Around 8 am on Monday, after hubby had called in 'sick' our phone rang, it was our regular doctor for me. My lab results had finally come back, and the protein was quite high. After reviewing everything from the weekend, they thought the best course of action was to induce. I was really scared of having an induction, but I said ok, and that we would make our way in to the hospital. I immediately jumped on the computer and asked my pregnancy and birth friends what to do. I called our whole list and let everyone know what was going on that day, and that I would be in touch. Then I woke up my husband, who showered, and then finally set about packing some things that he wanted. Then we packed up our twin/baby kitties and headed over to the Kitty-Sitter's. I didn't get out of the car, I was far to nervous now that we were actually moving toward the hospital. I didn't want to hear another of her birth stories.
We finally arrived at Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital around 11:20. I wish we had stopped and made ourselves eat! I was too scared, and I honestly think hubby was too. I waited in the waiting room while my husband was trying to find the cafeteria, to know it's hours, and what they had. And he bought some "cigars" made of bubble gum that were wrapped in "It's a Boy!!" papers. Or, maybe they were chocolate? I remember a lady in the waiting room asked if I was in labor. "No, not yet" I said, and then noticing her obviously pregnant belly asked if she was "No, just an NST" I told her I wished her the best, and that they were inducing me. She was jealous, she was 41 weeks and "just so DONE". I told her I was jealous, I had wanted a natural labor.
Shortly after this we were shown to a room, and I was instructed to take off my carefully chosen, very comfortable clothing in favor of a hospital gown. When I tried to protest the nurse snipped at me that it was necessary that I put on a hospital gown, what if I should need emergency surgery? They would have to cut my clothes off. I told her I didn't care, and had chosen my clothes for labor, and if that's where my labor went, that's where my clothes went. She wasn't about to agree to let me keep my own clothes on, and I didn't know any better. I changed into a gown. Then she shuffled me toward the bathroom and announced it would be "my last chance" before the catheter, and then she shut the bathroom door and started rummaging around the labor room for her tools.
Once I was situated and sitting in the bed a nurse came in with some IV bags, ready to get things started. I told her I was not interested in having pitocen, or any IV for that matter. Of course, no one had been over the induction procedure with me, and I wasn't too keen on "going in blind" so the nurse went and got whatever doctor was managing my case. I had never met this guy before, and of course MY doctor had been on the hall the night before, so she was at home. He came in and said that I would be having a bag of pitocen, a bag of magnesium sulfate, and a catheter. I started crying, did no one care that I didn't want ANY of this, nor did I know that "this" stuff was how induction worked. He went to get another doctor to come talk to me, and in came the Head of OB again. I told him my desires for a natural birth, and that I realized it was unlikely to happen at this point, but I still wanted it to be as "natural" as possible. He explained why I needed each medication, and why the catheter was a good idea. He checked me, I was already having regular contractions, and was now about 3 or 4 cm and 75 % effaced. So, at least all of our attempts to get things going had done some good work!
My IV was started, and the catheter placed, and my husband and I settled in. I don't remember now if we were talking or or just listening to the monitor. I remember talking to my friend Amber, asking her to bring some popsicles and lollipops for me. She was coming to keep me company in labor. Not long after she arrived, and I managed to have one last popsicle the OB was back to check me and see how things were going. I had progressed to 6 cm and nearly 100 % effaced, he asked if he could break my water (AROM- Artificial Rupture of Membranes), and I consented. Labor intensified immediately, and now I needed to focus on breathing or a distraction with each contraction. My husband turned on my Creed CD (Human Clay) and I used the music to distract or focus my attention as needed. Sometimes I wanted my husband touching my hand, arm or leg, other times I wanted no touching. My husband remembers seeing tears on my face at one point, I imagine that this was transition. It was difficult to get comfortable when my options were my sides or my back. I had not been allowed to get out of bed, or use any kind of upright positions due to my blood pressure and the medication in my IV.
I labored quietly for a few more hours like this, and then I guess my blood pressure started to worry people. I don't know what changed, but suddenly nurses were talking about me getting an epidural. Having not wanted an epidural I was aware of the risks they involved. I was also aware that the risk of "low blood pressure" that was associated with an epidural would be a benefit in my case. After almost everyone in the room singing the praises of the epidural I consented to the procedure. I could see the worry in my husbands face and hear the concern in my friends voice. The nurse immediately wanted to place an internal fetal monitor probe. This was one of the few things I was quite certain I would not consent to unless there was an emergency situation. Having an epidural placed did not seem like an emergent situation. I refused and the nurse was taken aback. Clearly she was not accustom to her patients questioning her or the doctors. She told us we had no choice, that the baby was too low for the external monitor to pick him up while I was sitting. The belts didn't get that low. My husband offered to hold it in place. She scoffed at him and said that the procedure could take as long as 30 minutes. He let her know that he intended to be with me, in front of me during the procedure, and he would gladly keep the monitor over the baby. The nurse tried again to get our consent for the internal monitor and my husband said "no, you're not doing that". She threw down the instrument, slammed a drawer and stormed out. A new nurse and the anesthesiologist came in with her cart and her consent forms. When she asked if I had any questions I asked if she had heard of a walking epidural. She scoffed and said "you won't be walking anywhere." I didn't really have the mind about me to explain that I wanted to still be able to feel my contractions, and feel my baby. I may have tried, and I guess that they don't often get that request when placing an epidural. So she inserted her needle and her catheter and her drugs into my spine.
After the anesthesiologist was finished and left the room our new nurse, who we already liked more than the one that had a hissy fit, helped me lay back and try to get comfortable while the medication began to take effect. She wanted to check my temperature, but I was suddenly feeling nauseas, so I asked her to wait a minute. She walked over to the monitor print out and looked at the pattern my contractions had been chasing. She requested permission to check my cervix, and I consented. Her face lit up and she announced I was completely dilated. My husband jumped with excitement, and I exhaled with relief. My hard work had really paid off. I immediately wanted them to come back and turn the epidural off, and wanted my husband to see if my friends were still near by. I don't know for sure if my epidural ever took effect, and I'm pretty certain it was turned off because numbness is not something I experienced in my labor. New, nice, nurse asked me to use an oxygen mask, this would help make sure my blood was oxygenated, and that ensured that my baby's blood would also be oxygenated. I didn't like the way it felt on my face, so I held it in my hand and mostly used it in between contractions, and in between pushes. It felt good to push, even though I didn't have the urge to push. I was finally able to work with my contractions like I'd been wanting to, rather than just letting them happen. The nurse counted for the first few pushes, and then I asked her to stop. She obliged and just encouraged me to push, and gave helpful, short directions. After what felt like only 10 or 15 minutes, people started coming into the room, and setting up the warming table, and preparing to break down the bed. I was introduced to a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), she would be assisting in the delivery, and the head of OB from earlier in the day was with her to supervise. The CNM asks how I'm doing after a push, and I let her know I'm fine. She said "you've been pushing for a long time mom, almost 2 hours, getting tired? we can use the vacuum to help you if you like" Ugh. I was immediately deflated, all that effort, 2 hours and he still wasn't crowning! I consented to the "help" and I don't really know what exactly happened here. At some point an episiotomy was cut, and a suction cup was attached to my son's head. And then, as I pushed with each contraction the CNM pulled. There was no mirror, and I didn't speak up and request one, so I watched as best I could in the tv on the wall opposite the bed. (there was no cable and the tv was off) After a few pushes, and some considerable progress my son was crowing and the vacuum slipped off his head. Rather than put it back on, they let me finish the job. I still had to work hard and push hard to get him out the rest of the way.
Just before 10 pm our son was born, he was placed on my chest with a blanket and his cord was cut and he was taken over to the warmer. It would be another 2 hours before I would attempt to breastfeed with a nurse with zero patience watching me, with a bottle of formula in her hand, checking the clock every few seconds. He weighed 6 lbs 15 oz at birth, and was 21 inches.