I figured I better get on with finishing this birth story since Bridget is almost 3 weeks old and Theresa has shamed me by finishing Zelie’s birth story before they even left the hospital. (Well played though, because at least in the hospital you get a few moments of peace here and there, between the incessant checking of one’s blood pressure.)
So, where were we? We spent the night at my parents and Will decided to spend a little late night QT with his mama before the end of his only child tenure.
At 5:00, the alarm went off and I called the hospital as instructed to make sure there was a bed available. There was, so I ate a small bowl of cereal and had some coffee and we headed out. I cried the whole way to the hospital, out of a mixture of anxiety about the pain and whether or not I had made the right decision. When we got there, I calmed down some and we headed up to L & D where I filled out a bunch of paperwork and was then taken back to my room.
The nurses gave me my gown to get changed and started taking my vitals. The on call midwife from my practice arrived and asked, “So, why are we here today?” Um…
(I should add that the midwife who was on call was my least favorite so I was already not ecstatic that she was the one delivering my baby.)
Nervously I said, “Uh, so you can break my water?” She said that based on my chart, she wasn’t sure she was comfortable with that and she wanted to do an exam. Basically I was just shooting desperate, frantic looks at the husband at this point, not really sure what was going on. The midwife did the exam and said I was 1.5-2 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and baby was at station -3. At this point I had tears welling up in my eyes because I was exhausted and frustrated. I still don’t really understand how the baby could have moved back up and how I could be less dilated and less effaced than the day before (although with the latter two, I suppose there’s some estimating and judgment calls there). The midwife assured me that the baby can move back up and that based on what she was seeing, she did not want to break my water because the baby was too high and she was afraid that breaking my water would result in 24 hours of non-productive labor, followed by a C-section the following day. The communication was not great and I was increasingly teary because I had mentally and emotionally geared myself up for having the baby and now I didn’t know what was going on or going to happen.
Thankfully, the husband has zero qualms about getting assertive and demanding whatever information he needs, and he jumped in and said, “So, what are you telling us? Do we just pack up an go home, or what?” The midwife told us that was one option, at which point I openly burst into tears, which may have been a good thing because the midwife seemed to soften a little bit and try to be more communicative. She basically told us that our options were 1. go home and keep waiting, or 2. try Cervidil, a drug that thins your cervix and will jump start contractions a little bit. She was pretty adamant that breaking my water and Pitocin (which I emphatically did NOT want) were bad ideas for my situation, and she felt that doing either of those things gave us an excellent chance of ending up having a C-section the next day. She and the nurses left the room for a minute to give us a chance to talk and we decided to go with the Cervidil.
At around 8 am, she inserted the Cervidil and about 30 minutes later, I started having crampy sensations. I let the nurses know, they checked the monitor and said the contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes and started cheering and clapping. Based on the speed of Will’s labor, I was anticipating having this baby by lunchtime and getting to see Will and introduce him to his brother or sister after nap time. I’d made a list of intentions to offer up the contractions for, and was doing pretty well focusing on them during each contraction. By 9:30 or 10:00, the contractions were coming really fast on top of each other, with only 10 or 15 seconds between. They were painful although not terribly so, but the lack of a break in between was really wearing on me. After checking the fetal monitor, the midwife said the baby’s heart rate had dropped a bit and the contractions were just too fast so she was removing the Cervidil, but that if my body was truly in labor, the contractions would slow down but continue. The contractions did slow down to every 5-6 minutes, but they continued so we knew I was actually in labor.
The midwife checked me around 11:0o, and I was expecting her to say I was at 5 or 6 cm based on the 3 hours of hard contractions. Nope. 3 cm. Baby’s heart rate kept dropping after every contraction so they made me lay down and have an oxygen mask (not a fan). I felt like I was suffocating with that thing on my face, which yes, is kind of ironic. We went through several more hours of hard contractions that were too painful to talk through coming every few minutes, and at 2:30 the midwife checked me again. 4 cm. I was really beginning to get frustrated at this point. I know some people’s labor goes much longer but 6 hours of active, painful labor to make 2 cm of progress? I was not happy and starting to question whether or not this whole thing had been a mistake and it was all my fault for agreeing to an induction and I should have just cooled my jets and accepted that babies come when they want. This is not a helpful frame of mind when you’re in labor, fyi. The husband was amazing though; he was super encouraging and attentive the whole time and telling me what a great job I was doing. The next few hours were supremely uninteresting from a birth story perspective- lots of painful contractions, position changing, oxygen mask, etc. At about 5:30, the midwife checked me again and said I was “between 5 and 6 centimeters.” I started crying again, sobbing to the husband about how I just wanted my baby and this was never going to be over.
And then my water broke and the shit really hit the fan. The contraction which broke my water hurt, a lot. But not as much as the next one, in which I went from 5/6 to 9/10 in one huge, never ending contraction which I thought was actually killing me. I was sobbing and saying, “it hurts, it hurts” over and over. The next 20ish minutes are a blur of screaming and begging the midwife, the nurse, the husband to please “make it stop” which obviously was out of the question at that point. The complete loss of control at the very end is not, NOT my favorite part and I could really do without it. At one point I think I was trying to get up or something (I don’t know, it was a little crazy by then), and everyone was yelling at me to stay put because the baby was right there. I’m not sure if they told me to push or I just did it, trying to get the whole thing over with, but 2 pushes and out came baby (unlike the hour and half of pushing to get Will out). They handed her to the husband and he told me, “It’s a girl!” and put her on my chest. There is no relief like the end of labor. I held my sweet girl and kissed her and let her nurse a little. Eventually they took her to weigh and measure her, and I got stitched up (the tearing was not nearly was bad as with Will though, hallelujah).
Since Bridget wasn’t born until 6:21 pm, Will didn’t get to come see her until the next morning. My parents took him to get a balloon for Bridget on the way over and he was very proud of the pink balloon he picked out.
We are adjusting to life as a family of four and are smitten with our sweet little snuggle bug.