Wednesday night was short. My mom came with us to the hospital so that she would be able to find the room the next morning and Wendy met us there. Ya’ll have no idea how nervous I was about IV’s and all that hospital business. And being induced I was given full hospital business treatment (stupid automatic blood pressure cuff & stupid veins that are hard to find). Twice throughout the night Ann inserted some sort of cervix softening pill thingy to get it ready for the big stretch. She also gave me a little sleep helper pill so I would able to get some rest. I’m not too sure sleep woulda been possible without it. Dave and I fell asleep not long after Mom and Wendy left for the night.
And Thursday. We were woken up right after 7am by our new nurse, Tisha, and Dr. v. He blew in with an, “ok and now we’re going to break your water” and set to work. It was one of the hardest moments in the entire pregnancy. I haven’t fully processed why…honestly I didn’t give up hope that Sammy would be healed until he was placed on my belly. I couldn’t tell the doctor no, I don’t know why. But as soon as we were alone again I cried. Not long after that Wendy, my mom, Duane, Sharonne, and Laura showed up and around 10:30am Sara, the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer showed up.
I have no idea what time contractions started. We didn’t do birthing classes we just talked with Wendy about laboring techniques, I read a lot of birth stories, and my co-teacher gave me the book Hypnobirthing. I read about half the book, it talked a lot about breathing so I would practice deep yoga breaths each night as I fell asleep. Dave called it my “creepy breathing”. Music has always been a powerful tool for me as well so I made Sammy a playlist and made sure my “Feel the Love” playlist from May was ready too. In one awesome natural birth story the mama talked about how they got l.e.d. tea lights to set the mood at the hospital. So I bought some of those too.
I don’t remember the music much, I do remember being in my own little labor world. I did lots of creepy breathing and had lots of hate for the blood pressure cuff that kept tightening on my arm just as a contraction would start (coincidental). Having Wendy (doula) around was perfect at this point. I know in the heat of the moment had Dave or my mom suggested I move around and try a different labor position the answer would have been NO. But since Wendy is one of the sweetest people I know and not at all related to me, it was hard to say no. Oh yeah, and she’s kind of an expert at the whole labor/birth thing.
In some of my reading of birth stories women would talk about hearing what was going on in the room but only addressing what was happening in their head. I don't know if I said that clearly but I was totally there. I could hear conversations and would "respond" in my head. It was weird and probably for the better, especially at the end.
So we moved around the room a bit. I think the first variation we tried was laying on my side, it was HORRIBLE. Hours later I would hold my son and contemplate laying on my side but decide against it, remembering the pain I felt with those 4 contractions I had while laying on my side. There was a birthing ball, loved that, still required a couple people to get through contractions though. One time Wendy made me stand…after I decorated Dave, the birthing ball, and the floor with all the water and juice I drank that morning I didn’t have to try standing up any more. Gross. There was a birthing chair but that hurt too. It was a long day.
I know at some point I started visualizing items disappearing as a contraction progressed. I remember 3 different things vividly and I’m sure there were more…first was a cookie. As I took my deep breath in one big bite of the cookie disappeared and as I let that breath out slowly some more of the cookie disappeared. I have no idea where this came from (having not eaten since 7pm the night before). I also pictured the breathes out as blowing out some candles on a birthday cake, but I didn’t like that visualization because it always took more breathes to get through the contraction than it took to blow out all the candles. Even during labor my mind is unsatisfied with itself? Really?
I spent the day laboring naturally...at the start I was 0cm and 50% effaced, -3 station, by 1pm I was 4cm and fully effaced. Woohoo! Seemed to be trucking right along. At 4pm I was 6cm and we had high hopes of delivering sometime early evening...I know I was hoping for 8pm at the latest since I was going about 1cm an hour and after the fact I found out everyone else was thinking the same thing.
By 5:30 I was ready to give up (I only know the approximate time because of the picture at the beginning of this post, this was my final semi-comfortable laboring position and the clock says 5:30. I was probably trying to figure out a way to weasel drugs from someone while this was being taken). Contractions were very painful and all the positions and tricks seemed to have stopped working. Wendy and I had talked about possible drug options if they became necessary so I broached the subject, knowing she was partial, in Sammy’s case, to IV narcotics as opposed to an epidural. I mentioned being just about done with all this *smile* and she suggested we have the nurse check me since the doctor was taking quite a while to get back and check me after his office hours.
At 6:30pm-ish Tisha checked me and I had basically stalled...still 6, maybe 7 cm and -1 station. I wanted to cry, especially because I had to be back in the bed for the check and contractions while sitting/laying in the bed were horrendous at this point. They were 1 1/2 - 2 mins long 2-3 minutes apart...and increasing intensity. I was whiney...I tried to cry but it made everything hurt worse.
At this point my doula said she actually thought an epidural would be a good idea (God was guiding her for what was to come). I didn't care, I just wanted something to take the pain away. Here is where I mention that I had the squeakiest hospital door ever in life. Best I can figure at this point everyone who’d been hanging out all day decided it was time to line up outside the door and take turns coming in. Slowly, one at a time. Every time the door opened I waited for the “It’s Tisha” announcing her arrival and the arrival of relief (read: drugs). I don’t know if I said anything out loud but I was loosing patience with that door and the absence of the nurse. At one point a doctor came in, but was in the wrong room, I probably would have taken whatever was in his pocket at this point.
So it was decided I would have a shot of narcotics to take the edge off while I waited for the 2 bags of fluid I would need to run into my body before the epidural could be placed. Shout out to my Mom and Laura for squeezing those bags of fluid into my arm until they got an official iv bag squeezer thingy in place. I wanted to try natural, I did. I was a little scared of how I might respond to drugs...turns out we are besties :-) me and drugs get a long reeeeaalll good (if ever anyone can find a vein).
Sometime after the initial Nubain shot I had the 3rd vivid visualization for getting through the contractions. Have you ever seen contractions on a monitor? They look like mountains. Single mountains if you’re lucky, if you’re not they’ll have 2 or 3 humps like some of mine did. Anyway, this time I visualized a rainbow…I was climbing the outside layer of a rainbow and going down the other side on the inside because it was too boring to just climb up and down the outside…and then I wondered what color comes first on the outside of a rainbow. Oh boy…
Clearly with the shot of narcotics I was able to relax...I had been shivering uncontrollably for an hour or so, cold but also just couldn't relax. I could talk between contractions again and a bunch of girlfriends from church arrived about the time I got the shot. They came in and visited with me until the epidural dude got there. We had really deep conversation, my first interactive conversation 8 or so hours, it went like this - "So, what have you all had to eat today?" LOL - I was hungry!
The dude with the epidural came in so my friends stepped out for him to do his business. For anyone fearing an epidural or a catheter I would suggest 8-10 hours of natural labor to distract you from that fear. I did not feel either when they were finally all in place. Again, before this day started I couldn't watch someone draw my blood and had to take deep breaths the entire time they did. I scoff at little blood draw needles now. Scoff.
My friends came back in to pray over me. During that prayer one of my friends was kinda rubbing my belly and said Sammy was kickin' like crazy during the entire prayer...he always loved him some prayer.
The doctor finally came in and did his own check. Less than an hour after the epidural I was +1 station, fully dilated, and ready to start pushing. I was shocked and asked for 20 minutes to power nap before we started. Hubs and I took a little rest and spent some final minutes talking to Sammy. Dave would always ask Sammy questions and tell him to kick if he agreed...Sammy rarely answered. This time when Dave asked if Sammy was excited to meet us he responded with a thump :-) We were ready to meet our baby boy.