You can read part 1 of Meghan’s birth story here.
After being told I’d likely be sent home, there was an air of disappointment in the Triage Room. Was it false labor? Had I endured contractions for the last 12 hours for merely practice? Or was this just the beginning of a very long labor?
A few minutes later a nurse returned to tell me she’d spoken to my doctor. “He told us you lived 30 minutes away. He thinks you’re progressing enough and wants you to stay.” Deep breath. Ah, thank you, doctor.
Instead of being admitted to a room, however, I was asked to walk around the hospital to help my progression. So we walked. And walked. And walked. We made our way around the big square loop, stopping every few minutes for me to put my hands on my knees while I had a contraction.
Tim was there, holding my hand when I needed it, coaching me through the pain as he learned about during our birthing classes. I can’t remember exactly how long I had to walk before being checked again. 1 hour? 2 hours?
When I was checked again, I was dilated another centimeter to 4, so they finally admitted me to a room. Right away a nurse asked me if I wanted an epidural. My answer was no, not yet.
I had every intention of getting an epidural. I have a low tolerance for pain and was petrified of the pain of child birth. How can a woman not be scared after all the horror stories that circulate among females from a young age?
At that point, however, the pain wasn’t what I expected. Yes, the contractions hurt, but they weren’t that bad. I wasn’t ready to be numb; I wanted to keep experiencing the birth process.
Tim and I hung out in the room for a little while before I took a bath. Getting in the tub was a perfect way to relax through the pain, if relaxing through pain is even possible.
I’d arrived at the hospital around 12:30 and by the time I got out of the tub it was probably after 4 o’clock. The nurse informed me that she’d talked with my doctor again and he’d like to start Pitocin. Huh? What?
I had never talked to my doctor about Pitocin, but I knew what it was from friends and family members who had been induced. It’s the drug they use to start labor. I didn’t know they used it when labor had already started.
Totally put on the spot, I looked at Tim for helped. He shrugged his shoulders, not knowing what we should do. I didn’t know much about Pitocin, other than what it was. I had so many questions, but in the moment didn’t know how to get them answered. I told the nurse I wasn’t sure I wanted to use the drug.
She came back a few minutes later and said that my doctor was highly recommending we start Pitocin. She explained that it would help speed up my progression and overall help my laboring process. Still unsure, I agreed.
I now know that there was really no reason to use Pitocin in my labor, other than to ensure my baby arrived sooner rather than later. Apparently my doctor preferred I didn’t wait until the middle of the night to give birth, which is likely when it would have happened without the drug. I had no idea about the possible side effects and dangers of Pitocin at the time.
It was clear that the drug was working as shortly after they started the drip I was experiencing much stronger contractions that were increasingly close together. This is when the nurse told me I needed to get my epidural because the anesthesiologist had a surgery to attend to soon and after that I may miss my window of opportunity.
Again, I was torn. I knew I wanted to have an epidural, but I wished I could wait until I was screaming in pain and couldn’t take it anymore. At that point, the pain was totally bearable and I wondered if I could possibly do the whole thing without an epidural. Fear gripped me, though, and I agreed to get the epidural.
Once I had the epidural, it was strange to watch my contractions happening on the machine monitoring me, but not feel a thing. Soon, I fell asleep. It was much needed rest after being up all night the previous evening. It was sometime around 6 o’clock (total guess–I don’t remember the exact times things happened, but I know the general time frame.)
I woke up to a gush of water spilling between my legs. “Water!” I shouted through my groggy state.
Tim quickly handed me a drink, thinking I was asking to quench my thirst. I explained to him that my water broke and the bed was all wet. It must have been close to 8 o’clock by now.
The nurse checked me and said I was dilated 9 centimeters and she was going to call the doctor to let him know. She told me to tell her when I started to feel pressure as that meant it was time to push.
It wasn’t long after that when I started to feel pressure. It was very uncomfortable, but I was happy I could feel something. I’d heard of women not being able to feel a thing the whole time after getting their epidural.
The doctor arrived and was getting ready when I knew I had to start pushing. He quickly got into position. It was 9 o’clock.
Pushing is best described as an athletic event. They told me to do 10 breaths in a row and I remember thinking it was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. I was a 400 meter dash runner in college, considered the most grueling race, and this left those memories in the dust.
I definitely felt pain as I was pushing. I’m not sure if I didn’t have a strong epidural or it was wearing off, but I could feel pain. It likely was much less intense than it would have been without the epidural, but I’m grateful I could feel it.
At some point the nurse put an oxygen mask on me, telling me that the baby’s oxygen was getting low. Most likely this was because of the Pitocin, but I had no idea that day. I wanted to rip that mask off most of the time as it just hindered me, but of course I couldn’t.
Very soon I was on my last push and Meghan came into the world. It was 9:25; I’d pushed for 25 minutes. I’ll tell you that I was determined once pushing started to get it done. I can’t imagine how some women push for an hour or two. It was the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done.
Despite a few changes I would make upon looking back, I am grateful that Meghan was born healthy and her birth was relatively uneventful. It’s hard to have regrets when this is the face you get to see at the end.