Monday, November 13, 2006

One Year Ago Today -or- Joshua's Birth Story, Part II

It was a little after 1:00 a.m when we got back in the car. This time I was really uncomfortable and rode the whole way while lying down in the backseat. Jay did his best to coach me from the front, but I wasn’t a very good listener. We finally arrived at the hospital and Jay dropped me off at the door. As I walked back to the triage desk, Nurse Shortfinger looked at me like I was crazy. I panted at her, “My water broke” and I shortly found myself back in Hell’s Triage Room where the temperature was now somewhere around 110 degrees. That’s when things started getting messy in ways that don’t need to be shared via internet. One of the nurses did a test to find out if my water really broke (which I certainly appreciated after having made the huge mess on my bathroom floor) while the other nurse re-entered all of my information in the computer. (Apparently Nurse Shortfinger hadn’t bother to save everything so I repeated all the information I had given just hours before).

After informing me that my water had broken, the nurse then informed me that I was 2 cm dilated. Yes! All that work and I had made a whole centimeter of progress. Visions of labor lasting for days, even weeks, began darting through my head. I was admitted “for observation” and told that the doctor would call back at 6:00 a.m. to find out if I had made sufficient progress to stay in the hospital or if I needed to return home. Please note that at this point I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even roll over onto my back. The contractions felt like they were rolling on top of each other. I would’ve thought that I was actually in transition except that I still had 8 centimeters to go before I could push. But they would admit me “for observation.” There were a few things that I wanted them to “observe” but none would have been very appropriate.

I finally made it to my LDR room at 4:00 a.m. Lisa was waiting for me with an IV. Even though I intended an unmedicated birth, I was a Group B Strep carrier and needed at least two bags of penicillin before delivery. By that time everything I had learned in Bradley classes was out the window. I was too far along in labor to be able to relax. The room was too bright, the noises were too loud, I was sweating and shivering at the same time from the hormone surges, and I was fairly certain I was going to die right there. I apologized to Jay for wimping out, turned to Lisa, and begged for the anesthesiologist. She looked at me wide-eyed, giving me another moment to change my mind.

“Please,” I said.

I know the anesthesiologist was dressed in white, but I’m pretty sure she had a halo, too. It took a long time for her to place the epidural because she was being so cautious, but when she finished I felt better immediately. I had a little button to push to control the amount of medicine I was getting. I was able to regulate it so that I could still feel my contractions, but I wasn’t in mind-blowing pain any more. Right after the epidural was placed, a resident came in to check me and told me I was at 4 centimeters.

Observation. Ha.

Jay sat on the chair next to the bed for the next few hours and pretended not to doze off while I did my best to get some shut-eye. At 7:00 a.m. I was checked again and had made it to 6 cm, and at 8:30 a.m. I got a great surprise! Even though he wasn’t supposed to be working, my doctor came in to deliver Joshua, although he said that the deed had to be done by noon so that he could watch the Bears game. He checked me immediately and informed me that it was time to push.


I still hadn’t gotten my second bag of penicillin, so the doctor changed his mind about the pushing thing and went to the nurse’s station to read his novel while I got the second dose of medication. At 9:15 he came back and took one more look. He ordered a minute amount of Pitocin, despite Jay’s objections, as my contractions had slowed from 3 minutes to 5 minutes, and gave me the go-ahead to push.

This is getting long. I’ll finish the story in one additional post.

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