I didn’t know that I was in labor. Three days before my due date, my doctor told me that my cervix was high and tight and that this baby wasn’t coming for a while. I went home unhappy and broke the news to my husband and family, saying that this baby was never coming.
On the morning of the 12th of April (my due date) I went to the hospital’s labor ward because I hadn’t felt the baby move since the previous night. By then I had gone to the labor ward so many times complaining of lack of fetal movement, they probably thought that I was just another paranoid mother-to-be. They went ahead and hooked me up to the monitors and an intern came in to listen to the heartbeat. He said that everything sounded and looked fine and that he just had to okay my discharge with his attending doctor. A while later, the attending doctor came in and said that he had to do a pelvic before I left, so that I wouldn’t sue them for malpractice in case something happened to my baby after I left. Wouldn’t ya know it, I was 2 cm. dilated and 20% effaced. The doctor said that if we wanted to have the baby that day, he would admit us since they weren’t really busy and it was my due date. He told us to go home and pack and walk around the mall for a few hours and then come back and be ready to be induced.
We raced home, excited about the new arrival that we would soon have, and then headed to the mall, which was close to the hospital. I ate some Italian, (which I should have eaten more of) and then headed to the hospital. When we got there, they had gotten pretty busy in the last few hours, and there were ladies in the waiting area in active labor and in pain waiting for rooms. I guess mine was reserved because I got called back way before them.
We were in the room at 2:30 p.m. I was hooked up to all sorts of monitors, and an IV was inserted. They checked me again an hour later and I was still only 2 cm. A Foley bulb was put into my cervix (it looks like a light bulb, they fill it up with air to make it big and round and then it’s weighted down by your leg so that it will push your cervix open and dilate more as it falls out slowly). The bulb was supposed to fall out when I reached 4 cm. After a few hours with the bulb in me, I was still at 2 cm., so they started the Pitocin (something that I will never do again). They had to keep upping the dose because I was stuck at 2 cm. and wasn’t getting anywhere. Finally at 2 a.m. on the 13th, I reached 4 cm. The bulb fell out and I was feeling tiny little stings of pain, though nothing serious. I couldn’t figure out what all the big deal about the pain was, it didn’t hurt. Big mistake. The new nurse insisted that I get my epidural now while I wasn’t in much pain because when I started feeling worse the epidural guy could be busy and it might be too late by the time he got there. So I agreed.
The epidural was a cinch. It just felt cold down my leg and back. My left leg felt tingly, which I thought was normal, so I didn’t say anything. After the epidural came the catheter so I wouldn’t pee on myself. At 4 a.m., I was still at 4 cm., so they broke my water. That just felt wet. Everything looked okay and they predicted that I would have my baby by early afternoon.
Around noon I was feeling a lot more pain than usual and told the nurse. She checked me and said that I was 5 cm. (almost 6), and 75% effaced. Within the next hour I was in so much pain that I cried with very contraction. The nurses had moved me from side to side so much that my epidural had been disconnected by my shoulder. So every time I hit the button for more epi, the medicine leaked all over my bed pillow instead of into my back. I couldn’t talk through the contractions, so my husband had to tell the nurse what had happened. She told the doctor who insisted that I not get the epidural re-done, because if I didn’t advance in the next hour I would need a stronger epidural called a spinal in anticipation of a C-section to prevent infection since my water had broken so long ago.
That hour took forever; I was scared about the C-section and prayed that I wouldn’t need one. My prayers were answered. They checked me at 3 p.m. and I was 6 to 7 cm. They went ahead and reconnected my epidural with tape and gave me six doses, I finally felt relief. I passed out from pain and exhaustion from crying. A word of advice is to take breathing classes even if you don’t plan on having your baby naturally. Trying to breath through those contractions is hard.
At 7 p.m. I was complete. I had a small lip, but the doctor said that I could push through it. Push?! This was the part that I had waited for all nine months, and yet I was so scared. I was about to become a mommy. The new nurse came in (I had gone through five nurses now) and she had just given birth to twins next door. (Did I mention that I had heard at least seven ladies give birth next door, a couple were twins, and I was still working on one.)
I couldn’t feel my left leg. The epidural took more to that side, so my husband had to hold it up. I tried to push, which is hard when you don’t know how and can’t feel anything. I think that’s why God blessed me when my epidural started to “feel out” again, because an hour into pushing I started to feel EVERYTHING. I felt the pressure of the baby’s head stuck in my pelvic region. I felt every Pitocin contraction hitting hard in the wake of the previous one, with 30 second breaks in-between their two-minute intervals. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was scaring my husband and probably all the other women in the rooms next to me with my screams of pain and frustration, yelling “get her out of me” at the top of my lungs. My husband told me later that I had cursed at the nurse and fought her every time she tried to get me to lay down (I was using the squat bar) so she could check on my progress. To make matters worse, I had been throwing up with each contraction; the nurse was in and out with medicine and oxygen to calm me down.
My baby’s heart rate had been skyrocketing and I had a fever of 102. They inserted antibiotics through my IV and told me that if I didn’t push this baby out soon they would have to use other measures. No forceps or vacuums were going to touch my baby. A mirror was placed at the foot of the bed so that I could see my baby being born. That mirror really encouraged me to push so that I could see her. Finally, after two and a half hours of pushing, the baby started to crown. The nurse was out of the room, she thought it would take me at least another hour, so my husband had to run and get her. She came in, saw the baby’s head half way out, and told me to stop pushing while she got the doctor. Yeah right, I wasn’t about to stop when I’d gotten so far ahead! My husband was about to deliver the baby when the doctor rushed in with his posse and put his gloves on just in time to catch her as she slid out, along with a week’s worth of meconium.
They put her on the table and suctioned her airways. She wasn’t breathing, and I was worried until I heard the sound of her strong lungs. After that everything happened so fast; I don’t remember my husband cutting the cord, or her getting her footprints made. I wasn’t able to hold her after she was born like I had dreamed of. She was rushed to the NICU for observation and antibiotic treatments because of her high fever during birth. I had received a second-degree tear that the doctors stitched up after the placenta was out. (Just when you think all the work is over, that placenta has to come out, and that hurts just as bad!)
Aubrey Lynne Rogers was born at 9:36 p.m. on April 13, 2004, weighing eight pounds, nine ounces and measuring nineteen and a half inches long. She’s healthy and beautiful with blond peach fuzz on her head and baby blue eyes. With my next one, I’m shooting for a seven-pounder.
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