The eventful days leading up to labor
It was August 27th, 2015. I knew I wouldn’t be going out again for quite some time, so a few friends and I went out for one last ‘Girls Night Out’ before baby arrived. Of course, I was trying to induce labor through dancing. I was so disappointed when that didn’t work. I had been 2-3 cm dilated and a little effaced for a few weeks now. A couple days later, Zane and I go on a walk. He reluctantly agreed to take the 3 mile hike to the park. We made it about halfway back home, at which point I’m so exhausted from the hot humid Texas September evening, my hands and feet are swollen and in pain. I start crying thinking there is no way I could make it the rest of the way home. I beg Zane to just leave me and go get the car. It is now getting dark out – There was no way he would leave me alone in the condition I was in. He refused. After what seemed like forever, we made it home. The following day, I thought it actually might have worked when I started feeling this intense pressure every three minutes while walking around shopping. I had just met with a student doula, Lexi, that morning who had been referred to me by a mutual friend. She was very nice and wanted to help. I have this dislike for hospitals, I can’t pinpoint why exactly, I just do. Maybe its my slightly type – A personality. Anyway, despite these sensations not being “painful”, I was encouraged by family to head to the hospital since they were so close together and had been consistently coming for over forty – five minutes.
I arrive at the hospital, and BAM, as soon as I’m in a room, the ‘contractions’ are gone. I was so frustrated. Of course the nurses are looking at me with annoyance. I was the crazy first – time mom coming in for possible “labor” with no contractions. After about an hour or so, I’m sent home, embarrassed and irritated that family insisted on my going there in the first place. I go home and after dinner with my husband, I stayed up late cleaning (Hello nesting!) and watching one of my favorites, Gilmore Girls. The next afternoon I see an ambulance across the street. My neighbor’s boyfriend was being transported to the hospital, and knowing she had young children, I offered to watch them when they arrived home from school. Really, all I wanted that day was to sleep, and I had this intense thirst like no other. I was guzzling water like crazy, with little relief. But, I forgo my nap and babysat anyway. It was the neighborly thing to do, and I love kids. The girls arrive home from school and we ordered pizza and watched cartoons until their mom arrived. By this time, I had gotten my second wind. There would be no sleeping until around 11 PM
Its around 1:30 AM. I’m awoken by cramps. I thought the pizza may have upset my stomach. At some point, I realized my “cramps” were actually contractions. I text Lexi, woke Zane so he could notify his boss, and drew myself a bath. I had planned to labor at home for as long as possible, because I planned for an unmedicated birth. I was so unprepared for the pain. The water wasn’t delivering the relief I had expected. For some reason, I couldn’t get the water hot enough. The bathtub in our duplex was tiny and I was unable to fully submerge myself. Zane talks me into going to the hospital. I put on my favorite maternity shirt, which said “LET ME OUT!”, and a pair of running shorts. Off to the hospital we go…
The twenty or so minute drive feels like forever. Contractions consistently continue every three minutes, lasting for about a minute and a half each. We see our exit… It is CLOSED! I’m angry. The exit being closed means we have to do a turn around and go over train tracks THREE times. In case you were wondering, going over bumpy train tracks while in labor is no fun. No fun at all.
At the hospital
We finally arrive at the hospital around 3:30 AM. Because it is the middle of the night, the L&D doors are closed. We park and get enter the hospital through the ER. I remember being irritated by the intake questions. I’m thinking, “Can’t they see I’m obviously in labor”. I am so thankful once we are finally moved to L&D. Lexi arrives shortly after we get a room. I don’t remember much about this part, other than the frustration of even more questions and several pages of paperwork to fill out (which had surprised me, because we had pre-registered and signed something during our hospital tour). All I wanted was to labor in peace. My OB (Who has since retired), Ok’d Intermittent Electronic Fetal Monitoring (EFM), and a hep-lock in place of an IV.
At some point, I needed to use the restroom. I was happily surprised to find a bathtub. At my tour a few weeks prior, I had only seen showers, and the nurse who gave the tour acted as if bathtubs were not something utilized in L&D. I instantly insisted that the water be turned on as hot as possible, to which my husband responded he would ask our nurse if that was OK. I roared like something ferocious and said “Watch them try to pull me out” as I tore off my hospital gown. Let me tell you, sitting in that bath was the best part of my labor. Unlike at home, the temperature felt perfect. I was so relaxed, I was dozing off between contractions. I was finally able to cope with the insanely painful back labor I was experiencing from baby being in an OP (occiput posterior) position.
I was allowed to stay in the bath for around 30 minutes. I complained as it was time to monitor baby again, but I complied. I was offered the gown back, but I refused it (I was wearing a hot pink bandeau top). I could feel a contraction coming as I walked back to the bed. I managed to make it there just in time to lean over it as my contraction peaked (At which point my husband almost lost his life by making a sex joke – Yes I still hold this over him 4.5 years later!). The nurse hooks up the monitors, and my doctor arrives to check me. I had not progressed. She tells me that she thinks breaking my waters will speed things up. She said she knew I was going to have a quick labor. I originally did not want my waters broken, but I was disappointed to have not progressed, despite all of my body’s hard work. I reluctantly agreed. My water was broken.
Breaking my water intensified my contractions in a way I hadn’t expected. I had no idea my labor would change so drastically, so quickly. While the contractions were more intense and painful, they remained 3 minutes apart and a minute and a half long each. There was vomiting and toe curling. I instinctively moved onto my hands and knees as I gripped the head of the bed. Zane and Lexi took turns bringing me water (The thirst from earlier that day had continued). They tried rubbing my back and putting pressure on my hips, but I wasn’t tolerating any touch well. My gown was offered a few more times, but even the thought of the gown touching me, made me cringe. I struggled to remember how to breathe effectively. I roared and cried with each contraction, probably sounding like a badly wounded animal. I had had enough. “I WANT AN EPIDURAL!”, I cried. My doctor came in and assured me It would not be much longer, that I could make it through this last bit of labor. I remembered all of the people who told me I couldn’t have a natural birth. I wanted so badly to prove them wrong, but I couldn’t take the pain any longer. Because I had only a hep- lock, I had to take IV fluids before the Anesthesiologist could administer the epidural. I kept asking if the IV fluids were almost done. Knowing that I had no sense of time, everyone kept assuring me it was almost through. “Ten more minutes”. I was checked and at a 6 or 7 dilation, then not even ten minutes later, I get the sensation to poop. I call to the nurse to get my doctor. She insists that I’m OK, I had just been checked, but when I told her I had the needing to poop/ push sensation, she hurriedly called my doctor to the room. To everyone’s disbelief, I was at a 9.5, just a little cervical lip was left.
Time to push
I asked for a squat bar to be attached to the bed, and tried using that to assist in pushing with each contraction. The doctor suggested laying on my back, which I didn’t want, but I just wanted it all to be over, so I obliged. I remember being annoyed because my nurse kept telling me when to push, but I couldn’t find the words to ask her to stop. I could feel the contraction coming on, and I’d say that one was coming, and she’d say “No, not yet. its not here yet”, but what I was trying to convey was that I was at the beginning of a contraction. I could feel it building up, but she misunderstood me, and I couldn’t explain it better in that moment. My doctor did a perennial massage, and warm compress. As I pushed, she helped pushed the cervical lip over baby’s head so she could be delivered. I could feel it all, but pushing gave me a somewhat unexpected relief that almost competed with the bath. I pushed with such focus. I was determined to finally hold her in my arms.
Vayda Olivia was welcomed into the world on September 1st, 2015 at 7:57 AM, weighing 8 pounds 3.3 ounces and just under 22′ long.
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