I have been wanting to type up this memory for a while now. In fact, before this 31 days started I had a draft started to tell this particular story – R’s birth story. It was quite the process, so it will be long. I am breaking it up into two posts. I’m excited to write it, because it will be a nice thing to have for posterity.
I think it is the perfect memory to finish up the series with! Here goes.
Labor of Love Part One: Home
I wake up around 2:15 am with contractions. That isn’t unusual – for the past couple of weeks I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions in the middle of the night. They usually started once or twice in the night, but after a few minutes would stop and I would get back to sleep.
After fifteen minutes they have stopped, so I try to settle back in. But, another contraction hits, which surprises me. I get up and walk around a bit, go to the bathroom, and try to get back to sleep.
I have these contractions every fifteen minutes for an hour. I am also dealing with a bit of gas pressure, so I’m going back and forth wondering if I might be in labor, or if it is just the gas bothering me. I had eaten eggplant parmesan for both lunch AND dinner, so I feel like it could be either of those things going on with my system.
I wake The Nerd a couple of times to ask his opinion on whether or not I should call my doula. He is half-asleep and not sure what to suggest. I tell him I’ll wait and see if it keeps up.
I have contractions for another hour and decide that this must be labor. At around 4:30 am I call my doula. She suggests I rest as much as possible and try to eat something, and says she will come in later on in the morning.
The Nerd asks if I want him to stay up with me, but I tell him to try to go back to sleep. I know that if this is really it, we both will need to get as much rest as we can now.
I go to the kitchen and fix myself a bagel because I’m not feeling all that hungry but know I need the fuel. I recline in our loveseat and try to get some rest. After a few minutes I have to run to the bathroom because the bagel decided to come back up. I am afraid to try to eat anything else, so I just get back on the loveseat. I alternate between reclining and getting up to walk around for most of those early morning hours. I get a bit of rest, but am mostly working on moving around for pain management and to encourage the labor to progress.
My doula arrives around 6:00, and begins some pain management and relaxation techniques with me. She also starts timing my contractions. The Nerd fixes me some scrambled eggs, which I try to get down. I can’t. I decide to focus on trying to keep fluids in my system, even though I still feel like I need to eat something.
I labor for a little while, and my contractions start getting closer together. They are about every 3-5 minutes at this time, and I decide I should call the doctor on-call in my OB/GYN practice to see what he suggests. He tells me I can come in to the office at 8:30 so that he can check my progress.
We gather some stuff together, and I go in. The receptionist takes me straight back, and I wait on Dr. C to get there. He checks me, and I am only at 4cm, which was how much I had been dilated at my 40 week appointment just a couple of days before. So, we trek back home to labor there some more.
The contractions are getting much stronger now, and I am in quite a bit of pain. I can handle the pain okay, and having E (my doula) there is helpful. The biggest problem us that I still can’t keep anything down. E has picked up a fruit smoothie for me on the way back from the doctor’s office, but I only get a few sips into it before throwing up again. I am having lots of back labor, and E is using a rice pack and massage to help me through contractions. The pain at this point is pretty significant, but the worst part for me is continuing to get sick and my inability to even drink much water.
After a few more hours of labor – in which I try different positions, use the rice pack A LOT, do some walking around, and even shower on the birth ball with lavender night-time baby wash – I decide I want to go back to the office to have Dr. C check me again. I am starting to get very weak from the labor and the lack of nutrients.
We go back in and Dr. C checks my progress. There hasn’t really been any – I am only at 5 cm! I waver a little when I hear this news – I am wondering how much longer I will be in labor, and how I am going to be able to withstand it without being able to eat.
At this point I don’t exactly remember what all happens in the timeline. The office is closing at 5:00, so Dr. C encourages me to labor more at home, but says once I feel ready I should try to go to the hospital. I remember not wanting to keep going back and forth, so at some point E, The Nerd, and I head to the hospital.
The Nerd has a hard time finding a place to park at the hospital, so while E runs in to get me a wheelchair we just sit put front. The Nerd then goes to find parking while E takes me up to the maternity floor. I get into a triage room with a bed and we wait while a nurse checks my vitals and gathers my information.
It is here that I first hear that the baby is probably “sunny side up“. We change my position while I lie in the bed in hopes that maybe baby girl will move and change her position. It is still early yet, so we are optimistic this will happen.
The nurse then checks to see how dilated I am. I am dismayed to find that I have still made little progress. She tells me that the hospital will not officially admit me at this stage, and suggests that I walk around the hospital for a couple of hours.
I get out of the bed and put my flip-flops back on. She gives me a sticker hospital pass, and at 8:40 pm I start walking around outside of the hospital. My father-in-law, who is also my priest, and my mother-in-law get to the hospital around this time and pray as they walk with us. I am trying to drink water during the walk, but it doesn’t stay down at all. By this time I am throwing up bile because there is absolutely nothing left in my system.
At 10:40 I go back inside to get checked again. I still haven’t made very much progress, but I am dehydrated and exhausted so they decide to admit me at this time. I talk to Dr. C on the phone, and he mentions that he knows I still want to try natural birth and that he will support any decision I make in regards to next steps. I then tell him that I am so tired and I would like an epidural once I am admitted so that I can get some rest, because I don’t think I have the energy for when the time comes to push. He agrees that this is a good idea.
They then take me to a birthing room and get me started on an IV of fluids. They also give me an anti-nausea medicine. I then wait for the anesthesiologist.
Part Two tomorrow!