We arrived at the hospital around 5:30pm.

My spirits were instantly lifted when I saw the doctor on duty happened to be the one that I had met with the most during my pregnancy (i.e. NOT Dr. Induction).  All along I had been searching for a reason why things were turning out this way and I thought, “This is it.  She’s going to deliver my baby.  That is the reason God had us wait until today.

We checked into our room and the medicine was delivered.  I was given strict orders not to eat or drink anything but ice-chips after 12am and N foraged us a little meal of chicken noodle soup, crackers and yogurt.  We watched Planet Earth and at some point I looked at him and said, “This is kinda fun!”  And it was.  We were in our little “hotel room”, gorging ourselves on hospital food and tv and the entire time in the background we could hear the beating heart of our baby. She was okay and I was going to be okay.  We were going to do this together.

We attempted to go to bed early (around 9pm).  Nate ordered me to wake him up whenever I had to use the bathroom because I was hooked up to monitors and he could help me out by carrying the cords.  I don’t think he realized what he signed up for, because at this stage in the pregnancy, I was waking up about every 2 hours.  Around 4am, I woke up for good.  He woke up around 6:30, completely exhausted.  He said, “I’m not used to being pregnant.”  All I could think was, “This is my last day to be pregnant! Hurray!”

The doctor was planning to come back around 7am to check on me.  Nate foraged up more ‘ice-chip flavored’ turkey sandwiches and I snuck into the bathroom to eat them.  All day long, Nate covertly kept me hydrated and fed, and it was a good thing too; because I was about to run a marathon.

When she came back to our room, she checked me and said the medicine had done its job.  My body was progressing!  I made a last-ditch effort to avoid the pitocin and asked her if she could instead break my water and give me time to get labor started on its own.  She said, “Sure!” which was a huge relief as Dr. Induction had already told me that was NOT an option.  So at 7:30am, she broke my water and labor officially began.

Unofficially, I still wasn’t feeling a single contraction, so we had to get moving in order for them to start.  If I did not go into labor on my own before noon, Pitocin would be administered.  I was officially on the clock.

We (N, Julie and I) started walking the hallways, which were a short (and very boring) loop.  At some point, another family was congregated in the hallway.  They were watching their newest family member receiving his first bath.  N and Julie wanted to stop and watch, but I was over it.  I was ready for it to be my turn!  We walked and we walked very quickly.  Every time we came to a bench seat, N made me do “sit-downs” (which were oddly similar to squats).  His coaching duties had begun 🙂

During this time, Julie kept asking me if I was feeling contractions; she wanted to time them.  I wasn’t sure.  Every once in a while, I would feel something, so I would tell her, but  I really had to concentrate to feel it.  This certainly wasn’t moving as fast as I had hoped.     Around noon, we went in the lounge to sit down for a minute.  I remember N and Julie started talking about the Kardashians because the tv was on and they were being featured on The View.  I didn’t hear a single word of their conversation.  As soon as we sat down, I settled into a deep, tired haze.  I asked Julie if it would be counter-productive for me to go back and nap for a little while.  All of the emotional exhaustion and lack of sleep had suddenly hit me.  She thought maybe relaxing for a little while could be helpful.

My haze quickly turned to sleep and I felt amazing.  Unfortunately, it only lasted for about 30 minutes.  At 12:30pm, the doctor came back in to see if my body was responding to the exercise. I had reached 5-6 centimeters!  She asked me if I was feeling regular contractions and I had to admit, not really.  She asked if I would like Pitocin or if I would like to continue what I was doing to see if the contractions would pick up.  I told her I would continue.  As soon as she exited the room, the three of us looked at each other.  We were running out of time, it was time to really  get this labor going.

We’d had enough of the L&D unit, so we snuck off the floor and took ourselves on a tour of the rest of the hospital.  We did stairs, we did lunges, and we did more “sit-downs”.  Finally, I started to feel something worthy of note, and they seemed to be concentrating in my back.

Around 2pm, we went back to the room to be on the monitors for a little while.  The baby seemed to be doing well.  Julie did pressure points to help stimulate stronger contractions.  I told N my pain was at about a 6 or 7…very manageable, but very there.

I started rocking on the exercise ball. Someone dimmed the lights.  N put in the mixed cd I had made.  (Yep, we were that couple).  The contractions immediately became more intense.  I leaned over, laid my head on the bed and started crying.  But these weren’t the same tears I had cried the week before, these were very happy tears.  This labor was finally going and there was no turning back.  I was going to be meeting my baby soon!

Around 6pm, my regular doctor entered the room.  He was now on call!  He checked me and said…………………… I was at 6cm.  My emotions took a nosedive.  I couldn’t believe it!  In fact, I didn’t really believe him when he told me.  I had been at 6 for the last 6 hours!  My pain had completely ratcheted up and I had no progress to show for it!  As soon as he left the room, I told N.  “I can’t do this!”.  He and Julie talked me down.  Julie explained that my body was catching up with my cervix.  She also said this baby may be in a funny position which would explain the back labor.  But they both had faith I could continue.

At this point, I could hardly feel any contractions in my stomach, they were completely in my back.  To describe back labor, it felt as though someone where taking a mallet to my tailbone.  With each blow, the pain would circulate up my spine and down to my toes.  In fact, I don’t even really remember the pain in the front. Nate was putting counter-pressure on my lower back with his fists, which would help up until a certain point.  Then his pressure would add to my pain and I would push his hand away, unable to communicate in any other way to him.  Later, he told me that when he was pushing on my back, he was pushing against what he thought to be the baby’s skull.

Julie had me try different positions in attempt to shift the baby.  I got on my hands and knees.  I rolled on the ball.  They applied heat to my back.  She had me do squats as soon as a contraction would start, putting all of my weight on N.  To say I did all of the work for this birth would be a lie.  Julie instructed and N worked right along side of me, guiding and bearing weight.  About 40 minutes into it, I remember saying, “I’m feeling a lot of pressure, like I could just push this baby out!”  Julie was concerned I had taken a sharp turn, so she called the doctor back in.  He checked me.  And….I was at a…………….

six! (still)

Mentally, I lost it.  I thought, if this is what a 6 is like, and I have been here for 6 hours, how in the world am I going to make it to 10!  As soon as the doctor left, I told them, “I want an epidural!”
N was mad (not at me).  He didn’t want to see me give up.  Julie  encouraged me.  “You haven’t tried the shower yet.”  So I got in the shower.  N tried spraying the water on my back.  I couldn’t find any comfortable position.  Ultimately, I would end up on the shower floor, writhing in pain.  I told him.  “I want an epidural!”  And I meant it.  I was emotionally spent. I was physically spent.  I thought, if I can just get the epidural in me,  I can go to bed for a few hours and then wake up and push out my baby.  N didn’t know what to do.  He called in reinforcements.  Julie said, “I’m sure you are closer than you think.  Let’s see what the doctor says.”

The doctor came back in with a sympathetic face.  He asked how I was doing and I told him I wanted an epidural.  He countered.  He told me he hated to see me give up after coming so far.  “The baby must be in an unusual position and needs to turn the corner.  Give me one more hour and we’ll see how much progress you’ve made. ”

I don’t know if it was because he was an authority figure, it was the competitor in me, or it was just my people-pleasing nature that agreed.  But I did.  And I was keeping track.  About every 15 minutes, I asked N how long it had been.  Julie dimmed the lights even more and started reading aloud from the book Psalms.  I cried out like David in a very real way for the LORD to have mercy on me.

As promised, the doctor returned an hour later.  I was 7-8.  I had turned the corner, but in my opinion, it still wasn’t enough.  N and Julie were rejoicing, I was completely stoic.  He said, “Okay, look how much progress you made in one hour…how about another one?”  I don’t know what was in me that agreed, but I did.  The sweet nurse that was with us hooked me up to an IV to get some fluids in me.  Just in case I demanded an epidural, I would already have that out of the way.
But I had reached the point of no return.  The only thing I can compare it to in my life is running a long-distance race.  You reach the point where your brain stops wandering where you are and how much further you have.  All of the training and innate instinct your body has goes into overdrive.  You turn inward and block everything out and somehow you hope you find yourself at the finish line at a decent time.

To be continued….{tomorrow}


part VIII

6 Comments on MG’s Birth Story: The Labor

  1. Lauren
    September 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh man Kate! What a serious marathon! Can't wait to hear the rest! You are a great writer…. Leaving me in suspense!!!

  2. Lauren
    September 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh man Kate! What a serious marathon! Can't wait to hear the rest! You are a great writer…. Leaving me in suspense!!!

  3. Sweet Mama K
    September 28, 2012 at 2:23 am (5 years ago)

    Thanks, Lauren! Glad to know I could add a little drama to your afternoon 🙂

  4. Sweet Mama K
    September 28, 2012 at 2:23 am (5 years ago)

    Thanks, Lauren! Glad to know I could add a little drama to your afternoon 🙂


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