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In February of 2003, I became a mom. My birth experience wasn’t what I expected. Then again, I didn’t really have huge expectations. However, I felt to my core that THIS was not how it was supposed to go!
How to Induce Labor
Contractions started around 10:00 pm two days before my estimated due date. I had been to the doctor the Friday before (this was on Monday) and was 0 cm dilated and about 50% effaced (how thin my cervix was). For anyone who doesn’t know – that sucks. It pretty much means nothing is happening and it’s pretty disheartening to hear.
On Monday, we went out to a Chinese buffet. I ate everything spicy I could find. I think the spicy food combined with the grease, is what got things started for me because it sent my stomach into spasms – which then sent my uterus into spasms! Stomach spasms combined with labor? Not highly recommended! But, there was no turning back! I told David to get some sleep because I thought we were in for a long night. I lay on the couch trying to sleep, but to no avail. Finally, around 1:30 am, we decided to head to the hospital as my contractions were about 2-4 minutes apart and lasting 1.5 minutes (give or take).
“I bear a charmed life”. Macbeth Quote (Act V, Sc. VIII)
My sister-in-law, Martha, was planning to join us for the birth and serve as our photographer. We called her on the way to the hospital (this was pre-texting days, so we hadn’t even given her the head’s up!). Luckily (or unluckily?), she was in a dress rehearsal for a play (Macbeth – you can imagine the costume! ) and had just gotten out. So, we pick her up on our way – in full costume! It was pretty amusing, even to the woman in labor!
We get to the hospital and were taken to a room where I was “checked” (a few stares at poor Martha along the way. Good thing she’s a trooper!). It is announced that I am a whopping 0.5 cm dilated. Woopdie doo (is that spelled right???)! (insert eye roll here) Really? I sat at home in labor for 3.5 hours for 0.5 cm???? OH MY GOSH!!!
At this point, David takes Martha back to her dorm (she was in college at the time) because it’s clear this baby is not coming anytime soon. I am essentially tied to the bed with an IV full of fluids and told they will be back in an hour to check me again. When I am “checked” again, I am 1.5 cm! WOO HOO! I am admitted and asked if I want an epidural. “No, I’ll wait it out a bit. This seems early.” Her response was that I could get it any time I want??? The books and websites all said I should wait until 4 cm so it wouldn’t stall labor (clue #2 I should have, even then, gotten up and run!)? Whatever! I still say “no, I’ll wait thanks.”
Birthing Cocktail Hour
The morning comes slowly/quickly – you do sort of lose track of time when you are having mind-numbing contractions every few minutes. At 8:00 am, I finally see a doctor (who has apparently been in all night because he’s about to get off. To me, it makes more sense for the NEW doctor to come around since clearly this one was not going to deliver me, but whatever!). He announces I am only 2 cm, but I am “stretchy”. My contractions have spaced out some (go figure! You have me tied to a bed instead of up and walking!), so he suggests Pitocin and tells me I better get that epidural now. I have now been in labor 10 hours. I agree to that cocktail.
The Evil Epidural Side Effects
Within 5 minutes of the epidural going in, I can tell it was a mistake. I hate everything about it! I hate the way it feels going in (not a needle person, at all!), I hate the way it feels spreading through me (warm tingling), I hate that I can’t feel my legs – AT ALL, and, honestly, I even hated that I couldn’t tell what was going on with my body. The Pitocin was started around 10:00 am but then, I was left alone.
David went to pick up Martha again shortly thereafter, but I really didn’t see anyone (except on Game Show Network – does that count?) for a few hours. Around 12:00, I was “checked” again and was “close to 4 cm dilated”, but again I am told I am “stretchy”. The doctor decides to manually stretch my cervix and says he stretched it to 6 cm, but it usually goes back some, so not to expect much. Within a few minutes, I was feeling pressure, but I didn’t know what it was because the epidural was so strong. Around 12:45 or so, I told the nurses that I was feeling something. I was “checked” and, to their surprise, I was fully dilated and the baby was “right there”. Time to push!
Opening the Flood Gates? Water Break Time
This is where it gets really irritating to me. Back around 10:00 when I went on the Pitocin, I was “checked” so that they could break my water. The doctor (the ONE doctor in the practice I couldn’t stand) announced my water was already broken. The nurse and I looked at each other and commented we didn’t think so. He said he was the doctor and there were no membranes, so we must have just missed it. (Let me tell you, I have had a baby since this one and my water broke spontaneously with him. I can tell you, there was no “missing it”.) Whatever! (Seeing a “whatever” theme here?) So, anyway, they set the bed up for the delivery and I started pushing around 1:00 pm. Apparently, according to the nurses, I am a good pusher. They called the doctor in after only about 10 minutes because I’ve made great progress (pushing is HARD WORK, let me tell you! It went by quickly, but I felt like I was going to explode)…
To be Continued… Read more of my Natural Baby Blog.
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