Joshua’s Birth Story, Part IV

March 24, 2010 at 10:40 pm 5 comments

Read the whole story, up to this point, here!

We walked to Labor and Delivery and met our nurse.  Nurse A. was young, very sweet and calm.  She helped me get changed and settled into bed to monitor my contractions for 20 more minutes.  She brought us juice to drink, and explained that I could take a shower, rock in the rocking chair, use a birthing ball, or walk around to cope with contractions.  After the monitoring was done, I decided to try a hot shower.

Ed helped me into the shower, but standing up during contractions made me so tired.  I decided to get out of the shower and head to the rocking chair.  I rocked back and forth through contractions and drifted to sleep in the minute or so between them. 

Nurse A. continued to make sure that I was the most comfortable I could be.  She was supposed to monitor the baby’s heart rate every hour, but instead of making me get into bed she would bring over the fetal monitor and find his heart rate in whatever position I was in.  She’d hold the sensor on my belly for a few minutes, then decide he was doing fine and stop the monitor.  I was very thankful not to have to get back into bed and not to have the monitor strapped to me.

I moved to the birthing ball and Nurse A. showed me how to rest my head on the bed and try to get some sleep while rocking on the ball.  I stayed like this for a while, then Dr. R. came in to check my progress.  I’m not sure what time it was, maybe around 4 or 5 am on Friday.  I was dilated 4 cm, only 1 cm since they admitted me hours earlier.  Dr. R. suggested rupturing my membranes to help speed up the labor, and we discussed it for a little while before I gave permission.  I was concerned that the cord could move in front of the baby’s head if he artificially ruptured my membranes, but Dr. R. assured me that the baby was at zero station, in line with my pelvis and that the cord wouldn’t move between his head and my pelvis.

Dr. R. broke my water, and I realized just how much fluid there was! I couldn’t believe it, it felt like bucket after bucket of fluid.  After monitoring the baby’s heart for a little while, I got back in the shower.  Again the shower was uncomfortable, and the contractions had greatly increased in intensity since the cushion of the amniotic fluid wasn’t there anymore.  I got out of the shower and back into the rocking chair, which continued to be the most comfortable place for me.

A little while later, we realized there was a huge puddle of fluid under the chair, since the amniotic fluid continued to leak.  Nurse A. cleaned it up and changed my socks, since they were completely drenched.  It would have been funny, but the contractions and exhaustion had taken away my sense of humor.  Nurse A. spoke to me about breathing during contractions.  She explained that my crying wasn’t the most effective way to vocalize, and it was fighting the contractions.  She showed me how to make a tone for a sound as I exhaled, and I tried but it was difficult not to cry out.

At this point, I started to consider getting medical help with the pain.  I hadn’t really slept since Wednesday at 11:30 pm, and now it was Friday morning.  I had handled the pain of the contractions for a long time, but I was so tired.  My fear was that when it finally came time to push, I wouldn’t be able to push the baby out.  I didn’t want to end up with a C-section.  I spoke to Nurse A. about my options, and I could tell that Ed wanted me to get something for the pain.  Ed and I talked about it privately, and he encouraged me to do it.  He was scared and felt helpless.  It was a very hard decision, one that I was happy I’d researched earlier so I knew that the epidural was what I wanted, since it wouldn’t cross the placenta to the baby’s bloodstream like the narcotics would. 

We called Nurse A. back into the room, and I asked her to get Dr. R. to check my progress again, since they checked my dilation as little as possible to avoid infection.  I wanted to know if breaking my water had helped to speed up the process.  I decided that if I hadn’t yet gotten to 7 cm, I was going to get the epidural.  I needed to be able to rest before I pushed.

Dr. R. came in and checked my dilation.  I was at 6 cm, not yet in transition, the hardest part of labor.  I was afraid to get the epidural and get the IV, but I knew it was the best choice for me to get the rest I needed.

At 7 am on Friday, I decided to get the epidural.  Nurse A. hooked up the IV and called the anesthesiologist.  Though her shift ended, Nurse A. stayed until the epidural was in place.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amber  |  March 24, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Not that my opinion matters AT ALL, but I told myself before I went into labour that if it lasted more than 24 hours I would consider pain relief. At some point you need to get some rest and conserve your resources so that you can push when it comes time. I hope that the epidural did that for you.

    Reply
  • 2. Oldnovice  |  March 25, 2010 at 9:00 am

    My daughter had the epidural before I even got to the hospital. She knew all along that was what she wanted. Since I hadn’t seen her get it, it seemed to me that she had natural childbirth, as she was alert and participating the same way I did with mine.

    Reply
  • 3. laura  |  March 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Oh Abbie! I can’t even imagine having to go on for soooo long! You had to have been exhausted, wow. What a sweet nurse to be there with you even though her hours were up for the day/night. You really did pick an amazing hospital! And for the record, one the of midwives told me the same thing about crying instead of breathing. Thanks for sharing that… I always feel like I’m the only one who cried!

    Reply
  • 4. Tree  |  March 25, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I am right there with you. With my first child the labor lasted for days, it was a tough decision but my husband and I decided that we needed the epidural, and I say we because Paul felt helpless and scared for me and our baby. The good news is that with our second I did not need an epidural, I didn’t even have a long labor. I will say with my second delivery I felt better after the delivery, but I can’t say it was because of not having an epidural because I didn’t have as long a labor.

    Reply
  • 5. Laura  |  April 7, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    I had the same approach as you when I had my son a year ago. I wanted a natural birth, but after being sent home once from the hospital and being in labor for about 20 hours, with 10 hours or really hard, painful labor, and only being 3 cm dilated, I had the epidural. I had the same feelings you did. I hadn’t slept in 48 hours and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get to the pushing part by the time I actually could.

    I think all that matters is we try our best and do what is the best for ourselves and our baby in the end. Great job no matter what!

    Reply

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