Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Our Labor & Delivery (Part 2) | A Positive Birth Story

As you might've guessed in Part 1 of our labor and delivery story, I was quite the rookie at this thing called pregnancy and labor. I had no idea my water had broken until it dawned on me that maybe it had without me noticing. I often wonder what might've happened had I just kept laboring at home like the lady from the nurse line suggested. I'm glad that I questioned it and ultimately decided to go into the hospital.

Once they got us settled in the delivery room, it was the wee hours of Sunday morning. I knew that if I'd have to endure hours of pushing, I'd better try to get some sleep. So, I tried. However, contractions without pain management are no joke. A couple hours later, my doctor came in and explained to me she thought that I had what they called a forebag. My water had broken but, because of the baby's position, it had not broken completely. So she then broke the rest of my water. I knew things would ramp up a bit after that.

Despite being dilated to only a three, I was having a real hard time getting any rest. At six o'clock in the morning, I decided I wasn't going to try to muscle through the contractions anymore. I needed sleep. So they called the anesthesiologist in for an epidural. I always thought that getting an epidural once I asked for one would take too long. Fortunately, I was the only laboring woman in the obstetric unit that night and they got the doctor in the room within just a few minutes.

Now, I'll admit that I've had quite the phobia of needles the vast majority of my life. I can handle getting blood drawn, but that is about where my tolerance stops. So, as you can imagine, I was more nervous about the needles I'd have to endure than I was about actually giving birth. After a swift and painless IV and then not feeling a thing during the epidural, I've started to wonder if I might be cured of my phobia. The anesthesiologist was about as warm as a block of dry ice, but I might've called him my hero after my epidural was placed. And then I slept. The nurse would come in and check my cervix and temperature and then I'd roll over and fall back to sleep again.

Our "we're about to have a baby" selfie...

Since I slept so much, the rest was really a blur. I didn't watch any TV. I didn't scroll my Facebook feed. I didn't even listen to music. About the only thing I did besides sleep was eat ice chips and apply Chapstick. Occasionally, I would let the ice chips melt and then sneak a few sips of the water. It wasn't a problem for me to go without food the whole day. I was parched, though, and that part was brutal.

In the early evening, I was dilated to about a nine. They kept upping my pitocin (which I wouldn't let them give me until after my epidural), but they weren't liking how long it was taking me to progress. At some point I got a crazy episode of chills. My whole body was shaking uncontrollably. I just thought it was hormones or all the meds, but when the nurse came in and saw it she decided to take my temperature. It just so happened I had a fever. That meant that the baby had a fever, too. Suddenly getting the baby out became way more emergent.

My regular doctor went off shift and the on-call hospitalist came in and said I was still only dilated to a nine. I started to wonder what that might mean since I had the fever. I felt like they were about to start talking a cesarean section, which I absolutely did not want. The hospitalist decided that since the baby was far enough down, she thought I could go ahead and push. I wasn't sure what to think about that. I had prepared myself for a long stretch of pushing, but I wasn't prepared for pushing before my body was absolutely ready.

At any rate, the fever was worrisome, so I didn't ask any questions. And just like that a flood of nurses entered the room and it was time...

To be continued...

What was your labor experience like? Did things take an unexpected turn for you? If you haven't yet given birth, what would be your ideal labor experience?

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