Friday, March 18, 2016

My Birth Journey (Part Two)

This is the second post of a series - you can read Part One here.

I made it to labor & delivery around eleven on Thursday night, and spent twelve hours on the Cervadil. I was dilated 4cm, but not having many contractions, so they gave me the option of Pitocin, or a balloon induction. Since the balloon was more natural I chose it, but I wish I hadn't. Basically, they put a balloon in your cervix, pump it with water, and there are three small tubes taped to your leg. It is painful, and so uncomfortable that you can't sit up or lay on your side really. 

I was able to get about an hour nap leaning over on Stuart on the pull out couch before the contractions started coming harder. I moved back to the bed hoping that Stuart could get some sleep, and I tried to rest between the contractions. I was connected to the fetal monitors, an IV, and a blood pressure cuff that went off every half hour. It was nearly impossible to roll over without messing something up, and I counted time by when the cuff would go off. The nurse had turned the computer screen away from me so the light wouldn't bother me, but there was some comfort in watching my contractions on the screen, knowing that the computer was picking up on my pain. I also tried to will my blood pressure down before the machine took it. If it was over 180 on top, the machine would beep until the nurse came in to turn it off. 

My mom was sitting in a chair next to me dozing when my water broke. I had wondered what it would be like, if I would know when it happened... I'm pretty sure that G head-butted it, because I woke to a huge POW that came over the fetal monitor (like someone thumped a microphone) and a rush of fluid soaking into the sheets around me. It made me yell out & woke Mom and Stuart. We called the nurse who seemed skeptical if it actually was my water, until she had to change the sheets. 

This is where my memory gets a little hazy. They started me on Pitocin & they were giving me magnesium for the preeclampsia. I wasn't allowed to stand up, and they eventually told me I could only lay on my left side because it made my blood pressure too high when I moved. The contractions were hard and very close together - my mom wanted me to count between one ending and another beginning, and all I could ever get out was "one" before I began groaning. She & my student midwife J took turns rubbing my back & bringing warm rice bags to put around me. They had told me the magnesium would make me feel hot & nauseous, but I was shaking so much that my brain told me I was cold. 

The next six hours are a blur - I just remember that someone was always holding my hand, Stuart mainly, but occasionally J or Mom. My husband's family was in the waiting room, and I think they came back once or twice, but I really don't remember. I knew that Stuart was exhausted & didn't feel well, but I couldn't think of anything but that I needed him there to keep me from going crazy. In an effort to ignore the pain, my brain obssesed over the little annoying things - my gown and sheets were wet and irritating, my feet were cold, and all the tubes hanging off my arms & belly made me feel trapped. As long as I could focus on the feel of his thumb rubbing my hand, I could block out the other things. 

Usually in life, we are able to avoid unpleasant situations. I have done my best to steer clear of conflict, and to only take on challenges I knew I could handle. There is nothing that could have prepared me for this challenge, and I certainly would not have thought myself capable of handling this. Today's post is dedicated to my birth "team": Stuart, my moral support, to Mom, my emotional support, and to Jeanne, who did her very best to make me comfortable & reminded me to breathe. 

The picture below is of me right before they took me to labor & delivery.

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