.
I requested to get in the bath shortly after realizing that no other method was helping. I was told that there were a couple things that the nurse needed to check first, one being dilation. Every time I was checked for any dilation I got my hopes up way too high and was inevitably shot down. This time I was super hopeful, thinking I would be at 7-8 centimeters dilated. No such luck, I was at a 5 or 6 I don’t remember which but I do know that it wasn’t what I had expected. It took forever for the other testing to be done but I was finally given the go ahead to get in the tub. Before doing so I decided to use the potty and had super loose bowels. Never before in my life did I think that I would be excited about diarrhea but I had read that it was a “good sign” of labor progression.
I truly thought that the warm water would help my discomfort and it did, but not enough to even be noteworthy. I recall thinking that perhaps I should stand up and sway a little. I did stand up, with a great amount of heaving and the support of my sister. I grabbed the safety bar in the shower just in time for a wave to hit. This was the most painful one I had experienced and it was at this point that tears spilled down my cheeks. My thoughts were as follows, I do not need an epidural or IV meds. Then, I do not need an epidural, but I do need something. At this point I succumbed to IV medication, “just to take the edge off.” The nurse was so patient as I explained this to her with tears dripping from my chin, she quickly got me prepared and administered the pain reliever. I felt great! I could still walk around to speed things up and, for the first time in hours, I wasn’t writhing in excruciating agony. This lasted a grand total of thirty minutes. I buzzed for the nurse again and she was by my side in no time. I told her that I needed more pain reliever and she asked if I wanted an epidural to which I responded no. She agreed and suggested that I get out of the tub and lie down for a bit to try to relax while she checked A’s heart rate. She, my mom, and my sister carefully helped me out of the tub then I began the treacherous walk to my bed (it was only 5 feet). Every minute I had to stop and squeeze my mom’s hand, hoping that I could actually make it the short distance to my safe zone.
I was less than a foot away when a contraction came along, I cried out and my nurse graciously gave me the pain medicine right there. It was almost instant relief, the surges still hurt but were bearable. My mom helped me put my gown back on so I could roam around the room without violating my grandma who had stopped by to see how things were going. I stood and rocked for a bit and I remember mumbling something about “adoption next time.” But only twenty minutes after having the medicine given to me the contractions were unbearable once again. I believe that I tried to talk myself out of an epidural one last time but I knew that I couldn’t just keep having round after round of medicine pushed into my veins. Trying to convince myself didn’t last long and I was soon shouting to my mom that I needed an epidural, begging her to get my nurse.
The nurse entered the room with a friendly smile and I feel as though I growled at her, if not audibly I definitely did in my head. I explained that I didn’t really want an epidural but I needed one. She was lovely and hastily found an anesthesiologist then gave me a paper warning me of the risks to sign. I only skimmed over it but I’m certain that I would have never signed it under normal circumstances. The anesthesiologist came quickly- he seemed a friendly guy, quiet and focused. I’m sure it was just the pain medicine but I recall thinking that he looked like a vampire and that I owed this man a splendid reward. I was instructed to sit on the edge of my bed and lean into the nurse, I complied as fast as I could. Vampire man was efficient and kind while prepping me but just as he said, “Alright, hold still” a contraction came. It took all the concentration I could muster to keep myself from curling my body around my belly. I sobbed shamelessly, tears and mucus draining from my face and onto my nurse’s scrubs. Once the pain was gone I was suddenly very embarrassed about this and I believe I apologized to the nurse for not only dirtying her uniform but also any ill mannered behaviors.
After receiving the epidural I was hooked up to machines and had my legs poked, all the while the nurse was asking if I could feel this or that. I said no and giggled while informing her that it was weird. She grinned knowingly and told me to get some rest, and I really tried but I couldn’t stop watching the monitor. It was so strange seeing my contractions come and go but not feeling a single thing. At one point I felt my heart fluttering and briefly wondered if that was normal. My nurse scurried in a couple minutes later and pumped two bags of fluid into my IV, adjusted the monitors on my belly and in my vagina (A’s heartbeat couldn’t be detected through the monitors on my belly so they had put one on the top of her head), and told me to order some breakfast although I’m fairly certain it was closer to lunch time. My perception of time was way off during my labor because I didn’t have a window and my room was very dark and looking at a clock was not a priority. I ordered oatmeal and bacon which I had difficulty eating once it arrived. Not only was the oatmeal dry but I was incredibly nervous and antsy. After gulping down a couple bites I went to sleep for about 45 minutes.