Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Birth Story Part Two: Waiting with Barack

We arrived at the hospital at 2:00pm and breezed through registration, thanks to the fact that I had preregistered weeks ago and the hospital was remarkably on the ball and actually had all of my paperwork ready when we arrived. After registration, an elderly volunteer came down to take me to my room in a wheelchair, which seemed silly to me. After all, I wasn't sick, I wasn't in labor, I wasn't even having strong contractions, but the lady was so nice and seemed to enjoy what she was doing, so I humored her.

Aaron and I arrived at our room and my nurse came to check me in. I was told to change into a hospital gown and then I was put on the external monitors so the baby's heartbeat could be checked. After a good 30 minutes of pushing and prodding at my belly, the nurse was FINALLY able to locate Tater's heartbeat. (This would be a common occurrence while I was in labor...we would pick up baby's heartbeat for a little while, but every time I would shift position, we'd lose his heartbeat again and it would take FOREVER for the nurses to be able to find him again. Super frustrating. The nurses and Dr. Fab couldn't figure out why the heartbeat was so hard to find. Turns out the baby was posterior for much of my labor and he was really, really high up in my pelvis until the very end of things.) An IV line was started, and I settled in to my bed to wait for the induction to begin.

At 4:00pm, Dr. Fab came in to give me my first dose of Cytotech, which felt like nothing much at all. She also checked my cervix and indicated that things hadn't changed much in that department, although she seemed pretty confident that this first dose would get things underway pretty quickly. Dr. Fab told me that she was going to head back to the office and then she was going grocery shopping and then home to make dinner, but that she would be back by 8:00pm to administer the second dose if it was necessary. I felt really, really thankful that my doctor was going to be doing this herself instead of leaving it all to the nurses. And then Dr. Fab left us to wait...

And wait, and wait, and wait...waiting for labor to start is like waiting for the grass to grow. You know it's happening and you know that eventually you will have something beautiful to look at very soon, but it can't happen fast enough.

We made a few phone calls and watched some TV while we waited, and we noticed that President Obama would be making a nationally televised speech to Congress that night, so we decided that we would watch that when the time came. I talked with my brother-in-law, who is as staunch a Conservative as I am a Liberal (but who I love anyway), on the phone and teased him that if the baby would be born during Barack's speech, we were going to name the baby Barack Hussein. However, I still wasn't feeling any strong contractions, so I told him that wasn't likely.

And I was right. Barack's speech started and by this time I had gotten tired of laying in bed (and frankly I was getting frustrated that I was not able to get up and move around), so I moved to the recliner in the room and the nurse propped me up with pillows and placed a warm rice sock behind my back. My back was killing me at this point, and each contraction that I was having--they were coming every few minutes or so, but they were pretty easy to handle--was felt in my back more than in my abdomen. Dr. Fab came back as promised at 8:00pm, decked out in scrubs and her glasses, to place the second dose of Cytotech. I was surprised and very pleased to learn that Dr. Fab was planning to stay at the hospital all night to monitor my progress. We chatted for a bit about Barack and his speech, and Aaron told me that when I was in the bathroom at one point, Dr. Fab commented that her kids often ask her why they are the only Democrats at their private school, and Dr. Fab told them, "It's because we care about people." Love it.

When Dr. Fab placed my second dose she also did a cervical check, and I was not happy at all to hear that I had not dilated at all because I had been feeling regular contractions. But, Dr. Fab was encouraged because although dilation wasn't occurring, my cervix was thinning and changing. She mentioned again that often it can take two to three doses of medication to get things moving so she assured me that when she came back to check me at midnight, there would be more change. She offered the idea that a third dose might not even be necessary. She reminded me that we were basically starting at zero, so I should be patient and try to get some rest if I could. She also rechecked my BP and was happy to see that it had dropped to normal levels. Aaron told her that was because this was the first time in my pregnancy that I have actually laid down for several hours, and Dr. Fab told him that she believed that.

I stayed in the recliner for a bit longer and tried to sleep for a bit, and then when shift change came and my night nurse came to introduce herself, I decided to move back to my bed. My new nurse did a check of my vital signs, and again my BP was well within normal limits. My contractions were still coming every two to five minutes or so but they were not increasing in intensity at all and they were tending to peter out a bit before receiving another dose of Cytotech. The nurse commented that she wouldn't be surprised at all if the doctor decided to send me home and let me wait a few more days, since my BP was fine, and I hated her for even suggesting that notion. I was there, I had made all the arrangements I needed to make for Grace, and I was not leaving without my new baby.

Midnight came, and Dr. Fab came in to administer dose number three of the Cytotech. When she checked me this time, she was able to get her fingertip through my cervix so there was progress there, and my cervix was continuing to thin out. She also mentioned that baby was still floating really high in my pelvis, and I asked her if this was why I was feeling so much pain in my back (it was pretty nasty at this point). Dr. Fab said that she didn't think so, but she brought up the possibility that baby was posterior and this could be causing my back pain. She reminded me again that I should try to rest as much as possible and to drink plenty of fluids because things could progress quickly now that the third dose had been placed. I agreed and bid her adieu until 4:00am.

Aaron was fast asleep on the pull-out bed at this point, and I was so glad that one of us was going to be rested up, because I certainly was not able to get any decent sleep. My contractions were just strong enough and frequent enough to wake me up if I did happen to doze off. And, the suggestion that the nurse made that I might go back home was frustrating enough to keep me stewing. How dare she mention such a thing!! Still, I did my best to rest as much as I could...I even put The Weather Channel on the TV in an attempt to lull myself to sleep, and it worked sometimes, but mostly I just laid in bed and watched the clock.

4:00am came and so did Dr. Fab. She asked me if my contractions were getting any stronger and I dejectedly told her no and I told her that I thought things were supposed to pick up after three doses. She suggested another cervical check to see how I was progressing, and she was pleased (more than I was) to discover that I had dilated to 1 cm and that I had a good amount of bloody show. She told me that although this didn't seem like much to me, it did indicate good progress. I asked her if she was going to administer yet another dose of Cytotech and she said that she would, but she was convinced that this would be my last dose.

And it was. My water broke at 7:05am, and then things got interesting.


Carrie said...

Sigh, back labor. Both of mine have been, so I'm pretty much resigned to a 3rd bout with it this summer. That IS nice that your doctor stayed there all night.

Lwwb said...

Yeah, I don't know why they say "try to sleep" when you are in labor. The pain will wake you up every few minutes. who can sleep through pain?