Labor Story: part one

Trying to record all the details of the events leading to Ian's birth has been a bit overwhelming. If nothing else, it was over two days long, so there's a lot to remember. Over the last month, though, I've thought of so many little images and memories that were so significant for me, I wanted to share them with all of you and record them for our son. As I have already written about while in labor, we were really down to the wire with this pregnancy. I wanted to avoid an induction as much as possible and our baby boy granted me that favor by bringing on contractions Tuesday morning at 5am so we wouldn't have to go in for the induction Wednesday morning. Little did I know at the time what that would mean instead.

I spent Tuesday morning texting updates to my doula Amara on my contractions and overall condition. Text messaging with my labor support was not necessarily something I would have planned, but it worked out great. (I also can't thank Amara enough for recording Ian's birth story during labor and writing all six pages of it down for us. We wouldn't have been able to piece it all together ourselves!) Rich and I went for several walks to encourage contractions during the day, but it wasn't really until about 5pm that things started moving.

I really wanted to stay at home as long as possible, so I roamed around the house leaning into door frames during contractions while Rich sat in the living room floor playing Borderlands. For those of you considering going through labor at home, I highly recommend having your husband play video games until you go to the hospital. Rich actually asked if this would be one of those things where years from now I would complain that he was playing games while I was bringing our child into the world, but it worked out wonderfully. We could still talk but he wasn't hovering over me when I didn't really need it. My only request was to turn the sound off because the gunfire noises were bothering me.

Around midnight, I decided to take a shower to see if that would help me relax. Once I got out and sat on my exercise ball for a bit, I stood up and felt a gush. Further investigation proved that my water had broken just before 1am. This was both exciting and nerve-wracking. Exciting because it hopefully meant we'd be seeing our baby boy soon. Nerve-wracking because I knew we were under a time limit as the hospital would not want me to go more than 24 hours with my water broken.

By 2:30am I was ready for Amara to come help us. My contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and about 45 seconds to a minute each. I was convinced we would be greeting our son before the sun came up. Amara was at the house by 3:15 and we were shortly on our way to the hospital. All signs pointed that I was progressing well and would be ready to push any minute now. We decided to go to the hospital then so that I could walk on my own to the labor and delivery ward versus flying in at the last minute under crazy circumstances. I would later come to second guess this decision many times Wednesday while in the hospital.

We arrived around 4:15am Wednesday morning and confused every nurse at the check-in desk. They thought I was just way early for my induction at 6:30 versus already being in labor. It didn't help that the transport to the hospital had stopped my contractions and I wasn't flipping out and howling. Next time I might wait until the howling stage to go to the hospital (poor Rich).

So they checked me in and asked me a thousand questions, very few of which had anything to do with my labor. Amazingly, no one asked about my water breaking so I just didn't volunteer that bit of information. If nothing else, they were going to figure it out when they saw the number of "soiled linens" I was producing in the room. We sat around in the room for quite a while and my contractions were slowly but surely picking back up again.

But I was starting to get concerned that baby progress seemed to have slowed. We didn't actually talk to a doctor until 7:45 Wednesday morning. The doctor came in, checked me and told me I was only 1.5 cm dilated. Even typing that just now made my chest a little tight because it was such a shock. I was 1cm dilated in the damn doctor's office on Monday! I had been in labor for over 24 hours at that point, my water had broken and I had very consistent contractions until I had gotten to the hospital. I kept thinking there had to be some sort of mistake.

We were stuck there, though, because my water had broken and I was supposed to be there for my induction. I instantly felt foolish for agreeing to go to the hospital that morning and was then trapped in that labor and delivery room. Trapped became the theme for the day. I couldn't walk around because they had to leave the monitors on me. I had a blood pressure cuff and a pulse monitor on my finger. I had manged to avoid an IV but that was only for part of the time. Even though I could disconnect from everything to go pee, it was a giant production.

After wasting all morning, my contractions picked back up again that afternoon. I was stuck in the bed and pushing against the footboard with all my might. The room was pretty dark but I remember Rich and Amara encouraging me with each contraction saying how great I was doing. I didn't feel great, though. I felt absolutely awful. My body hurt all over and the pressure just wouldn't stop. I was convinced my stomach was going to explode out my crotch any minute. After a bit I insisted I go pee. We started the production to unhook everything and I waddled to the toilet with tears in my eyes where I proceeded to have the biggest pee of my entire life. Suddenly it all made sense. The reason I had been so miserable is I was never getting that break between contractions because of the pressure on my bladder. I waddled back to the bed with a renewed sense of purpose ready to get to work on having a baby.

And my contractions completely stopped. Then the nurse came in and insisted I wear an oxygen mask because they noticed some deceleration in the baby's heart rate. Around 3:30 that afternoon Dr. Vaughn came in and said she thought I was dehydrated so they wanted to give me an IV of fluids. I told her I was more frustrated and annoyed than dehydrated. Her eyes got all big and she asked what was wrong. I started crying and just told her I felt trapped in the bed and nothing was going the way I wanted it to. Surprisingly, she was very sympathetic. She said we would try a bag of fluids and see how I progressed after an hour or so but we should consider Pitocin soon because we were running short on time and not much had happened. I had only gone to 3 cm since that morning. So I took the IV of fluids and around 4:45pm we started on Pitocin. I had been in labor for almost 36 hours and in the hospital for over 12. It seemed like a good decision.


I labored on Pitocin for almost five hours. It sucked. The nurses actually said they could tell how well my contractions were working because they could hear me down the hall. I was howling like a house cat. My throat was so sore. But with each contraction I just kept thinking about how we were making progress finally. I was still trapped in the bed, but I was so tired, I didn't really care. Amara had put the exercise ball behind my back and I could sit up and rock back and forth. I was sitting there in the dark, howling through a contraction when the blood pressure cuff inflated. That damn cuff was set to inflate every 30 minutes but it always seemed to happen in the middle of a contraction. And at that point I was just done with it. I was in mid-howl and yelled out "FUCK YOU blood pressure cuff! Seriously?" It was the only time I cursed in the entire labor. The contraction faded, I opened my eyes and there was a new doctor smiling in front of me with her nurse.

Dr. Riesen said they had an idea they wanted to pitch to me. It was 9:30pm. At that point I was willing to try anything because we were running out of time.

to be continued ...