This pregnancy has been different from my last two, it should come as no surprise the birth would be as different. I opted to have as natural a birth as possible. We hired a doula, unfortunately plans had changed and were unable to have a doula, but it still worked out.
Sunday, Jan 20th, a friend was watching our boys so we could have a meal to ourselves. It was a super awesome meal too. DH picked up these gigantic steaks from the grocery store a couple of days earlier; a treat to ourselves and a reminder that with three growing boys we probably won’t be able to eat like that again for some time. The Steaks were so big that we actually had to have our potatoes in a separate dish. We had just finished our meal, about 20 to six, when we decided to head out the door. I wanted to stop by the book store real quick on our way to pick up the boys. I felt a little something leaking and I knew I didn’t just pee myself (a natural occurrence that happens to pregnant women…sometimes). I just stop, look down and the next words out of my mouth might as well have turned DH as white as a ghost.
My estimated due date wasn’t until February 5th, but because my blood pressure had been all over the place and my fluid hadn’t shown any sign of building back up (in less than a week I went from 17 cm of fluid to 7 cm and change), my OB felt it necessary for us to induce in the 38th week. I was ready for an early induction and I agreed. With the problems I had had I knew that the pitocin was going to be a necessary evil.
However, I was able to go for a long time without pitocin, but I’ll get to that in a bit. My OB was gone for the weekend, probably just getting back, and he had already told me if something did happen, such as my fluid, to call and talk to the on call doctor and explain my history so they can decide whether I needed to come in or not. The doctor’s words when I called, “you’re fluid is that low? I need you to come in. I will tell them to be expecting you and I will call your doctor and let him know what’s going on.”
I am known for walking my happy butt up to L&D. In fact, I prefer it. I don’t like any special treatment, even though I know being wheeled from the ER to L&D is not special treatment. I just prefer to walk. Unfortunately I couldn’t do that this time. Hospital policy dictates being wheeled, but they explained to me that I could leak fluid all over the floors, which is a bio-hazard and an accident waiting to happen, so being wheeled up to L&D it was.
DH dropped me off, had to get his mom, go get the boys, take them back to the house, pack our hospital bag (I was planning on getting all that done, plus laundry and everything for our baby on Monday), and finally came to meet me in my room. The nurse had to perform a test with a strip of paper that looks like a ph strip. It probably is just that and tests the acidity of the fluid. She laid me down, checked and noted the strip barely changed. She sat me back up and said she would let the doctor know when I felt a gush. She checked again and sure enough, PROM had happened.
If you hadn’t read my earlier post, PROM is the acronym for Premature Rupture of Membranes. This has happened in my last two pregnancies, although Little Lion was only 8 days early and Little Frog was only six days early. Little Turtle was 15 days early. They admitted me, and for the next 18 hours I had labored on my own. I was thrilled to have had such a full stomach. This was actually the first time I hadn’t felt like I was starving and needing to absolutely eat to keep my energy up. Sure, I was telling DH to sneak me in some peanuts every now and then, but I didn’t actually feel the need to eat.
With Little Lion, I had just finished eating, laid down to nap and my water broke. I was starving about halfway through my induction and needed nausea medicine or I wasn’t going to make it. The nurse actually didn’t make it. Birth she can handle, but vomit is apparently a whole other story. The liquid they gave me to fight my nausea actually made me throw up anyway, but I felt fantastic afterwards. With Little Frog, I had woken up from a full nights rest after I felt my water break. Me, being the brilliant person I am, decided not to grab a bite before heading to the hospital. I was starving through that induction as well. This time was different.
Like I said, I went 18 hours on my own. The contractions were slow and steady. After 18 hours, my OB felt it necessary for me to have some antibiotics and to start pitocin. I knew the risks of prolonging the slow progression of labor any further, especially after having so little fluid in the first place. I agreed for thwart sake of my baby.
I asked about alternative pain medicines, as opposed to an epidural, specifically stadol. I will be the first to tell you if you’re a lightweight or sensitive to drugs, DO NOT GET STADOL! Within a minute or two of taking the stadol and phenegran I had passed out. It was literally like someone gave me some knock out gas and I was counting backwards.
I woke up an hour later in extreme pain. First I was groaning through a thick fog of sleep. I almost forgot where I was. I tried to go back to sleep. Another contraction hit and my groan grew louder. Sleep. Groan. Sleep. Groan. Sleep…oh fuck it! It hurt too much and the contractions were growing closer. I started to hallucinate and was still very much out of it.
I remember they gave me an oxygen mask. It was passing me off so bad. My arms were flying all over the place just to adjust the damn thing. When I ask DH why the mask, he said it was because Turtle’s (our nickname for him) heart rate was fluctuating. They needed to regulate both mine and his oxygen levels. I was in and out at this point. I think this must have been what labor was like for the women in the 20s.
If you don’t know, women in the 20s were heavily drugged. Some hcp claimed women were or acted possessed when in labor and needed to be subdued. To do this, they would drug them, attach a blindfold and literally restrain their hands and feet. It was more like giving birth in a mental institute.
At one point I look at my husband. I’m looking for encouragement or some sort of thumbs up you can do this sentiment. I thought I was hallucinating, but when I looked at him he was laughing at me or had this smirk. The following day I did ask him if I saw that correctly. His response, “you sounded like a dying robotic cow. I had to get it out when you weren’t looking.” I asked him a moment ago to put the emphasis correctly. He said, “you actually sounded like the rusted out old horn on my 69 Volkswagen Beetle when I was 15 before I replaced it.” Thanks a million babe! (coughs*asshat*coughs)
I started screaming for my epidural. Apparently since I’ve never felt it, I was in transition. Side note, my husband had posted on Facebook right before I received my pit something along the lines that natural birth is for the birds and there was absolutely no excitement. A friend commented and said to wait until the transition period because that is when the show starts. She was not wrong.
I was screaming and grunting and in the worst pain I could ever imagine. I was told the stadol manipulates the pain receptors in the brain. My ass they do! I was screaming and crying through every contraction. Each one hit me with an immense wave of pain worse than the previous one. Come to find out, the anesthesiologist was down the hall where my OB was talking to him. When I processed this information my brain told me I was being ripped apart from the inside out. I swore I could hear my muscles ripping as my body was preparing to push Turtle out. Apparently I was so far in the transition stage that there wasn’t much hope for me getting the epidural.
Marty, my nurse, was trying to calm me down. She told me to hold on to her scrubs while she bent me over to help with the contractions. Than the anesthesiologist came to the rescue. Marty had to keep bending me down and sitting me up for the anesthesiologist to do his job. He was having a hard time, though I don’t blame him because I couldn’t concentrate on my job if I had someone screaming, “give me my epidural! I want my epidural!” I sounded more like a spoiled brat who couldn’t get her way. Actually, I sounded like my 3-year-old toddler when he doesn’t get his way.
The anesthesiologist must have turned that drip up to its maximum capability. I was in immediate relief, although that may have been the brain receptors finally kicking in. I could barely stay awake or even function. I was so out of it.
I remember falling asleep. I could catch bits and pieces of conversation. I think Turtle had taken a turn for the worse because something had my OB and the L&D staff rushing to get him born. I remember my OB telling me I was going to feel some pressure because they had to add fluid. I had finally lost all of my fluid. I couldn’t really process it then, and I still don’t understand what it means now but I do know that it is potentially dangerous.
And I did feel it. I was still feeling everything but I didn’t care. I was in a complete euphoric state. From what I’ve heard, I suppose it was like being high from heroin. They could have cut me open and I wouldn’t have cared. Except I did.
My OB finally said I had to give some good pushes or I would have to have a ceserean. That was all the motivation I needed. I absolutely did and do not want surgery. One of my fears. Especially after watching What to Expect When Expecting (what the hell was I thinking…that’s complete torture for preggers). So I gave it all I could. Mind you this is all 15 minutes after my epidural.
I felt it all. My legs had hit muscle failure, at least that’s what it felt like. I could feel each push, but I didn’t care. My focus was on not having a ceserean. He birthed the same as Lion: move an inch and retract two inches.
At first it seemed like a lifetime before I heard Turtle’s cries. I’m sure it wasn’t that long but it felt like it. Finally I heard him and I asked DH if the baby really was a boy. He nodded.
They put him on me and we bonded for a bit. I tried to get him to breastfeed but the clamp was in the way. They respected my wishes and waited two hours before starting with their newborn baby routine. I bonded with him for a bit, skin to skin, but I almost dropped him because I was so tired and still very loopy.
The nurse couldn’t get Turtle’s body temp so I finally agreed for him to go to the nursery where he could warm up and I could get some sleep. DH had left to get me some food so had a few minutes to myself.
As much as I would like it, I don’t think a natural birth is in my future. Not because of the pain, I would have a doula to help out and a pool. No, the length of this labor from start to finish is scary to me. It took so long and with my fluid being low I don’t know what to expect the next time around. Perhaps we’ll be some place where medical technology and midwifery work together by our next pregnancy. Yes, I want one more, but that will be the end. They can cut what they need to afterwards.