I became pregnant six months after my husband and I got married. Surprise! Everything was uneventful during the pregnancy, until my 37 week check-up. I saw one of my midwives, then went home and called my mom and my mother-in-law to report, “1 cm. dilated, 50% effaced.” If you have been through this before, you already know that this means nothing.
After a while, I got a call. My midwife wasted no time in saying, “Would you like to have this baby NOW?” It turned out I was developing pre-eclampsia, with a trace of protein in my urine and high blood pressure. Well, since this was the home stretch, of course, I said ‘yes’ and called everyone again.
My mother was about to go to the hospital for a non-emergency gall bladder removal, and she worried that she wouldn’t be able to be present at the birth. I told her that I would be going in on Sunday night (this was Friday) and we would see if she was up to it.
Flash forward to Sunday. I was checked in and given a suppository for my cervix to soften and ready itself. My husband kissed me good night and went home to sleep…he would see me in the morning for the induction. Two hours later, I was crying and yelling for my nurse, because contractions had started and were only one minute apart. My nurse called my husband and told him to come back immediately. She removed the suppository and the contractions calmed down. By the time Geoff got there, I was asleep.
The next morning I took a shower at 6 a.m. and they started Pitocin. Sometime during the course of that morning, the contractions seemed to be too much and a nurse checked me. Exams have always been hard for me and she had a hard time measuring me. She said I was 3-4 cm. and I could have an epidural if I wanted. I had originally wanted natural childbirth, but I was too freaked out and called for the anesthetist. I got a nurse-anesthetist who informed me, in the middle of the procedure, that she didn’t do many of these. Great, I thought. Turns out that the nurse was way off. I was only 2 cm. and the contractions stalled. I also heard later that the nurse had blamed it on me, saying, “She’s too hard to examine.”
Let me tell you, epidurals are not all they are cracked up to be. I was still majorly uncomfortable and FAR from the finish line. My progress slowed, and I had been at the hospital in labor for a day. A midwife (not the one who sent me) came in and said that they may make me go home. Well, I could have cheerfully choked her. Why was I even here, if the pre-eclampsia wasn’t so urgent?
A nurse overheard the midwife and literally ran for a doctor, who came in, checked me, and then broke my water. From then on, I didn’t see that midwife again.
By then it was Tuesday. (Remember, I had come in on Sunday!) Finally things started moving. I was sort of coping with the contractions when a bunch of nurses ran in and started rolling me around in bed and giving me a shot of Breathine. The baby’s heart was decelerating with the contractions and they prepped me for a C-Section just in case. My contractions were five minutes apart on the maximum dose of Pitocin. Somehow the baby settled down and it was time to push. Thank God, I said to myself… let’s get this over with!
Three hours later, I had finally had it with this ordeal and these people who were torturing me. The people in the room included Geoff, his mom, my mom, a doctor, three nurses, a friend who was a nurse, another friend who was videotaping, a student nurse, an anesthesiologist, and two midwives. The doctor said that the baby was stuck (turns out I had a “square” instead of a round pelvic shape) and she would be using forceps. I didn’t give a damn if she used dynamite at that point. She inserted the forceps and there was an audible “pop” sound that ended up being me ripping down to a fourth degree tear and the head was out! One more push, and I had my baby girl. She looked like a mule had kicked her and left a bruise shaped just like my square pelvis from her mouth up to her forehead. She had been face-first in my pelvic bone and that’s why she hadn’t moved down.
After all that, I looked at her and said to everyone in the room, “This was so worth it!”
Take heart, moms-to-be, if I can go through 38 hours of labor and every medical intervention in childbirth, you can survive your labor and delivery too! I am expecting my second child in January and hope that it will be a little easier next time!
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