The birth of Wyatt: Part 2: So much for the plan
(You can find Part 1 here)
Warning: I cannot accurately capture this part of labor without sharing all the details. If gastrointestinal issues gross you out, I suggest you skip this part.
At 5:30 pm, I was moved into a birthing room. I called Jeff once I got there, but told him to stay at work for as long as he wanted (he sees patients until 7 pm, and finishes paperwork around 8 pm). He told me he'd leave early, but I assured him there was no rush.
After signing a lot of paperwork, my nurse tried to hook me up to an IV. I freaked out and told her no way that was happening. I wanted a natural childbirth and was told I wouldn't have to be hooked up to any machines as long as I had no medical interventions during labor. Then my midwife walked in and I understood. I said to Sage, "you're going to induce me, aren't you?"
She explained that I wasn't progressing quickly enough. I was only 2 cm dilated and 90% effaced when I was admitted. Since we didn't know exactly when my water broke, the baby was at risk for an infection if he stayed in there too long. I knew getting induced was my only option, but I immediately felt like a failure.
Sage then sat down with me and we discussed the rest of my birth plan. My goals from most important to least important were:
- Give birth to a healthy baby any way possible.
- Avoid a C-section.
- Avoid an epidural or other painkillers.
- Avoid pitocin.
I couldn't avoid pitocin so we discussed how I'd avoid an epidural or painkillers. Even though I was hooked up to an IV, I was allowed to walk around with my machine, use a birthing ball, and labor in any position possible. I just wasn't allowed to walk in the halls or use the tub.
I told Sage I wasn't completely against an epidural or painkillers. I had no idea what labor would feel like, so I wanted to leave my options open. Since all painkillers make me vomit, we decided an epidural was the best bet. The painkillers were also known to make moms and baby a bit woozy and out of it. So I requested that painkillers be off the table as an option for me.
At 6:30 pm, the pitocin drip started. I was hooked up to a monitor that constantly showed the baby's heartbeat and my contractions. It turns out I was having regular contractions, but I didn't feel them. The lower back pain and menstrual-like cramps I was having for weeks were my contractions. I never felt a tightening or pain all over my belly like most people do.
I was also hooked up to a blood pressure cuff that took my bp every 5 minutes since my bp was high for me when I arrived at the hospital. If it went over a certain reading, it made the most annoying beep and the nurse would then check baby's heart rate and my temperature. The thing beeped a lot during my labor.
At 7:00 pm, the daddy-to-be arrived and so did my new nurse. My midwife explained why this nurse was chosen for me. She was no nonsense, didn't sugar coat things, and was a former doula. Since I wanted to go natural, the staff thought she would be a great match for me. And she was! It felt so wonderful to be in a hospital that was fully supporting my wishes.
Photo credit: Caitlin
A little while later, we had some visitors. Caitlin and her husband were touring the maternity center that night ironically. It was so nice to see them! I was bored at this point and still felt no contractions so friends were a welcome distraction.
Photo credit: Caitlin
Around 9 pm, I sent Jeff home. My in-laws were on their way over but wouldn't be to our house until around midnight. Nati hadn't been out since 4 pm and it was stressing me out that he was alone so long.
At 9:30, I still felt nothing despite my pitocin being increased every 30 minutes. Sage came in and warned me they were going to turn the pitocin up very high. I would likely have strong contractions soon without a break. She also broke the rest of my water at this point.
In about 30 minutes, things started to go downhill. I felt the contractions finally, but it still just presented as back pain and cramps, except I felt it much deeper now. It felt like my insides were being squeezed out.
I called Jeff and told him to come back asap because I started to feel really sick. I was heavily sweating, shaking, and felt like I had food poisoning. My nurse told me it could be normal hormones doing this to me or a reaction to the pitocin.
Once Jeff got back, I started to walk around and labor on the birthing ball. The contractions hurt but they weren't the worst pain I ever experienced. The sick feeling was more bothersome than the contractions honestly.
Then I had to go to the bathroom, and I don't mean #1. My insides literally were being twisted. Once I made it to the toilet, I couldn't stop going. This made my sweating and shaking even worse. I cursed myself for not eating more that day because I knew my blood sugar was plummeting and the diarrhea would continue to make me very weak.
It eventually stopped and I went back to laboring on the ball. I had to go to the bathroom again, but I tried my best to hold it. I did not want to spend my whole labor on the toilet, but it looked like I had no other choice. I started getting very weak and knew if the diarrhea wouldn't stop, I'd have no strength to push.
I asked my nurse if an epidural would help and without hesitation she replied, "yes". I asked for the absolute lowest dose possible because I still wanted to feel labor and delivery. I knew an epidural would make me bedridden and unable to use the bathroom, but I could not care less. I certainly wouldn't be the first person to have loose bowels all over the bed during labor.
At 1:30 am, the anesthesiologist finally arrived and administered my epidural. By this point, I was 5cm dilated and 100% effaced. It was so hard to hold still when the needle was being shoved into my spine because I was shaking so much. I thought for sure I was going to end up paralyzed. But it really wasn't that painful. It was more uncomfortable having the catheter inserted than the epidural.
The epidural did not work right away, and then I only felt it on my left side. I was eventually given a stronger dose and then I felt the strongest sense of relief ever. I no longer had an overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom and I felt so happy with my decision.
Until the stupid blood pressure machine beeped again. I said something to my nurse like, "can we turn that thing off?" She replied with words that I'll never forget, "it's not you this time, it's the munchkin's heart rate dropping." Within seconds, an oxygen mask was thrown over my face and a bunch of doctors and nurses were in my room. I wanted to scream, "get him out of me any way you can!" But I couldn't talk. I also couldn't hear what anyone was saying. I made eye contact with Jeff though and knew things were not looking good.
To be continued…