[There are no pictures from between checking in to the hospital, and giving birth. Mostly because my husband didn't think to pull the camera out, and it wasn't really on my mind... imagine that!]
So two of my four “plans” had already been decided. I did go into labor naturally… kind of. My water broke on its own, and I was having regular contractions when I was admitted to the hospital. But the idea of roughing out the majority of my labor at home quickly went out the window when I realized that there was meconium in the amniotic fluid. I blamed myself for this – I had been experiencing regular contractions for over a week, and while they seemed like nothing to me, I realize now that they were probably very stressful for Ginny.
When I was finally admitted to the hospital around 11:00 pm, I texted my Mom to let her know. Twenty minutes later she and my Dad showed up at the hospital. I was honestly surprised to see my Dad there, even a little bit awkward – but he wanted to be there to support me, and I am glad that he was there for me, and for my Mom as well. Things were going to get stressful.
I decided to forgo wearing the clothing I had purchased for wearing during the birth, and just wore the hospital gown. I decided I would rather look crappy than have to send my husband off to do laundry after the baby was born. I crawled into the hospital bed and they checked me.
I am going to be honest: I was disappointed. Then they started the pitocin. Because of the meconium I had to be on the fetal heart rate monitor and the contraction monitor at all times. It was so reassuring to hear her resilient heart just beating away. Unfortunately, the monitors didn’t like me very much. They were very fickle, every time I moved they would stop picking up the heart beat or the contractions, and the nurse would have to come in and re-adjust them. They also put an IV in. The woman started looking at the back of my hand, but I asked for her to try and put it in my upper arm, away from my wrist – which was a good idea. The teacher from my birthing class had suggested this, and I’m glad I did. The IV was cumbersome and annoying, but because it was in my arm, away from any joints, it didn’t restrict any movement. I do wish I had shaved that hair on my arm before getting it though. The only pain I felt related to the IV was when something pulled on it, and the sticker holding the thing to my (hairy) arm was pulled on. Ouch!
I remember feeling inexplicably thirsty, and the nurse said “I can get you some ice…”. I knew this was a hospital rule, but I really didn’t want ice. With sensative teeth, ice wasn’t going to do me a whole lot of good. Thankfully my Mom was there, and she pushed the issue for me. The nurse explained that often times women will drink too quickly and make themselves throw-up, because the digestive system shuts down during labor. After promising to drink small sips, slowly, I was awarded the best cup of water (it has a lid and straw!) ever. I drank less than a quarter of it, but it was exactly what I needed.
Once the pitocin started I could actually feel my contractions, with out having to touch my stomach (to feel the hardness). At first they didn’t hurt, but after three hours I was starting to lose it. I’m not a screamer, but I did cry. I covered my face with my pillow and cried my way through the contractions as my poor husband and Dad sat there helplessly. My Mom later told me my Dad asked her several times what he could do to help me. I had brought the first half of Harry Potter 7 to distract myself, but the advertised DVD player was unavailable, so my Dad quickly left for home to find a DVD player, hoping that by providing a distraction things would seem better.
Unfortunately, the TV did not cooperate, so there was no Harry Potter distraction for me.
By the way – this last Harry Potter movie, ya know… the one that came out Thursday night… was the ONLY midnight showing I did not attend. Cause I was stuck in a hospital. Had Ginny been born a day earlier I would’ve been there.
Thinking about this point in my labor makes me cry. The contractions were a type of pain I had never experienced before, and I didn’t use any of the techniques I had learned in class or from books to cope with the pain. I tried to focus and breath my way through it, but I couldn’t take my mind off of how much it hurt, and how much I hated making my husband feel so helpless. This last thing was on my mind constantly. I hated that I was making him so distraught.
I think the reason the pain was so hard to deal with was because I was stuck in the bed – very literally immobilized by the monitors. I couldn’t move into a more comfortable position. I couldn’t walk around, I couldn’t stretch or use a birth ball. I wasn’t allowed to take a shower to try and ease some of the pain. I was stuck, laying on my side, anxiously anticipating the next wave of pain.
After 4 hours of pitocin I tearfully turned to my husband and said “I don’t want to do this any more.”
My Mom later told me that my Dad commented on how illogical this statement was. I kind of laughed. It was illogical, but it was exactly how I felt. I quite literally gave up. The only thing that comes to mind at this point is the look of anguish on my husbands face as I cried my way through my worsening contractions. They were very strong, and not giving me much of a break between contractions.
I couldn’t stand the pain I was feeling, or the anguish I was causing any more. I told my husband that I wanted to get an epidural – and I think he was relieved. My Mom went out and told my nurse that I wanted to get an epidural. They checked me again. I had only dilated one centimeter in the last 4 hours. Fifteen minutes later, at about 3:30 in the morning the anesthesiologist came into the room. This guy was a piece of work, and maybe it was because it was 3:30 am, but he was very… curt. I like to think that it was because he wanted to relieve my pain as quickly as possible, but in reality I think he is probably always a bit rude. Everyone but my husband was told to leave the room, and in under 10 minutes the epidural catheter had been put into my back.
This part didn’t hurt.
They say “you’re going to feel a bee sting” but to be honest, after four hours of constant contractions I don’t think my body even knew how to register such a small amount of pain.
Within 20 minutes the medicine had started working, and while I still had full control of my body and legs, the contractions disappeared to a slightly uncomfortable pressure. I felt really guilty about getting an epidural. Like I had given up.
They also put in a urine catheter – best thing ever. Perhaps this is silly, but getting up to go to the bathroom was quite the chore with the IV and the monitors and what not. When I got the epidural my parents went out to their car to try and sleep. My husband laid out on the sofa bed in our room, and I pulled out my iPod. I drifted in and out of a light sleep, but the contractions kept me awake. I stared at my husband, thankful that he and I could both relax a little now. I like watching him sleep. It’s one of the most peaceful things in the world.