The labor I didn’t expect

by Ginger on October 1, 2009

in Mom Thoughts, Oh Baby!

*Disclaimer: This post will discuss my labor. I’m not so much for the crazy sharing, so it won’t be graphic and gross, but if you’re not into the stories of this sort, be forewarned. Also, it’s  long. What can I tell you–I wanted to get down everything.*

I was scheduled to be induced on Sunday, 9/6. I was only a week overdue, but between the pubic bone separation pain, the lovely PUPPS rash that was making me want to claw my skin off, the heat wave we were having (with no AC in my house), and the inability to walk for more than 15 minutes or so without excruciating pain, my doctor, husband and I all agreed that induction was a good idea.

But of course, Jackson had other ideas. Around 11 pm on Saturday night, I started feeling contractions. I had had one or two contractions throughout the day, but nothing time-able, nothing consistent, nothing more than what I’d had for the last week or so. That all changed with that first noticeable contraction on Saturday night. I went from practically nothing to contractions that were 1-2 minutes long, 3-5 minutes apart pretty much instantly. After an hour of that, we got everything together, got in the car, and drove the 11 miles to the hospital. To my utter dismay, we found out when we got there that I was only dilated to 1. Our hospital really suggests waiting to come in until you’re dilated to 4 or 5, so they sent us home with the instructions to “try and sleep, get some food, and come back in the morning.” Since I was already scheduled for an induction the next day, I’d either come back further along in my labor, or they’d get me further along when we came in.

Up to this point, I was “handling” my contractions. They were painful, but not excruciatingly so, and I felt like I was doing OK. But then my back labor started at the exact same time that the contractions got longer and the down time between them got shorter. All of a sudden, I felt as though someone was jabbing a searing hot knife in my spine every minute and a half. My contractions were 2-3 minutes long, with no more than 2 minutes between them. Sleep? HA! The pain came in waves that literally brought me to my knees. Who could sleep through that? Eat? Sure, because that’s easy when you feel like you’re going to vomit from the pain.

This is the part of my labor that gets hazy for me. I lost all track of time, completely consumed by pain. I tried to eat in between contractions for energy, getting a bite or maybe two in at a time. At some point I got in the shower to try and help relax and/or alleviate the pain. I guess I was in the shower or the bath for a couple of hours, though it felt to me like 20 minutes. At some point I got out of the shower, and proceeded to try and deal with the pain through every stupid position I could remember from my childbirth class. None of them worked. My husband and mom told me that I would occasionally fall asleep during the short minute to 2 minute breaks between contractions. I know there was a point where I’m pretty sure I was hyperventilating trying to breath through these contractions that were coming so rapidly. I know that there were several points where I felt positive that there was no way I could last through the night until the hospital had said I could come back. I know I said more than once “I can’t do this”.

Finally, finally, it was 6am. The hospital had said to come back at 7, but my husband figured a little early wouldn’t hurt. He was so amazing during that night, but I think he finally hit his limit of how much pain he could watch me be in. And while I was dreading the car ride back to the hospital, all I could think was “please, please, please let me be dilated enough for an epidural.”

When we got to the hospital, I was thrilled to discover that they had my room ready and waiting for me. Within minutes, they had me hooked up to monitors, and they had checked my dilation–joy of joys, I was dilated to 4. The next words out of my mouth? “Can I have an epidural yet?” An hour or so later, when my IV fluids had all gotten into my system, the anesthesiologist came to give me the epidural. Within minutes, my body was finally able to relax after hours of pretty continuous contractions.

I could feel the contractions, just as pressure and not pain. I was able to nap off and on for a few hours, getting some desperately needed sleep. And best of all, things were progressing along nicely. My water broke on its own at some point. By around 11 am, I had dilated to 7 or 8. I felt really good about how things were going, convinced I was within hours of having my little boy. Now that the back labor wasn’t crippling me, I felt nervous but confident that I could handle delivering the kid. But then, things started to change.

The first thing that happened was I went backwards in my dilation. I went from a 7 or 8 to a 6 or 7. That was pretty discouraging. At some point they put me on pitocin to make sure things kept on going. That was disappointing (I knew if I was induced I probably would have ended up on pitocin, but I thought since I had gone into labor on my own and things seemed to be going ok that I would be able to avoid it), but not the end of the world.

Finally, around 2pm, I was dilated to 9, with the baby pretty much in position to go.

And at 3pm I was dilated to 9, with the baby pretty much in position to go.

And at 4pm I was dilated to 9, with the baby pretty much in position to go.

And at 5pm I was dilated to 9, with the baby pretty much in position to go.

Throughout all of that time frame, the nurses had been adjusting my pitocin, checking the baby, checking my dilation, and talking with my doctor. And at 5pm, my nurse said, “I’m going to call the doctor to have her check you out.”

I should have known then how things would go. I should have known that the point at which the nurses aren’t confident anymore is the point at which interventions happen. But I just felt like it was so close. That if we could just get over this hump, then within hours or maybe minutes, I’d have my little boy.

When my doctor came in, she checked me and said a series of things that changed everything.

She said, “He’s in a posterior presentation.” (He was facing the wrong way–hence the back labor).

She said, “And he’s looking up, instead of chin to chest like most babies. So the smallest part of his head isn’t what’s presenting for a vaginal delivery.”

She said, “And you haven’t progressed at all, in hours, even with pitocin.”

She said, “And, he’s a big baby.”

Then she said, “I’d really strongly recommend a c-section.”

…to be continued tomorrow

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