After about a month of writing this in pieces when I had a few moments, finally it’s done! The story of Natalie’s birth…
It’s around 10 am on July 1st and my phone is buzzing on the kitchen counter.
“Hi, I’m calling to confirm your induction of labor for July 9th.”
In case I didn’t go into labor by 41 weeks, my doctor recommended that I schedule an induction. But no… my doctor said the 5th.
“Well we’re backed up because of the holiday weekend so our first opening is the 9th.”
I was pissed. Irrationally so (my pregnancy hormones got me going). I called Pete and explained how upset I was. I brought him coffee at work and actually cried about it. He agreed to leave work early and come with me to my check up that afternoon. So I left, went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription (and cried there too for some reason). Then I took Emmaline to get some frozen yogurt (not knowing this would be our last “date” before the arrival of her little sister).
Afterwards I drove back to pick up Pete and we got to the doctor’s office around 2:30 pm. Because of the upcoming holiday, this appointment was with a different doctor than I usually see. He had more questions than usual, which was fine. I voiced my concerns. Apparently one of my answers sent up a red flag, though. When they asked if I had felt the baby move today, I said yes… But not nearly as much as usual. I didn’t think that my answer would be the defining moment that it was… but I guess they take those comments seriously. Since I was already past my due date and experiencing decreased fetal movement, there was a good chance I would have to be induced that day.
Normally they would have recommended that I get a non-stress test in the office, but because of the holiday (AGAIN… see a pattern here?) they didn’t have any appointments available so they sent me over to the hospital. To labor and delivery.
I made a few phone calls and got my sis to agree to watch Emmaline. After they set me up in an antepartum room for some tests, Pete left to take Emma home. There was a lot of waiting around. Probably 3 hours or so until they moved me to a labor and delivery room to deliver the news (I mean, I figured once they moved me that they were going to suggest starting the induction process). The baby looked fine, but my BP (which had been low for the entire pregnancy) had suddenly spiked. I wouldn’t need the dreaded CRB or Foley catheter balloon, just pitocin. So I signed the paperwork and got hooked up and ready to go.
When I wrote Emmaline’s birth story, I left out a lot of the dirty details. I promise not to be graphic here, but I wanted to share some of what I experienced for anyone who is facing an induction with pitocin (because everyone makes it out to be such a terrible thing). Skip this paragraph if you’re not comfortable reading about this. With Emma, my cervix wasn’t “ready” so the doctors used a 12 hour Foley balloon before they started pitocin. This time my cervix was considered “favorable” so I didn’t need the balloon. At around 7 pm they started the drip (pitocin is synthetic oxytocin- a hormone that your body normally produces during labor) at 1 milliunit/min and increased it by 1 every half hour. The goal was to have my contractions coming every 2 minutes or so.
By 10:30 pm my pitocin drip was up to 6 and I was starting to feel extremely uncomfortable. The contractions were about every 2 minutes and getting stronger. I had already talked to anesthesia earlier and signed off on an epidural, so all I needed to do was make a phone call. The procedure itself wasn’t painful at all and soon I was numb and feeling much better. I had to lay on my left side for awhile because the medicine had spread mostly to my right side first.
My parents showed up around midnight for company, but after about an hour I started to get tired. The doctor checked me and I hadn’t made any progress, so anticipating another long labor like Emmaline’s I decided to send my parents home so I could try to get a little sleep. The nurses came in to help roll me on my right side and I asked for an Italian ice.
Just as I finished my snack… I started to feel contractions coming every few minutes but on my left side only. Then they continued to get stronger so I knew I wasn’t imagining it. I called in the nurse, and she rushed to help me; first she rotated me back on my left side and, when that didn’t work, she called the anesthesiologist to give me a bolus of medicine. The doctor checked me again and I had progressed some, to 5cm ( I had been at 3cm since my appt earlier in the day).
But the contractions continued to get stronger… And then I started to involuntarily shake, which I remembered happening when we were getting close to the end last time. The doctor came in to check me again… All of a sudden I was 9cm and my water broke (which explained the shaking). And then she said,
“I want you to concentrate on NOT pushing right now, ok?”
Then she left, and there was a lot of scurrying and putting on scrubs and wheeling carts around. I wasn’t feeling so hot… Like I wasn’t sure about the whole “NOT pushing” comment. I must have looked pretty rough because someone asked if I was ok and I responded something like “not really” and they went to get a doctor again.
“Yes, she’s at 10 and plus 2.” Just like that, suddenly it was go time. Stirrups and all that business. And then a few minutes later, Natalie was born!
So that’s about it. A much friendlier 7 hours versus 28 last time. I have to say (again) that L&D nurses are incredible. I’ve been feeling good recovery-wise and am looking forward to getting my running game back. I registered for a few races this fall (more on that later). Also [disclaimer], if anything I wrote above is medically inaccurate… I’m not a doctor.